Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Abstract Mortality...with Peter Faulk

How do we make our decisions? People have been trying to answer the question for many years, dogs years even, and for a part, they have answered it. We make our decisions with a complex mix of weighing options, experience, trial and error and personal responsibility.

However, one little thing always seems to get in the way, a pesky little thing called a conscience. Little bastard that it is, it brings something called morals into the whole process, meaning that there is a distinct difference between the cold, calculating decisions we could make, and the decisions we do make every day, all the time. Thoughts are the gateway to decision, and if there is one thing that everybody does, its over think. Unless you're an idiot. In what must be the most ridiculous segway, here's a blog about the 1987 German film Der Himmel ├╝ber Berlin, also known as Wings of Desire, directed by Wim Wenders, and written by Peter Handke and Wim Wenders. Bam. Love it.

Angels are a fickle thing to portray in any forms of cinematic representation. Its difficult to show them without them being either omnipotent jackasses or emotionless vegetables that spout philosophical wisdom until they exit stage left. Handke seems to portray a type of angelic figure that is if not the truest, certainly the most interesting. The Angels, named Damiel and Cassiel wander around, listening to the thoughts of the people of Berlin, examining what they think about, their moral discourses and their way of life. The movie brushes over several people, showing their worries and obsessions, such as a heartbroken man, and a pregnant woman, but on top of this, they pay particular attention to certain citizens of Berlin in order to focus in on the different parts of the human condition. They encounter an old man named Homer, who parallels the ancient poet, whilst completely opposing him at the same time (Homer focused on poems of War, whereas this old man is designated a man of peace), a suicidal man, and for some reason, Peter Faulk, as Peter Faulk, who is for some reason a former Angel. No one said it was simple.

One of the Angels, Damiel, falls in love with a fair maiden at a Circus, and longs to be with her. Luckily, Peter Fulk is there to explain that he used to be an Angel himself, and indeed turned into a human, showing that the goal mortality is one that is very much in reach, and Damiel decides to take the plunge. It is in this we see what the Angels have been longing for, and the choice that they must make. In sacrificing their immortality, they are granted the pleasures of humanity; taste, touch, interaction, pain, love and colours. The movie, whilst focusing mostly on how humanity is dry and worrisome, contained within its own winding thoughts, shows the privilege of existence. How truly blessed we are to feel, taste, interact and create. Its harrowing.

The decision that The Angel Damiel made to become human is one that can be looked at as one of stupidity, given that he was once immortal, but it is impossible for us to know what it is like to not feel, to not be able to interact, and so we must realise that we are blessed. We must stop overthinking, and simply enjoy being human.

Otherwise, you might go crazy, and then you and everyone around you is screwed.

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