A collaborative search for wisdom, at Middle Tennessee State University and beyond...
"The pluralistic form takes for me a stronger hold on reality than any other philosophy I know of, being essentially a social philosophy, a philosophy of 'co'"-William James
This episode puts
a spin on many of the things that people wish for and makes us rethink our true
desires. Genies are known for granting
wishes, but, unlike Aladdin's Genie, many are solely tricksters who get a kick
out of turning people's wishes against them, much like the genie from The
The genie in this
story is the same way, forcing those who decide to make wishes to watch what
they say, lest they suffer the consequences.
and wife own a shop and have no money, but tons of bills. The husband wishes for a way to pay them, but
has no means to do so. An old lady
brings in a bottle that she claims is a family heirloom, and he reluctantly
buys it after she sheds tears when he refuses.
It is revealed that the husband gives money to people who come in
searching for a means to keep on living, solely buying another meal. The two end up knocking over the bottle
accidentally, and gas seeps out when it is uncorked. A genie manifests itself from this haze and
offers the couple 4 wishes. He states
the terms: any wish, once uttered, is irrevocable and changeable only by a
subsequent wish. They promptly wish for their
broken glass case to be repaired, just to prove if the genie is
legitimate. After the genie reveals his
true power, the husband becomes unhinged over the potential prospects, but the
wife is reluctant to ask for any wishes.
The husband then impulsively wishes for one million dollars, a wish
promptly granted. This leads to them be
very generous with their new found largess, and it attracts people from miles
around. With those people come the IRS,
and the couple find out that they have given so much away that they are only
left with 5 dollars in the end. Aristotle's
Eudemonia fits nicely here, as the people are looking for a way to quickly
satiate their present pains, instead of thinking of the future and how to
better their lives in order to bring continual happiness instead of having a
temporary salve. I do not know how a wish could have been worded in order to
make it safe to ask the genie for, but any amount of money will only last so
long, especially if an extravagant lifestyle or a very generous existence come of it.
The genie reminds the husband that he did not
ask for tax free money, which angers him because the genie was so deceptive and
deceitful. "No matter what you wish
for, you must be prepared for the consequences," is a warning given by the
genie right before the husband wishes to be a leader of a foreign country, one
who cannot be voted out of office, and in their the current century. He asks about consequences and the genie just
laughs it off and says that consequences are always involved. The husband then becomes Adolf Hitler, crying
at his desk at the end of World War II.
A soldier who is with him offers him a liquid to end his life before the
whole country is decimated by the Allies and he is captured.
He then wishes to be back to before it all
began, and then he sees how good his old life really was compared to what he
could have been given. He throws the
bottle in the trash, where it magically reassembles, waiting for the next
victim to unwittingly release the man in the bottle. Once again, Schopenhaur would have loved this
episode, because it perfectly catalogues how fickle humans are, and how we wish
for something one minute and want it all taken away the next. Although, I have to admit, the wishes were not
exactly what the people had wished for, I assume they would have fallen prey to
similar circumstances regardless. Bertrand
Russell, too, would have loved this episode, as the analytical nature and
twisting of the words by the genie forces people to either pay attention to
their word choice and syntax, or stop asking altogether. The linguistic turn has to due with the
underling logical form of sentences, and thinking about the wording of sentences
before wishing would be a major undertaking in order to get exactly what a
person wanted. This episode just goes to
show that not much in life is truly free.