Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Spotless Mind

In the film Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind, the question of what would happen if you could erase all the pain in your life arises. For anyone who has seen this movie, most would agree that it is rooted in a fallacy, something that simply is not plausible. However, if it were, just how scary a world would we be living in? It is my belief that in this context pain represents experience. One cannot mature and grow without the addition of pain. As Aristotle stated, "We cannot learn without pain." This was thought centuries ago, why now presume to think any differently. If a loved one passed away, who in their right mind would want to forget them entirely? It is essentially what this movie represents; a way to hide oneself from the psychological effects on pain, which in reality only would hinder the cognitive development of that person. All traces of previous endeavors, hardships, joys, and the like would be simply eradicated from our minds with the blink of an eye. Who would we be? Could we essentially tell a doctor the common phrase “I don’t know who I am anymore” and tell him I don’t want to know. Could we forget ourselves?
In the movie Joel wants to forget Clementine because he loved her so much and the pain she caused him because he opened up to her. Did he want to forget the bad things? Or forget love all together? Love to me is like seeing a shooting star, seldom seen and experienced, but when that rare occurrence happens, you always want to remember it, wishing you could capture it. Love is fleeting unless you capture it, so why would you deny yourself the pleasure that love brings.
“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love. Mother Teresa
I think perhaps Joel should have heard this quote, because it rings so true. He was a coward for ever walking into that office along with any of the patients who ever walked in. this is of course my opinion, and everyone would have a different belief. Joel realized about half way through his procedure that he didn’t want to forget the bad, because he would forget the good as well. I believe a person who would want to forget any experience no matter how terrible is weak. As the Marines say “pain is weakness leaving the body.”

"Given the choice between the experience of pain and nothing, I would choose pain"
William Faulkner

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