Nine Days (Part 2):"A metaphysical pretzel"
What does that mean? Metaphysical? Pretzel?
Metaphysics is a philosophy that uses broad concepts to help define reality and our understanding of it. It is concerned with explaining the features of reality that exist beyond the physical world and our immediate senses.
A pretzel is a crisp baked pastry in the form of a loose knot and crusted with salt.
Pretzel Logic is the title of
one of Steely Dan's albums.
"I think, therefore, I watch movies"
NOTE: Nine Days Part 2 allows you to explore:
Eclectic Stefan's thoughts about meaning in Nine Days
A link to a lengthy interview with Nine Days director Edson Oda. He speaks about his inspirations for the story, set design, the landscape, characters' identity and thematic concerns.
Philosophical musings within the film through readings about existentialism and other philosophical notions.
These philosophical musings might turn your brain into an existential pretzel. In that case, you’ll have to decide whether or not you like pretzels. Otherwise, stick to the film review of Nine Days in Part 1.
A Word of Advice Before We Start
If you haven’t seen the film, there may be some spoiler alerts.
Be aware, also, that some discussions relating to life, death, well-being, and suicide may be sensitive and disturbing.
LINK for support (if needed): In Australia, Beyond Blue & Lifeline
Nine Days (Part 2):”A philosophical indulgence”
Now that you’ve had time to read my comments about Nine Days: (Part 1) and browse through the Film Extras in Part 1 relating to the meaning of life in other movies, here’s a few more observations and impressions about Nine Days.
Nine Days (Part 2): MENU
LINKS: Visit any section of this extensive blog post separately.
An Existential Joke (Sartre’s Coffee)—if you can’t be bothered reading the entire blog post (no judgements made), skip to this joke.
Let’s start with some foundation information about philosophy and philosophical thinking.
Derived from the Greek meta ta physika ("after the things of nature"); referring to an idea, doctrine, or posited reality outside of human sense perception. In modern philosophical terminology, metaphysics refers to the studies of what cannot be reached through objective studies of material reality.
Metaphysics…uses broad concepts to help define reality and our understanding of it. Metaphysical studies seek to explain inherent or universal elements of reality which are not easily discovered or experienced in our everyday life. As such, it is concerned with explaining the features of reality that exist beyond the physical world and our immediate senses. Metaphysics, therefore, uses logic based on the meaning of human terms, rather than on a logic tied to human sense perception of the objective world.
And that brings us to a focused consideration of Nine Days. “Metaphysics as the study of the nature of the human mind, the definition and meaning of existence, or the nature of space, time, and/or causality” certainly fits the bill for a deeper dive into the layered meanings in Nine Days.
I’ve broken down aspects of Nine Days that made me wonder about what is going on behind characters’ behaviours and the director’s thoughts behind everything from the landscape, retro technology and his own family connections to the film.
The Enigma of WILL
Will is a puzzle. He is an interviewer. I say ‘an' interviewer rather than ‘the’ interviewer because there is more than one interviewer. I originally thought Will was a god-like figure or, in Aristotle’s thinking, he is the prime mover.
Aristotle argued that behind every movement there must be a chain of events that brought about the movement that we see taking place. Aristotle argued that this chain of events must lead back to something which moves but is itself unmoved. This is referred to as the Prime Mover.
from Aristotle:the Prime Mover, Scandalon,co.uk, Philosophy of religion
Because there is at least one other interviewer in Nine Days, Will is not “the” Prime Mover, unless he is part of a duopoly or trinity of god-like figures. There is also the matter of Will having had a life. My impression is that Will ended his own life, like Amanda, the concert violinist that Will watches on a TV screen who crashes her car into a concrete wall.
Will subsequently obsesses about why Amanda crashes without any warning signs that he could foretell.
We could say that Will is an agent of free will and makes his decisions based on free will in the manner of existentialism. Existentialism states that people are free agents who have control over their choices and actions. Existentialists believe that society should not restrict an individual's life or actions and that these restrictions inhibit free will and the development of that person's potential.
Will, however, is not in control; he controls others and restricts what others can do or choose. It's also interesting to recognise Will's name in a conversation about free will. Free Will, indeed.
Free will exists
As elucidated in my concise new book, Decoding Schopenhauer’s Metaphysics, for Schopenhauer the inner essence of everything is conscious volition—that is, will. Nature is dynamic because its underlying volitional states provide the impetus required for events to unfold. Like his predecessor Immanuel Kant, Schopenhauer thought of what we call the “physical world” as merely an image, a perceptual representation of the world in the mind of an observer. But this representation isn’t what the world is like in itself, prior to being represented.
Since the information we have about the external environment seems to be limited to perceptual representations, Kant considered the world-in-itself unknowable. Schopenhauer, however, argued that we can learn something about it not only through the sense organs, but also through introspection. His argument goes as follows: even in the absence of all self-perception mediated by the sense organs, we would still experience our own endogenous, felt volition.
Therefore, prior to being represented we are essentially will. Our physical body is merely how our will presents itself to an external vantage point. And since both our body and the rest of the world appear in representation as matter, Schopenhauer inferred that the rest of the world, just like ourselves, is also essentially will.
In Schopenhauer’s illuminating view of reality, the will is indeed free because it is all there ultimately is. Yet, its image is nature’s seemingly deterministic laws, which reflect the instinctual inner consistency of the will. Today, over 200 years after he first published his groundbreaking ideas, Schopenhauer’s work can reconcile our innate intuition of free will with modern scientific determinism.
from Yes, Free Will Exists, Just ask Schopenhauer by Bernardo Kastrup , Scientific American, February 2020
Actor Winston Duke (Will) felt the film offered him a lot of room to explore. “A lot of the story happens in between the lines, and that’s my job,” he says. “My job is to communicate everything that’s in the empty space, and I loved the script because it felt like Japanese architecture, there was so much space in between things. There was so much minimalism, and in that minimalism there was a lot of meaning that I could interpret.”
READ: Forget everything you've seen before, Nine Days changes everything, Sydney Morning Herald, May 2021
There are so many empty spaces in the script that I believe there is more to explore than Will’s freedom of choice. There is more to his actions. For one, there is the director, Adson Oda, of the movie we are watching, Nine Days. He controls WIll’s actions because Will is a character in Oda’s movie; Will controls others' future; the candidates determine their own actions based on Will's choices.
As Nine Days unfolded, I suspected that Will, himself, committed suicide. I searched for more and discovered an interesting concept in Hinduism, “atmahatya,” that captures Will’s situation and predicament.
In Hinduism, suicide is referred to by the Sanskrit word literally meaning “soul-murder.” “Soul-murder” is said to produce a string of karmic reactions that prevent the soul from obtaining liberation.
from Why religions of the world condemn suicide, The Conversation, 2018
If, as I suspect, he ended his life, Will may now be seeking liberation from his “soul murder”. He seeks to discover what determines meaning in a human’s life, the precious moments that define it and the possible triggers for pain, uncertainty and suffering that can alter that life in devastating ways.
Catholicism offers Limbo, another consideration about a person’s existence in the afterlife. In Catholic theology, Limbo (Latin limbus, edge or boundary, referring to the edge of Hell) is the viewpoint concerning the afterlife condition of those who die in original sin without being assigned to the Hell of the Damned.
If Will has been transported to Limbo, his pain may not be the suffering of hellfire but a personal loss and an attempt to reaffirm life. He works to cope with Amanda’s action while striving to create the best possible outcome for the new candidate he will select to enter life in nine days by retracing the trajectory of Amanda’s life while observing signs through the camcorder recordings of Amanda as to clues to her inability to cope with life despite having a life full of advantages. That's a different kind of damnation.
Following Amanda’s decision to end her life, Will may need to select successful candidates who have flaws rather than be perfect, fully developed individuals who may fail to attain the expectations of their success.
Will’s inability to understand fully the reality of their lives might be echoed by this reflection:
Postmodernism is largely a reaction to the assumed certainty of scientific, or objective, efforts to explain reality. In essence, it stems from a recognition that reality is not simply mirrored in human understanding of it, but rather, is constructed as the mind tries to understand its own particular and personal reality. For this reason, postmodernism is highly skeptical of explanations which claim to be valid for all groups, cultures, traditions, or races, and instead focuses on the relative truths of each person.
from Postmodernism, Public Broadcasting Service, USA
Will’s obsessive pursuit for understanding what happened to Amanda is driven by a highly motivated personal search for the truth, his truth.
I also considered that there’s a possibility that Will is the one going through a nine day indoctrination. In Will’s post-life existence, he sees life through the TV screen lives of other candidates to whom he imparted a life. He filters candidates who may not survive a real life because a real life imparts more pain than the candidates can endure. Watching these TV lives streaming in real time becomes Will’s life. One senses that Will is reflecting his own previous experiences as a “lived” person and searching for meaning in a similar but not entirely same way.
Based on his comments, he has experienced a similar life to Amanda. The flaws Will traces in the video stream of Amanda’s life echo the flaws that led to him ending his own life. He can’t understand why Amanda chose to end her supposedly wonderful life because he doesn’t understand what happened in his own life that resulted in his “soul suicide”.
The double burden Will carries is explained by Director Adson Oda when he reveals the real life person behind Will’s character in Nine Days. Situations are posed, candidates respond, supposedly no right or wrong answers are given but there is a judgement day during the nine days. Will judges which candidate deserves a life, but that decision imparts a burden on Will, including his decisions regarding the end of a candidates pre-existence viability.
Filmmaker Magazine: The film reminds me of a dream or a subconscious space . What was the seed of the story and then how did you build the world?
Oda: I think it was pretty much two things. One, is that we always feel like we want to achieve something, and we lose perspective of the now, the present. I do that. I think a lot of people think they do that. But then it was just raising the question, “What if this is the goal? This is everything?”
Filmmaker: By “this,” what do you mean?
Oda: Our life — this life.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE: What If This is the Goal? This is Everything?”: Writer/Director Edson Oda on His Sundance Hit, Nine Days by Meredith-Alloway, Filmmaker Magazine, February 2020
We could dismiss Will and the associated existentialism, postmodernism and metaphysics by agreeing with French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. It all might be a straightforward case of, as Sartre stated, “I exist, therefore, I am.”
Will is the central figure in Nine Days, but we cannot forget the candidates, especially the unsuccessful ones, because most candidates are unsuccessful. Questions arise about who are the candidates and the nature of their pre-life existence. Do we call them souls or are they another form of existence? Their exclusion from the life offered by Will begs the question about where they go when they depart before the end of the nine day program. We do not explicitly see how they depart after Will announces they will not be successful but, in one case, we witness the candidate's shadow as it slowly fades into the ether.
Ether, or æther, was the mysterious substance once thought to suffuse the universe and be the medium that propagated light (and radio waves once they were discovered). Before that, it was the material that suffused the realm of the Gods. So, to say that something is in the ether means that it is something being communicated from place to place; it has no precise location, just as a radio broadcast can be heard from many different places.
from What is the meaning of “in the ether”, Stack Exchange
Ether is the synergy of all the elements. Ether is…that which contains and holds. Ether is the element that connects us to spirit, intuition, other realms and planes. Ether’s energetic qualities include omnipresent, without origin, lofty, unattached, abstract, potentiality, illusive, independent, non discriminate, and presence beyond identification
The house—a single 50s style house in the middle of a seemingly endless plain full of antiquated TVs, Polaroid cameras, and VHS tapes filed in old style public service metal filing cabinets—in the endless plain in the movie, itself, could be a representation of another realm in which characters exist before they move-on to other realms and forms of existence. It is somewhere and it is nowhere, an unknown intangible.
Those interpretations provide a positive reflection to indicate the candidates’ fading moments have not been obliterated and may exist in a non-specific form in another realm. People who are not selected don’t die because they haven’t yet lived, so it’s more a case that they become “unlived.”
There is also a consideration of the candidates as souls in a pre-birth state while they engage in the interviews and challenges presented by Will. I won’t say in a pre-existence state because they already exist therefore cannot ‘not exist’.
We can also consider what happens to these candidates if we use the word “soul”. Rather than expound on the notion of souls, here are a number of comments about the soul.
A Soul Menu
(Link to any topic below to read a summary paragraph of the ideas)
NOTE: Remember, I suggested if all these philosophical musings become too much, you can jump straight to the end of my philosophical indulgence and read Jean-Paul Sartre’s existential joke.
Aristotle and the rational soul
A human being, Aristotle thought, also has a rational soul, which gives us the desire to understand the natures of things, including souls. Following the lead of his teachers Socrates and Plato, Aristotle may have regarded this part of the soul as eternal.
Thomas Aquinas took Aristotle’s arguments even further, holding that the soul must be insubstantial because it is able to know – and thus to take the form of – every other kind of thing, whether substantial or not. For the same reason, he argued that since the soul is not made of matter, it is impervious to injury by physical forces. This in turn leads him to argue that the soul is immortal and eternal, never coming into being or passing away.
from Whatever the soul is, it’s existence can’t be proved or disproved through science, The Conversation
Pre-mortal existence in western thought
The idea of the pre-existence of the soul has been extremely important, widespread, and persistent throughout Western history--from even before the philosophy of Plato to the poetry of Robert Frost. When Souls Had Wings offers the first systematic history of this little explored feature of Western culture. Terryl Givens describes the tradition of pre-existence as "pre-heaven"--the place where unborn souls wait until they descend to earth to be born. And typically it is seen as a descent--a falling away from a happier and untroubled state into the turbulent and sinful world we know. The title of the book refers to the idea put forward in antiquity that our souls begin with wings, and that only after shedding those wings do we fall to earth. The book not only traces the history of the idea of pre-existence, but also captures its meaning for those who have embraced it. Givens describes how pre-existence has been invoked to explain "the better angels of our nature," including the human yearning for transcendence and the sublime. Pre-existence has been said to account for why we know what we should not know, whether in the form of a Greek slave's grasp of mathematics, the moral sense common to humanity, or the human ability to recognize universals. The belief has explained human bonds that seem to have their own mysterious prehistory, salved the wounded sensibility of a host of thinkers who could not otherwise account for the unevenly distributed pain and suffering that are humanity's common lot, and has been posited by philosophers and theologians alike to salvage the principle of human freedom and accountability. When Souls had Wings underscores how durable (and controversial) this idea has been throughout the history of Western thought, the theological dangers it has represented, and how prominently it has featured in poetry, literature, and art.
from When souls had wings: pre mortal existence in western thought, Terryl L. Givens, Oxford University Press, June 2012
Souls, Bodies and Death
The Greek word for soul – psyche – was originally restricted in its use to the context of dying. Homer describes death as the soul’s departure from its body. At the beginning of its history in the west, the soul was evident primarily in its absence from a dead body.
With the rise of Greek philosophy in the 6th century BC, the soul was also seen as the force animating the living body. Meanwhile, the idea of death as the separation of body and soul remained generally accepted.
This created tension. If souls were supposed to enliven a particular body, they had to interact closely with the body and arguably form a unity with it. But then how could the soul survive the body’s decay or even exist separately?
A further difficulty arose from the widely shared belief in reincarnation. Could human souls be born again into the bodies of animals or even plants? And if so, how could they then constitute the operational centre, so to speak, of their current host?
Plato and Aristotle parted ways over these questions. For Plato, the soul’s connection with the body was only accidental. The hero of Plato’s dialogues, Socrates, explained to his friends, hours before his execution, that the philosopher yearns for his death because it marks the liberation of the soul into its true existence.
Plato’s student Aristotle, by contrast, denied that there even was a proper afterlife for the soul. Insofar as the soul was simply the life of the body, he urged, the two formed an indissoluble unity, which death brought to an end.
Things took a further turn with the rise of Christianity. Overall, Christians were more sympathetic to the Platonist view than to its alternatives, because they believed in a life after death. But they rejected the idea of an accidental connection between soul and body. The classical Christian view of the soul as found in Thomas Aquinas fused Platonic with Aristotelian ideas: the soul is immortal but tied in eternity to the identity of a body-soul compound. As such, it will be brought back to life at the end of time.
from Disney Pixar's film Soul : How the moviemakers took plato's view of existence and added a modern twist
If humans have souls, when and how is the soul created?
It is important to recall that the English word "soul" exists in a long tradition of translation. The ancient Greeks distinguished between things which moved, depending on some outer force which moved them, say rocks, or flowing water, and others which were self-moving. The principle of motion and change in what is moved by itself (or by desire, telos) was the "soul." In consequence, if you look at the text of Aristotle's book on psychology, it is sometimes titled "On the Soul" and sometimes the "De Anima," (compare, e.g., the English "animal" and "animate"). Our word "psychology" derives from the Greek word psyche =the soul.)
Aristotle and the following tradition (which included St. Thomas, and his Christian-Aristotelian synthesis in some degree), distinguished three levels or kinds of soul. First the soul of nutrition and growth, shared by all living things; second, the soul of locomotion, shared by all animals, and third, the highest form, the soul of intelligence, nous, in Greek. This word is customarily translated into English as "mind."
In consequence, we might want to consider the origin of mind here; and obviously human beings are born with certain capabilities for development. But proper development depends upon a social and familial setting. In this sense, the soul is a developmental product. It depends on a certain sort of cultivation: including moral education.
Others, of course simply reject the concept of soul, in a modernist and purely scientific spirit. But if we are interested in the principle within which enables our moral choices, then we do well to consult the history of the concept. It is the cultivated person who becomes capable of moral choice and moral responsibility--not the original, biologically given capability for development of mind and thought. From this perspective, or any approximating to it, moral education and the cultivation of the virtues becomes central.
H.G. Callaway, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, February 2018
It appears that whether the candidates exist in the ether or are souls, their presence does not cease to exist. If there was nothing when they fade away, that would add to the tragic nature of Nine Days. Nothingness does not have to be their final place of resting.
LINK: Nothingness plato.standford.edu + Live Science, What Is Nothing? Physicists Debate
As Jean-Paul Sartre states in his book Existentialism and Human Emotions,
“There can be no other truth to take off from this: I think, therefore, I exist. There we have the absolute truth of consciousness becoming aware of itself”.
For many, essence precedes existence. For Sartre and other existentialists, existence precedes essence. That is, one develops who and what they are. For one to develop and learn truths, one must first discover the absolute truth by which to relate all other claims, that is, I exist.”
The candidates are self-aware. Will incites them to answer questions, and choose important moments indicating they already have consciousness beyond what is called “life”.
Director Edson Oda
Director Adson Oda
Edson Oda, a Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab alumnus, who makes his feature directing debut with the drama “Nine Days,” says the main character was inspired by his late uncle. Oda made the revelation during TheWrap Studio at Sundance, which was taped pre-pandemic back in February 2020. The film comes out July 30, 2021.
“When he was 50, he committed suicide. He was such a talented and very sensitive person and I remember that time, it’s almost like we forgot everything that he’s done so far,” Oda explained to TheWrap’s Beatrice Verhoeven. “Everyone who heard the news is focused so much on when he took his life and it was very impactful for me in trying to understand what he went through.”
“When I was writing ‘Nine Days’ I was pretty much trying to reconnect with my uncle, and at same time … instead of judging him through what he did … trying to see the life that he lived,” said Oda.
READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLES:
“What If This is the Goal? This is Everything?”: Writer/Director Edson Oda on His Sundance Hit, Nine Days
How the Pandemic and Black Lives Matter Led the Director of ‘Nine Days’ to Rethink His Own Film
Edson Oda’s statement that Will is based on his uncle Frank’s suicide clearly tells us that Nine Days is cathartic for Will and through him, director Edson Oda. Through release, Will finds fulfilment. That’s not the same as Will gaining a full and complete understanding of Amanda’s, and by implication, Edson Oda’s Uncle Frank’s, life and death decision.The final scene is important in how Will finds fulfilment.
The revelation by Edson Oda hammers the point that many conventional films deal with characters experiencing life and death situations that require them to reflect on the meaning of life. Will, through Edson Oda, is a man searching for answers about a loved one's death through suicide. That’s a powerful consideration regardless of the seriousness or light-hearted nature of any movie.
The TVs are a controlled situation where Will studies and evaluates the moments of people’s lives, especially Amanda, in order to purge his emotions and inability to comprehend how a person would take their own life. Will watches, takes notes, rewinds the VHS tapes of Amanda’s life to discover why a life full of meritorious moments can end in the loss of one’s own life. That is why he takes great care to ensure the person he chooses next to have ‘life’ can manage everything that life will place before them, both the expected and unexpected.. He can exonerate himself, understand the meaning around the end of his own life and find fulfilment through the new candidate’s life.
Catharsis, the purification or purgation of the emotions primarily through art, is a metaphor used by Aristotle in the Poetics to describe the effects of true tragedy on the spectator.
from Catharsis (Criticism), The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica
Kyo, like Will, is self-aware even though he hasn’t had a life like Will, yet the curiosity is that he is Will’s right hand man when it comes to overseeing the candidates being granted a life. Kyo is an oddity. He observes and validates Will’s choice as a fair choice but he hasn’t lived/had a life, so how is it that he is there. Why didn’t he disappear, cease to exist, become 'unlived' and disappear into the ether, limbo or into a puff of his own existential crisis?
Kyo might be a part of Will’s consciousness that maintains a calm and rational restraint on Will’s free-ranging, seemingly out-of-control approach to Amanda’s demise. Kyo is a physical representation of Will’s sub-conscious. Kyo provides an existential handbrake on Will’s perceptions and decisions. Or, Kyo exists because, in Sartre’s terms, “Kyo exists, therefore he is”.
Whether Nine Days is a remarkable film unlike any other movie is debatable. There are other movies that present deep and meaningful concepts in interesting ways. Terence Malick’s The Tree of Life (See description below in Film Extras) comes to mind immediately. I don’t think Nine Days is unique. Without a doubt, it is substantial and thought provoking. It is subsumed with bold, confronting and engaging issues. That, in itself, makes it worth consideration.
Nine Days is watchable and understandable in its fundamental premise, yet becomes more curious once you apply these philosophical musings. It challenges our views about what makes a life worth living, or makes an exemplary life too difficult to continue living. There are many open-ended notions in the movie. Hopefully, some of those possibilities have been explored in this series of philosophical musings.
Thanks for reading my thoughts around these concepts. It’s been an indulgence on my part, a bit like throwing custard at a wall and seeing if anything sticks.
And now, after all that philosophical custard, for something light-hearted.
An Existential Joke
Jean-Paul Sartre orders a coffee—black, no cream. The waitress tells him they are out of cream, how about no milk?
FILM EXTRAS: "Life? Don't talk to me about life."
Spoken by Marvin, the Paranoid Android in Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
"I watch movies, therefore, I am"
What's with the pretzels?
If reading Nine Days (Part 2) makes you want to untie the pretzel logic in your brain, check out these other movies, from the profound to the ridiculous, about the meaning of life in movies.
Pixar's Soul (2020) Animated movie
The story follows a middle school music teacher named Joe Gardner, who seeks to reunite his soul and his body after they are accidentally separated, just before his big break as a jazz musician. Joe finds himself as a soul heading into the "Great Beyond". Unwilling to die, he tries to escape but ends up in the "Great Before", where counselors—all named Jerry—prepare unborn souls for life with the help of mentor souls.
WATCH Soul to Rent/Buy on Apple TV+ . Check availability in your region.
WATCH How Pixar Designed the Ethereal Characters of Soul (9 minutes)
Terence Malick’s Tree of Life (2011)
In this highly philosophical film by acclaimed director Terrence Malick, young Jack (Hunter McCracken) is one of three brothers growing up as part of the O'Brien family in small-town Texas. As an adult, Jack (Sean Penn) struggles with his past and tries to make sense of his childhood, while also grappling with bigger existential issues. He attempts to find the true meaning of life in the modern world and questions the existence of faith and human purpose.
WATCH The Tree of Life to Rent/Buy on Apple TV+, SBS On Demand, Google Play, Prime Video & Ritz at home . Check availability in your region.
Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (1957)
When disillusioned Swedish knight Antonius Block (Max von Sydow) returns home from the Crusades to find his country in the grips of the Black Death, he challenges Death (Bengt Ekerot) to a chess match for his life. Tormented by the belief that God does not exist, Block sets off on a journey, becoming determined to evade Death long enough to commit one redemptive act while he still lives. The Seventh Seal (1957) looms over practically all of art cinema. A heavily symbolic allegory of faith and doubt set in plague-ridden medieval Sweden, this seminal movie was the height of midcentury existentialist chic and ground zero for the cinephile golden age*.
*From A stark force that can never be outmaneuvered by Dennis Lim, June 2009, LA Times
WATCH The Seventh Seal on You Tube. Check availability in your region.
Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (1983)
And now for something completely different, just a tad gross and utterly ridiculous with a title that gets to the nub of the matter. The stages of life are told through multiple sketches and songs by the British comedy troupe Monty Python. The seven parts of life cover birth, growing up, war, middle age, organ transplants, old age and death.
Three unrelated skits are added in the beginning, middle and end. A bit like life itself.
WATCH Monty Python's The Meaning of Life to Rent/Buy on Apple TV+, Google Play, & Prime Video. Check availability in your region.
READ: Jostein Gaarder's Sophie’s World (Book 1991)
Sophie’s World follows Sophie Amundsen, a Norwegian teenager who is introduced to the history of philosophy by Alberto Knox, a middle-aged philosopher.
Sophie, the main character, is the creation of Albert Knag in order to amuse his daughter Hilde. Sophie is clearly created as a counterpart to Hilde, but she and Alberto manage to escape Albert Knag's mind and gain an existence of their own.
The philosophical issue that plays the largest role in Sophie's World is that of free will.
"Sophie seeks “truth” and to assert her own independent capacity to choose independence. This is the very foundation of existentialist thought, and the ultimate message of the novel".