Gritty '70s drama about alienation has sex, cursing. A new kind of picture even for its era Jack Nicholson's performance still stands as one of his greatest. Director Bob Rafelson attempts something unusual here, making a film that's subtle about its meaning without ever ranging into the pretentiously oblique or merely ambiguous. This superbly composed film comes as close to perfection as it gets. A key turn-of-the-decade film, with Nicholson railing against waitresses and barking at noisy dogs as Rafelson observes seedily picturesque roadside America. The film, superbly directed by Rafelson, shifts the late s hippy drop-out genre into the Ingmar Bergman class: A sorrowful tale about the implications of being a runaway from life, Jack Nicholson gives a stellar performance as Robert, a former piano prodigy.
Robert is a very interesting character, a man who runs from everything in the world, just so he can be alone and selfish. He runs off from his wealth and his family because he can't deal with his father's disapproval. He runs from his girlfriend, his job, from everything that dissatisfies him only because he wants his life to be purposeful, for something to come out of nothing. He doesn't want to feel trapped by money, and yet he resents anyone who believes he's as lowdown as they are.
His selfishness becomes his undoing, and his tendency to run forces him to choose between doing the right thing and the wrong. A stellar supporting cast, amazing premise, and a powerful performance from Nicholson makes this character study an exercise in the contention of human error.
A great road movie about a man who is on a, wait for it, existential journey. This film not only spoke to a generation of filmgoers bewildered by end of the turbulent 60's, but also catapulted Nicholson to the A-List. It is a powerful study on alienation and not for those seeking escapist entertainment. While it is most famous for it's diner scene, I think that scene deserves more than just the simple laugh that most people give it. While Nicholson is on a constant search for his place in this world, on the rare occasion that he does know what he wants, his efforts are obstructed by an established order.
Even his attempts to rectify the situation are thwarted by those who reinforce the order. A palpable message for the turn of the decade. Unfortunately, the film does take some unnecessary detours, pun intended, and Karen Black has to be one of the most obnoxious on screen presences I have ever witnessed.
Jack Nicholson's performance in Five Easy Pieces is incendiary, plain and simple. The direction and photography are beautiful and the soundtrack is great. Five Easy Pieces gets better with each viewing and is proof positive that Jack Nicholson could do no wrong in the early s.
Alfred North Whitehead (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
More Top Movies Trailers. DC's Legends of Tomorrow: Black Panther Dominates Honorees. Trending on RT Avengers: Five Easy Pieces Post Share on Facebook. Movie Info A disaffected man seeks a sense of identity in one of the key films of Hollywood's s New Wave. Once a promising pianist from a family of classical musicians, Bobby Eroica Dupea Jack Nicholson, in his first major starring role leads a blue-collar life as an oil rigger, living with needy waitress girlfriend Rayette Karen Black and bowling with their friends Elton Billy "Green" Bush and Stoney Fannie Flagg.
Feeling suffocated by responsibilities, Bobby seeks out his sister, Tita Lois Smith , and, discovering that his father is gravely ill, he reluctantly heads back to the patrician family compound in Puget Sound with a pregnant Rayette in tow. After a road trip featuring a harangue from hitchhiker Palm Helena Kallianiotes about filth, and Bobby's ill-fated attempt to make a menu substitution in a diner, he tucks Rayette away in a motel before heading to the house.
As Rayette's crassness collides with the snobbery of the Dupea circle, Bobby loses patience with both sides. After trying to reconcile with his mute father, Bobby departs, unwilling to give in to either destiny. Director Bob Rafelson and screenwriter Adrien Joyce aka Carole Eastman used the creative control afforded by the low budget to craft a European-influenced character study, catching a cultural mood of anomie and resentment as it was embodied in Bobby. Neither older generation nor hippie, Bobby fits in nowhere, and his desire for independence conflicts with his emotional emptiness.
Nicholson's nuanced performance of simmering frustration resonated with audiences caught between Nixon's "silent majority" and the troubled counterculture; a substantial hit, Five Easy Pieces was nominated for several Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor, and established Nicholson as a star.
Offering no "easy" answers to Bobby's existential crisis, Five Easy Pieces is one of the pre-eminent films in the early-'70s cycle of alienated American art movies, as even the fantasy of rebellion is reduced to merely running away. Jack Nicholson as Robert Dupea. Karen Black as Rayette Dipesto. Susan Anspach as Catherine Van Ost. Ralph Waite as Carl Dupea. Billy Green Bush as Elton.
Fannie Flagg as Stoney. Sally Struthers as Betty. Marlena MacGuire as Twinkie. William Challee as Nicholas. Lois Smith as Partita Dupea. There are no essentially self-contained activities within limited regions. All things change, the activities and their interrelations. It has thus swept away space and matter, and has substituted the study of the internal relations within a complex state of activity. In fact, science conceived as restricting itself to the sensationalist methodology can find neither efficient nor final causality.
Contrary to Hume, Whitehead held that it is untrue to state that our perception, in which sense perception is only one factor, discloses no causal relatedness. Inspired by the radical empiricism of William James and Henri Bergson, Whitehead gave a new analysis of perception.
In some sense or other … each happening is a factor in the nature of every other happening. Whitehead also noticed that, in a sense, physicists are even more reductionist than Hume. In practice they rely on sense data, but in theory they abstract from most of the data of our five senses sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch to focus on the colorless, soundless, odorless, and tasteless mathematical aspects of nature.
Moreover, the former world is supposed, ultimately, to fully explain the latter world so that, for example, colors end up as being nothing more than electromagnetic wave-frequencies. The primary qualities are the essential qualities of substances whose spatio-temporal relationships constitute nature.
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These sensations are projected by the mind so as to clothe appropriate bodies in external nature. Thus the bodies are perceived as with qualities which in reality do not belong to them, qualities which in fact are purely the offspring of the mind. Thus nature gets credit which should in truth be reserved for ourselves: The poets are entirely mistaken. They should address their lyrics to themselves, and should turn them into odes of self-congratulation on the excellency of the human mind. Nature is a dull affair, soundless, scentless, colourless; merely the hurrying of material, endlessly, meaninglessly.
Thereby, modern philosophy has been ruined. It has oscillated in a complex manner between three extremes. There are the dualists, who accept matter and mind as on an equal basis, and the two varieties of monists, those who put mind inside matter, and those who put matter inside mind. But this juggling with abstractions can never overcome the inherent confusion introduced by the ascription of misplaced concreteness to the scientific scheme.
This fallacy lies at the root of the modern philosophical confusions of scientific materialism and progressive bifurcation of nature. And the bifurcating idea that secondary qualities should be explained in terms of primary qualities is also an instance of this fallacy—it mistakes the mathematical abstractions of physics as the most concrete and so-called primary reality from which to explain the so-called secondary reality of colors, sounds, etc. I hold that philosophy is the critic of abstractions.
Its function is the double one, first of harmonising them by assigning to them their right relative status as abstractions, and secondly of completing them by direct comparison with more concrete intuitions of the universe, and thereby promoting the formation of more complete schemes of thought. It is in respect to this comparison that the testimony of great poets is of such importance. Their survival is evidence that they express deep intuitions of mankind penetrating into what is universal in concrete fact.
Philosophy is not one among the sciences with its own little scheme of abstractions which it works away at perfecting and improving. It is the survey of the sciences, with the special object of their harmony, and of their completion. It brings to this task, not only the evidence of the separate sciences, but also its own appeal to concrete experience. When Whitehead came to Harvard in he felt obliged to spend his time reading and teaching philosophy, rather than the theoretical physics he had been teaching in London, after teaching mathematics at Cambridge.
Consequently his knowledge of physics began to be out of date. Even though Whitehead did not react in his writings to the Copenhagen interpretation, he was up to date with respect to the older quantum mechanics of Planck, Einstein and Bohr , and his philosophy foreshadows some of its present day interpretations. How far does it modify the mathematical, the physical, and the psychological concepts of continuity?
In the world described by quantum mechanics there is no reality except in the relations between physical systems. The world of quantum mechanics is not a world of objects: Things are built by the happenings of elementary events: There is no longer space which contains the world, and no longer time during the course of which events occur. There are elementary processes … continuously interact[ing] with each other. Just as a calm and clear Alpine lake is made up of a rapid dance of a myriad of minuscule water molecules, the illusion of being surrounded by continuous space and time is the product of a long-sighted vision of a dense swarming of elementary processes.
Many of his essays about education date from this time and appear in his book, The Aims of Education and Other Essays a. As we think, we live. Thus it is only as we improve our thoughts that we improve our lives. This view in turn has corollaries for both the content of education and its method of delivery. By skipping stage one, and never arriving at stage three, bad math teachers deny students the major motivation to love mathematics: Culture is activity of thought, and receptiveness of beauty and humane feeling. Scraps of information have nothing to do with it.
Any serious fundamental change in the intellectual outlook of human society must necessarily be followed by an educational revolution. In particular, the scientific revolution and the fundamental changes it entailed in the seventeenth and subsequent centuries have been followed by an educational revolution that was still ongoing in the twentieth century. In , Whitehead wrote:. We are, in fact, in the midst of an educational revolution caused by the dying away of the classical impulse which has dominated European thought since the time of the Renaissance.
Finally, the idea of the World now means to us the whole round world of human affairs, from the revolutions of China to those of Peru. Whitehead listed the scientific and industrial revolutions as well as globalization as the major causes for the educational reforms of the nineteenth and twentieth century. These fundamental changes indeed implied new standards for what counts as genuine knowledge.
However, together with these new standards emerged a romantic anxiety—the anxiety that the new standards of genuine knowledge, education, and living might impoverish human experience and damage both individual and social wellbeing. Snow , and the many associated debates in the context of various educational reforms—for example, the s debate in Victorian England, when Whitehead was a Cambridge student, between T. Huxley, an outspoken champion of science, defending the claims of modern scientific education, and Matthew Arnold, a leading man of letters, defending the claims of classical literary education.
As for Whitehead, in whom the scientific and the romantic spirit merged, one cannot say that he sided with either Huxley or Arnold. He took his distance from those who, motivated by the idea that the sciences embody the ultimate modes of thought, sided with Huxley, but also from those who, motivated by conservatism, that is, by an anachronistic longing for a highly educated upper class and an elitist horror of educational democratization, sided with Arnold cf. Next to not taking a stance in the debate on which is the ultimate mode of thought, the scientific or the literary, hence rejecting the antithesis between scientific and literary education, Whitehead also rejected the antithesis between thought and action cf.
In other words, according to Whitehead, we can identify three instead of two cultures but, moreover, we must refrain from promoting any one of these three at the expense of the other two. My point is, that no course of study can claim any position of ideal completeness.
Nor are the omitted factors of subordinate importance. The insistence in the Platonic culture on disinterested intellectual appreciation is a psychological error. Action and our implication in the transition of events amid the inevitable bond of cause to effect are fundamental. An education which strives to divorce intellectual or aesthetic life from these fundamental facts carries with it the decadence of civilisation.
Disinterested scientific curiosity is a passion for an ordered intellectual vision of the connection of events. But the … intervention of action even in abstract science is often overlooked. No man of science wants merely to know. He acquires knowledge to appease his passion for discovery.
He does not discover in order to know, he knows in order to discover. The pleasure which art and sciences can give to toil is the enjoyment which arises from successfully directed intention. The antithesis between a technical and a liberal education is fallacious. There can be no technical education which is not liberal, and no liberal education which is not technical: There are three main methods which are required in a national system of education, namely, the literary curriculum, the scientific curriculum, the technical curriculum.
But each of these curricula should include the other two … each of these sides … should be illuminated by the others. Facing mandatory retirement in London, and upon being offered an appointment at Harvard, Whitehead moved to the United States in Given his prior training in mathematics, it was sometimes joked that the first philosophy lectures he ever attended were those he himself delivered in his new role as Professor of Philosophy. The lectures formed the basis for Science and the Modern World And in the Preface of the third major work composing his mature metaphysical system, Adventures of Ideas , Whitehead stated:.
The three books— Science and The Modern World, Process and Reality, Adventures of Ideas —are an endeavor to express a way of understanding the nature of things, and to point out how that way of understanding is illustrated by … human experience. Closely linked to this completion of the scientific scheme of thought, Whitehead developed a new scientific ontology and a new theory of perception. His scientific ontology is one of internally related events instead of merely externally related bits of matter.
His theory of perception cf. In his later metaphysics, Whitehead revolted against the bifurcation of the world into the objective world of facts as studied by science, even a completed science, and one not limited to physics, but stretching from physics to biology to psychology and the subjective world of values aesthetic, ethic, and religious , and he promoted the harmonization of the abstractions of science with those of art, morals, and religion, as well as the inclusion of more concrete intuitions offered by our experience—stretching from our mathematical and physical intuitions to our poetic and mystic intuitions.
Closely linked to this completion of the metaphysical scheme of thought cf. Part I of Process and Reality , Whitehead refined his earlier ontology, and generalized his earlier theory of perception into a theory of feelings. His theory of feelings cf. The actual occasions ontologically constituting our experience are the elementary processes of concrescence of feelings constituting the stream of our experience, and they throw light on the what and the how of all actual occasions, including those that constitute lifeless material things.
This amounts to the panexperientialist claim that the intrinsically related elementary constituents of all things in the universe, from stones to human beings, are experiential. But then this ontology has to take into account the fact that quantum mechanics suggests that reality is not only relational, but also granular the results of measuring its changes do not form continuous spectra, but spectra of discrete quanta and indeterminist physicists cannot predetermine the result of a measurement; they can only calculate for each of the relevant discrete quanta, that is, for each of the possible results of the measurement, the probability that it becomes the actual result.
Part IV of Process and Reality. The authority of William James can be quoted in support of this conclusion. Your acquaintance with reality grows literally by buds or drops of perception. In his Harvard writings, however, Whitehead considers deterministic interaction as an abstract limit in some circumstances of the creative interaction that governs the becoming of actual entities in all circumstances, and he makes clear that his notion of causality includes both determination by the antecedent world efficient causation of past actual occasions and self-determination final causation by the actual occasion in the process of becoming.
Every philosophy recognizes, in some form or other, this factor of self-causation. The eternal objects are the pure potentials of the universe, and the actual entities differ from each other in their realization of potentials. Eternal objects can qualify characterize the objective content and the subjective form of the feelings that constitute actual entities. Eternal objects of the objective species are pure mathematical patterns: Eternal objects of the subjective species, on the other hand, include sense data and values. A member of the subjective species is, in its primary character, an element in the definiteness of the subjective form of a feeling.
It is a determinate way in which a feeling can feel. But it can also become an eternal object contributing to the definiteness of the objective content of a feeling, for example, when a smelly feeling gives rise to a feeling of that smell, or when an emotionally red feeling is felt by another feeling, and red, an element of the subjective form of the first feeling, becomes an element of the objective content of the second feeling.
Indeed, each actual entity is a concrescence of feelings of the antecedent world, which do not only have objective content, but also subjective form, and as this concrescence is not only determined by the objective content by what is felt , but also by the subjective form by how it is felt , it is not only determined by the antecedent world that is felt, but also by how it is felt.
How does this relate to eternal objects? According to Whitehead, self-determination gives rise to the probabilistic laws of science as well as human freedom. We cannot decide what the causes are of our present moment of experience, but—to a certain extent—we can decide how we take them into account.
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In other words, we cannot change what happens to us, but we can choose how we take it. Because our inner life is constituted not only by what we feel, but also by how we feel what we feel, not only by objective content, but also by subjective form, Whitehead argues that outer compulsion and efficient causation do not have the last word in our becoming; inner self-determination and final causation do.
Whitehead completes his metaphysics by introducing God cf. Apart from the intervention of God, there could be nothing new in the world, and no order in the world. The course of creation would be a dead level of ineffectiveness, with all balance and intensity progressively excluded by the cross currents of incompatibility; c [ This commonplace is wrong.
In considering religion, we should not be obsessed by the idea of its necessary goodness. This is a dangerous delusion. Indeed history, down to the present day, is a melancholy record of the horrors which can attend religion: Religion is the last refuge of human savagery. The uncritical association of religion with goodness is directly negatived by plain facts.
So after highlighting that the necessary goodness of religion is a dangerous delusion in Religion in the Making , Whitehead abruptly adds: In Science and the Modern World , Whitehead expresses this transcendent importance of religion as follows:. Religion is the vision of something which stands beyond, behind, and within, the passing flux of immediate things; something which is real, and yet waiting to be realized; something which is a remote possibility, and yet the greatest of present facts; something that gives meaning to all that passes, and yet eludes all apprehension; something whose possession is the final good, and yet is beyond all reach; something which is the ultimate ideal, and the hopeless quest.
And after pointing out that religion is the last refuge of human savagery in Religion in the Making , Whitehead abruptly adds: In Science and the Modern World this message reads:. Religion has emerged into human experience mixed with the crudest fantasies of barbaric imagination. Gradually, slowly, steadily the vision recurs in history under nobler form and with clearer expression.
It is the one element in human experience which persistently shows an upward trend. It fades and then recurs. But when it renews its force, it recurs with an added richness and purity of content. The fact of the religious vision, and its history of persistent expansion, is our one ground for optimism. The lack of conflict between science and religion arises from a lack of overlap between their respective domains of professional expertise—science in the empirical constitution of the universe, and religion in the search for proper ethical values and the spiritual meaning of our lives.
Whitehead, on the contrary, wrote: However, Whitehead did not agree with those who hold that the ideal solution of the science-religion conflict is the complete annihilation of religion. Whitehead, on the contrary, held that we should aim at the integration of science and religion, and turn the impoverishing opposition between the two into an enriching contrast. According to Whitehead, both religion and science are important, and he wrote:.
When we consider what religion is for mankind, and what science is, it is no exaggeration to say that the future course of history depends upon the decision of this generation as to the relation between them. Whitehead never sided with those who, in the name of science, oppose religion with a misplaced and dehumanizing rhetoric of disenchantment, nor with those who, in the name of religion, oppose science with a misplaced and dehumanizing exaltation of existent religious dogmas, codes of behavior, institutions, rituals, etc.
Every age produces people with clear logical intellects, and with the most praiseworthy grip of the importance of some sphere of human experience, who have elaborated, or inherited, a scheme of thought which exactly fits those experiences which claim their interest. Such people are apt resolutely to ignore, or to explain away, all evidence which confuses their scheme with contradictory instances. What they cannot fit in is for them nonsense. An unflinching determination to take the whole evidence into account is the only method of preservation against the fluctuating extremes of fashionable opinion.
This advice seems so easy, and is in fact so difficult to follow a [ Life is an internal fact for its own sake, before it is an external fact relating itself to others. The conduct of external life is conditioned by environment, but it receives its final quality, on which its worth depends, from the internal life which is the self-realization of existence.
Religion is the art and the theory of the internal life of man, so far as it depends on the man himself and on what is permanent in the nature of things. This doctrine is the direct negation of the theory that religion is primarily a social fact. Social facts are of great importance to religion, because there is no such thing as absolutely independent existence. You cannot abstract society from man; most psychology is herd-psychology. But all collective emotions leave untouched the awful ultimate fact, which is the human being, consciously alone with itself, for its own sake.
Alfred North Whitehead
When taking into account science, religion runs the risk of collapsing. Indeed, while reshaping its outer life, religion can only avoid implosion by remaining faithful to its inner life. Religion, therefore, while in the framing of dogmas it must admit modifications from the complete circle of our knowledge, still brings its own contribution of immediate experience. So there really is no alternative. But that does not render the task at hand any easier.
Whitehead lists two necessary, but not sufficient, requirements for religious leaders to reshape, again and again, the outer expressions of their inner experiences: First, they should stop exaggerating the importance of the outer life of religion. Collective enthusiasms, revivals, institutions, churches, rituals, bibles, codes of behavior, are the trappings of religion, its passing forms.
They may be useful, or harmful; they may be authoritatively ordained, or merely temporary expedients. But the end of religion is beyond all this. Secondly, they should learn from scientists how to deal with continual revision. When Darwin or Einstein proclaim theories which modify our ideas, it is a triumph for science. We do not go about saying that there is another defeat for science, because its old ideas have been abandoned. We know that another step of scientific insight has been gained.
Religion will not regain its old power until it can face change in the same spirit as does science. Its principles may be eternal, but the expression of those principles requires continual development. This evolution of religion is in the main a disengagement of its own proper ideas in terms of the imaginative picture of the world entertained in previous ages.
Such a release from the bonds of imperfect science is all to the good. The clash between religion and science, which has relegated the earth to the position of a second-rate planet attached to a second-rate sun, has been greatly to the benefit of the spirituality of religion by dispersing [a number of] medieval fancies. On the other hand, Whitehead is well aware that religion more often fails than succeeds in this respect, and he writes, for example, that both. Christianity and Buddhism … have suffered from the rise of … science, because neither of them had … the requisite flexibility of adaptation.
If the condition of mutual tolerance is satisfied, then, according to Whitehead: In other words, if this condition is satisfied, then the clash between religion and science is an opportunity on the path toward their integration or, as Whitehead puts it:. The clash is a sign that there are wider truths and finer perspectives within which a reconciliation of a deeper religion and a more subtle science will be found.
There is a quality of life which lies always beyond the mere fact of life; and when we include the quality in the fact, there is still omitted the quality of the quality. It is not true that the finer quality is the direct associate of obvious happiness or obvious pleasure. Religion is the direct apprehension that, beyond such happiness and such pleasure remains the function of what is actual and passing, that it contributes its quality as an immortal fact to the order which informs the world. The second aspect is that each of the successive occasions of life contributes its quality or value as an immortal fact to God.
In Process and Reality , Whitehead absorbed this dual religious intuition in terms of the bipolar—primordial and consequent—nature of God. God viewed as primordial does not determine the becoming of each actual occasion, but conditions it cf.