synthetic zero

November 10th, 2009

A lot of my friends were disturbed by the Charlie Kaufman film Synecdoche, New York which is particularly curious for its total lack of dramatic resolution; a theme that Kaufman also explored in Adaptation in a less extreme way. But for me the film was both brilliant and oddly uplifting; I suppose this relates to something Amarilla touched on in a recent post, the relationship between emptiness/darkness and equanimity or liberation. If you try to find your stability in some thing, some relationship or explanation or resolution or a particular set of conditions then you’re going to have trouble; as the Buddhists like to emphasize — everything is impermanent. The alternative seems bleak: if everything disappears in the end, isn’t that somehow horrific, terrible, cause for despair? It may seem that way, but there’s another way of taking it. What if it were possible to ground yourself in emptiness, where your roots, so to speak, reach out into the darkness, and don’t rest on any specific thing but if anything in the totality, the empty/full reality in its entirety? Without trying to find a resolution in a specific set of conditions, one can find something sublime in the totally interconnected and yet independent network of relations which comprise the universe; so there’s no specific part of it one can rely on but one can rely on the entirety of it, because we are never separated from this empty/full ground of Being. From that perspective, the fact that Kaufman’s character never finishes his project(s), the fact that everything in his life disappears, the simulacra and the reality all fade and are destroyed, this is simply inherent in this matrix of life. What’s the alternative? Is the purpose of life to come to a resolution, or is it to be found in the beautiful emphemerality of everything which is both impermanent and yet the source of both beauty and ugliness, suffering and bliss… what would be the point of doing things if the goal is to simply reach some end point. Such an end point would by definition be static, dead, the “end” — but we don’t have to structure our lives in terms of projects with a beginning, middle, and end, even if Hollywood movies usually are written this way.

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4 responses to this post:
  1. zack says:

    It’s very much like what i was telling a friend on the way to the movies yesterday: real life doesn’t have end credits.

    November 11th, 2009 at 5:43 am
  2. darcy says:

    You know Larry Gopnik, too? He was completely out of shape at dinner after we watched Synecdoche - in Schenectady!

    November 16th, 2009 at 10:24 pm
  3. lnbx says:

    This film confirmed art as process to me in a way not fully experienced before. Really it is an art concept that could not be made except in a film. Brilliant.

    November 18th, 2009 at 1:45 pm
  4. Julie K. Minnepian says:

    K’s soiled a solipsistic rhizomatic feedback loop squatted from polyphonous groping for vibrations between viscously horizontal heterogeneously equilibrating hermeneutic(s) (singular). The mean(der)ing metaphysical baggage drops off in a static filled “death.” The only moment of fidelity is not entirely missed before his static-filled abeyance.

    November 19th, 2009 at 12:37 am

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