Saturday, April 30, 2005

Further thoughts on the Gilhooley Response

This posting needs a bit of a preface.This is essentially my response to brother Tom's postulation of the Gilhooley Response. I raised the issue to another key, by bringing in Buddhist Philosophy. At the time , Tom felt I had overeached a bit much. After all we are talking about Thomas Aloysius 'Boats' Gilhooley here! (BTW this was an excellent role for Lee Marvin). Applying elevated philosophy to pop cinenma is not an unknown trend however----
As a further digression see also:Cinema Nirvana; Enlightenment Lessons from the Movies By: Dean Sluyter
and another recent book: The Dharma of Star Wars by Matthew Bortolin.

So therefore without much more pontificating, I add this e-mail response to this blog.May it illuminate, even if it does take us along certain byzantine corridors of thought: (from Sept 1999 actually)

Dear Tom,
Yes, I believe you have struck upon something. From a Buddhist perspective Gilhooleys response is that of yes, everyone caught up in cyclic existence.Though I would argue that Gihooley himself, is hardly the best representative of mankind as a whole. But yes he is very representaive of someone caught up in the throes of samasara, diagrammed in the Buddhist wheel of life. I have included a link to the teaching on dependent arising and then also stuck some of it in this e-mail.

Thus: With respect to the Buddhist view, dependent-arising is the general philosophy of all Buddhist systems even though there are many different interpretations of it. In Sanskrit the word for dependent- arising is pratityasamutpada The word pratitya has three different meanings--meeting, relying, and depending--but all three, in terms of their basic import, mean dependence. Samutpada means arising. Hence, the meaning of pratityasamutpada is that which arises in dependence upon conditions, in reliance upon conditions, through the force of conditions. On a subtle level, it is explained as the main reason why phenomena are empty of inherent existence.

When Buddha set forth the twelve links of dependent- arising, he spoke from a vast perspective and with great import. He taught the twelve links in detail in the Rice Seedling Sutra. As in other discourses, the context is one of questions with the Buddha's answers. In this Sutra, Buddha speaks of dependent-arising in three ways:

Due to the existence of this, that arises.
Due to the production of this, that is produced.
It is thus: due to ignorance there is compositional action; due to compositional action there is consciousness; due to consciousness there are name and form;due to name and form there are the six sense spheres; due to the six sense spheres there is contact; due to contact there is feeling; due to feeling there is attachment; due to attachment there is grasping; due to grasping there is the potentialized level of karma called "existence"; due to "existence" there is birth;and due to birth there are aging and death.

When in the first rendition Buddha says, "Due to the existence of this, that arises," he indicates that the phenomena of cyclic existence arise not through the force of supervision by a permanent deity but due to specific conditions. Merely due to the presence of certain causes and conditions, specific effects arise.{The Karma of Gilhooley}
To repeat: the twelve links of dependent- arising are laid out in terms of a process of affliction and in terms of a process of purification, and each of these is presented in forward and reverse orders. Thus, in the forward process, it is explained that:
Due to the condition of ignorance, action arises; due to the condition of action, consciousness arises; due to the condition of consciousness, name and form arise; due to the condition of name and form, the six sense spheres arise; due to the condition of the six sense spheres, contact arises; due to the condition of contact, feeling arises; due to the condition of feeling, attachment arises; due to the condition of attachment, grasping arises; due to the condition of grasping, the potentialized level of karma called "existence" arises; due to the condition of "existence", birth arises; due to the condition of birth, aging and death arise.

Jean Cocteau in 1934 wrote a play called La Machine Infernal, and one could say that Gihooley is caught up with the machine, has even embraced it, and doesn't seem to learn much from his involvement with it. From the Buddhist point of view samsara is beginningless; cyclic existence just goes on and on, though there is the possibility of liberation from this. Ones free will can always make a choice just at the point after attachment, that is one can choose not to grasp. Kind of amazed that AMC would show this so much. They have kind of lowered their standards; they'll throw anything on. I wonder if Turner Movie Classics has dibs on a lot of Classics that you don't see on AMC anymore. Saw an A& E Biography on John Ford. Within Hollywood he was known for his strong right wing views. So you see certain characters always get their comeupance in many Ford films. Ms. Denham, or Mrs. Mclintock in Mclintock.
However, on a interesting note during the McCarthy era around 1951, John Wayne and Ronald Reagan put some pressure on John Ford to pile on a certain Hollywood figure who was under scrutiny, essentially besmirch him further. Well Ford wouldn't do it. The person was a friend, and Ford had some intergrity. He wouldn't go along with what Reagan and Wayne were doing at that time. On a side note ; in a way Reagan is more sinister than Nixon. Reagan did evil things but always came off smiling and aw shucks, . With Nixon there were times, Caracas, 1962 Calif. Election aftermath, pushing Ron Zieglar, press conference in Aug. and Nov. of 1973, in which you could see the evil come thru. Nixon was a disturbed individual. That the populace would buy his swill is a sad commentary on our times. But back to Gilhouly. I would also point out there is also the measured response of the stock character actor who plays the French Gendarme, you know with the Foreign legion kepi and flap. During that scene, I believe he calmly walks thru the fight, goes behind the bar and fixes himself a beer. He radiates a certain coolness throughout the movie. Then there is the response of the pastor , who has his own encounter with God while nailing on the roof of the church. So I think you could say Ford does have very good insights into the human condition. Gihooley is a sort of Everyman. But not every mans response would be the same as Gihooley. Even with the human realm you have to admit he does represent a low order of the species. Here is the link for further edification: You have my thoughts.

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