Chuck Lorre's Vanity Card about Individual Consciousness

[Contact Me] | [FAQ]

[Some "Dougisms" Defined]

[About Dickens of a Blog]

[Jump to Site Links]

Summary: Chuck Lorre apparently released a vanity card when he talks about individuals versus the collective unconscious, and how the illusion of aloneness leads to self-destruction. People are trying to read a lot into it, but seem to be missing the point...

BLOT: (01 Mar 2011 - 10:22:14 AM)

Chuck Lorre's Vanity Card about Individual Consciousness

Let me start off with one important note: I do not understand Hollywood. Which is kind of like saying that I do not understand celebrity, also true, but this is a sub-clause to that corollary: I specifically do not get the weird ins-and-outs of Hollywood like meltdowns, recriminations, and slap-fests. Neither do I care to be properly elucidated. The Charlie Sheen vs. Chuck Lorre thing? I don't know. I do know that people criticized the utter shit out of the people behind Two and a Half Men for not doing something about Sheen's various escapades (no links, just wander into any celebrity news site and it is there somewhere). I found out, from from the same article I am about to quote, that Chuck Lorre took a jab with "If Charlie Sheen outlives me, I am going to be really pissed" in a thing that he does, "vanity cards", which show up at the end of his sitcoms. I tried reading a couple of them once, decided I was not particularly into Lorre's "trapped in a perpetual state of childish calamity while thrust against major life decisions" humor*—my time watching, and growing largely tired of, Big Bang Theory notwithstanding—and so considered them a time generally best spent heading off to find other things to occupy my time.

The article above quoted a recent vanity card which was Lorre's response to things that Sheen said back at him. I found it interesting, even though a lot of the response has to been to over-analyze and/or mock it:

I believe that consciousness creates the illusion of individuation, the false feeling of being separate. In other words, I am aware, ergo I am alone. I further believe that this existential misunderstanding is the prime motivating force for the neurotic compulsion to blot out consciousness. This explains the paradox of our culture, which celebrates the ego while simultaneously promoting its evisceration with drugs and alcohol. It also clarifies our deep-seated fear of monolithic, one-minded systems like communism, religious fundamentalism, zombies and invaders from Mars. Each one is a dark echo of an oceanic state of unifying transcendence from which consciousness must, by nature, flee. The Fall from Grace is, in fact, a Sprint from Grace. Or perhaps more accurately, "Screw Grace, I am so outta here!"

I am not a particular fan of his summation of all self-destructive behavior as a defense mechanism against our ratiocinations about loneliness. I think, frankly, most of us are not really aware of such things. To quote him, "I am aware, therefore I am alone" is something that some of us deal with, and some of us who deal with it end up going off the deep end of drug abuse, psychosis, murder, whatever; but then you have exceptions on both sides. I am also not sure if I dig his summary axiom that aloneness is an illusion. I am neither a top-down [increased individuation] nor bottom-up [pure atomism] sort. I think the whole and the parts simultaneously exist. There is one, and there are many [of a type], at the same time. In this light, we are utterly alone, but we are alone with a universe filled with alone things, and therefore I find commiseration to be perhaps the finest of human endeavors. Which is sort of the drunken way of misquoting the famous, and beautiful, "The universe is cruel, how can we be anything but kind?"

But in principle, what he says is fine for what it is. We are aware, therefore we find ourselves feeling alone. We drive out the highest peaks of consciousness through self-destructive behaviors, and I would say through pro-id behaviors, though I am not so much against pro-id behaviors as think they need to be tempered, and we often do this socially. This leads us to the paradox of being both destroyed by our sense of aloneness, but also terrified by a sense of losing that aloneness. In the end, we do not merely succumb to our self-destruction, we seek it, and then delight in it.

I am not sure what is actually so hard to understand about that. Flawed, perhaps, but not nonsensical.

* I would wager this is the major mode of most sitcoms and so I should not mock it too outrightly, but somehow there seems to be a line between Lorre's delight in exposing the chasm through his characters and the delight of those like Edgar Wright who, in Spaced, had characters learning to leap the chasm.

LABEL(s): on Life


Written by Doug Bolden

For those wishing to get in touch, you can contact me in a number of ways

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The longer, fuller version of this text can be found on my FAQ: "Can I Use Something I Found on the Site?".

"The hidden is greater than the seen."