Thursday, July 11, 2013

Woody Allen Explains Why He is so Prolific

In Why Does the World Exist?, Jim Holt describes Woody Allen as "the most uncompromising opponent of cosmic optimism":
In an interview he gave in 2010 (to a Catholic priest, curiously enough), Allen spoke of the "overwhelming bleakness" of the universe. "Human existence is a brutal experience to me," he said. "It's a brutal, meaningless experience--an agonizing, meaningless experience with some oases, delight, some charm and peace, but these are just small oases." There is no justice to it, Allen maintained, and no rationality either. Everyone does what one can do to alleviate "the agony of the human condition." Some distort it with religion; some chase money or love. Allen himself makes films--and whines. ("I do get a certain amount of solace from whining.") Yet in the end "everyone goes to his grave in a meaningless way."
Other than "whining," how does Allen cope with the world's lack of justice/rationality? Allen recently told the Wall Street Journal that he keeps himself so busy that he does not have time to dwell on the darkness: 
You know in a mental institution they sometimes give a person some clay or some basket weaving? It's the therapy of moviemaking that has been good in my life. If you don't work, it's unhealthy--for me, particularly unhealthy. I could sit here suffering from morbid introspection, ruing my mortality, being anxious. But it's very therapeutic to get up and think, Can I get this actor; does my third act work? All these solvable problems, as opposed to the great puzzles of life that are unsolvable, or that have very bad solutions. So I get pleasure from doing this. It's my version of basket weaving.
As the old saying goes, "Idle hands are the Devil's workshop." Rumination is the bane of an intelligent, sensitive mind, so it is best to keep such a mind busy so that it does not dwell on the dark side of life.

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