The Truman Show and The Search for Truth General Theory • Religions suggest this world is not the “real” world. According to Buddha: “A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion, does not act as if it is real, so he escapes the suffering.” • Plato in his Allegory of the Cave argues that the world of the senses is a world of illusion; and that the true philosopher must see through this illusion to the truth. • Galilio appears a hero of science in his willingness to argue against the beliefs of the church to assert the earth revolves around the sun. But: What’s so hot about the truth? • The truth is frequently: ugly, painful, hard, and disillusioning. There is no Santa Claus. • Ignorance is bliss, isn’t it. • Better to be a happy pig or a miserable human being? • Should you tell your best friend that his girl or boy friend is cheating on him or her? But people seem to prefer the truth. • Philosophic Thought Experiment. Imagine a machine, like in the Matrix. If you hook your brain up to it you will be given a perfect life. It will have ups and downs, just like real life, but in the end you will say: I have lived a full life. I have achieved all I wanted to achieve. I have no regrets. • Would you hook yourself up to such a machine? • The great majority of people say, no. Why? • People seem to prefer the truth. • People do not want to live a life that is fake, phony, or somehow an illusion. Quotes from ETR • “The truth is intrinsically valuable to someone who cares to know the truth even if it is inconvenient. It is valued intrinsically…however unpleasant it may be and regardless of the burdens it places on one”(EIR 73). • “We also want our own existence to be ‘true.’ Nearly all of us so crave authenticity that we would not be willing to trade an authentic existence, even suffused with anguish and disappointment, for a contrived existence that is thoroughly artificial but relentlessly pleasurable (EIR 75).” The Plot of TS as Search for Truth • Part 1: We are shown Truman’s life. He has a house, a car, a wife, and a job. He lives in a very pleasant small community. But he is vaguely discontented. He appears obsessed with a lost love. In a way, he appears a typical man in his late 20’s. He has achieved his goals but not yet accepted his fate. • Part 2: Strange things start to happen. After the incident with the car radio, Truman starts to observe the world around him. He sits in town square and looks. He starts to test the “reality.” But he wonders if something is wrong with him. Is he paranoid? Trying to be spontaneous he tests more vigorously and tries to leave Seahaven. He is going out to seek knowledge that might relieve him of his doubts about the reality of the world around him. • Part 3: Convinced that he is being watched (though he has no clear proof)(why should anybody be watching him), Truman goes “crazy.” He escapes from his own house by digging a hole in his basement and heads out to sea. Apparently, he believes the Truth lies off the island and beyond the horizon. • According to Plato, once a philosopher sees the light of truth, he will act in ways that make others, who have not seen the light, think he is crazy. • Part Three and a Half: The Truth Revealed? • Once Truman’s boat hits the wall and Christof speaks to him directly and explains his situation, Truman has a choice. As Christof says, the world on the other side is no better than the world of Seahaven, and that world is safer than the world out there. But once one has seen the Truth is there really any choice. How would we have felt about Truman and the movie as a whole had he simply gotten back in his boat and gone back to Seahaven?
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