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The Philosophical Journey of The Truman Show

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Throughout history, humankind all over the world at one time or another has looked up at the stars and wondered, “What’s out there? Is God real? What is the true purpose of life?” And more importantly, “How much of what they see are real or fake, and if what they have seen are figments of fairytales and myths passed down to them from previous generations? Even before philosophy got started people were inventing myths to help explain reality Many early Greek philosophers, much to their debate, about these and other questions which have fascinated humankind since the beginning of time. There are several branches of philosophy: Metaphysics, Political, Ethics, Logic, and Epistemology. The Truman Show examines some of these philosophical themes that relate to the fundamental concepts of philosophy. Such as reality, determinism, existentialism, appearance, and individualism are present in this movie.

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Truman Burbank being the central character of The Truman Show; He is unaware of his circumstances and Truman also portrayed irony in the statement where he said, “Seems like the whole world revolves around me”. This seems like Truman was consciously aware of the strange events which existed in his life.

According to Husserl's views an existentialist feels philosophy is shifting from “consciousness” to 'being' (p.203). In the very first scene of The Truman Show, a light fixture falls from the sky, this begins a shift of Truman’s consciousness to “being”. Truman becomes aware that there is something strange about his life, and the people around him. In this scene where it shows Truman picking up the light fixture suggests a sign or a symbol of a falling star from heaven. The words written on the light fixture, “Sirius 9 Canis”, is biblical and references the Morningstar. Hence, being the brightest star in the night sky, this is the true beginning of the shifting of Truman’s consciousness to “being” (pg. 203).

One can conclude, according to the philosophy of Heidegger, awareness of the conscious being is, “You can’t have an experience without in some sense knowing about it, and you can’t have knowledge without experiencing the knowledge (Heidegger pg. 203). The symbolism of the starlight that awakens Truman to be privy in awaking him to the false existence of reality presented to him, dates back to the day he was born. Heidegger asserts that existence is everything. And nothing lies outside, before, or beyond a person’s being. The symbolic message of the fallen light fixture is, in a sense, a way of seeing the light and the phenomenological existence of a real-life (page 203).

The journey through the philosophical complex nature of reality and existence of humankind is not only a matter of the physical being but the matter concerning the emotional and physical inner workings of the human mind. The philosophy of metaphysics is the search for a universal love of knowledge, freedom, and individual free will. Towards the middle of the movie, Truman says, “I am being spontaneous please help me”, and as a Taoist would say wu-Wei is an effortless action to accept things as they are and not to assert one’s self, nor change the natural course of things, love nature, and believe that “nature works spontaneously, and whatever happened in nature always works outright” (Jay Stevenson, PhD. pg. 94),

The false representation of reality was personal to Truman. Truman steps out character, as he cries out 'somebody help' in recognition of the presence with empirical knowledge of people watching him. The Truman show is a movie about one man's journey towards self-actualization, freedom, individualism, and finding a sense of liberation…risking everything he knew to step into what's portrayed not as a light of the end of a tunnel, but the allegory of the dark unknown. Abyss(quote)…

Like Plato's theory of “The allegory of the cave” it is an allegory about the way humans are sometimes imprisoned by the allegory self-actualization. As one of the earliest Philosophers, Plato, asserts in his, Allegory of the Cave, “People are sponges in that they only know as much as they are told bliss of human existence”. Truman Burbank, a man imprisoned in a fabricated small-town sense his birth, reflects over his

In this sort of biblical moment, Truman above all odd was determined whatever at any rate to weather the storm. For awakening unto a world where his mind and soul would be free. Truly a risk he was willing to make even at the cost of his life. The Truman Show is unusual on many levels in its constructed meaning of reality. 'In one sense Truman Burbank due to a complex set of circumstances at birth Truman was not given a choice, hence was chosen and denied his right to free will. One of the most basic facts about human beings is their need to be free thus entitled to them by their individual choice, on how to shape and fashion their lives without manipulation …that impinges on their lives (Thomas white pg. 188 Phil book). One of the earliest pioneers of philosophy, Socrates, believed the unexamined life is not worth living. and to know thyself and caring for the soul is very important”. Socrates’s motto is, “The examined life and examined beliefs lead to lives that are responsible and fully awake” (school book pg.55). Truman’s life was on trial, everything in his life was fake and hence he needed to find freedom.

wondering to himself, does life have meaning? Do I have freedom, or am I determined by the forces beyond my control?” (Phil school book pg.6). What part of his life is real and what part was fake? Towards the end of the movie, Trauma Banks asked, “what else’. This question leads to Maslow's Hierarchy of needs Maslow proposed that human beings must next fulfill their basic needs to step up and fulfill their basic needs such as physical and security needs such as physical and security needs these needs are essential before one can fill the higher needs of self-actualization. In the last part of the movie, the image of Truman ascending the stairs seems to suggest he began to make the process of achieving his needs. The steps in this scene are symbolic to a mountain reaching the top, Truman completed and has come to the end of his long journey.

Seem to this is the false premise of reality as presented to Truman from the beginning of his birth.

Considering all the falsity in Truman Burbank’s life, in what would essentially be his last day on stage, Truman was prepared to face his fears and take the journey in search of the true meaning of reality and his right to “Free Will”. In this scene, Truman is seen climbing up the steps after finding a rip in the fabric of the fake blue-sky. He thinks to himself, “Was my whole life a lie, as he asks the philosophical question, “Who am I? Was nothing real? And” his purpose in life, in asking the philosophical question, “Who am I, was nothing real?”

at part of his existence is fake. “The journey to an individual’s rights, liberty, freedom, and. (autonomy) is essentially determined by the meaning of life and the freedom and the course of action he or she is prepared to take”. (J. Kavanaugh). In that second Truman suddenly realizes with this knowledge he is now in control and the stairway to freedom was only steps away.

The free was given to him by his action is a choice, his path to freedom. Declaring his independence, in the movie’s last heartfelt scene, the issue he points out, “One of the most fundamental philosophical questions connected with being human: Do humans have the freedom to choose or control their actions? And if believed this question to be true, is that freedom real, or an illusion?” (Thomas White pg.58).

In a scene preceding Truman Burbank’s final exit, Truman’s spontaneous decision to choose hope in finding ultimate reality beyond the “out there” (schoolbook), and in what would be the climax of the show is the irony of Truman’s peak performance aboard a boat in raging waters defiant, and unpredictable considering his fear of water he individually and intuitively weathered the storm as to proclaim his freedom, and to the exodus, of external control (blue book pg. 56).

Truman was prepared to decide to leave behind all the manufactured perception of his life in which he had become to know, however, the manner of perfection. included were fictitious perfect wife, perfect life, job, and manicured lawn. Hence given an individual to choose, freedom, and the true nature of reality. Historically Western culture traditionally equates the American dream as having a focus on the quantity in life more so than the quality of life leaving many people to live their lives on stage scripted by fabricated perceptions of reality, and human bondage. A constructed world environment is not freedom the bases of reality is not what, or how we choose the question is why we choose (John F. Kavanaugh). Philosophy sometimes has more questions than answers. People often wonder what reality is and how much of reality is real and how much of reality is a figment of one’s imagination. In this essay, there will be an attempt to answer these and other questions that have fascinated humankind since the beginning of time. The movie, The Truman Show, uniquely addresses several philosophical themes such as free will, determinism, existentialism, individualism, appearance, and reality.

Come, fasten your seat belts and explore the wonderful journey into the world of philosophy where people are free to imagine, that “everything they were told since birth was untrue” in essence, everything you know, see, hear, taste and smell have been just an illusion. People may think to themselves the movies’ “take on reality is all part of the tapestry of lies” (J. Kavanaugh). as future scenes in the script began unveiling proof of Truman Burbank’s false perception of reality. Also, viewers of the film may start to question their sense of reality likewise asking the philosophical questions about “their journey from ignorance to enlightenment in life and asks the philosophical question, “Was it all fake?” A question Truman asks the director of the show after finding a rip in the fabric of the fake blue sky.

Acknowledging the fabricated false narrative of his world, Truman, in another memorable scene, begins to question everything around him determined to find the answers fixed in his thoughts. In one of the first scenes, Truman notices a light fixture falling from the sky. This strutted his thoughts as it applied to his life, his job, wife, marriage, friends, and the community in which he lived. Truman Burbank wanted to know the essence of his life, and not merely existing. He became aware that everyone around him was just spending their lives existing and not living to their full potential. One of the best Philosophers of existentialism is Jean-Paul Sartre,' he believes that 'Essence precedes existence”. This...” idea the nature of something -its essence determines the shape of activity …of everyday life. Arguably, according to Sartre, freedom can be an “uncomfortable choice (Thomas white pg.98). Which may be why Truman noticed the strange nature of the people around him including his wife and friends and the absence of any enthusiasm for change in his small community. While talking with his wife, Truman pointed out how predictable their neighbors were.

Noted with freedom comes responsibilities. The flesh refuses to lose his faith, hope, and the presence of family, love, and life. Metaphorically speaking as an anchor to the spirit in which to free the will of his soul, mind, and body and the belief that somewhere in the real heaven there is a God.

“One's memories are of things that never took place. In effect, one is asleep and living in a dream world. How would someone respond if something or someone allows others to wake up and learn the truth? And once seeing and having knowledge of the truth people are confronted with the reality that you have been given a choice to stay or go.” (Thomas White philosophy pg.217)

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