Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Irrational Man?

What a brilliant idea to use a primer on existentialism, that first appeared in l958, William Barrett’s Irrational Man, as the title for a movie! There are the famous Alvy Singer quips from Annie Hall, “I had heard Commentary and Dissent had merged to form Dysentery ” and  “I was thrown out of N.Y.U. my freshman year for cheating on my metaphysics exam, you know. I looked into the soul of the boy sitting next to me.” However, Irrational Man may be a highpoint for Woody Allen. To hell with the movie and whether or not you’re going to like Parker Posey. The title alone says it all! Nietzsche for instance believed that man was basically irrational. The absence of moral categories which prefigures Freud’s unconscious is the underpining of his famous essay Beyond Good and Evil, which perhaps Allen will use as the title of his next film/symposium, if he doesn’t co-op Sartre’s Being and Nothingness.  As we learn in Philosophy 101, existence precedes essence lies at the heart of the existentialist mantra. Humans are defined by their acts rather than some kind of noumenal ideal form. But how will this apply to Allen’s current Education Sentimentale? Allen’s characters and ideas have always come hot off the Freudian analytic couch. Can we count on this latest examination of the human heart taking a more cognitive,  even behavioral twist?

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