Stanley Kubrick says,

“The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning. Children, of course, begin life with an untarnished sense of wonder, a capacity to experience total joy at something as simple as the greenness of a leaf; but as they grow older, the awareness of death and decay begins to impinge on their consciousness and subtly erode their joie de vivre, their idealism – and their assumption of immortality. As a child matures, he sees death and pain everywhere about him, and begins to lose faith in the ultimate goodness of man. But, if he’s reasonably strong – and lucky – he can emerge from this twilight of the soul into a rebirth of life’s elan.  Both because of and in spite of his awareness of the meaninglessness of life, he can forge a fresh sense of purpose and affirmation. He may not recapture the same pure sense of wonder he was born with, but he can shape something far more enduring and sustaining. The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death – however mutable man may be able to make them – our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.” 

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2 thoughts on “Stanley Kubrick says,

  1. A very interesting excerpt—one that I’m not sure I entirely agree with. But I definitely appreciate the food for thought in it!

    “but as they grow older, the awareness of death and decay begins to impinge on their consciousness and subtly erode their joie de vivre, their idealism” . . . I’m not sure that this really is what erodes our joy for life and our idealism. If anything, these things can actually enhance our love of life and our idealism. There’s nothing like really feeling the ticking of the clock and then having to run a two-minute drill on your life to dust off the apathy and complacency. I think that’s a lot of what erodes our joy in life — complacency. We get complacent. We start to see leaf after leaf, and they all look pretty much the same. What was once new and novel, becomes commonplace and routine.

    The question is how do we keep a sense of appreciation and kindle a sense of newness? How do we keep things fresh and novel, but also keep things stable?

    And how do we not opt out of life like so many people seem to do by turning to conventional solutions and the conventional ways that people use to numb themselves from the feeling of not really living or being very alive or the feeling of being afraid and stressed out too much?

    If we’re poor, how do we get out of poverty, get out of the drudgery of meaningless or menial work, chronic unhappiness, chronically stressing about how to survive and stay afloat, and the frustration of not being able to break free and live like the people on the right sides of the track?

    And if we’re a bit better off and living in suburbia, how do we not get lost in an insular life full of frothy conversations and frothy relationships and chronic disconnect from our deeper selves—because that’s one of the things that being a bit better off gives people—leisure time—time to potentially invest in themselves, in nurturing their creative talents, time to muse, time to develop themselves, their deeper selves. Or being middle class or above gives people time to get lost—to get more and more truly lost, more and more sidetracked, to feel more and more that inner emptiness but, for some people, not to be able to do anything about it or know where to begin trying to do something about it.

    “As a child matures, he sees death and pain everywhere about him, and begins to lose faith in the ultimate goodness of man.”

    I think this would depend on what conditions the child is living in. I think it also depends a lot on the child’s parents and the caliber of guidance (or lack thereof) that they give him or her.

    “Both because of and in spite of his awareness of the meaninglessness of life, he can forge a fresh sense of purpose and affirmation. He may not recapture the same pure sense of wonder he was born with, but he can shape something far more enduring and sustaining.” I think that, personally, one of the best ways to recapture a sense of wonder and awe is to begin getting more curious, to realize how little one really knows—and to not let this frighten or terrify you, but let it begin to thrill you. When we think we know everything we lose that sense of wonder and curiosity—life becomes more boring because, frankly, we’re becoming boring. But as we begin opening ourselves, opening our mind, becoming more and more curious, asking more and more questions, probing more, developing a more active mind, then life begins to become more interesting in proportion to how much more interested and curious we become about life.

    Just a few of the thoughts that came to mind upon reading this excerpt. Thank you for posting this food for thought! 🙂 And thank you for finding and following my blog! 🙂

    Kindest regards,

    John

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