Dear Internet Diary,
I was recently the victim of Jean-Luc Godard, when I innocently popped in the DVD Alphaville, The Strange Adventure of Lemmy Caution.
This kiss-kiss bang-bang Bladerunner world of Alphaville is controlled by a computer and a professor. E=MC^2 is posted everywhere. Hotel bibles are dictionaries. Logic is the religion of the state. Emotions are against the law, and punishable by death. The executions are part of water-ballets performed to the amusement of dignitaries and their families.
I made it about 3 quarters of the way through that nonsense. Sure, it was gorgeous cocktail-culture sets and costumes, but that's all I could stomach about the movie. The beauty of the scenery was extremely out of place, and perhaps unintentional. Beauty is illogical, and everything illogical is outlawed. This illustrates something that has been bothering me a lot lately.
Idealists, religious and non-religious alike, are always projecting their own beliefs upon materialistic realists. They say, "you don't beliieve in anything you can't see. But what about love? You can't see it but it exists all the same." These people see Alphaville in me. But they have it backwards. They believe that love and emotion are illogical, not me. As a materialist, I know that love and other emotions exist, because I perceive them. We know, physically, that emotions exist, as concepts in the brain and neurological reaction to stimuli. Through EEG, we know where they start, and what happens in the body when they do. And I know that love and other emotions sometimes seem illogical, but most of the time they are perfectly logical reactions to events in our lives. For example, the man in Alphaville who was executed for crying after his wife died.
So, the question is, why don't these idealists, why doesn't Jean-Luc Godard, believe in love? It is they who place emotion and humanity away from us in a supernatural realm where they essentially don't exist. That is their belief, not mine. They are the ones who believe that emotions and beauty are illogical, not me. They must not know anything about evolution when they make those kinds of claims about beauty. They cannot know, for instance, how completely necessary and inevitable beauty is in human life. Jean-Luc Godard must have known how beautiful his steel structures, those vinelike spiraling staircases that were so prominant in his movie, looked. I hope he struggled with that, at least, for a little while.
This kind of idealism is ultimately dehumanizing. Idealists attempt to take away earthly value and place it out of reach of humanity, declaring it ethereal and otherworldly and forbidden to touch. I say those values are here and now and ours, in the room with us. Movie directors who have it right in their own hands should know better.
But thanks for listening, diary.