Intangible Perceptions

Waking Life takes the true form of various intangible human experiences, which are vividly enhanced through the use of rotoscoping. In search of understanding, Linklater produces a world out of meaningful gibberish; which in return relates to every person’s own intrinsic battles/experiences. Whether you are a dreamer or a scientist, the visuals can become quite the stimulating trip. It will leave you wondering why you’ve never decided to act upon the ideas that have been collecting dust in your dreams. It will also spark up a new interest in analyzing your dream connections to the unconscious. In other words, you will be really excited to hit your pillow and dream that night..

I feel particularly close to one of the opening scenes in this film. It speaks of the barriers language tries to encumber. It communicates in a close to perfect manner, how human beings are basically incapable of communicating how we really feel. In the rare occasion that communication through ANY form of language succeeds, we feel the greatest satisfaction known to any human being. What this excerpt describes flawlessly, is our need of being understood through our very own intangible experiences, it is that feeling of indescribable bliss that I believe we live for.

“Creation seems to come out of imperfection. It seems to come out of a striving and a frustration. And this is where I think language came from.

I mean, it came from our desire to transcend our isolation and have some sort of connection with one another.

And it had to be easy when it was just simple survival. Like, you know, “water.” We came up with a sound for that. Or “Saber-toothed tiger right behind you.” We came up with a sound for that.

But when it gets really interesting, I think, is when we use that same system of symbols to communicate all the abstract and intangible things that we’re experiencing.

What is, like, frustration? Or what is anger or love?

When I say “love,” the sound comes out of my mouth and it hits the other person’s ear, travels through this Byzantine conduit in their brain, you know, through their memories of love or lack of love, and they register what I’m saying and they say yes, they understand.

But how do I know they understand? Because words are inert. They’re just symbols. They’re dead, you know?

And so much of our experience is intangible. So much of what we perceive cannot be expressed. It’s unspeakable.

And yet, you know, when we communicate with one another, and we feel that we’ve connected, and we think that we’re understood, I think we have a feeling of almost spiritual communion. And that feeling might be transient, but I think it’s what we live for”

“The quest is to be liberated from the negative, which is really our own will to nothingness. And once having said yes to the instant, the affirmation is contagious. It bursts into a chain of affirmations that knows no limit. To say yes to one instant is to say yes to all of existence.” -Otto Hofman


One response »

  1. Very good reflection on the film. I also really enjoy the dialogue discussing the implications of existentialism in the beginning of the film.

    You should check out Steve Pinker’s, “The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window Into Human Nature”. Pinker analyzes how our words relate to thoughts and to the world around us and reveals what this tells us about ourselves. Put another way, Pinker “probes the mystery of human nature by examining how we use words”. Anyways….good analysis, great film. TWO THUMBS UP! Keep em coming.

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