Re: If Rohit is Truman, who are we?

I Find Karma (
Tue, 9 Jun 1998 00:29:19 -0700

Dan Kohn wrote:
> Had anyone else gotten the Rohit Khare is Truman Burbank meme? He's the
> only real one, and we're just gathered around to give his life a patina
> of meaning.

I'd buy it in a sort of Biblical Job, "the universe was carefully
constructed to mock a single person" kind of way.

That movie was teeming with metaphors. Perhaps Adam and Eve weren't
actually expelled from the Garden of Eden; maybe they chose to be
dissidents and leave of their own free will.

Rohit wrote:
> I have a hypothesis there will be Truman people and Christof people:
> whom do you immediately have the most sympathy for? How hard is it to
> live in a world for one man, or to create it?

It's hard to have sympathy for the manipulators trying to control
everything. And it's also hard to have sympathy for the naive bumblers
who are too self-involved to figure out what's really happening to them.

Rohit also wrote:
> Yeah, it moved me, even if it's possible better movies could be edited and
> plotted out of the same premise. (they also deserve credit for resisting
> the temptation to explore more of the outside world --- only a book could
> do that well, a la Contact. The screen canvas widens at its peril: look
> at how small the cast was for *creating* this meta illusion!)

Actually, I was disappointed by that. I never really found myself
believing that this could actually happen, perhaps partially because of
the parsimony of the screenplay. Also, there were no zingers, no
interesting dialogue -- which I guess is the point: in real life, as in
FoRKposts such as this, there are no interesting dialogues. That
interesting dialogue that is witty and urbane is yet another false
construction aimed at manipulating people through language and/or images.

> Most of all, though, I asked: what do you do for the 97% of life that's
> utterly and totally uninteresting?

That's the main point, Rohit: there's nothing you can do. You can try
to fill your void with all manner of so-called interesting stuff, but
all you're doing is hiding more reality from yourself: that growing up
is about self-realization, and self-realization comes from careful
introspection, not from keeping busy.

A FoRKer recently reminded me of the shortsightedness I often have in
being so adamant in my theory of One Person for a Lifetime. He said
maybe he could create more overall happiness through several long-term
relationships than he could perhaps with just one.

Which brings us back to Elwood, the rumors of whose death have (still)
been greatly exaggerated. When you get right down to it, how many roads
MUST a man walk down? Is the point of life lots of varied
relationships, or a few quality relationships, or lots of quality
relationships? Because the utility function changes based on which
strategy you shoot for, and time as the only finite resource still
greatly affects your outcomes.

I spent a great deal of my life pursuing lots of varied relationships,
and I probably will continue to do so because it's my nature. When I
say varied, I mean some good, some bad, and some very ugly
relationships. Some start well, some end well, some I hope are keepers.
But my goal is a few quality relationships, and I keep introspecting to
attempt to reconcile this goal with the way I actually behave.

> Yesterday, for example, was a thoroughly ordinary evening out on the town
> with a wonderful woman and witty conversation and wacky cliches.

So what you're saying here is that you use us to complain when things go
badly for you in your mind, by broadcasting to the 80something of us and
the rest of the world via the web how miserable you want us to think you

> It must have been such a totally prosaic slice of contentment I can't
> begin to imagine boring y'all with details.

Now you've decided you have qualms about boring us with details?
Just as the story started to get interesting? You were accepted.
You were out with someone who enjoyed your company.

You filled the void that once was your social life.

I think it's because you have no personal dissatifaction that you feel
no compelling need to write. It has nothing to do with boring us with
details. Writers for the most part need to be miserable, because misery
inspires creativity and misery inspires one's desire to log.

When I'm happy I don't feel like writing. I feel like perpetuating my
happy state. And so it is (IMHO) for you, Rohit. Perhaps the only
thing worse than thinking the universe exists to mock you is thinking
that FoRK is performance art. It isn't. It's 80something opinions on
any given subject (90something opinions if that subject has to do with
nuclear testing, the environment, or economic theory...), 80something
philosophies on living life, 80something ways to react to any given

Perhaps the entire paranoid delusional Descartesque fantasy Truman has
of just him and a malicious, omnipresent deity (with the rest of us just
subsidiary "extras" unnoticed and uncredited) is just the cruddy
Nietzschesque philosophy of the "botched and the bungled" taken to the
extreme. We are not a world of supermen. We are all just human, and at
this point in the history of the universe, that's all anyone could hope
for. You-all means a race or a section, family, party, tribe, or clan;
you-all means the whole connection of the individual man. The delicate
interconnectedness of things means that each individual has its place.
Self-importance exists only in small minds.

Oh, by the way, this was my first day at Microsoft. Resistance was
futile, so I didn't bother fight it. I have been assimilated.
I really like it here.


Mohandas Gandhi's Seven Blunders of the World: Wealth without work;
Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce
without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice;
Politics without principle.