Today in this workshop with Phil Cousineau, the first clip he shared was the Kubrick classic 2001: Space Odyssey. Oddly enough, as much of a film lover as I am, I have never seen this one. Kubrick doesn’t generally do it for me, so with the exception of a The Shining, I have never seen most of his movies. My first association with it is Mel Brook’s classic History of the World Part I, which i must admit that I now understand much better than ever. I was always aware of the satire there, but having never seen it before, didn’t quite get the depth of it. Furthermore, Phil brought in Alan Dundes’ definition of myth as a story that ponders the unanswerable and tries to attempt an explanation for it. Where have we come from and where are we going?
First of all: the mythic moment/connection with Campbell is clear. It virtually shouts at the death of the evolutionary theory. We evolve, yet the archetypal remains eternal and ellusive. This seems Kubrick’s response to the modernist, progressivist world view that dominates Campbell’s thinking and premeatesd so much of scientific thought. Yet, remarkably, this effort has an air of self-importance to it that I find oh so frustrating in the great masters of film from the 60s-80s.
My second threat of thought is in relation to Dundes’ definition of myth. I think he is quite correct. Myth does seek to answer the questions we have about where we have/come from and where we are going. Myth provide image, symbol and story in response to the story of us. Of course, I relate that to Disney, as per usual regarding my obsession these days. This is exactly what Disneyland seeks to do. The park is shaped like like a compass, with Frontierland leading across the way to Tomorrowland with Main Street USA bridging the gap between the two.