Anonymous asked: How old are you?
Don’t worry, I’m old enough.
Don’t worry, I’m old enough.
Huh? Where’s that high pitched ringing coming from? …Oh, thats right, I was in a band…— Tom Sutton (@tomsuttonnb) May 3, 2013
Hand studies. From my portfolio.
A barn owl. From my portfolio.
In Highlander, Connor MacLeod is inexplicably born immortal.
He survives an attack by another immortal, only to be suspected of witchcraft for his miraculous recovery. He is chased out of his community in a religious fervor, ostracized and feared. Against the better advice of his mentor, Ramirez, he takes a wife and aspires to have some attachment, intimacy and normalcy with his wife Heather. Ramirez warns him of the sorrow of attachment in an eternal life. Connor lives happily with Heather until the passage of time wears on, and she eventually grows old and dies, leaving him in despair, to move on and spend the good part of his immortal life in relative solitude.
It is easier to sympathize with Connor MacLeod when we realize how he’s lost everything he ever loved, and how the passage of time eroded his attachments. A part of his arc is experiencing and realizing attachment, loss and death as a fundamental part of reality.
The Stoic philosopher Epictetus encouraged emotional tranquility. His philosophy demanded reconciliation with the fact that all things were impermanent. Emotional tranquility could only be achieved through existential detachment, enjoying things while they last and having no expectations for the future and no attachments. Because change is essential, we should prepare ourselves to let go, and perhaps never take hold.
As a discourse on immortality, Highlander portrays the despair of awakening to the impermanence of life itself. Like Epictetus foretold, attachments bring greatest sorrow when they pass. However, because Connor obliges himself not to exploit and toy with impermanence of life (like the Kurgan) he is redeemed by holding it in sanctity and saving those who he can like the little girl in World War 2 France.
Attachments may bring sorrow but Highlander provides a philosophical argument that they give even immortal life bearing and meaning, and that the emotional turmoil is necessary.
In Casablanca, Rick falls hopelessly in love with Elsa. During a short lived affair in Paris, Rick toasts to love while in his blissful state. However, the fallout is not so smooth, and eventually Rick falls into some sort of disaffected selfishness, refusing to truly involve himself morally in the world. In other words, his emotional wound leads to his impotent neutrality.
When I last watched Casablanca, I was reading grail legends like Eschenbach’s Parzival. I was reminded of the character of the Fisher King, or wounded knight, whose battle cry was “For love!”, but who had been injured or castrated himself out of shame over his inability to live up to the chastity of the knighthood. Usually, his injury reduces him to not only sexual but social impotence and his kingdom falls into a wasteland until a virtuous knight can come to heal him.
So Rick seems a Campbellian mythic echo of the Fisher King figure. The Moroccan desert is symbolic of the wasteland kingdom, and Rick is the petty king of his own little bar. Like a battle cry, Rick’s early toast to love and intense relationship leaves him emotionally wounded when Elsa leaves. Now he finds himself unwilling to take sides or put his neck on the line, reduced to world weary cynicism. When he realizes there are bigger things at stake than his own feelings, it provokes him to let go of Elsa and find a new way of being in friendship with others instead of alone.
The common message is that the wounds caused by broken intimacy can render a man socially impotent, unwilling to partake in the world. As a result, his personal world will stagnate unless virtue moves him to return to the world with a new spirit.
The subtext of the film TMNT 2: Secret of the Ooze is hinted at in the first act but never really explored. It is a missed opportunity to put the turtles in a greater philosophical context.
Donatello discovers that he and his brothers are what they are because of an industrial accident involving toxic ooze, and he struggles with the mental consequences. At first, he is angsty about feeling like his life is purposeless and accidental.
He has an essentially existential frustration, because his nature is that of a rational, scientific positivist. His intelligence is shown through his humor and his ability to grasp complex systems (like computers and chemistry).
He honestly thought there would be more to their existence than crawling out of some chemical punch.
We can all identify with this apparent purposelessness of our existence and lives. What does it matter if there’s nothing deeper behind what we are?
To offer a solution to complete this arc, writer Todd Langren could’ve brought Donatello to a reconciliation of anomie, world weariness, and abnormality by giving himself meaning by finding it in his life and talents.
As such, Donatello can be a mirror character. His difficulty to accept his origins expresses the xenophobic conflict people have with the turtles. He can provide a resolution to his feeling out of place by learning to accept himself, and giving his own life meaning and purpose.