For the most part, “St. Elmo’s Fire” is a pretty melodramatic, angst-ridden, ‘80s movie filled with big hair, shoulder pads, the “brat pack,” post-college depression, and lots of shiny early-MTV style. In the middle of it there’s one scene that always got to me.
Cynical journalist-wanna-be Kevin Dolenz (Andrew McCarthy) loves Leslie Hunter (Ally Sheedy), but she’s in a long-term “they might get married someday” relationship with Alec Newbary (Judd Nelson). When Leslie and Alec get into a huge fight, she ends up in Kevin’s apartment. They talk, they drink, and then the do IT. Shortly thereafter, Kevin writes a piece for the (local?) paper entitled “The Meaning of Life.” He shows it to Leslie and says she was his inspiration. She freaks out and splits, but that’s another story.
The story that interested (interests?) me is how he was somehow inspired by the muse of love to write a single article entitled “The Meaning of Life.” Not a series, not a book, but he got it all into one newspaper article that got published.
Lucky (functional) bastard.
Too often when I try to write about the human condition, I find that one aspect is connected to another, like some kind of sociological “string theory,” or a “butterfly effect” of the human condition.
Note: For those unfamiliar, here is Wise Geek’s description of string theory:
- “String Theory, sometimes called the Theory of Everything, is thought by some to be the unifying field theory Einstein sought before his death. String theory is the first mathematically sound theory that reconciles the world of the infinitesimally small, with the world we know at large. It unites Einstein’s Theory of Relativity with quantum physics and offers a potential explanation for the Big Bang.”
- “The butterfly effect is a term used in Chaos Theory to describe how tiny variations can affect giant systems, and complex systems, like weather patterns. The term butterfly effect was applied in Chaos Theory to suggest that the wing movements of a butterfly might have significant repercussions on wind strength and movements throughout the weather systems of the world, and theoretically, could cause tornadoes halfway around the world.”
A “theory of everything!” Butterflies cause tornadoes! How awesome is that: It’s all related!
So politics connect with religion connects with families connects with little Timmy and his peppy little puppy Poncho. I can’t just write about Poncho’s peppiness, but instead get sucked back up the line and see a connection between the pup and the US Senate’s attempts at censoring the internet (http://americancensorship.org/). In my head, sometimes just for a moment, it all makes sense!
The downside is that writing becomes a truly herculean task that suddenly requires that ever-so-thin threads of logic in my head need to be fully realized with clear, supporting evidence. I search for links to that quote I vaguely remember, but come up with nothing. Yet the connections in my head are so strong! It all relates! It’s not just “Poncho is cute,” but also “Timmy’s parents were awesome in raising such a great kid who takes such good care of his dog, despite his dad’s moral-free job at the Pentagon and his mother’s relentless commitment to her local church, where relatively poor people gave way more than they should have to support the priest’s lavish lifestyle…”
It’s mind-boggling actually, and maybe more fodder for therapist sessions than a blog post, but that’s how my mind works. It’s never, ever just a cute puppy.
But there’s hope:
There are many religions, philosophies and beliefs that teach acceptance instead of analysis, and I find them fascinating and even beneficial. From that perspective, suddenly there IS simply a cute puppy. Also, “brevity is the soul of wit,” who doesn’t love a slice a slice of “simple as pie”? I can see the wisdom in these, but since they suggest letting go of the BIG CONNECTIONS, they also sound as contradictory as “bombing for peace.”
There’s no answer here (sorry if you were looking for one), and I don’t have any theories to share. I guess I’m just venting.
Is this going to stop me?
For those who may wish it would, I’m sorry to say “I’m a frayed knot.”