Tuesday, January 4, 2011

a personal response to Synecdoche, New York

I could ask you this:
  • Have you revisited past conversations in your mind?
  • Have you thought, 'what if that conversation ended a different way?'
  • Did you think up that perfect comeback a day late, and therefore create a thankful audience to reward you with accolades for your clever wordsmithing?

I could ask you those questions, but I am not doing so.

I don’t care about you.

I don’t care about what you’ve experienced.

I care only about myself. I am incapable of caring for you. It can't be done.

Instead I’ll say this:
I have revisited conversations in my mind. The outcome is based on whatever my current self-image chooses to reflect. If I’m mad at myself, then I live out masochistic versions of my reality. I scourge myself with shame. If I’m having an egotistical day, then those mind-based situations end with me wooing the beautiful girl, defeating my enemies with the blade of my tongue, and calming the crowds that applause my very remarkable existence.

From what I’ve comprehended, the word synecdoche means that any part of a thing can be used for the whole. So, whereas there may be many different thoughts that can be extracted from the film, I’ll stick with just the ones I believe in right now. That should suffice, as any interpretation of any singular scene of the film must essentially reflect back on the whole of the film, right? That's how I see it.

In this life, two worlds coexist: the world of physical movement, of cause and effect, and the internal mental realm.  Because of our natural physicality, (and I would perhaps insert here, our fallenness) our mental lives tend to reflect slightly warped environments of the physical one. Our physical universe allows us to construct our internal one. 

There is but one rudimentary distinction between the mental world and the physical earth.  Aloneness.  My thoughts are my thoughts, and that’s a place that no one else can see. I am alone in this adventure.

Charlie Kaufman’s film takes place entirely within the scope of a mind.  That would explain why we find his protagonist so incessantly damnably lonely. There’s no one there to play with. It's just him. Alone. No matter what this fearless protagonist does, in the end, he is doomed to be overwhelmed with regret.  He’s doomed to relive it all. The world of the mind is ever so slowly starved by its need to find a counselor and a companion. We are social beings as a whole. In mind and body. Neither aspect can live entirely within its own grace. We need others. And so, the hero of Synecdoche was doomed to failure from the start, for he never had any hope of connecting with another. No one. His mind is his own, and no one else's. 


Good thing! I don’t believe I’m the only one listening to my thoughts.  Otherwise, my fate would be equal to his. If no one hears my deepest groanings, those inner creations that I can't fit into words, then I am ruined already. And so are you. Just like him. Just like all of us. All of us alone in loneliness. Then we die. I repeat for emphasis; it's a good thing someone knows my every thought, my every whimper. 

I take it back, I do care about you. It can be done.

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