Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Desperate Search: Discovery

I have discovered something.  From somewhere in my gut my body has concluded that I haven't stopped searching when I watch films.  What it is I am searching for, I haven't ever quite known.  This has made the search rather strenuous.
What is it that excites me about the possibility of a new film yet to be released?  What am I excited for?  And what is it about those rarely seen gems, that, upon viewing, I feel an immediate sense of ownership towards, as well as an internal notion of pride that I've found something that I once was without?  Is there power in storytelling that goes beyond sight, sound, and emotion?

Back up.  Let's start easy.  How many thoughts can you hold in your hand?

Thought #1: I watch movies to relax.  I watch movies to escape from my troubles.  I watch movies to laugh.  These are very natural reasons to glue my eyeballs onto the flickering images for sustained durations of time.  But I often find that I'm not simply content to watch a film, or even rewatch it.  I want to own it.  I want to claim a piece of its stock.  I want connection to its being... perhaps that sounds strange... I'll rephrase.  I desire to work my life into its creation and continued development in history.  That dvd that sits on my shelf, that one that I purchased with the money I have worked to earn, sits on my shelf because I caused it to.  It has in a way, become my slave.  I call upon it, and it will tell me its story.  It can perform no other task, and so in my lording of power over it, through that dominant stance of control, I've gotten myself as close to the story as I can realistically hope to get.  Alright, if I lost you, no worries.  Hold that thought.

Thought #2: God created man in His own image.

Thought #2.2: Okay, God created man in His image, but what the bupkis does that mean?  God the Father does not have flesh and bones as we do.  So what does it really mean?  You can easily say, we have souls --- but that just leads me to want to know what a soul is.  It seems darn-near undefinable.  We know this: the animal kingdom was not created in God's image.  From that pretense then, we should be able to find the soul easily by finding what makes us distinct from the animals.

Thought #3: The separation of animal and man is a concept that gives me theological migraines and can even cause searing cuts of doubt if I dwell on it too long.  Hippos mourn their dead.  Dolphins have been proven to rape their own kind for pleasure.  I read about a monkey with a bad smoking habit.  And dammit, my dog loves me! The line that distinguishes man from beast seems excessively foggy to me.  For every physical argument for those things that make us distinct, there's some gorilla walking around with a pet kitten all her own.  Stupid Coco.

Thought #4: I'm no Plato expert, but I admit I've been dabbling my brain into a few of his works recently.  Now, perhaps I've misunderstood, but I've come to see his theory of forms in this way: as ideal infinites that are the most basic, and perfect form of all things.  There is a form of the number 4, just as there is a form of the ideal of 'chair'.

Thought #4.2: When discussing the concept of 'learning', Plato seemed (again, I am limited by my small-scope of understanding here) to say that we aren't 'learning' as we tend to define the term, but rather, 'recollecting' these forms which we've somehow known from eternity (I think).  So, we don't ever learn new things, just recapture forms that we've yet to rediscover.

Thought #4.3: For Plato, forms flowed from the ultimate Good.  I'll rename that Good, God.

Thought #5: Language is an amazing tool as a means of communication.  It does, however, have its limits.  There is knowledge that exists that is beyond the ability of language to itemize it (Okay, this is a premise I'm postulating here and I'm not going to justify it here, except to say that if there is an infinite God, and language is finite, then this knowledge I speak of must exist).

Hopefully your hands are full enough --- Now to loop it all in with movie watching.

Here it goes.

If Plato is right:
   -Forms exist
   -Learning is recollection
Therefore, in conjunction with the Bible:
   -God made man in His image, or to write it out another way: God has indwelt every person with His image. 
   -Every human being has great, great value, since they reflect God's image.
   -All the forms flow from God
   -Forms can be beyond the limits of language.
   -God being infinite can extend existence to an infinite number of forms.
   -Forms flowing from God and being perfect, must therefore also reflect an aspect of God's character.
   -Forms could then = aspects of God's character/will.

 -Every person could be indwelt (also I like the term 'impregnated') with a form.
   -Being past the boundaries of language, we recollect these forms in other ways, namely art.
   -When we get glimpses of these forms through art, we distinctly hold onto them, as they give us something tangible to relate our formnesses to.

That was sloppy and long -- but I admit the concept excites me, mostly for three reasons.
  •  It helps me to consciously remember the great value of every individual
  •  It elevates the purpose, function, and existence of art
  •  In my mind, it helps bridge the gap of how to connect with the supernatural (maybe more on this one later).

 So, am I a heretic?

P.S. I'll write Part I later.


  1. I'm glad to see you writing again.

  2. Shame on you, Mr. Stack, for not linking me to this amazing blog sooner. Shame on me if you did and I didn't notice. I'll have comments later.

  3. Why thank you for the flattery Mr. Mastron, but what say you?

    Also, in a related topic, the deeper down the Plato hole I go, the more influence I perceive it to be having on Paul's writings. "Through a glass darkly"... looks like Paul pulled that one straight from Socrates. Plato has Socrates using that language to refer to the soul in both "Phaedo" and "Phaedrus".

    Lend me your knowledge, if we be friends!

  4. Lovely!

    the search for glimpses of beauty... for a mirror that will remind us of our own soul. That is the thing we forgot--- that taste we've always craved.