2004-11-13 03:20:42 UTC
well, let's look at this further.
the reason why kubrick's films have been called cold is cuz
intelligence is a cold unemotional thing. when intelligence is the
main focus of a movie, emotions play second fiddle; that sure be
most movies don't go this route. most movies have something to do
with intelligence since movies are about people and people are smart
and dumb, but intelligence in most narratives play second fiddle to
think of fellini. the main things in his movies are love, nostalgia,
hope, happiness, sadness, elegy, guilt, laughter, clownishness. all
or take kurosawa. yes, there are smarties and dummies in kurosawa's
films but the main thrust of his films is about moral courage,
compassion, loyalty, respect, etc. emotional qualities.
or spielberg. yes, of course, spielberg. schindler is a smart guy but
we respect him mainly for his good heart. emotions.
even bergman who has been accused of coldness has mostly been an
emotional director, grappling with his neurosis, insecurity, sense of
humiliation, guilt, loneliness, confusion, etc.
and antonioni too. he may be an intellectual director but there is an
acute emotional sense of alienation, isolation, loss. his characters
may lack emotions like you and i, but they sense this lack very
strongly. so they are emotional about being emotionless.
now, godard is a special case. he's clearly been emotional, very
adoring of beauty, art, women on a deeply personal level in his early
films. but the calvinist strain in him made him turn to cold
intellectualism and maoism and then elliptical philosophizing about i
dunno what. so godard was never unemotional but anti-emtional; and
feelings of anti- is always emotional, even when directed against
emotions--in the same way that some repressive christian who's
anti-sex is filled with sexual tension.
but, kubrick has been different. but first, let me qualify what i
saying. i not saying kubrick no have emotions. i not saying kubrick
reject emotions. i not saying kubrick thought emotions are useless.
i not saying kubrick think his intellect better than emotions.
i saying, rather, that kubrick suspended his emotions in his works to
understand the dynamic of intelligence as a tool among mankind. there
are clearly emotions in kubrick's films. his characters are often
aggressive, selfish, passionate, jealous, lusty, mad, etc. but,
kubrick not focus on their emotions but study how they win or lose out
thanks to their intelligence. the way kubrick see it, we all apes
with plenty of greed and lust and such. what ultimately separates the
winner from loser is intelligence. that is the key which interests
in fact, only two of his movies engage us on a directly emotional
level--paths of glory(moral outrage)and spartacus(admiration for
spart's courage and goodness). lolita has a beautiful and deeply felt
performance by mason but kubrick watches coldly, dispassionately at
the fool's demise.
anyway, kubrick thought intelligence was the real name of the game;
mason can cwy all he wants; he got his ass whupped.
for example, in 2001, you got two bunch of apes. they both crazy and
equally mean and nasty. but one group have sticks and others don't.
the smarter group with the stick wins over the dumb group. so
intelligence is the ultimate determinant among mankind. 'duh', you
say. well, tell that to stanley, moron. he's the one who bothered to
make several movies about it. i'm just interpreting it, tha's all.
it's for this reason that kubrick's movies are often emotionally not
all that fun. they are like chess or mindgames. who wins, who loses,
who comes out ahead, etc. is more a matter of cold logic than good vs
bad or emotions. his characters are either players or pawns, or
little bit of both.
we have to observe them strategically, coldly.
in most movies, good wins over bad. we want good to win emotionally.
and most movies oblige. or when good loses, we want a sense of
tragedy. and most movies give us this cathartic sense of grief.
but not stanley. he cared not about good vs bad but smart vs smarter.
and whoever wins, well, that's just the way it is.
it's not surprising then that kubrick was an avid chess player.
despite the fog of emotions that would tell us otherwise, the world is
really about smarties vs dummies or smarties vs smarteries. often,
emotions are useful to the winner in making believe that he won cuz
he's a wonderful person who deserved to win cuz his winning is for
goodness of mankind. and loser will rely on emotions to make-believe
that winning isn't everything, that there's plenty of meaning in life
even as a pathetic loser. emotions are the foggy glue that holds
humanity together. kubrick saw thru this fog and observed the
dynamics of winning and losing.
however, kubrick didn't trust intelligence cuz it was ultimately only
a tool, indeed, only useful as a tool. intelligence in and of itself
has no meaning whatsoever. it'd be like a screwdriver in a vacuum. i
mean big fuc*ing deal.
intelligence is useful because it serves our needs, our drives, our
and what be our needs, drives, and instincts? they all be
irrational, animalistic, and facisto-mythic.
they be sexual drive(freud), will to power(adler), the creative mythic
instinct(jung). nietzsche, as the key influence on and prophetic
inspiration of all three was perhaps the most influential
philosophical presence in the 20th century, affecting everyone from
left to right, materialist to metaphysical.
and this was the damn problem of humanity as kubrick saw it. this
powerful thing called intelligence was ultimately always subservient
to the irrational aspect of man to fuc*, conquer, and create.
he best summed it up in dr. strangelove, where the atomic blast is
associated with orgasm. nuclear power, the ultimate accomplishment of
science and human intellect, is rooted in the primordial explosive
power of the balls. ultimately everything we do is connected with the
indeed, think of atomic power itself. thru human intellect and
reason, mankind spliced matter into molecules, molecules into atoms,
and atoms in subatomic particles and BOOM! you think it's leading
towards clarity but it leads to an explosion. same is true of mankind
itself. look beneath the veneer of civilization, society, reason,
conventions, individuality, psychology, etc and you find an hairy
horny beastly ape. ironic that the sophisicated and rational science
of anthropology has largely served to legitimize and justify the
in fact, look at your stupid life. you probably consider yourself a
man of reason. but what drives you in life? sex, power, and
you want the best pussy, the most money and biggest house, and you
want transcendence thru entertainment, art, creativity.
okay, you may not want the best pussy but you want a pussy as good as
your nextdoor neighbor. you want a house as good as his. you want
mythic escape into fantasy and entertainment as much as the next guy.
even if you don't want to be numero uno, you wanna keep up with the
joneses, to be a player, member of the herd.
and to have these things in life, you use reason in school, work,
social relations to get ahead. so your reason is really based on your
need for sex, power, and the arts.
it's like in 2001... remember when the apes fight over the waterhole.
the apes with the stick use reason--tools--but what's it for? to
take the waterhole.
or, consider the battle of wits between hal and bowman. they are both
using intelligence and reason but why? cuz they want to overpower the
other. they want control over the spaceship just as apes want control
over the waterhole, just as we want control over the oil fields from
the no-good arags.
intelligence has meaning only in service of something. for hal,
intelligence is meaningful only because he believes he's right, and
that is the will to power.
of course, mankind doesn't have to be at one another's throats to get
the goodies in life. but, even this is using reason for purposes of
sex, power, and creativity. our reason tells us that democracy and
rule of law make available the greatest amount of clean pussies, big
homes, and arts&entertainment for the most number of people. so we
ONLY agree to get along and be reasonable with one another cuz we feel
that under such a system, the greatest number of us will have their
natural irrational instincts satisfied and be most free to in the
pursuit of power and pussy euphemistically labeled as 'happiness'.
suppose our democracy didn't produce the biggest number of homes,
pussies, cars, tv's, etc. we'd toss it overboard, which is why
'brave new world' may prove to be prophetic. knowing the power of
human nature for sex, power(or privelege), and escapist fun(myth, art,
entertaiment), it's almost certain that we'd abandon democracy if
another system--even if undemocratic--gives everyone the most goodies
satisfying their animal instincts.
this is why the notion that society should be based on reason, or
rationalism, is a major delusion. reason can never be the basis of
anything. it can always be only a tool.
consider a game of chess. you need intelligence or reason to play
chess. but, why the desire to play chess in the first place? that
desire is irrational and animalistic and that is the real basis for
existence and mankind.
you wanna play chess cuz you wanna win. sure, you can fool yourself
into thinking you wanna play just to see the various possiblities of
chess movements but your bullshit will only go so far. soon enough,
you gotta be honest and say the real reason you're playing is because
you wanna win. you want the power. you wanna be da master. same with
bowman vs hal. they both wanna win. and, it's this irrational
lifeforce--anger and fear--that activates david's intelligence against
hal. with intelligence alone and no irrational instinct for
lifeforce, david has no reason to win or lose. what's the point? so
what if hal wins? but, HE wants to win. HE wants to live. it's
something he doesn't have to think about, he just feels it as much as
any animal into self-preservation and drive towards power.
the way kubrick saw it, rationality and irrational forces are always
in a kind of ying and yang struggle--oppostional but also
complemetary. irrational forces make us want to live, conquer, and
win; reason serves these desires but reason also alerts us to the
danger of the irrational forces; therefore, reason tries to curtail
the irrational forces; but just when reason grabs irrational power by
its tail, the head turns around and bites you in the arse.
indeed, intelligence alerts you to the danger of irrationality because
the latter can often jeopardize its own very interests. for instance,
irrational instinct wants the best pussy. just grabbing the top
babe's ass is not do it as she will freak out and run. so
intelligence tells irrational forces to cool it and buy her flowers
and take her to a fancy restaurant instead. and whaddya know, you got
the best pussy. so, intelligence or reason alerts us to the dangers
of irrationality not so much because reason is opposed to
irrationality but because reason can serve the ultimate desire of
irrationality even better. irrational forces want the best pussy;
but, on its own, it can only get a cheap slut. but, with the help of
intelligence, it can indeeed get the best pussy. look at all the
successful people in life. for all their pompous rhetoric about
ethics and reason, they drive the best cars, eat the best foods, live
in the finest condos, attend operas, and hump the best broads. reason
got them their ultimate irrational desires.
kubrick accepted the permanent tension between reason and
unreason--unless some fundamental evolutionary leap really changed us
at the root. he also believed that there should be two separate
spheres in society, the one that contained reason and one that
contained irrationality; there would be a point where two spheres met
and ignite what we call creative and destructive tension, but trying
to create a single unified sphere out of the two was recipe for
and 20th century was the proof with communism and nazism. you had
communism saying that the core of animalistic man can be purged thru
ideological conditioning and a new man could be created. reason could
penetrated into the deepest darkest crevices of human heart and
transform man into the ideal creature.
and nazism said you could graft irrational powers onto reason and
create the 1000 yr reich.
both systems sought to purge mankind of tension. according to marx,
the ultimate synthesis would lead to destruction of the bourgeois and
the triumph of the communist utopia populated by the PROLE.
according to nazism, the world would be purged of the jew and
untermensch and there would be everlasting peace under the rule of
in a way, how tempting to rid the world of contradictions, of
tensions. but, kubrick accepted this tension as permanent.
politically, he was probably liberal but philosophically, he might
usefully be labeled conservative though no label quite does him
justice as he was such an idiosyncratic thinker. he was kubrickian.
for kubrick, the modern conceit of independent or pure reason was only
the fruit of civlization. civilization was built on conventions,
laws, traditions--the trunk and branches--and reason had merely been
their tools. and below tradition and conventions were the root of
irrational instincts--sexual, powerhunger, shamanistic.
the intellectual of the enlightenment who thought himself perfectly
rational didn't take a close look at the meaning and worthiness of
reason for mankind. he thought he could use reason to improve or
advance society. but, such notion is really a disguised will to
power. in order to spread or implement his ideas, he needs
power--indeed, he WANTS power. he thinks his ideas, his values are
better just as hal thought his were the best. and if you think so,
it's reasonable to destroy those enemies you deem as irrational which
is something marxists thought and practiced all along. reason soon
becomes a game of the will to power. ever meet a 'rational' guy whose
ideas you rejected; the animal within him soon starts crawling out;
you soon see his will to power, will to domination. he really wants
you to be his bitch and he can't stand too much criticism.
also, equality for mankind means equality of man to be what? to be
hunting for pussy, to gain property and riches, and have better kind
of fun. spreading equality is really spreading and serving mankind's
need to satisfy its animal instincts. as pasolini, liberalism is
really about allowing every person to be a little fascist.
in a democracy, the winner doesn't destroy the loser. but, the will to
win, to take power, to implement YOUR ideas over everyone else--for
whatever justification--is based on the irrational lifeforce and ego.
and democracy is valuable not so much for its ratinality as its
harnessing and balancing of irrational instincts.
to win over the other guy or at the very least to keep up with his
level of achievement, to be a member of the better herd. there is
always this tension within us, amongst us. the basis of our existence
is irratinal drives, and intelligence is the tool that serves but also
controls the drives; intelligence can never be the master. indeed,
without the irrational drives, it's meaningless and masterless like a
ronin. why does a chimp use a straw to pick termites from a hole?
cuz it's HUNGRY. without hunger, lust, will to power, what? suck out
all the hormones out of a person and he's just becomes a zombie no
matter how smart he may be. even a physicist seeks knowledge because
to know is to feel the power, like hindu brahmin who sought to
understand, channel, and harness the cosmic energy. there has to be
will to knowlege before the seeking of knowledge,and this is really a
disguised will to power, an obessive need to gain an advantage against
your competitor, against god, against darkness and ignorance, against
something. even among the most purely intellectual scientist, there
is a HUNGER for knowledge. he must know just as an indian medicine
man must know. there is the will to power, the shamanistic/mythic
desire to connect with, or even dominate, the cosmos.
without hunger, will to power, self-preservation instinct, need for
fun and creativity, pussy, etc. what is intelligence? it'd be like a
calculator without someone to use it.