13 March 2007

For thought: Jonathan Nolan's "Memento Mori"©

Sometimes when you're evaluating (and hopefully also losing) some long-painful mental and emotional baggage, you come across something that you've jotted down that 'calls' to you, hunts you down way deep in your soul, and resonates. Maybe it's for a different reason than what you first remember, but still you are haunted by its energy. And its tragedy. And especially its truth.

I came across a scribbled note I took when watching the film "Memento" years ago. I, for one, am one of those people who adore that movie, and while the appeal is largely due to some magnificent acting by Aussie Guy Pearce, it was the script and its premise that really hooked me. (Although I admit it took me about three watches to finally settle 'the debate' about how the story is told...rent it if you don't understand what I'm talking about here.) The script, that is, wowed me until I saw the following in the 'extras' part of the DVD...a version of the short story that inspired the film. And I was blown a bit away. Fatalistic, yet surviving. Delusional, yet organized. Unified, yet uncontrollable. In the end, it's a very tidy panic.

This thinking man's (and woman's) partial piece (full short story here) was written by the uber-talented Jonathan Nolan, who also wrote the film's script, too...and who garnered an Academy Award® nomination for Best Original Screenplay in the process.

"Memento Mori"©
by Jonathan Nolan
Every week, everyday ---
The Angry Man hands the baton over to The Sulking Man,
And in turn to
The Sex Addict, The Introvert, The Conversationalist.
Every man is a mob, a chain gang of idiots.

Look to yourself for the answer.

Assassinated by a vegetable.

Time moves about you but never moves you.

Time is an absurdity. An abstraction.
The only thing that matters is this moment.
This moment a million times over.
You have to trust me.
If this moment is repeated enough,
If you keep trying ---
And you have to keep trying ---
Eventually you will come across
The next item on your list.

The only way out of this mess, of course,
Is to take steps to ensure that you control
The idiots that you become.
To take your chain gang, hand in hand, and lead them.
The best way to do this is with a list.

It's like a letter you write to yourself.
A master plan, drafted by the guy who
Can see the light, made with steps simple
Enough for the rest of the idiots to understand.

Follow steps one through one hundred.

Repeat as necessary.

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