Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Section 10 - Installment 1: Monty Python Transcendentalism

""Oh... and Jenkins... apparently your mother died this morning", Palin states as he briskly resumes business leading a hymn to match his earlier prayer: "Oh Lord, please don't burn us, don't grill or toast your flock, don't put us in your barbecue, or simmer us in your stock..." it goes." The attitude presented in this sketch is symbolic of the attitude portrayed in Monty Python's work. This attitude of insensitivity stems from the transcendentalist view that there is a second perfect world and we live in a less-perfect version of this world controlled by some God contained in the perfect world. This attitude seems to have become less prevalent over time with religiosity on a downward slope, but it still greatly affects today.

With many people still devoting their lives to a deity, Monty Python's The Meaning of Life can help shed some light by critiquing the ridiculous and dangerous distractions that dehumanize us. Among them are religious ideology, class distinction, science, medicine, education, and corporate greed. We are going to focus on religious ideology. Humans have an unfortunate tendency to alienate themselves and other humans from their own happiness by trying to provide happiness to the deity which they have devoted. Some may argue that their happiness stems from pleasing their God, but how can you can truly focus on your own happiness when your so focused on pleasing a god? In The Meaning of Life the poor Yorkshire (Palin) who explains to his brood that "every sperm sacred", following the idea that intercourse is to be used for the exclusive purpose of procreation. Palin must sell his fifty or so children for "medical experiments" because God's command regarding procreation. How can one provide happiness for themselves if pleasing a god requires that procreation be the reason for intercourse leading to a predicament of children which cannot be fed? Who is to feed them? Are the devoted parents to provide for God and the children and themselves? Palin sums this up best when he says"...But if they'd let me wear one of those little rubber things on the end of my cock we wouldn't be in the mess we are now." The father of this family ( and the transcendental moralist) is so focused on upholding the abstract rule of their god, that he causes who knows how much misery and suffering in this world, the real, tangible world containing him and his family, to follow what the other more perfect world suggests we do. This idea of reaching divinity in death crumbles our chance to live a life of happiness in this world.

Transcendental override causes us as humans to have a lack of common sense, human compassion, and evidence of one's self senses are all gone because of the belief that everything is the command of god and you must obey the commands to reach the afterlife divinity. In a section of The Meaning of Life entitled "Death" the Pythons hammer a nail right through this traditional idea of a transcendental soul that travels after death a transcendental place for eternal bliss. They depict Heaven a Vegas-style dinner-theater where "it's nice and warm and everyone looks smart and wears a tie." With this, the Pythons suggest that the strive and struggle for a transcendental death is ridiculous and hardly worth striving for. As the Buddha argues repeatedly, belief in a soul or a God or anything eternal and otherworldly actually interferes with our more immediate and pressing responsibilities to each other as human beings.

For your viewing pleasure:
My all time favorite Monty Python sketch: The Pet Shop and The Dead Parrot

                   Source: Monty Python and Philosophy by Hardcastle and Reisch
Links to comments:


  1. I like that you included a video.

    1. Me too, but I'd also like for our comments to be a bit more substantive than that.

    2. "belief in a soul or a God or anything eternal and otherworldly actually interferes with our more immediate and pressing responsibilities to each other as human beings" - This may be so for some believers, but there are others whose belief actually enhances and deepens their sense of human obligation and commitment. It's dangerous to generalize about the meaning of transcendental belief... but admittedly hilarious, in the Pythons' hands.