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Copy of Metaphysics of the Truman Show

Michael Huang, Honghu Wang, Elwin Chen
by

Cody Reynolds

on 12 February 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Metaphysics of the Truman Show

Metaphysics of the Truman Show Plot Summary Truman Burbank lives his entire life from birth as the star of a television show, without his knowledge. He lives a perfectly happy life surrounded by over 5000 hidden cameras inside an enormous dome, built to simulate a small town called Sea Haven. Surrounded by a river and ocean, Sea Haven prevents Truman’s escape due to his deathly fear of water, caused by a traumatic childhood incident in which he “lost” his “father”. Every aspect of his life is controlled by the director of the show, Christof. At age 29, where we come to him on the film, a series of events leads Truman to doubt the reality of the world which he lives in Eventually, Truman’s desire to discover the truth becomes so great that he overcomes his fear of water and escapes his fake life. Despite the aggressive efforts put in by his “family”, “friends”, and the show’s production crew, to stop him, Truman eventually succeeds, and exits into the real world. Philosophical Theories Prevelant Appearance and Reality Greek philosopher Parimenides’ questions “What is real?” Parmenides doubted that whatever we perceive with our five senses was untrustworthy and misguided Therefore one’s belief about the nature of things is entirely false Cartesian Doubt Descartes believed that the only thing that was real was he himself Since he could perceive that he himself was doubting reality, therefore his mind must exist The protagonist in the film doubts his surroundings: his friendships, his marriage, his town The Allegory of the Cave The people from Seahaven are living in a master planned community; everything can be intervened to fit the production of The Truman Show Truman attempts to find “enlightenment” by leaving the town However, he is chained just like the prisoners, his wife makes him stay in town by explaining the financial obligations they have, Christof and the production crew does everything in their power to stop him from leaving.

Truman is passing in front of the light, and only when he realizes the shadows he casts, he discovers the light and becomes “enlightened” The viewers of the Truman Show are the prisoners chained to the cave, watching the shadows cast by the puppeteers, in this case christof and the production crew. The audience, however is still chained to the cave, as at the end of the movie, they are in search of another “Truman show.” In many ways, Truman is more enlightened than the viewers, since he discovers his autonomy from the TV show and thus starts a new beginning for himself. It can also be said that Truman was chained to the cave before realizing the shadows were an illusion, and fought his way, literally, to the light. Free Will and Determinism Which is better: Living a scripted happy life, or a perilous free life? Every aspect and decision of Truman’s life is influenced by Christof. Christof has created a perfect and happy world for Truman to reside Christof tells Truman that “There is no more truth out there than there is in the world I created for you. Same lies. Same deceit. But in my world, you have nothing to fear”, yet Truman still ventures out of his old life. Despite this, Truman fights to see the truth behind his existence He willingly severs his relationships with his “family” and “friends”
He sails, despite his crippling fear of water
He braves though a storm, knowing that turning back could save him If he leaves the set, he will be plunged into the real world where things are beyond his care-giver's control What drives Truman to so fiercely search out the truth, even if it means destroying the life he thought he had? Existentialism He then finds the meaning which is to escape the studio set and emancipate himself Before Truman unveiled the conspiracy of the show, he created his own meaning in life He had a family, a career, a house, a car, just like a normal person. His only aspiration was to travel to Fiji. However once he found out that his life is a show, his meaning of life was actually given and planned by Christof The production crew could change and and alter Truman’s life accordingly for theatrical purposes If the crew intervenes entirely on his life, doesn’t Truman live in an artificial life? he does not need to create or find his own meaning Theism Seahaven is like the Garden of Eden, Truman is humanity, and Christof is God. God offers humanity a perfect home, free from perils, but Adam and Eve willingly throw it away be eating from the tree of knowledge. Truman so badly wants to know the truth, even if it means disrupting his perfectly happy life Christof and his crew created the universe for which Truman lives in and intervenes in Truman’s life Reality was given and under the direct control by Christof (i.e. weather, relationships, work) For instance, Truman becomes emotionally moved when he finds his long lost father, however, it was only a work of drama staged by the production crew Ethics for the next unit... Some Questions: Was the Truman show ethical at all given the fact that they legally adopted him as a corporation?

Is guarding Truman from the truth and preserving him to be ignorant morally sound?

Is it correct to assume that it is best for Truman to stay in Seahaven and continue the show?

From an outsider perspective, Truman has no fear or worries in Seahaven Idea of paradise: Christof says to Lauren: “The world, the place you live in, is a sick place. Seahaven is the way the world should be.” Back to the issue of determinism... How is it like to be in a world where everything IS planned?

Although we may have no reservation for fear, there lacks the sense of suspense and unknown that drives us in life

If Truman leaves the set, he will be plunged into the real world where things are beyond his care-giver's control However,
Would life be non-arbitrary, but strictly ordered and filled with repetition?
i.e. Truman notices how pedestrians walk in loops around his neighborhood everyday

Therefore, do we only live life for the unexpected?





Philosophical Questions Raised How does Truman's situation in this movie relate to Plato's Allegory of the Cave? Allegory of the Cave Are the emotions Truman felt while being filmed genuine?

"We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented" - Christof
Reality Free Will Is it better to live a comfortably guided life, or a perilous free life? In Truman’s world, is meaning of life given by Truman himself or by Christof’s production crew? Existentialism Is Truman better off living under the watchful eye of Christof, like Man under God, or is it better for him to live life on his own? Theism
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