Happy Days Question #4 - Reality

by Laurent Graff

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Unread postby Liz » Thu Dec 07, 2006 7:45 pm

Wow! You all make good points. :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: And the reality of this question makes my head hurt. :hypnotic: But seriously.....

DITHOT, it is true that his focus is death. It's pretty evident in those quotes. Thanks for posting them. :cool: And for whatever reason, he didn’t seem to get much out of the meaning of life and may be hoping to make up for it by finding the meaning in death, as Boo said.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby gemini » Thu Dec 07, 2006 8:39 pm

Not sure if I am treading on another question but this quote about how Antionne feels about Mireille also goes along with our discussion here about Antionnes dwelling on death.
P56 he says:
What leads me to remain at her side is not pity. I am way too jaded for that. It's as if I were solemnly choosing her on this day, as an experiment, to help her, and follow her until her death. Through her, I hope to understand the extinction of life.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

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Unread postby nebraska » Thu Dec 07, 2006 8:45 pm

Without referring to any particular religious idea or philosophical thought, I think Antoine wants to strip life and death down to its essence. I think he sees material things as a distraction (there would be no 2 disc DMC for him! :bawl: ) and he thinks the ordinary pursuits people engage in as being a distraction from.......well, maybe "purity" is a good word, from the purity of existence. At the end, we all end up pretty much the same way. It won't matter so much who took more vacations or who made more money or who had the nicest house. Those are pursuits that most of us focus our time and energy on, but in bare bones terms, that is not what life really amounts to. The thing we hope for is to be remembered for our character, for our love and our smiles and sense of humor -- who we are at the core of our self. And even that, in time, fades into oblivion for most people. Unless you are a Christopher Columbus or an Einstein or, dare I say, Johnny Depp!

I think in Antoine's desire to understand death, he realizes he can't be distracted by the trappings of life or he will lose his focus.

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Unread postby Parlez » Thu Dec 07, 2006 8:50 pm

Yeow!!!
Now I have one of those headaches too! And existential one!!
However, I'd like to point out that I, personally, saw a Buddhist
theme in the book long before I found out the author has those
leanings.
Most of Antoine's behavior can be put in positive and negative terms, depending...
For example, his wish to not be involved could be based in selfishness, fear and/or existential angst.
OR..it could be seen as a sincere desire to detach from everything that comprises 'real life' (what he calls distractions) in order to find some core of meaning beyond what's apparent.

Yes, in Buddhist thought there's a strong thread that says you have to get to 'nothing' before
you're able to see everything. In that case, Antoine isn't so much giving up as giving in, savvy?
However, the fact that he doesn't seem to be aware of that
whole concept - that's not why he came to Happy Days - makes
this story more of a classic journey, in a sort of mythological
sense. Coming home...Ending up at the beginning...etc.,etc..
What's that great line on greeting cards?~ No matter where you go, there you are!

I LOVE the fact that Johnny has inspired this conversation!!!
And I'll gladly take the headache, along with all the marvelous
thoughts and ideas that everyone's posted so far.
Johnny rocks!!
:disco:
"Belay that! ...Do something else!" ~ Hector Barbossa
savvy avi by mamabear

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Dec 07, 2006 9:58 pm

Gemini, it’s hard to separate one topic from another in this discussion. We will be discussing Mirelle and Antoine’s relationship in another question and I’m looking forward to getting into more deppth there.

nebraska wrote: The thing we hope for is to be remembered for our character, for our love and our smiles and sense of humor -- who we are at the core of our self. And even that, in time, fades into oblivion for most people. Unless you are a Christopher Columbus or an Einstein or, dare I say, Johnny Depp!


nebraska, that is a beautiful sentiment. Even if you are not remembered in the history books, if you have done what you say with your life you have undoubtedly made a positive impact other on people's lives and that is more important than being remembered as someone who was famous.


Parlez, I’m just not familiar enough with the Buddhist religion to make the comparisons but I do like the thought that Antoine is on some sort of unknown, mythological journey. I also agree with you about Johnny inspiring this type of discussion. I would never have investigated and learned so much without his inspiration!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Happy Days Question #4 - Reality

Unread postby Linda Lee » Fri Dec 08, 2006 12:06 am

I agree with Veronica, it seems he does not want to deal with anything to do with life and living, or anything that is real or might bring him into reality. It also seems he doesn't want to be remembered after death. He is determined not to be deeply involved with anything or anyone.
His reality seems to be waiting for death.
Serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace within the storm. ~ Unknown

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Unread postby Parlez » Fri Dec 08, 2006 12:14 am

Right!! He's waiting for death. If he wanted to be dead, he'd kill himself.
But there's something about the waiting part....
"Belay that! ...Do something else!" ~ Hector Barbossa

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Unread postby rainbowsoul » Fri Dec 08, 2006 12:15 am

Interesting thoughts all.

His reality seems to be waiting for death.


Linda Lee, I agree that is a part of his reality. His life seems to be one ijn which his goal (if you could actually call it that is to learn as much as he can about human nature and the nature of being human (if you understand my distiction?) by watching and observing but not by doing or knowing or becoming involved.

The term "floating through life" comes to mind - yet I am sure by how many of us define living, what Antoine does is Not living.

It is all about process rather than action
No! Not Barker. That man is dead. It's Todd, now. Sweeney Todd. And he shall have his revenge...

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Unread postby Linda Lee » Fri Dec 08, 2006 12:36 am

rainbowsoul wrote:Interesting thoughts all.

His reality seems to be waiting for death.


Linda Lee, I agree that is a part of his reality. His life seems to be one ijn which his goal (if you could actually call it that is to learn as much as he can about human nature and the nature of being human (if you understand my distiction?) by watching and observing but not by doing or knowing or becoming involved.

The term "floating through life" comes to mind - yet I am sure by how many of us define living, what Antoine does is Not living.

It is all about process rather than action


I can see that, I understand the distinction, and I agree he functions only as an observer.
Serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace within the storm. ~ Unknown

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Unread postby Liz » Fri Dec 08, 2006 1:43 am

nebraska wrote: At the end, we all end up pretty much the same way. It won't matter so much who took more vacations or who made more money or who had the nicest house. Those are pursuits that most of us focus our time and energy on, but in bare bones terms, that is not what life really amounts to. The thing we hope for is to be remembered for our character, for our love and our smiles and sense of humor -- who we are at the core of our self. And even that, in time, fades into oblivion for most people. Unless you are a Christopher Columbus or an Einstein or, dare I say, Johnny Depp!


This is what is really important--how we impact others. But I don't see Antoine trying to focus on these things. I don't see him becoming involved with others, being empathetic towards them. As Rainbowsoul said, that "his goal is to learn as much as he can about human nature and the nature of being human (if you understand my distiction?) by watching and observing but not by doing or knowing or becoming involved."
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby nebraska » Fri Dec 08, 2006 7:30 am

Liz wrote:
nebraska wrote: At the end, we all end up pretty much the same way. It won't matter so much who took more vacations or who made more money or who had the nicest house. Those are pursuits that most of us focus our time and energy on, but in bare bones terms, that is not what life really amounts to. The thing we hope for is to be remembered for our character, for our love and our smiles and sense of humor -- who we are at the core of our self. And even that, in time, fades into oblivion for most people. Unless you are a Christopher Columbus or an Einstein or, dare I say, Johnny Depp!


This is what is really important--how we impact others. But I don't see Antoine trying to focus on these things. I don't see him becoming involved with others, being empathetic towards them. As Rainbowsoul said, that "his goal is to learn as much as he can about human nature and the nature of being human (if you understand my distiction?) by watching and observing but not by doing or knowing or becoming involved."


That's it exactly -- he thinks he can grasp it all by watching and observing closely instead of by doing -- he thinks "doing" would be a distraction from his learning and understanding.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Dec 08, 2006 9:39 am

gemini wrote:
Boo-Radley wrote:Lizbaba when I read that passage, my initial reaction was...Huh?? :-? And I'm not all that sure I have a handle on it even now, but I'll take a stab. When I think about Antoine I see him in his room, thinking and re-thinking his epitaph, and I imagine contemplating his death. Since he is so disengaged from life, death and what it means (ending?? nothingness??? purgatory??? damnation???? paradise???) maybe he see's that as his reality. I hope I'm making sense here, the little grey cells refuse to cooperate today.

Live in Depp
Boo

I think you are making a lot of sense. These are the main lines in front of each chapter:
Here I am dead and buried, as if I had really lived.
Cradle to coffin, from one box to another.
The earth with gentle step I trod, may I lie gently 'neath the sod.
Don't worry, you didn't miss anything.
All my life I've let myself die.


gemini, I meant to comment on these lines. I believe Graff said in one of the interviews that he meant these to be epitaphs.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Parlez » Fri Dec 08, 2006 7:19 pm

And just to split some final hairs on the philosophical issue...

Descartes says "I think therefore I am."
Buddha says "Don't believe everything you think."
Existentialism says "Everything is nothing."
Buddhism says "Nothing is everything."

Go figure!
:clown:
"Belay that! ...Do something else!" ~ Hector Barbossa

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Dec 08, 2006 8:04 pm

Parlez wrote:And just to split some final hairs on the philosophical issue...

Descartes says "I think therefore I am."
Buddha says "Don't believe everything you think."
Existentialism says "Everything is nothing."
Buddhism says "Nothing is everything."

Go figure!
:clown:


And we thought we were confused! :lol:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Depputante » Fri Dec 08, 2006 8:37 pm

Parlez wrote:And just to split some final hairs on the philosophical issue...

Descartes says "I think therefore I am."
Buddha says "Don't believe everything you think."
Existentialism says "Everything is nothing."
Buddhism says "Nothing is everything."

Go figure!
:clown:


Can I run now? :ohno: Oh my goodness!
I did an Eastern Religions course once. And one quote from yet another Religon is that we are all striving up to the same place, just taking different paths.
“The scariest enemy is from within. Allowing yourself to be limited and conform to what you're expected to conform to.”~JD


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