I have been watching some Netflix documentaries. I think it is an existentialist experience to watch some of these documentaries – real people doing real things with real feelings. And it creates a response in me.
A couple of days ago, I watched Bad Vegan. Very interesting! There are two issues raised for me: passion and responsibility.
At the end of the series, Sarma Melngailis goes to prison and then speaks about her experience. At the very end, when she is released, she reflects on a conversation with one of the guards. This conversation is all about converting the guard to veganism. It reminded me of St Paul in prison. How many of us are so committed to a cause?
The series is all about a relationship. Within this relationship (which was abusive) the question of responsibility is raised. All relationships include (at least) two people who are free individuals responsible for their actions. I think the question at the end of the series is how much responsibility do individuals carry for other people? It raises the legal but it made me think of the moral/philosophical question.
The other one I watched last night is The Tinder Swindler. It made me feel very sad. We have this need to “hook up” and will surrender all for love. And there are people in the world who will use this “need” for their own gain. It shows how fundamental love is for us as human beings and how it is beyond reason – it is a secular form of faith. It did make me very wary of Tinder!
We have this insatiable need for love that will never be met by anyone on this side of eternity. And the truth of that is shown paradoxically by those who chose not to play the game. The relationship we seek can only be a reflection of the relationship with the Absolute. And if there is no relationship with the Absolute then what sort of reflection are we seeing?
I admit that at the end I was somewhat upset by the smallish punishment of the swindler. Again, responsibility for actions.
So if all of that gives you an insight into my emotional state, good! I am struggling with the idea of relationships, passion (in the philosophical and physical sense), and above all responsibility. Merton speaks about reading novels, I suggest that we watch some good TV and enter into the suffering and struggle of others. Not to sit on the sideline with popcorn. Not to be a spectator claiming “that will never happen to me”. But to help the self become a real self before God. To become really human!