The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight

Posted on Sep 14th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Explorer Marmalade
The Dark Knight  

(My review is at the end.)  

Official Warner Bros. Dark Knight Website  

Wikipedia Dark Knight Movie Entry  

Rotten Tomatoes
95% rating  

IMDb
9.1 out of 10 stars
#3 of the top 250 movies as rated by users  

Metacritic
Critics: 82 out of 100 rating
Users: 9 out of 10 rating  

Box Office Mojo
Users have given it the highest rating of any movie.
Widest release of any movie.
Largest opening weekend gross and largest total gross.  

Review from The New York Times
  

http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/07/18/movies/18knig.html  

Viral marketing
  

http://www.ibelieveinharveydent.com/  

http://whysoserious.com/itsallpartoftheplan/  

http://www.thegothamtimes.com/page1.htm  

http://www.superherohype.com/news/topnews.php?id=6970  

http://www.rotheblog.com/movie-reviews/the-gotham-times-now-online/  

http://www.cinematical.com/2007/11/24/holy-dark-knight-viral-sites-batman/  

http://www.firstshowing.net/2008/03/26/updates-on-the-dark-knights-viral-campaign-new-gotham-times/  

http://www.firstshowing.net/2008/03/31/latest-on-the-dark-knight-viral-clown-travel-agency-and-april-1st/  

http://www.firstshowing.net/2007/12/05/the-dark-knights-viral-marketing-gets-very-real-cakes-cell-phones-and-all/  

http://www.firstshowing.net/2008/03/28/why-the-dark-knights-viral-marketing-is-absolutely-brilliant/  

History Channel Batman Unmasked: The Psychology of the Dark Knight  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6MzqoubRAo  

Interesting Blogs

The following blogs are from other blogging sites, but if you do a search you can find some blog reviews of this movie also here on Gaia.  

http://cielos.wordpress.com/2008/07/02/the-influences-of-the-dark-knight-part-1/  

http://cielos.wordpress.com/2008/09/03/the-dark-knight-westerns-film-noir-and-horror/  

http://cielos.wordpress.com/2008/08/17/the-dark-knight-vigilantism-law-and-terrorism/  

http://cielos.wordpress.com/2008/06/15/war-on-terror-of-chris-nolan%e2%80%99s-batman/  

http://cielos.wordpress.com/2008/07/28/the-dark-knight-politics-strike-back/  

http://cielos.wordpress.com/2008/08/09/half-batman-half-two-face/  

http://cielos.wordpress.com/2008/08/05/the-dark-knight-the-joker-the-devil-and-dogs/  

http://seeker65.wordpress.com/2008/07/19/the-dark-knights-joker-is-a-mystical-trickster-not-mad-super-villain/  

http://goatmilk.wordpress.com/2008/07/15/the-dark-knight-movie-review-the-dark-knight-ascends/  

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/reviews/article-1037123/Holy-Moly-Batmans-big-noise–loses-plot.html  

http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/talk/2008/07/the-politics-of-the-dark-knigh.php  

TV Tropes

This is the best site I’ve come across that analyzes the patterns found in various media.  

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DarkKnightTrilogy?from=Main.TheDarkKnight  

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/JustBugsMe/DarkKnightTrilogy  

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/JustBugsMe/TheDarkKnight  

Frank Miller’s Comic Dark Knight

Here is an article that gives good background about Frank Miller’s comic that the movie was based upon.  This movie is part of a larger storyline.  

http://comics.ign.com/articles/595/595592p1.html  

Cultural and Philosophical Origins of Batman

Here is a very interesting thesis titled The Mythic Symbols of Batman which describes the origins of Batman.  

http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/ETD/image/etd2158.pdf  


 
Marmalade’s Review of Dark Knight  

The first thing that someone should know about this movie is that its for the most part a typical Hollywood action flick.  I’m not a big fan of action flicks and I strongly dislike certain aspects of this movie.  Some of the scenes are quite contrived and some of the characters are extremely stereotyped.  Nonetheless, its relatively speaking a very good movie for an action flick.  I must admit, though, I prefer the movie Batman Begins, but Dark Knight definitely would be my second favorite of the Batman movies.  

I’m a fan of Christian Bale.  His acting in Batman Begins made Batman real to me.  Previously, I always connected Batman to the cheesy tv show that I watched as a kid and the cheesy Batman movies that came before.  In Batman Begins, there was actual character development.  It finally made sense to me why a rich white guy would want to wear a funny costume and beat up criminals.  

Some prefer Heath Ledger’s portray of the Joker.  I admit it was entertaining, but I didn’t think it was all that great… not to speak ill of the dead.  Heath Ledger didn’t make the Joker seem real in the way that Christian Bale made Batman seem real.  Heath Ledger’s Joker was a stereotypical madman.  This Joker lacked subtle psychological nuance and lacked character development.  This Joker was intended to be more of an archetype than a character, but even as an archetype I was left unsatisfied.  Heath Ledger does seem to be a good actor, but I wouldn’t consider his acting in this case to be all that original.  His acting here seemed to be directly based off of David Tennant‘s portrayal of Barty Crouch Jr in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  The whole lip-licking thing became annoying after awhile.  To be fair, however, Heath Ledger was probably just playing the character according to script.  Comic book villains aren’t known for their depth and complexity.  

As for Batman, his character also had its annoying aspects.  It seemed rather far-fetched Batman’s unwillingness to kill anyone.  The Joker is willing to kill anyone and everyone, but Batman isn’t willing to kill the Joker even to save innocent lives.  Batman has highspeed chases through crowded city streets and sidewalks.  In real life, this would lead to the injury and death of large numbers of bystanders.  Anyways, I find these kind of action flick car chases rather boring and predictable.  

Despite my criticisms, I did enjoy the movie.  Its quality entertaiment and the portrayal of Gotham is interesting.  Most of all, I liked the themes and ideas of the movie.  Joker’s viewpoint of there being two types of people added an interesting context.  I appreciated the moral complexity of the film.  I very much prefer a comic book hero such as Batman over one such as Superman.  I’ve always been a fan of the tragic hero, and this movie adds a depth to the theme of the superhero’s split personality.  

Basically, if you like superhero movies, then you’ll like this movie.  Even if you don’t like most superhero movies, I’d still recommend this movie as its much better than the normal fare.  Also, this movie has a lot to say about where our culture is and how our culture views itself.  Heck, go see it just to find out what all the hype is about.


  
* This review can also be found on the Community Film Picks (zFilms) Group.  Here is the link to the thread:  9/14/08 “OLD” — The Dark Knight


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Nicole : wakingdreamer
about 6 hours later

Nicole said

well, you did it! :):)

Have you seen Hot Fuzz – not the kind of movie I’d normally watch, way too much violence but surprisingly funny at parts http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/hot_fuzz/#

It’s amazing to me that i found something I could enjoy with my 18 year old son who loves action movies and horror films…

I only mention it because it’s the only thing I’ve seen recently, besides Nim’s Island which I also watched yesterday because of my 11 year old daughter 🙂 . Jody Foster did well in it despite the many challenges the premise, script and supporting actor (Gerald Butler with accent issues lol) presented.

Marmalade : Gaia Child
about 13 hours later

Marmalade said

I did it… I waited to the last possible moment, but I did it.  I was really feeling reluctant.  Maybe it was the whole deadline thing that was killing my motivation.  I could have, of course, done more with analyzing the film.  I wrote down a bunch of thoughts about the movie, but I decided to leave most of them out and just give a simple overall review.  I had researched all those links several weeks ago and so I just needed to organize them.  It still took me a couple of hours.

Yeah, I’ve seen Hot Fuzz.  I enjoyed it.  It had a great plot twist.  Have you seen Shaun of the Dead?  It was written and directed by the same people.  That movie is a zombie movie and so isn’t lacking in violence, but heck they’re zombies afterall.  Its quite humorous.

I’m not all that interested in most action films and horror movies, but as long as the story and acting are good enough I don’t care what the genre is.  I don’t mind violence as long as its an integral part of the plot.  There are certain kinds of violence I can’t stand.  I dislike movies that glorify violence or dwell upon it without giving any deeper insight.  The violence in The Dark Knight was a bit gratuitous, but its to be expected from that kind of movie.

I hadn’t even heard of Nim’s Island before you mentioned it.  I doubt I’ll be watching it unless it happens to be on when I’m visiting my niece.

  Phaedrus : Jedi  

Re: 9/14/08 “OLD” — The Dark Knight

Phaedrus said Dec 26, 2008, 7:07 AM:

  First off, let me start with saying that I really enjoyed this movie.  Probably one of the most powerful sections of the movie occurs when the Joker is being held by the police and Batman is allowed to interrogate him; that scene makes a point that is often overlooked by many I think, and it’s a point that I’ve made in my classroom after watching that scene via YouTube. (If you haven’t seen the movie, then watch the clip if you’d like to know what I’m talking about.)

This scene is an amazing demonstrator of the futility of violence.  In spite of all of his prowess and skill, Batman’s tools are still limited; a fact pointed out and actively demonstrated by the Joker in this scene.  Joker is incredibly good at getting inside the Batman’s head, and pushing his buttons.  Finally, after realizing that intimidation and threats won’t work, the Batman resorts to violence, and the Joker takes great delight in pointing out that even that is ineffective, and finally gives in and tells the Batman what he wants to know, not because he is essentially tortured and/or intimidated into telling him, but simply because it furthers the Joker’s own end.  To me, this makes the movie more than a simple action flick, and deserving of one of the best scripts of 2008.

Spinner
  Will : Divine Intention  

Re: 9/14/08 “OLD” — The Dark Knight

Will said Dec 26, 2008, 9:49 AM:

  …I loved the movie too…but one inconsistency that jumped out at me was…

…Joker was the quintesential Master of Caos that espoused the virtues of not having a plan…

…then I remembered the first scene where the bank heist was carried off with detailed planning …

…I’m thinking…hey who is talking out of both upturned corners of his mouth ?…

Spinner
  1Vector3 : "Relentless Wisdom"  

Re: 9/14/08 “OLD” — The Dark Knight

1Vector3 said Dec 26, 2008, 3:03 PM:

  Wow, Todd, thanks for pointing out those lessons !!!!

And Will, glad you brought that up; isn’t it SOP (standard operating procedure) for the DF to “talk out of both sides of their mouth?” Inconsistency is one of their tools. As I said elsewhere, lying, deceit and trickery are what we can EXPECT from them. Absolutely nothing is to be trusted, even their utterances of what we consider Truth will have some distortion, some dark under-energy, some nefarious goal.

Blessings, OM

Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick

Posted on May 13th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Explorer Marmalade
Since I’ve been talking so much about Philip K. Dick lately, I figured I might as well dedicate a blog entry solely to him.

PKD Quotes:

Spinoza saw … that if a falling stone could reason, it would think, ‘I want to fall at the rate of thirty-two feet per second per second.’

Giving me a new idea is like handing a cretin a loaded gun, but I do thank you anyhow, bang, bang.

Can anyone alter fate? All of us combined…or one great figure…or someone strategically placed, who happens to be in the right spot. Chance. Accident. And our lives, our world, hanging on it.

How did I get here? The pain so unexpected and undeserved and for some reason cleared away the cobwebs. I realized I didn’t hate the cabinet door, I hated my life my house, my family. My backyard, my power mower. Nothing would ever change, nothing new would ever be expected; it had to end, and it did. Now in the dark world where I dwell ugly things and surprising things, and sometimes little wonderous things spill out at me constantly, and I can count on nothing.

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.

We hypostasize information into objects. Rearrangement of objects is change in the content of the information; the message has changed. This is a language which we have lost the ability to read. We ourselves are a part of this language; changes in us are changes in the content of the information. We ourselves are information-rich; information enters us, is processed and is then projected outwards once more, now in an altered form. We are not aware that we are doing this, that in fact this is all we are doing.

Each of us assumes everyone else knows what HE is doing. They all assume we know what WE are doing. We don’t…Nothing is going on and nobody knows what it is. Nobody is concealing anything except the fact that he does not understand anything anymore and wishes he could go home.

The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick by R. Crumb

 
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Nicole : wakingdreamer

40 minutes later

Nicole said

we haven’t spoken yet about how deeply Blade Runner has affected me over the years. I think about it a lot, about the many disturbing implications of manufactured people who have to be hunted down and killed, about the “media-soaked culture” as one of your above film clips says, about the push to go off-world… there is so, so much there… if you ever want to discuss it, i’m up for it.

anyway, thanks for this. the more i think about him the more i realise that yes he was an exceptional and influential SF writer.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 1 hour later

Marmalade said

I own a copy of Blade Runner.  I should watch it again… maybe with the commentary track on.  One of the books I’ve been reading lately mentions that movie and so I have been thinking about it some.  I’m in the process of taking notes from the book in order to write a review about it.  If you’re up for more discussion, I’m game.  It will give me a chance to think out some of the ideas from that book.

Did you watch the first video?  Seeing an actual android of PKD is kinda creepy.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 2 hours later

Nicole said

good! good! you watch it again, and write a review of the book and stuff and then we’ll discuss, ok?

No, haven’t watched the first video yet, will do now… oh freaky! shivers

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 11 hours later

Marmalade said

It might take me a while longer to get my thoughts together for the book review.  So, I’ll do a separate blog for just the Blade Runner movie.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to get something up tonight after work.

I did just watch the movie again.  Its extremely well done.  My copy of the dvd doesn’t have a commentary track which is too bad.  The commentary track on A Scanner Darkly was nice.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 13 hours later

Nicole said

no rush, buddy, but when it’s up, i will drop by to start discussing it with you.

interesting, i have not yet gotten into the commentary thang… it really enhances the experience for you, eh?

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 20 hours later

Marmalade said

I don’t normally do commentary tracks because most of them are annoying.  i don’t bother with the commentary track unless its a favorite movie.  Too often the commentary is just a director talking about technical details such as camera angles or actors gossiping about eachother.  But some commentaries add a depth of understanding. 

For instance, A Scanner Darkly was nice because it had the director, an actor, and one of PKD’s daughers.  And they actually talked about the ideas of the story and how the film portrayed them.  Linklater seemed to have a good sense of what PKD was about.

On another note, I was thinking about why PKD appeals to some people and not to others.  You felt that A Scanner Darklly was too dark when you watched it at the behest of your son, and that probably isn’t an unusual response.  PKD does a have a slight cynical streak to him… no where as strong as with Burroughs… but still more dark than most people prefer.

PKD brings up more questions than answers, and he does it on purpose.  Speculative fiction, afterall, encourages a questioning mindset.  I for one love questions and I especially love questions that don’t have clear answers.  I’m even fine with the questions themselves being a bit ambiguous.  My friend became strongly interested in PKD and was then turned off after reading the VALIS trilogy.  My friend liked the questions that PKD brought up, but he felt frustrated or disappointed by the lack of clear answers.  He prefers A Course in MIracles(ACIM) which also is Gnostic influenced. 

I also like ACIM because it was one of the major influences of my receptive highschool mind.  Earlier in life, questions without answers bothered me, and I really really wanted answers… and ACIM was very satisfying in the answers it provided… not that it put a stop to my seeking evermore challenging questions.  So, after years of being frustrated by impossible questions, I’ve come to appreciate questions for their own sake and now I prefer the questions over the answers.  In the past, I was passively tortured by questions.  Nowadays, I actively torture myself with great glee.  🙂  And the questions that lead to further questions are my favorite masochistic pleasure.  :)))

Nicole : wakingdreamer

1 day later

Nicole said

I understand now about commentaries – yes I thought they were all technical and self indulgent and annoying, so good to know they can add  depth of understanding. 

I didn’t know that  A Scanner Darkly had the director, an actor, and one of PKD’s daughers. That sounds cool. You helped me understand much more about A Scanner Darkly because of all the background about PKD and now I really appreciate it. Right, he’s not as cynical as Burroughs, but probably few are 🙂 I don’t mind dark as long as there is enough of a redemptive element, which I didn’t feel initially with ASD.

But as you say, bringing up more questions than answers is the essence of speculative fiction. I can see you love questions that don’t have clear answers. 🙂  and even fine with the questions themselves being a bit ambiguous – that’s  what  makes you such an interesting person to be friends with, Ben.

When you say your friend, do you mean Dom? I don’t know that  much about ACIM excet that David was once into it, and that famous quote that everyone thinks is by Nelson Mandela. But I’ve never been interested to look into it – struck me as superficial and New Agey, which may be dismissive and judgmental on my part.

 ACIM sounds like a good place to start though for a teenager, as you describe your response to it. Now prefer the questions over the answers – ok, that is very Rilke, do you know his work?

 You actively torture yourself with great glee.  🙂  And the questions that lead to further questions are your favorite masochistic pleasure.  :))) I love you Ben! You’re a joy.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

1 day later

Marmalade said

You said that you don’t mind dark as long as there is enough of a redemptive element.  Burroughs definitely is skimpy on the redemptive element, but sparks of it show through.  PKD, on the other hand, has more of the redemptive element or at least more hope(or maybe desperation) for it.  Burroughts had a slight element of resignation… whereas PKD was always searching.  PKD didn’t know what to make of his spiritual experiences, but he did ‘believe’ in them in a Gnostic sense.

I’d suspect that you wouldn’t enjoy most of PKD’s writings, but you’d probably enjoy some of it if you were in the right mood.  I have a higher tolerance and enjoyment of the dark because I’ve spent so many years severely depressed.  Some people discover God in the light, but I discovered God in the dark.  I have a special place in my heart for the dark and those that dwell there.

My friend I was referring to isn’t Dom… not someone who even spends much time on the net.  He is a good friend of mine, but he can get frustrated with my endlessly questioning attitude.  He prefers simple answers that can be applied to his life, and I go off in a thousand different tangents that have no practical use beyond my personal amusement and maybe some bits of insight I can share.

ACIM is worth a read if you feel moved to do so, but its not for everyone.  Its a fairly difficult and thick text.  I read it straight through in highschool and its definitely not light reading.  It would probably leave most teenagers bored and confused.  It introduced me to the attitude of seriously questioning reality… it is essentially a Gnostic text(most similar to Valentinianism) and so questioning conventional religious assumptions is par for the course.  It isn’t new age fluff even though some new age fluff commentary has been written about it. 

I’ve returned to it off and on over the years, and it is probably the text that most informs my sense of Christ.  But I don’t feel any particular sense of identification with the ACIM worldview.  I like its answers fine as far as answers go, but like I said I’m even more fond of the questions that can’t be answered by this text or any other.

I really don’t know what my relation is to ACIM besides it being longstanding and ingrained in my psyche.  The first copy of it I read was originally my grandmother’s with her notes in it.  So, it makes me a third generation ACIM reader.  My grandmother must’ve read it when it was newly published because its only a few decades old.

About Rilke, I’ve only read bits and pieces of his work.  I’ve liked what I’ve read, and I might read more of him some day.  I might do lots of things some day.  🙂

Nicole : wakingdreamer

2 days later

Nicole said

Ok, I hear you about PKD having more of the redemptive element or at least more hope(or maybe desperation) for it. I think there is an important distinction, but people are what they are, and with his life, I understand…

“PKD was always searching.  PKD didn’t know what to make of his spiritual experiences, but he did ‘believe’ in them in a Gnostic sense.”

Poor guy. Must have been rough…

“I’d suspect that you wouldn’t enjoy most of PKD’s writings, but you’d probably enjoy some of it if you were in the right mood.  I have a higher tolerance and enjoyment of the dark because I’ve spent so many years severely depressed.  Some people discover God in the light, but I discovered God in the dark.  I have a special place in my heart for the dark and those that dwell there.”

Interesting. I’ve spent years being mildly depressed so it makes me crave light, joy, and fun…  But I deeply respect the way you are, Ben, and it does make sense to me.

“My friend I was referring to isn’t Dom… not someone who even spends much time on the net.  He is a good friend of mine, but he can get frustrated with my endlessly questioning attitude.  He prefers simple answers that can be applied to his life, and I go off in a thousand different tangents that have no practical use beyond my personal amusement and maybe some bits of insight I can share.”

Yes. On the other hand, I delight in your endless questioning, and I suspect you have found other friends who do too. There’s a part of me that is very playful that way, like when I memorised the alphabet backwards for the heck of it. I recited it one day to a friend in the UK and she just looked at me blankly and asked why I had bothered to learn it… 🙂

“ACIM is worth a read if you feel moved to do so, but its not for everyone.  Its a fairly difficult and thick text.  I read it straight through in highschool and its definitely not light reading.  It would probably leave most teenagers bored and confused.”

Right. What I should have said was that it was a good beginning for you and for David, since both of you have long since veered in other directions.

” It introduced me to the attitude of seriously questioning reality… it is essentially a Gnostic text(most similar to Valentinianism) and so questioning conventional religious assumptions is par for the course.  It isn’t new age fluff even though some new age fluff commentary has been written about it.”

Good to know. Thanks for the distinction.

“I’ve returned to it off and on over the years, and it is probably the text that most informs my sense of Christ.  But I don’t feel any particular sense of identification with the ACIM worldview.  I like its answers fine as far as answers go, but like I said I’m even more fond of the questions that can’t be answered by this text or any other.”

Yes, yes :):)

“I really don’t know what my relation is to ACIM besides it being longstanding and ingrained in my psyche.  The first copy of it I read was originally my grandmother’s with her notes in it.  So, it makes me a third generation ACIM reader.  My grandmother must’ve read it when it was newly published because its only a few decades old.”

Wow, that’s too cool, Ben… encoded in your DNA then.

“About Rilke, I’ve only read bits and pieces of his work.  I’ve liked what I’ve read, and I might read more of him some day.  I might do lots of things some day.  :)”

Ok, let’s check in a bit on this, because I’m a huge fan. Have you read the Duino Elegies, Sonnets to Orpheus, Letters to a Young Poet…? For me those are three of his most important works but there are many many assorted poems I have read and loved by him.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

3 days later

Marmalade said

“Ok, I hear you about PKD having more of the redemptive element or at least more hope(or maybe desperation) for it. I think there is an important distinction, but people are what they are, and with his life, I understand…”

There is an important distinction, but it isn’t absolute.  Hope can spring out of desperation, and sometimes hope, when it feels unfulfilled, can lead to desperation.  As such, I’d posit faith as a third option.  I tend to relate hope with belief and desperation as a response to when those beliefs conflict with one’s personal experience.  So, I see faith as neither belief nor the opposite of belief, the loss or lack of belief.

In terms of PKD’s life, he at times felt hopeful and at other times felt desperation, and maybe sometimes even felt a mixture of the two.  On the other hand, PKD’s faith was what drove him and it was a faith based in Gnosis, based in his personal experience.  I’m sure that PKD would’ve resonated with Jung’s statement that he didn’t believe in God, rather he knew.  Even so, PKD would’ve endlessly interpreted what that knowing was and if he was just deluding himself.  I think near the end of his life he was coming closer to being able to just accept his experiences for what they were.

“PKD was always searching.  PKD didn’t know what to make of his spiritual experiences, but he did ‘believe’ in them in a Gnostic sense.”

“Poor guy. Must have been rough…”

I suppose so.  He had hard times, but overall I think that he enjoyed life and felt that he had contributed some good to the world.

I want to show a slightly different side of PKD.  Here is something from Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick by Lawrence Sutin.  This comes from the last few months of his life.

“In late December daughter Isa called long-distance.  Now fifteen years old, she was very nervous about being called on by the teachers at school, and Phil comforted her.  Immediately after the call he wrote her a long letter that he asked her to save—she would understand it better as she grew older.  In it he spoke of the human soul that is not at home in this world.  The answer to the soul’s plight lies in God’s grace.  God intervenes when our burden becomes too great, but only if we call out to God—“this is why not all humans are saved, because not all humans see, ever, in their entire lives, that they live by and through God, and God alone;[…]””

Ok, let’s check in a bit on this, because I’m a huge fan. Have you read the Duino Elegies, Sonnets to Orpheus, Letters to a Young Poet…? For me those are three of his most important works but there are many many assorted poems I have read and loved by him.

My experience with Rilke’s writings is extrememly minimal.  I’ve read quotes and passages here and there over the years.  The only book of his that I remember looking at specifically is Letters to a Young Poet,  but I don’t remember how much of it I read.  Here is the only passage from that book that comes to mind:

“You are looking outside, and that is what you should most avoid right now. No one can advise or help you – no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your while life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to Nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose.”

I like this passage because it does fit my own sense of writing.  I write because I feel a need to do so… even to the point of it feeling like my sense of purpose.  However, when I first read this passage, I wasn’t entirely uncritical of it.  It sounds a bit melodramatic.  People write because they write and not necessarily because they feel they must.  I’m sure some great writings have come about even though the writer didn’t feel compelled.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

4 days later

Nicole said

“There is an important distinction, but it isn’t absolute.”

Good point.

” Hope can spring out of desperation, and sometimes hope, when it feels unfulfilled, can lead to desperation.”

Yes.

 “As such, I’d posit faith as a third option.  I tend to relate hope with belief and desperation as a response to when those beliefs conflict with one’s personal experience.  So, I see faith as neither belief nor the opposite of belief, the loss or lack of belief.”

Good way of looking at it, Ben.

“In terms of PKD’s life, he at times felt hopeful and at other times felt desperation, and maybe sometimes even felt a mixture of the two.  On the other hand, PKD’s faith was what drove him and it was a faith based in Gnosis, based in his personal experience.  I’m sure that PKD would’ve resonated with Jung’s statement that he didn’t believe in God, rather he knew.  Even so, PKD would’ve endlessly interpreted what that knowing was and if he was just deluding himself.  I think near the end of his life he was coming closer to being able to just accept his experiences for what they were.”

Ok, I see.

” He had hard times, but overall I think that he enjoyed life and felt that he had contributed some good to the world.”

That’s important. Good, then.

“I want to show a slightly different side of PKD.  Here is something from Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick by Lawrence Sutin.  This comes from the last few months of his life.

“In late December daughter Isa called long-distance.  Now fifteen years old, she was very nervous about being called on by the teachers at school, and Phil comforted her.  Immediately after the call he wrote her a long letter that he asked her to save—she would understand it better as she grew older.  In it he spoke of the human soul that is not at home in this world.  The answer to the soul’s plight lies in God’s grace.  God intervenes when our burden becomes too great, but only if we call out to God—“this is why not all humans are saved, because not all humans see, ever, in their entire lives, that they live by and through God, and God alone;[…]””

I really see what you mean, Ben. Thanks for sharing this. I have a more balanced picture of him.

“My experience with Rilke’s writings is extrememly minimal.  I’ve read quotes and passages here and there over the years.  The only book of his that I remember looking at specifically is Letters to a Young Poet,  but I don’t remember how much of it I read.  Here is the only passage from that book that comes to mind:
“You are looking outside, and that is what you should most avoid right now. No one can advise or help you – no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your while life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to Nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose.”

“I like this passage because it does fit my own sense of writing.  I write because I feel a need to do so… even to the point of it feeling like my sense of purpose.  However, when I first read this passage, I wasn’t entirely uncritical of it.  It sounds a bit melodramatic.  People write because they write and not necessarily because they feel they must.  I’m sure some great writings have come about even though the writer didn’t feel compelled.”

Yes, I had a similar reaction at first, but over time, I feel that I have a better sense of what he is saying. Remember, too, that he was a Romantic poet, so he has very extreme points of view 🙂

I’d like to know what you think of some of the works of Rilke I’ve blogged – feel free to comment on anything or nothing:

http://singerseeker.gaia.com/blog/search

Of course, my special favourites are Duino Elegies and Letters (the passage I excerpted on love to respond to Jay in the God Pod was also from the Letters)

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

4 days later

Marmalade said

I just checked out your blogs about Rilke… and, boy oh boy, you do have a number of them.  🙂  Since you mentioned Duinos Elegies and Letters, I’ll start with your blogs about those.  But that still is 13 blogs from my count.  I think you have more blogs on Rilke than I have altogether.  Give me time, though, and I might be able to catch up with you on certain topics for my blogs such as PKD.

Which of Rilke’s writings do you think are his most personal?  Letters?

Nicole : wakingdreamer

4 days later

Nicole said

no, his letters are his most didactic. The duino elegies are the most elegaic 🙂 stunningly beautiful but not as personal as individual poems – though there are aspects of Rilke the person that you can glimpse if you know his personal biography…

take all the time you need, dear Ben! 🙂