Monday, February 06, 2017

Last Holiday

Some movies deal with fatalistic themes. One example is Final Destination (2000). Another example is On the Beach (1959). Aussies, as well as an American submarine crew, have survived the thermonuclear exchange between Russia and the USA. However, the survivors know that radioactive fallout will overtake them. They are doomed. 

A third example is Titanic (1997). After the ship strikes the iceberg, the designer questions the crew on how many bulkheads were punctured. Below a certain number and the ship will stay afloat. But above a certain number and the ship will continue to take on water until it sinks. And, of course, that fateful threshold was crossed.

Now that, in itself, wouldn't be cause for panic, but the ship only has enough lifeboats for about half the passengers. The rest will freeze to death in the icy waters. 

What's interesting about fatalistic themes is how they probe what people do who lose hope in the future. That's an acid test of values and character. 

And although these are fictional examples, they have real-world counterparts. Take someone who's diagnosed with a terminal illness. How will he (or she) cope? What will he do with the remaining time?

Alec Guinness made a fine film on that topic: Last Holiday (1950).

An enforced winnowing process to decide what's important in life. Indeed, people shouldn't wait to be diagnosed with a terminal illness to ask themselves how they'd reprioritize their lives if they were given 6 months to live. That's something people should normally ask themselves. Otherwise, they fritter away their lives in frivolous, ephemeral activities. 

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