Eternal sunshine of the morally stainless mind

By Michael Gakuran | | Journal | 2 Comments |

[*Spoiler notice to those who haven’t seen the film ‘Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind’ – Please wait until seeing it before reading this so I don’t spoil anything ^_^*]

I’m sure there’ll be more than a few writings about the new Jim Carrey film including the quote by Alexander Pope’s poem ‘Eloisa to Abelard’, so I’ll plug it here as well:

“How happy is the blameless Vestal’s lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sun-shine of the spotless mind!
Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resigned.”

It hardly seems worthwhile musing over this film after reading the excellent explanation by *James Bowman*. He explains a lot of the background – like the term ‘spotless’ implies ‘without moral stain’ in the poem – which I can only assume is largely correct, but I did find one of the most prominent messages of the film that he mentioned was worth my own thoughts: ‘sub specie aeternitatis’ – ‘under the aspect of eternity’.

Once realising their paths are crossing for a second time, Joel and Clementine become aware both of what they feel at present (attraction) and have an indication of what they would feel, and in actuality, already did (petty bitterness). It reminds me of one Religious Studies lesson where we were ruminating about God’s omniscience (as you do). Mr Broomfield had Rob stand on the centre desk and positioned three of the rest of us at different points along an imaginary line, all facing the same direction; past, present and future. Rob was God, presumably sitting on his high cloud, looking down at the three personifications of the self walking along a road. Effectively what he was demonstrating was that Rob could see all of us simultaneously from an objective perspective, whereas the different time periods could only look back at each other from a relative perspective. (For the purpose of this example, just assume that present could see future in front of him, but would need to view his face in order to actually know ‘the future’. Make sense? I thought not. o.O;).

Well, it’s a lot easier to understand when you’re actually watching it performed, or in it for that matter :P. But to make the point: Joel and Clementine are given the opportunity to see themselves in a future position, somewhat like God would from an objective perspective, and as such it resembles a moral epiphany of some sort: A new understanding and acceptance of each other, being able to view their happy memories and petty fights in one glance. If you were given this sort of perspective, it wouldn’t be hard to come to the conclusion that the amassed tension created by all the squabbles is actually no contest to the love you both have, right?

Okay, so it is simplified and it assumes every difficulty is but a minor mêlée in the long scheme of a relationship, but I would imagine (perhaps naively?) that the majority of problems are minor. I guess that while, in reality, it probably wouldn’t serve to stop conflict occurring in the future, the very knowledge and awareness that difficulties will happen from the start of the relationship means people can be more prepared for it. But hey, it’s like trying to swim through tar here, having never been in the situation myself. I’m just musing that complete acceptance of the other person, their faults and all, may by a key thing to getting over potential problems. Didn’t I write something like this in a ‘what is love’ themed post some time ago..?

2 comments on “Eternal sunshine of the morally stainless mind
  1. docdaneeka says:

    …it makes sense now ^_^

  2. docdaneeka says:

    …it makes sense now ^_^

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