Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Modern Cave

In Philosophy we started watching The Truman Show, a 1998 film with Jim Carrey, and I really don't have words that do it justice. For anyone who hasn't seen it, it's essentially about the reality television show of Truman Burbank, who's played by Jim Carrey. However, Truman doesn't know his entire life is a television show that is broadcasted live 24/7 around the world. He was "the first baby every adopted by a corporation."Everyone around him, including his wife, are actors. His hometown is a set built under a arcological dome that is completely controlled by the producers, and is so huge it "can be seen from space." It's kind of like inception. It's a world within a world. The only one who doesn't know, however, is Truman. 
While the show is a monumental success (they literally incorporate product advertisements into Truman's everyday conversations), some people see how frankly messed up it is. While defending the show, the creator Christof states, "If he was absolutely determined to discover the truth, there's no way we could prevent him. I think what distresses you is that, ultimately, Truman prefers his cell." After this scene Father Millican asked what this made us think of and right away Plato's Allegory of the Cave came to mind. After realizing how the world he lives in revolves around him, Truman attempts to discover what is going on (we haven't finished watching, so I'm not sure if he does). However, after the producers thwart his original attempts to discover the truth, he becomes discouraged and thinks he is the crazy one. 
This movie is very much a modernized version of Allegory of the Cave. Truman struggles to make the decision between remaining in his ignorant bliss (in the cave) or discovering the truth (venture into the light). I am just in awe of this film. 

5 comments:

Samantha Gillen said...

I can't even count the number of times I've watched the Truman Show. It's one of my families favorite movies. For any of you who have been to Seaside over spring break, they filmed most of the movie there. In some regards it is definitely like Plato's Allegory of the Cave; I never thought about it like that. The world Truman knows is only a projection of the actual world we live in. The small dome he lives in is equal to the cave in Plato's Allegory. Now, of course, the people and objects in the show aren't merely shadows, but the director puts them into the show in order to exemplify the essence of reality. So, they are equivalent to the shadows in that they aren't their true selves but instead are projections of reality. Truman has a fear of water, too, because his father "dies" in a thunderstorm while they are sailing. I say "dies" because the director only makes Truman think his father has died. In this way the director plays a sort of God, taking away life and controlling Truman's perspective of what reality is.

Kincy GIbson said...
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Kincy GIbson said...

I think I have seen this movie. I remember the end and feeling really bad for Truman. I remember wondering how his wife and everyone around him could morally go along with the director's wishes. First of all, I would never fake marry someone, but if I did, I would have to tell them. I now understand why Plato thinks it's someone's duty to enlighten others. I felt so bad for Truman that I decided I didn't like the movie because no one ever told him the truth until he was an adult.

Amy Clement said...

I haven't seen this movie, but from Brooke and Samantha's description, it definitely seems like a modern day Allegory the Cave. I think Plato's allegory pops up often in literature. This reminds me of a book I read when I was in middle school called Running Out of Time. It's about a teenage girl living in the 1800's, until all of a sudden a disease breaks out in her tiny village. Her mom finally tells her that they are actually in the 1990's, and the girl needs to escape the village to find a cure. It makes her question reality of every aspect of her situation.

Joseph D'Amico said...

I absolutely love the Truman Show. I haven't seen it in a really long time, but the plot is just so memorable. I can't say I've ever thought of it as a modern version of the allegory of the gave, but you make some good points. I think I might rewatch that movie soon.