Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, April 25, 2016

Rick and Morty and Philosophy: Part 1

James Huffnagle
Section 6

       There is nothing in this world that has questioned my existence and the nature of reality more than the Adult Swim cartoon Rick and Morty. This show has enough existentialism to make anybody uncomfortable in their own skin. The basic premise follows Rick Sanchez, a genius mad scientist, and his grandson Morty Smith as they travel the multiverse finding trouble wherever they go. This first report will explore the way that this animated roller coaster handles the existence of God.
        Friedrich Nietzsche said that "God is dead!" Rick takes this a step further saying in one episode, "F*** you God!" after he narrowly escapes death. As you may be able to tell, this show holds nothing sacred, and in the episode The Ricks Must Be Crazy, the viewer learns that Rick is the creator of an entire universe. Why did he create this universe? To use it as a battery in his space craft of course. The vehicle that Rick and Morty travel around in is powered by what Rick calls a "Microverse Battery." He created a universe inside of a battery and waited until sentient life developed, he then entered the battery to communicate with these beings, give them the magic of electricity, only to secretly take a percentage of the power that they use to power his car. He also learns that there is another scientist that has done the same thing inside of the battery, and threatens to render Rick's battery useless. Inside of this new battery is another scientist doing the same thing again. From the perspective of Rick's home universe, there is a universe, inside of a universe, inside of another universe, with all of the scientists basically being gods over what they only use as batteries. This says a lot of things about the existence of a God. First it explores the causality of our creation, and shows how infinite the timeline of the creation of our universe could be. This is a refutation of Aquinas' First Cause Argument. This situation also says a lot about God's personality, and it only takes looking at Rick to see it. Rick is the God of Gods compared to the other scientists, but Rick is a highly flawed human being. He is a pessimistic alcoholic with little regard for anyone or anything but himself. He also doesn't have any superpowers, and created his universe battery within the realm of science in his reality. Thus proposes the idea that God is neither all-powerful or perfectly good. In Ricks case God is just an ass, a genius, but a massive ass nonetheless.
        The existence of God is something that I personally am very passive about. I cannot fathom the idea that we came from nothing somehow, but the empiricist in me also cannot ignore how science seems to lead toward the path of this universe being nothing but incredible luck. I also honestly take the Rick scenario kind of seriously. If the creation of the world is natural, then it must be able to be recreated in some fashion. Rick and Morty makes that an assumed reality. We as humans can not prove who created us, and I believe we never will. So all options are on the table for me. Ultimately though, I employ a lot of pragmatism to this topic. So because we cannot prove it one way or another, it does not have a highly significant affect on my life or my choices.
        The nature of God if there is one is something I agree with the show on. In the scenario in which there is a God, I cannot believe that he is perfect. The universe as we know it is too imperfect for this to be true. Bad things happen, the world is not always "fair" as we humans would describe it, and the rest of the infinite universe around us doesn't seem to care about us one bit. As beings of this existence we are at the mercy of the seemingly random (and at the same time organized) system around us. If some being created us he either had a reason beyond our understanding (we could be powering Rick's car for all we know); or maybe this being created this universe to learn from it. Again, until someone can find empirical support, all options are on the table.


  1. You've expanded my knowledge of Rick and Morty exponentially. My only previous acquaintance was with the hilariously demoralizing "You pass butter" episode...

    1. Glad i could help! I encourage you to watch more, there is so much that the show has to offer besides the comedy.