Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Somebody to love

A pretty awesome lecture today, I dare say, with lots going on. In my 75 minutes I incorporated 16 minutes of video, two writing assignments, and digestible chunks of concentrated lecture. I think the rhythm and wit of it allowed me to be very serious without being a downer.

Introduction: Problems of suffering

Writing assignment: Larry's questions

Video clip: The First Rabbi/Look at the Parking Lot! (4 mins)

Lecture: Theodicy
     Epicurus - get over it!
     Aporetic problem of evil - get into it!

Writing and sharing: Questions Larry didn't but could have asked

Video clip: The Second Rabbi/The Goy's Teeth (8 mins)

Lecture: Theodicy beyond theism
     Max Weber's "ethically irrational world"
          karma, dualism, deus absonditus
     Marilyn McCord Adams' "participation in horrendous evils"

Conclusions: Why Larry Gopnik suffers
     A Joban movie?

Coda (video clip): Rabbi Marshak's secret source (Jefferson Airplane "Somebody to Love")

A lot to take in, I know, but I trust it was easier to take in this way. Well, I trust so. I hope so. Conversation in the ensuing discussion section was lively, referred often to the lecture, and almost everyone participated, so that's something...

Why, you may wonder, did Larry Gopnik suffer - that question to which he could find no satisfactory answer? Easy! Ethan Coen tells us:

The fun of the story for us was
inventing new ways to torture Larry. 

It's going to be fun to move next to the torments of another literary character, Job. And to see if the students see what I mean by saying that, whatever their intentions, once the Coen Brothers started telling the story of a good (enough) man losing everything he has (almost) and demanding an explanation (and not getting one), they were in Job territory, and would be seen to be making a Job movie.

Incidentally, in this context the lyrics of "Somebody to Love" - the song which starts the film (after the folkloric opening) and whose words the elusive Rabbi Marshak borrows at the end - seem positively Joban, too!

When the truth is found to be lies
And all the joy within you dies
Don’t you want somebody to love?
Don't you need somebody to love?
Wouldn't you love somebody to love?
You'd better find somebody to love.

When the garden flowers, baby, are dead 
And your mind is so full of bread …   

Your eyes, I say your eyes may look like his 
But in your head I’m afraid you don’t know where he is …   

Tears are running, they’re all running down your breast
And your friends, baby, they treat you like a guest … 

 Don’t you want somebody to love …

No comments: