A Forum for and the Background of the Mediation of Dialogue in Ancient and Modern Academies

Friday, 7 June 2013

On Terrence Malick's non-Rylean Worlds: from the Thin Red Line to the Wonder, and from Φύσις to Nature and/vs. Grace.

What's this war in the heart of nature? Why does nature vie with itself? The land contend with the sea? Is there an avenging power in nature? Not one power, but two?
An image and the words from the opening scene of
"The Thin Red Line"  

...some months afterwards...

A liberal arts context in academia offers someone the opportunity to do other things beyond producing and teaching in the classroom: namely doing and practicing the conception of "the liberal arts" itself and what it stands for. With some students we just watched the Thin Red Line, and it was the first time I watched the film on big screen. There are some wonderful things written about this marvellous piece of art, and I am afraid I have nothing to add. For example, one of them, written by David Sterritt and with the title "This Side of Paradise" is included in the new blue-ray edition we enjoyed, and focuses on the successful marriage between word, image and music throughout this film, which in some scenes comes close to melodeclamation.

I am glad that Terrence Malick chose to turn from pursuing the academic philosophical path to directing films. I am glad that he chose not to write a book on the Presocratics, which, I have no doubts, would have been as interesting and special as his film, but decided to direct a film on the war in nature and the fighting powers in us. I am glad to follow his work and path. I am glad that he dares to express his religiosity in his later films, and yes, someone must dare do this nowadays. I am glad that he gives no interviews but lets only his work speak to us. The more I am confronted with empiricist levelling and asking for "evidence" to see, hear, and touch, the more I think that someone has not only to nurture, but also to block dialogue, whenever it is suitable.

I am confident that both Gilbert Ryle and Martin Heidegger would enjoy watching their student's films and would have long discussions about them.