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The Curse of Frank Black

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Guest dylan1371

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Sorry Psycho, ever heard of Kierkegaard, Jaspers or Marcel? all religious existentialists.

Quite right. I stand corrected.

My point of Existentialism "starting from Atheism/non-belief" refered to the later existentialists like Jean-Paul Sartre and others.  At one point folks sometimes referred to the writings of certain Existentialists as "Atheistic Existentialism."  However, since most of the later Existentialist writers and philosophers were atheists, the term "atheistic" was often dropped, and the later Existentialist were referred to without the "Atheistic" descriptive.  So, the term Existentialism, does not necessarily always refer to the entire historical school of thought.

This is why I referred to Existentialism as "beginning with Atheism/non-belief"

Here is an exerpt from "Existentialism and Human Emotions" by Jean Paul Sartre, which addresses and defines this form of Existentialism.

"Atheistic existentialism, which I represent, is more coherent. It states that if God does not exist, there is at least one being in whom existence precedes essence, a being who exists before he can be defined by any concept, and that this being is man, or, as Heidegger says, human reality. What is meant here by saying that existence precedes essence? It means that, first of all, man exists, turns up, appears on the scene, and, only afterwards, defines himself. If man, as the existentialist conceives him, is indefinable, it is because at first he is nothing. Only afterward will he be something, and he himself will have made what he will be. Thus, there is no human nature, since there is no God to conceive it. Not only is man what he conceives himself to be, but he is also only what he wills himself to be after this thrust toward existence."

personally, I'd describe myself as an agnostic humanist.  I think that to define yourself as an atheist (or indeed a christian or a jew or a scientologist, and maybe even an "agnostic humanist") is to put a roof over your head and to close off certain avenues of thought and experience.[dont get me wrong, I'm not advocating the ridiculous pseudo-religious pick'n'mix new age stuff ("a bit of buddha here, and a dollop of christ") currently the rage in yuppie culture].

Ummm... didn't your just build your own roof called "agnostic humanist" as you "may be" pointed out?  How do you differenciate what "puts a roof over your head..." in the sense that you are asserting?  Why are you uncomfortable with having a point of reference - as in refering to something or pointing out some aspect of ones life?  Personally, I am not uncomfortable doing so, because for me knowledge and understanding are every evolving and growing.  Saying I am an "Atheist" does not impede or change this.  In fact, for me, being an Atheist encourages and impassions me to be ever mindful of new developments and knowledge.  Being an Atheist means that I do not impede knowledge, understanding, investigation, and inquiry with assumption, imaginings, and speculations that prevent the mind from looking truly being open all findings and investigations.

Why are you so uncomfortable with reference points?  Is it really the so called "label" that bothers your, or is it the fact that someone is asserting there non-belief?  Is it the "label" that bothers your or the "non-belief" of someone else?  And, if so, why should the non-belief of another disturb you?

Futhermore, your statements/concern about "putting a roof over your head and closing off certain avenues of thought and experience" seems like your are putting people in a box yourself.  Are you saying that atheists can only think atheist thoughts, humanists can only think humanist thoughts, christians, christian thoughts...and so on?

Are you saying that any one of these descriptive words defines rather that describes the person?  If so, why? I don't feel defined by called myself an Atheist.  It is a description, not a personality or cell room.

I mean, though I do not subscribe to groupthink, and try to avoid it at all times -  I completely comfortable about being associated, grouped, or alinged with others of the non-belief & suspended-belief categories.  I don't feel being associated or affiliated in this way limits me or diminishes me one bit.  Nor does this preoccupation with labels that others seem to have.

The concerns that others have about about labels does not define me, nor do others define for me the meaning of words or labels.  I personally think for myself.

To get back on topic, I think what is most surprising about Millenium is its compatability with atheistic thought, despite its ever-increasing theological subject matter. Its rare that a TV programme deals with ethics and other philosophical questions so thoughtfully.

Well, I don't see how we have strayed from the topic in light of the fact that Jean-Paul Sartre's book appears in the episode, and in light of how you just described MillenniuM.  And you are quite right about MLM's "compatability with atheistic thought, despite its ever-increasing theogical subject matter."  I have pointed out similar things in several different topic threads.  I am glad to see others picking up on this.

Oh and as for the fish, Psycho, they all look rather cold, metallic and indigestible. I think I'd prefer a carrot.


I donno... we all need iron in our diet, don't we?  



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Guest Pencil Machine Operator

yeah, sorry, I got carried away... its just that sometimes atheists seem just as fanatical and zealous as religious types.

And to be honest i'm an atheist... just a very reluctant one! I've edited out a lot of the post...

Im always in a bit of a bad mood logging on to this site because im always expecting a PM which is taking a long time to come.

Everyone needs a reference point(s) [just as long as its not too concrete and dogmatic]

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SCOTT: "Being an Atheist means that I do not impede knowledge, understanding, investigation, and inquiry with assumption, imaginings, and speculations that prevent the mind from looking truly being open all findings and investigations."

            ...i'm quite confident that atheists don't have a monopoly on the above precepts. and as far as "imaginings" go i'm sure "I" have no more than "you" since everything is subejective.-(not that i'm trying to make assumptions about anyone.)    ... i'll attach a smiley icon now...... :smily_tooth_big:  

                  ...quaint imaginings in vermont,

                                se7en :ouro:  :devil01:

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Guest Pencil Machine Operator

Frank and Crocell are both definitely existential figures in this episode. If you've read any of Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling, his descriptions there of Abraham's plight are really not that different to that of Frank; to paraphrase:Walking a complicated path which nobody will understand but you.

From what I hear of season 3 (which I havent seen), this is pretty much Frank's predicament.

     One interpretation of the episode could be that Crocell has given into Despair (in the Sartrean sense, though without its occasionally positive connatations within existentialism), and unable to live outside the herd (in the Nietzchean sense) develops a kind of desperate schizophrenia (throwing dog crap at his own house). Frank almost succumbs aswell, but confronted with what he could become (either Crocell or a comfortable, though cowardly, family man) chooses the impossible (or the Absurd, as Kierkegaard would say).Namely, to fight against Evil.

I'd love to hear some more interpretations of the ideas behind this episode.


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  • 2 years later...
Guest chagrin

Okay, I haven't read this anywhere yet, I have a question. This episode is probably my 3rd favorite of the series, excellent in all aspects - perfectly reflecting the life Frank Black has himself in; he's alone with his gift. Just a great episode.

I want to know if any of you know what show (if it was a how, or something written for the episode) that the laughing claymation Devil comes from - I have no idea and am curious

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest betweenthelines

From www.fourthhorseman.com:

At home, Frank is tormented from his own television screen by a chillingly bizarre depiction of a laughing devil. He's seeing clips of Fétiche (The Mascot), a short 1933 film by Polish director Wladyslaw Starewicz, famed for his pioneering work with cartoons and stop-motion animation.

I must say, this is one of the few "Millennium" episodes that I haven't read anything negative about (the pilot being one of those others). I'm one of the many who loved this episode but if anyone was disappointed by it, feel free to speak up.

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Guest MillenniumIsBliss
From www.fourthhorseman.com:

I must say, this is one of the few "Millennium" episodes that I haven't read anything negative about (the pilot being one of those others). I'm one of the many who loved this episode but if anyone was disappointed by it, feel free to speak up.

I can't say I was ever disappointed with it, and I have always liked it, but it took a couple of viewings before I ranked it among the very best. I think, originally, it stuck in my head as being an episode with a great mood, that captured the "feel" of Halloween and that time of year, but it was not really an example of brilliant writing from what I remembered. Then, after reviewing it when my S2 DVDs arrived, I started to remember some of the little things that made it great, and it actually is pretty well written, although it probably is not in the same league as some of the other great ones from a writing standpoint. Overall, however, I rank it right there at the top. What I enjoy most about the episode, other than the spooky feel of it, was the dialogue between Crocell and an adult Frank in the attic, as well as the dialogue between Crocell and a young Frank, although Crocell did most of the talking in that scene. These, along with a few others, are the ones that I point to and say "that was some pretty good writing". However, the part that I remembered from way back when, and the part that I was not that crazy about was the whole A.C.T.S. 2/6/8 coincidence thing. I know I have said it before, but I think it was just a little overdone. I just could not come to grips with Frank getting 8 letters that were all from organizations whose abbreviated names were A.C.T.S. Still, this was not enough to detract from the overall greatness of the episode, and now that I'm talking about it, it sounds like a pretty good selection for tonight. By the way, I definitely agree with the Millennial Abyss rating of 5 out of 5.

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Guest ZeusFaber

I agree. It works because it's an exercise in pure atmosphere. It perhaps doesn't stand out as great writing, like you say, because there is such little dialogue, but it certainly stands out as a great piece of directing and cinematography, plus the facial acting from Lance Henriksen. Kudos to Ralph Hemecker and Robert McLachlan.

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