27 May 2008

Post 131

Last night I watched Intolerable Cruelty with my roommates. It was a good flick; I kinda enjoyed it. The humor was fast and clever but never called attention to itself, so I occasionally found myself thinking, "I think something funny just happened, but I totally missed it." Therefore I feel confident in saying that this movie probably gets better the more times you watch it.

I understand now why Thmazing likes it so much.

More than reviewing the movie, though, I'd like to ramble about some thoughts that've been going round and round in my head of late. [I've never really understood that convention: "of late"? What the heck is that supposed to mean, anyway? Grammatically, I mean. It just seems so archaic. Why do people even use it when we have "lately" at our disposal?] It was funny to me that I had just been out on a long walk, monologuing to myself about a certain topic, and then I came home and watched Intolerable Cruelty, which dealt with that same topic, so now I can talk about it in reference to this movie that I'm pretending to review and no one will know that this movie review is just a pretense and that I'm actually following my own private agenda. Oh! I'm so sneaky.

Anyway, I wanna ramble about the concept of independence. I'ma gonna go out on a limb here and say that the desire to be independent is not a righteous desire, and my comments section is, as ever, wide open for disagreement, dissension, and mudslinging. So. Onward!

In Intolerable Cruelty, Marylin is seeking independence. She spuriously marries wealthy men so she can divorce them and take their money, but she doesn't claim to be a simple gold digger; she says that money means independence, and independence is what she really wants. Marriage and divorce are merely means to get money, and money is merely a means to get independence--and--and--uh....

I give up. Here's what's on my mind:

So many people seem to be driven by a desire to be completely independent, to transcend their reliance on other people and society as a whole, to transcend their reliance on organizations and support groups, and ultimately (in some cases) to transcend their reliance on any sort of Supreme Being. I doubt many readers of this blog would argue that we ought to try to become independent of God, but I think that our delusions of other forms of independence are nearly as crippling.

My parents raised me to become independent--at least, that's what my Mom's always lamenting because, as it turns out, they did a bang up job of it: we kids never come to visit much. I remember a few months ago when a friend of mine told me that she was planning to leave at the beginning of the summer, I was honestly confused.

"Where are you gonna go?" I asked.

"Um. Home," she said, as though I were mildly retarded.

Oh. Why on earth would anyone do that? It just doesn't make sense in my head. I mean, I love my parents, and I'm always happy to see them; I call them every Sunday just to say hello and chat for a while, but I could never go back to living with them! That, to me, would be an indication of regression.

Yet, in the Gospel, we're always talking about sealing all the generations together, and we talk about heaven in terms of families; heck, Joseph Smith said that we'll have the same sociality in the Celestial Kingdom that we have here (D&C 130:2). Furthermore, from a more biological and less theological standpoint, we humans are social creatures; that's our nature even if we are constantly fighting against it.

But I'm not really talking about kids and parents drifting apart. No, it is good and healthy for offspring to leave the nest to build a nest of their own. I'm talking about the lack of trust we have in each other. I know some people who are so guarded that they are little more than a facade; they hide deep within themselves and never let anyone inside to meet them. They build a fortress from the bricks of bad experience with the mortar of pain and set a guard out front. Sometimes the guard is a jester; other times, a brute. Either way, the royal soul inside wastes away, unknown and unknowable. [Little over the top? Hopefully not too much....]

I think I understand solitude better than many people my age. Maybe not, but I like to think I do. My long walks after dark are almost a nightly occurrence; I'm just the sort of guy who needs some alone time on a fairly regular basis. I don't consider myself an antisocial person; I just like my solitude. It's refreshing to walk alone in the middle of the night: my mind clears, I pray aloud, and life starts to make sense.

On the other hand, I know all too well how crippling solitude can be, and I know the pain of isolation. For one who claims to love his solitude, I sure do find myself grappling with intense loneliness a lot, and I find it hard to believe that people who hole up deep within themselves and never let anyone get too close can ever be truly happy. And I worry about those people a lot because I know that, beneath that smooth exterior, a sea of emotion is roiling just below a boil. The thing that scares me most is that, we're all so oblivious to what's inside of people, there's rarely any way to know the time bomb's ticking until it goes off.

I propose, then, that, if we all shot for interdependence rather than independence, we'd all be a lot better off. So, I dunno, like, go give someone a hug, or something, before the whole world explodes.


  1. I post about bunnies... You contemplate the meaning of the universe... Wow. And, except for the fact that we can't be friends anymore because you liked "Intolerable Curelty"... a truely awesome post.

    And I'm not even going to try and put any thoughts together to comment about on this, but I'm sure other people will. So I say ditto.

  2. It's all about balance, as I see it. As a person who has to have solitude as well, I can understand a certain enjoyment in being in the company of nobody but oneself. Especially because that's the only time I can truly sort my thoughts.

    But being inside my own head for too long means I start to overthink things and that's not good. I tried to explain this to my roommate once. I think all of us should aim to be introverted extroverts.

  3. Wait a minute, fei-chan--we were friends? Dang; guess I'm sorry I screwed that up. And you don't like Intolerable Cruelty? Did you--hate it? And that's a brave move, dittoing comments that haven't been made yet: what if we, like, vote you off the island or some such?

    Confuzzled: introverted extroverts, eh? I'm mulling that around in my head. I think you're right. I can't quite express why, but I think that it is far better to be an introverted extrovert than an extroverted introvert. Maybe I'm just quibbling, but it seems to me that the latter would be either a total egotist or completely unintelligible whereas an introverted extrovert would be honestly concerned with others without being--I dunno--flighty and annoying.

  4. Oh, and Confuzzled: thanks for reading this post. I remember thinking as I was typing it, "Freak, this is WAY more than six paragraphs long; Confuzzled'll NEVER read this!" and I was worried that there would be a shortage of insightful comments. But you read it AND commented insightfully; my appreciation.

  5. I think extroverted introverts would end up being entirely too self-centered. So yes, I agree with your distinction there. I don't think it's quibbling at all.

    As for actually reading the whole thing . . . well, you had me at "I wanna ramble about independence."

    I love it when people drop fronts. What can I say?

  6. And by "drop fronts," I mean "drop all pretense and tell the truth."

    Just to clarify.

    I'd hate to think how some people would manage to misinterpret . . .

  7. .

    Hoo. Confuzzled. Had me hot under the collar there.

    Glad you liked the flick.

    LS just came home and I need to go unload the car. How fast can I type?

    Hey! I think of myself as an extroverted introvert! Or, more accurately, as an introvert often faking extroversion. Um. I better go.

    Remind me to say more if needful.

  8. Th.--I think it's needful to say more, just because I'm curious about why you think of yourself as an introverted extrovert as opposed to an extroverted introvert.

    Also, I knew that I had to amend that comment specifically because you would make a comment about it. And you didn't disappoint . . .

  9. .

    Actually, I don't think I would have had you not drawn attention to it. And by "it", I don't mean your "front".


    I'm naturally drawn-in--alone and inside is my normal state of being. However, I'm quite capable when needs be when teaching or public speaking or during other more extroverted activities.

    But the extroversion is a smaller part of me than the introversion.

  10. .

    Lady Steed just left you an awesome well thought-out and written comment about independence and selfishness and selflessness and it was really excellent (I proofread it). Then Blogger said "Duplicate action error" and disappeared it, never to return.

    I'm very sorry you'll never read it.

    It was pretty long too....

  11. Oh. Dang.

    Do I get, like, a bullet-pointed version or anything?

  12. ;P Well, we were friends... But not anymore.

    Yeah, I pretty much hated that movie. Some parts were ok, but I just really didn't like the characters. >.< No likeablity at all for me... Then the whole thing of them... lusting after eachother wasn't fun. At least, that's how I saw it. S'ok that you liked it, we just can't be friends anymore. ;P

    Yeah, I figure it's pretty safe to ditto everything. The people who post here have some pretty awesome things to say, so I figure it's pretty safe. As to being voted off the island... Hm... Well, I think I bribed then enoug- I mean... I don't think they'd do that. ^.^; They're too nice... Well, except you Schmetterrr. ;P

    Hm... introverted extroverts vs extroverted introvers... Yeah, I guess I can see that... An introverted extrovert would know how to be extroverted and talk to people, but not go overboard.
    An extroverted introvert would be longing to go in the corner and read a book, but be forceing themselves to go mingle... At least that's my interpretation. *shrug*

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