Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Mind of the Beholder

From Adaptation, screenplay by Charlie Kaufman and (the fictitious) Donald Kaufman:

Charlie: There was this time in high school. I was watching you out the library window. You were talking to Sarah Marsh.

Donald: Oh, God. I was so in love with her.

Charlie: I know. And you were flirting with her. And she was being really sweet to you.

Donald: I remember that.

Charlie: Then, when you walked away, she started making fun of you with Kim Canetti. [...] You didn't know at all. You seemed so happy.

Donald: I knew. I heard them.

Charlie: How come you looked so happy?

Donald: I loved Sarah, Charles. It was mine, that love. I owned it. Even Sarah didn't have the right to take it away. I can love whoever I want.

Charlie: But she thought you were pathetic.

Donald: That was her business, not mine. You are what you love, not what loves you. That's what I decided a long time ago.

Fascinating, particularly in light of this, from Oscar Levant:

“Happiness is not something you experience; it’s something you remember.”

And, of course, this entire song, by the Atlanta Rhythm Section.

From entirely different angles, Kaufman, Levant and the ARS arrive at the same conclusion: true happiness is a construction of the mind.  You can love whoever you want, real or imaginary.  You can love her despite her unawareness of your feelings, her indifference to them, or her rejection of them.  You can conjure up all sorts of magical experiences, to then fondly cherish and happily remember.  Like City Slickers Curly, you would enjoy a perfect relationship.  

Or, you can opt for reality.  And end up here.