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Monday, October 4, 2010

Alive and Dreaming? Or Dead and Remembering?

I'm not sure what everyone's musical preferences are but mine are pretty varied. While I'm not a big rap, or heavy metal fan, my tastes rest somewhere in between. This isn't a music blog, so I won't go into detail, but I came across a song by the band Metallica called "One". And listening to the video version of the song really made my philisophical nerves tingle. So I did the same thing when I first heard Pink Floyd's Darkside of the Moon, I put on my headphones, turned out all the lights, and listened to the song on repeat for like and hour. If you haven't heard the song or watched the movie that its based on, let me explain... A movie called "Johnny Got His Gun" is about a young guy who's shipped off to go fight in World World I. Leaving his father and girlfriend behind, he promises he'll return and is then carted off. Well in the dark, gritty trenches of WWI, his unit is ambushed by presumably German mortars. They scatter, and Johnny bunkers down in a small fox hole trying to wait out the shelling. Unfortunately a stray shell falls insanely close to him virtually shredding him apart. His broken, burnt, and torn body is taken to a vets hospital, where they over look his condition. Surprisiningly he's still alive, but whats left of his arms, and legs must be cut off. And his face is mangled beyond repair. In short, he's lost his mouth, nose, eyes, and ears. Basically his face is scooped out, with only his mind left. For all purposes he's just now a slab of meat. The doctors, mistakenly suggest to the military that because he's been so badly broken that he can no longer feel anything. Saying that he will be as "Unfeeling, unthinking as the dead, until the day he joins them". Basically they think his mind is lost as well as his senses. But they are obviously mistaken. So, try to picture if you can, being stuck in a hospital bed, no arms or legs, and no way to hear, see, speak or smell. You couldn't communicate your message to anyone, and they couldn't tell if you were even trying to say something. So the whole movie for the most part takes place in Johnny's mind. He travels through his memories, and tries to find a way out of his prison. But when he wakes up, all he see's is blackness anyway, so he soon can't tell when he's sleeping, or awake, it all looks the same. This idea of being trapped in yourself, fascinated me. I couldn't even fathom how frustrating and hard that must be, to have no ability to move, communicate or atleast hear, while strapped to a bed. The movie has some bizarre scenes that make the journey even more surreal. His memories are tampered by desires, and the need to escape himself. He talks with his father (well atleast the memory of his father) and he tells Johnny that he can figure a way out of this prison. He tells him just to use his head. This clever pun, is brought to life, with Johnny, tapping at Morse Code with his head, his only remaining appendage. I won't spoil the ending, for those of you who haven't seen it, because its indeed a powerful ending... But the idea of being only with your brain and more importantly your mind, was seductive. Take a look at the video here:

Now this brings me to my point... Lets say this event took place, in the future. Where we had the techonolgy of transplanting human brains. So Johnny gets hit by a mortar, or whatever weapon of the future exists. And instead of keeping him in a hospital bed they give him a new body, that looks completely identical. Would he still be Johnny? Or did the real Johnny die when they removed his brain from his broken old body? Anyway, enjoy the song and I'll see you next week!

1 comment:

  1. This is some Karl Pilkington crazy going on here... or is it genius? Only time shall tell!