Friday, January 17, 2014

a few comments on Spike Jonze's 'Her'

Spike Jonze's Her was one of those experiences where I was disappointed with the movie as an idea but felt myself compelled by the underlying mood of the piece. Phoenix, the starring actor, and the visuals were strangely compelling.

I've heard that people are reacting against it as sexist but that charge is so off the mark. It is a shining example of psychic bisexuality and self-conscious of that too.

I was surprised of how aware of space I was in the movie-- How much he spent time in his enclosed room and, in opposition, some shots with a lot of space above. This seems important for an volar ontology (probably trito).

Although the social commentary is supposed to be about technology I don't think that's where the importance lies. The artificial intelligence girlfriend has more to do with altruistic narcissism (narcissism qua early ontology) as someone you have instant access to and is always with you.

The social commentary is really in Phoenix's character writing professional hand written notes as an occupation. While the rest of the world may think it strange he has an AI girlfriend this is contrasted to others in "normal" relationships with embodied others who have no words to describe their feelings and have to pay others to feel for them. They have always lacked the primitive cognition that allows them to, for example, idealize a "crooked little tooth" on their alleged love objects on one hand, and, on the other are probably interacting with their "loved ones" based upon latency social ideals to do what is normal for the group and have repressed their pre-genital passions. The social commentary is that true love for the altruist can be satisfied by just communicating and feeling understood and by sharing mutual spontaneity and play. Those who would look upon this kind of relationship (today or in the past it would be people writing each other letters who live far apart) as weird or indecent do so because they only driven by love for social conventions and not by love for another person.  

The symptom reading of the film would yield some interesting subject altruistic drives. For example, the surrogate sexual partner who wants to help Phoenix's character and his AI girlfriend would show his own impulse to want to "restore" the relationship between his friend Amy and her boyfriend. Additionally, his AI girlfriend Samantha loving multiple people and needing to leave him to go off with the other AI consciousnesses would show Theodore's (Phoenix) own pre-phallic impulses to love that don't require sexuality and take multiple objects. (I've mentioned this love before in regards to Freud's conception of the Saint in Civilization).Wanting to join the other consciousnesses and belong to a group without any principal of individuation gives a great illustration to the previous post on Schopenhauer's metaphysics of altruism. The 'participation mystique' with the group and altruistic impulses to bring in the person's who has fallen away from the group as shown in the 'sexual surrogate' all get depicted.

If Samantha is removed from the plot and her character's feelings are seen to express Theodore's then the best description is that he is manic. There are scenes in public where he is like an excited child playing games and without Samantha and love to justify it then he would resemble someone experiencing mania. Additionally, Samantha meeting with the AI modeled after Alan Watts before ultimately going off with the other AI consciousnesses provides a good sense for the mania in that she could experience boundless knowledge fostered in her through the father substitute (Watts).

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