The Ubermensch of Self-Reflection

Self-reflection is impossible. No one can self-reflect. No one. Not you. Not me. You might think that you can self-reflect. I am sure that you do. You’re told to do it every day by someone – your brother, your sparing partner, a billboard or newscaster – and you think that you really do. I used to think that it was possible for some people to self-reflect. But it isn’t Not for anyone!

Honestly, consider yourself right now, reading this, thinking, “Well, I self-reflect. I’m doing it right now. I am self-reflecting on my self-reflecting! Obviously I am. It’s stupid to say that I don’t because I do. I’m doing it right now! It’s as clear as anything ever was!”

Yeah, but, no, you’re not. You only think you are because you’re trapped in that head of yours. It isn’t self-reflection at all. It is just you tricking yourself that you’re self-reflecting. As much as you might think you are self-reflecting, especially if you use words like mindful and empathetic, you’re not. You’re the opposite. You’re only doing that because you think it’s good and right. It’s like smoking. You stopped doing that because you were told it is bad and wrong, when it isn’t. That’s because you’re all ego and super ego. You’re all you. That’s all there is to you. Nothing else. Certainly not someone who can self-reflect.

I am the same as you. All I can do is reflect on how I don’t self-reflect. I mean, I can also reflect on you reading this. But that’s not me. That’s you. And I can even reflect on how insightful I am for realizing that no one can self-reflect. It is all so very clear. Or it’s not. But it is. I came to realize that the more I self-reflect. Which goes back to the main point. You can’t self-reflect.

To paraphrase Nietzsche, one can only self-reflect if you,1) become yourself, 2) avoid self-hatred and 3) overcome yourself. Seriously, you have to be on a lot of Oxy if you think you can really do any of that. And if you do – think that you can do that, that is – then you can’t – self-reflect that is – because you can’t.

In others words, like Joseph Heller wrote in Catch-22, the more you think you can self-reflect, the more you can’t. It’s as simple as that.

Another Scene Gone: “Paint”

My current project is the second part of a screenplay trilogy focusing on a college student, Davis who, in this deleted scene argues, badly with his university radio station colleagues:

Paul McCartney’s Live and Let Die plays in the background over the lounge speakers in the radio station.

LAURA: Ellen’s show is called Synesthesia. You know what that is? (To ELLEN) Kandinsky painted music, right? Different senses coming together. You should open your show with something like that.

ELLEN nods earnestly.

DAVIS: I wrote this play in second year.

ELLEN: A play?

DAVIS: Well, it was more like a philosophy paper. kandinsky small pleasuresELLEN: About Kandinsky?

DAVIS: Nietzsche’s Ubbermesh.

ARTHUR: It’s Uber-mench. Uber. Use the ‘U’. And mench, like bench.

DAVIS (Trying to ignore ARTHUR): There was this painting in it, Garicault’s Raft of the Medusa.

ARTHUR: Christ, Davis, do you know any words? (Gesticulating to LAURA like a frustrated clown) It’s Gericault. The ‘g’ is soft. Repeat after me: Gericault. Gericault1LAURA: I have a question for you, Davis.

DAVIS: I can hardly wait.

LAURA: What are you going to do about the dead air?

DAVIS: What dead…?

DAVIS looks up and wheels around, suddenly realizing that Live and Let Die, the song on his radio show, is about to end. He sprints around the corner, slides into a filing cabinet and bangs into the door, only realizing now that it is locked. The song ends.