Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Nz's Wit

Nz states that the most knowledgeable philosopher is one "who has traversed many kinds of health and keeps traversing them" . He also discusses how one that has undergone great pain no longer has trust in life because in their state of pain "life" has become the problem. These things he conjectures as being a means of shaping an individual into a more profound - farther reaching, entity.
With this in mind, I thought back to one of my favorite movies "Wit" which is an account of an ivy league scholar's (who specializes in metaphysic poetry ) bout with insidious ovarian cancer.

The connection I see between the two is the protagonists state near her death in the throes of pain. Essentially, the protagonist exemplifies what Nz is commenting on with regards to what illness/pain fosters in individuals. The protagonist in her most painful state throws aside education, theories, and inflated language and is interested only in simple human kindness and being. Below is a tiny bit of her monologue (most of the movie is mono) as she passes into a state of immense pain that will end in her expiration:
(after eating a popsicle with her nurse)
I can't believe my life has become so corny. But it can't be helped,I don't see any other way. We are discussing life and death, and...not in the abstract, either.We are discussing my life and my death. And I can't conceive of any other tone. Now is not the time for verbal swordplay. Nothing would be worsethan a detailed scholarly analysis and...erudition, interpretation, complication. No. Now is the time for simplicity. Now is the time for...dare I say it...kindness. And I thought being extremely smart...would take care of it. But I see that I have been found out. I'm scared. Oh, God. I want... I want to... No. want to hide.I just want to curl up in a little ball. (hides under bedsheet like child)
I want to tell you...(gasp for breath)how it feels.(gasp for breath)I want to explain it. To use my words. It's just as if I can't. There aren't...(groans) I'm in terrible pain. Susie says...I need to be in aggressive pain management...if I'm going to stand it. "It." Such a little word. I think in this case... "it"...signifies being alive.

In the end, Nz's work can be seen as arguing for simplification. A return to and thus acknowledgement of the human condition and its dependence on things that are outside of our control. A bow, so to speak, to the non-interogatory appreciation of life's mysteries.
A nobel gesture one could argue...however, rife with embedded ego-stroking but that is another discussion all together.


Curtis said...

Does it seem to you that these "new philosophies" that erupt from illness, in their somewhat refreshing simplicity, forsake previously acquired knowledge and rely on the gut? In other words, does it appear that conscious and spirit, or some other inexplainable instrinsic phenomenon, guides the author's words--rather than "knowledge"? This is why I asked the question--does this devalue their ethos in any way? Should it?

Cynthia Haynes said...

I have seen this film, and it's brilliant. I want now to see it again using your comments as a new lens. Very nice, and thank you.