Attention Psych and Philosophy majors: Explain this line from Apocalypse Now, please

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by *LTD*, May 2, 2010.

  1. *LTD* macrumors G4

    *LTD*

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    Location:
    Canada
    #1
    There is a line in Apocalypse Now, right after a few scenes about Willard's musings on his strange attachment to Vietnam.

    When he was in the jungle, he wanted to be home. When he was back home, all he could think about was the jungle. And now, in Saigon, his obsession with being at one with the darkness of the jungle, with not just stalking the enemy but becoming one with the enemy was all-consuming. Willard had made 'Nam his personal pusher, and he was willing to pay the price for his habit. So the boys from HQ finally show up, ready to offer Willard what he wanted most and probably hated most: a mission. They found him in his room, everything torn apart, in a drunken, hung-over haze. When he got himself cleaned up and off to HQ, he reflected:

    "Everyone gets everything he wants. I wanted a mission, and for my sins, they gave me one. Brought it up to me like room service. It was a real choice mission, and when it was over, I'd never want another."

    I'm interested in the line in bold. How does this compare to the (overused) saying "You can't always get what you want"? Or, would "be careful what you wish for" be more familiar territory?

    What branch of philosophy would Willard's statement reflect? What is the basis for saying "Everyone gets everything he wants"? Is it a commentary on manifest destiny as it relates to human thought and action? The more we think on something, the more we make it a part of our psyche, the more we attract it into our lives?

    I'd appreciate any insight.
     
  2. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #3
    It certainly isn't Buddhist.

    And it isn't very rational either.

    His use of absolutes seals that: "everybody gets everything they want..." Is he talking about this lifetime? Or is he perhaps stretching this out over the countless lifetimes that we experience? It would make more sense if he said, "Everybody gets everything they want... eventually."

    I think it is safe to say that in this lifetime everybody doesn't come even remotely close to getting everything that they want. It is the act of maturing emotionally, mentally and spiritually, that allows anyone to embrace that fact.

    Perhaps that was the (obvious) message the filmmaker was trying to convey: we are dealing with a character who is spiritually and emotionally bereft and in that wretched state, incapable of rationality.
     
  3. *LTD* thread starter macrumors G4

    *LTD*

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    Location:
    Canada
    #4
    Interesting perspective! I'd never considered that it might be just a symptom of Willard's irrationality. But it seems a little more profound to me, even if untrue - as if it's coming from a deeper, darker place where this is a different sort of wisdom at play.
     
  4. Ttownbeast macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 10, 2009
    #5
    Was Willard Martin Sheen or was he Marlon Brando it been a while since I seen the flick Sheens character seemed to have been traumatized by the whole string of events and would rather have been done with the entire war by the end surely the beginnings of a well established case of PTSD. While Marlon Brando with the encouragement of the character played by Dennis Hopper (I don't recall if Hopper played a Journalist who was MIA or something like that) seemed to have developed a serious god complex having killed many people and eventually finding himself among a fairly primitive tribe and had established a dominance which was almost compatible to Hannibal Lecter in silence of the lambs.
     

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