The hard way out

So, I posted that picture because it is awesome.

I thought about writing about stories and how I rented the third Season of Arrested Development (“STEVE HOLT!!!”). It was good and funny – I laughed out loud on my own – but I was sad to not have rented a story. I even bought popcorn. I cannot remember the last time I bought popcorn for a couch-movie.

Earlier in the week I rented and watched 1408. Rachel began watching, then we all decided she shouldn’t watch it. I don’t recommend it. It is neither scary enough nor good enough. The evil isn’t tangible enough and the character development is too tangible. However, I will give it to Stephen King he understands the point of suffering to some degree.

Cusack sees several ghosts in the movie, and was sort of disappointed in them (except for the startling aspect) until I realized I was supposed to be. No apparition or physical sensation or even the anticipation of such is as powerful as your own past and your own story. Now, this – in and of itself – does not equal what I would call a robust definition of suffering! Rather it is merely a description.

But, at the end it is clear that Cusack is better for having gone through it. His marriage is better, his work is leagues and light years better, his marriage is better… Some of it was new suffering, some was facing old suffering – most was dealing with himself…

So, why do we elevate our experience? Is this what we do now that Sartre and Kirkegaard have really influenced everybody (they were existentialists… don’t ask me much more than that)? We think we’re not supposed to suffer… I suppose much of the culture tells us we are not supposed to… When looking for reasons and especially what to do we simply go to ourselves (In Cusack’s case he was still writing, but writing cheap silly Haunted House tour Guide Books and surfing while his wife didn’t even know where he was. I have sympathy for where his character was, but that isn’t the right response.) So, what is the right response? I don’t know. I have a lot of trouble looking people who have suffered in the eye and telling them they have elevated their experience over what they know to be true about life, suffering, and community.

Isn’t community funny too? We love it, we hate it, we need it so desperately, it creates as much hardship as anything… We run from it, we cannot run from it?

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