Why You Can’t Escape Yourself (or Philosophy) – Claire
When your teacher asks you to go and experience something related to metaphysics on a weekend when you have absolutely no free time, what do you do? Find a way to relate the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them to metaphysics, of course. This only seemed appropriate, considering my original (shameful) question of “do we exist” came up from re-reading Harry Potter.
So, what were my questions going into Phil’s Day Off? I was wondering whether or not Being is something you can turn off, or if it is something that must be consistent. For example, seeing a movie is considered a form of escapism. It’s a chance to stop thinking about yourself and your own life for a while and concentrate on something else; in the case of a Harry Potter film, something new entirely, such as magic. Can you put Being on pause to truly escape while enjoying this form of escapism? I was also wondering how the experience of seeing a movie might differ for those who are being vs those who are Being. My plan was to see the movie and analyze my experience afterwards. My artefact is my ticket stub; my “ticket” to escapism.
I found that, while watching the movie, I was fully aware of where I was and who I was. There was not a moment where I was so absorbed in the movie that I felt like I was no longer me, and that could of course have been the movie itself not being the type of movie that pulls you in entirely, but there are other factors that I found interesting. The more I think about it, the more I realize I hear my own voice in my head whether I am watching a movie or reading a book; I’m constantly analyzing what’s happening and trying to piece things together. This leads me to believe that, through using my own brain and allowing my own thoughts and opinions to come through while watching movies, I do not turn off Being to simply be while watching a movie. The whole movie I was picking up references and noticing plot holes (which were, unfortunately, present) and leaning over to whisper my theories to my mom. I was not necessarily thinking about myself and my own life, but I was drawing from my own experiences (whether those were through other movies, books or even the writer’s curse = noticing every detail because you’ve been taught to never include anything unless it furthers the plot, which means that your predictions are usually accurate) to figure things out and better understand the movie. There were also several moments or characters that I could find myself relating to, which leads me to believe that not only can you not pause Being to just be for a while, but also that you cannot truly escape yourself.
What is the point of escapism, then? For someone whose life is highly involved in entertainment and story telling to take others away for a while, I feel as though this question should worry me. It doesn’t. Sometimes we need a break, and even if we cannot truly escape ourselves, we can take a break from going through the motions of our own lives for a while, and we can learn so much from escapism as well. I have learned so much from watching live theatre and from reading books and seeing movies. Something that still remains unanswered for me is how others might experience seeing a movie; I wonder if someone who is considered to be being would just sit back and watch the movie, letting it unfold before them instead of using it as a way to exercise their mind? It’s something I want to look into more. In the case of being, I feel as though you have not fully established a sense of self, and therefore have no self to escape. And in the case of Being? Sorry, but there is no escaping yourself (or your philosophy homework…trust me, I’ve tried.) You can, however, find a form of escapism to take a bit of a break. Sometimes that’s all we need. As for my original question, whether or not we exist? I don’t know. I don’t know if there even is the possibility of finding a definite answer. Thinking about it still stresses me out, and I have to push that inner Ravenclaw that wants answers down to find that inner Hufflepuff that’s just shrugging and telling me to enjoy whatever form of existence I am living.