Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Mean Streets

Mean Streets

Beatitude, Flourishing, and Unhappiness

Can a mafioso be happy? An excerpt from The Philosophy of Martin Scorsese

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) ::: pheatures ::: (1) Comments ::: Read the whole thing

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<i>For Schopenhauer, on the other hand, this is an impossibility. Suffering and unhappiness are not just the accidental condition we happen to find ourselves in; rather, they’re necessary, given the kinds of creatures we are. For Schopenhauer, there seems to be something ontological about unhappiness—it seems to be a part of our essence or being. </i>

Yes, that’s a key difference between Schopenhauer and the existentialist or Freudian sorts—a fundamental philosophical point having to do with Schop’s idea of the Will (not to be mistaken for Nietzsche’s macho-lite version either)—but Reality itself, shall we say (ie nature, and humanity).  Schop.‘s thought has similarities to eastern religions—humans are caught in the veils of maya, etc—- but many just assume, Schop’s a buddhist and forget that the pessimism and negation follows from detailed arguments (against western philosophy, Kant, and judeo-christianity).  Yet wisdom of a sort, or sanity at least may still be attainable. 

Interesting reflections, though Scorcese seems more french existentialist—not the worst of all philosophies, perhaps but somewhat limited.  As with many directors, it’s not always easy to tell whether S’s characters are upset by the radical freedom (say of Travis Bickle) , or rather glorifying it—anti-hero chic was hip for a time.  They certainly won’t be getting any counseling, as even a Schop. might have recommended.

Posted by JW on 22 Nov 10 at 10:57 PM

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