Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Section 10- Installment 2: Monty Python and Death

In Installment 1, we looked at how the Python's take on the meaning of life through transcendentalism and other worldly powers. Now we will go beyond life and examine how the Pythons explain death through their comedic ways. Consider the fish swimming in the tank during the beginning of Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. During this scene, the fish in the tank notice their fellow fish Howard being eaten. It seems as though this moment makes the fish question the meaning of life but can seemingly make no connections between Howard's demise and their own eventual fates.

It appears to me that the Python's want us to understand that death could possibly provide an alternate account of what the meaning of life really is. To some, death is untimely end to a prosperous life and to other death is a new beginning as they pass on to a more perfect world. On a rendition of this idea by Martin Heidegger, he looks to seek understanding of life in terms of its end, death, where it is more or less seen as a goal, not to use those terms interchangeably, to reach. So it follows that one must understand death in order to understand life.

Socrates says that the art of living, philosophy itself, "learning how to die", meaning that death is at the very least our only obvious ending point in this life; so, knowing this might help us live a fuller life in the mean time. Although imperfect, this analogy provides a means to enjoy the time you have. If you know you only have three weeks in Paris, you might take more advantage of that time you are there.

But might the Pythons have accomplished a major "postmodern" mission: the domestication of "the death of God", that is, the loss of God as a source for the meaning of life? This death could then accepted comfortably and as God went down so shall we, on our journey to some place better.
"I'd suggest that the Pythons help us to glide through the seriousness of theological atheism, past  the mortuary of existential despair, to what some might call eliminative "comedyism", which comes from the idea of eliminative materialism as brought forth by Rene Descartes."

Is a major dimension of the "real" journey from piety to laughter? Without thinking to long or deeply about it, what in fact could be meaningless? As the Pythons may suggest, such an idea is worth a few laughs. And such chuckles might serve as unexpected hints regarding the meaning of life after life. Ludwig Wittgenstein once remarked that those who seemed to have solved the riddle of life seldom had anything to say regarding what the riddle was. But Wittgenstein did not say those who are liberated did not laugh. Maybe this is exactly what they did, maybe the Pythons have known the meaning of life this whole time, leaving only their comedic sketches for us to unravel the riddle ourselves.

Stay safe out there with this quick tip from the Pythons...

If you'd like a full self-defense lesson from the Pythons click here!

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