19th century philosophy

2001: A Space Odyssey


An example of a state of absorption that illustrates coming to know “the idea” can be found in the introduction sequence 2001: Space Odyssey.

Unlike most movies that grab our attention with action or dialogue sequences, 2001 starts with a completely black screen and building music (Gyorgy Lireti-Atmospheres) which sets an immersive mood. This prepares us for the visual show that follows. An alignment of the moon, earth, and the sun emerging from behind of the earth. This scene is accompanied by the iconic tune “Also sprach Zarathustra” by Richard Strauss, we are completely immersed in the scene. We are not thinking about the plot or the technical elements of the movie, but we are fully captivated by this visual and auditory experience.

In this moment of absorption, we are experiencing what Schopenhauer calls the “Knowing the idea” through art. The alignment of planets is not just a scene but represents something bigger that provokes feelings of awe and wonder, allowing us to contemplate our world.

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