Through a Glass Darkly

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Fear of death, he believed, could serve as a much more stable basis for politics and morals than love of the good or noble. Why was Hobbes so hopeful that he could remake the world and overcome Scholasticism? Invigorated by contemporaries like Francis Bacon and Benedict Spinoza, his co-conspirators in launching modernity, Hobbes believed that what he saw as the errors of Scholasticism did not inhere in the things themselves, but in the understanding of them—their use and application. Men would have to be made to understand reality as Hobbes saw it, stripped of vanity or hope, in a kind of naked honesty: nature is anarchic, death is the end, and men are always contriving to escape it.

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Out of this bracing realization, a new political and moral epoch of everlasting peace and prosperity could be established. The fundamental problem he confronted, and famously attempted to ameliorate, is the tension between spiritual and temporal authorities. In the age of Christendom, men were induced to care more for the fate of their everlasting souls than for their mere existence. By exposing the apparently irrational, unjust, and cruel teachings of Biblical morality, Hobbes teaches men to concern themselves with what is certainly good—preserving themselves in this world—rather than any notions of moral purity.

For Hobbes, human claims to revelation depend always upon fallible interpretations of highly contingent, extraordinary experiences. Not only does the Bible recognize false prophets, but it admits that men cannot judge purported revelations or prophecies by their reason alone. Because men lack a complete understanding of natural causes, human credulity interprets certain phenomena as supernatural. Hobbes never made an attempt to understand morality on its own terms by examining the complex relationship between moral opinion and purported religious experiences.

Stauffer argues that Hobbes was deaf to any idea of conscience, obligation, a desire for justice, and especially love or charity. Yet he was in his own way a committed moralist. To see why, Stauffer ably reconstructs the basis of his muddled morality. In his prior work, De Cive On the Citizen , Hobbes writes as if, like a stone falling downwards, men cannot help but act for the sake of their own preservation. As Stauffer points out, however, he does so little to establish that the fear of death, and the continuance of mere life, is our deepest, most compelling need, that one wonders why men have a right—even if rational—to act in any manner they so choose in order to satisfy that need.

The category of power takes pride of place for him.


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Power grants us a fleeting, temporary relief that makes us even more aware of how vulnerable we are. What Hobbes cannot do, according to Stauffer, is substantiate his judgment that the fear of death is morally good or neutral, and vanity bad or evil. He supposes that those motivated by the fear of death, as opposed to the desire for glory, enlarge their power only so far as their security requires.

It is the glory-seekers—the vain and proud who live for the contemplation of their own power—whom Hobbes blames for destabilizing the state of nature because they attempt, unnecessarily, to dominate all. He never provides a rational basis for this view. He simply asserts through the force of his rhetoric that men are driven by their passions, not their reason. Perhaps he does not attempt to distinguish them because he denies any standard of human happiness.

He believed he was returning men to what it is they naturally need, rather than to what it is they think they want. The success of his project seems more impressive than ever. Or does it? Stauffer makes us wonder what the ancients and Scholastics would have said about modernity.

Are men today really more concerned with their security, more self-centered, more incredulous about causes—supernatural and otherwise—than they had been in previous centuries? Can religion be explained away by psychology? Jul 13, Rating: 3. View All Critic Reviews Apr 01, Harriett Andersson really shows her range as an actress in this film from Director Ingmar Bergman, playing a young woman recently released from a mental institution, and suffering from schizophrenia.

It's a fantastic performance. Those are the only four actors in the film, which is stark and minimalistic, set on an island vacation home and taking place over a single day. It's a quiet, thoughtful movie, where each scene and each shot seem like a work of art. He continues to love her anyway. It's telling that Andersson has her breaks with reality in a dilapidated old room, and then later in a ship that's wrecked along the shore as water pours in. There is a sexual element here: she denies her husband, and later suggests that this is because she must choose "one side or the other", seeming to have opted for the crazy and unreal side of her psyche, having some sort of sexual encounter in her mind in the room before he wakes up, later seducing her brother, and finally sees God as a spider intent on penetrating her.

Amidst of their frustrations, the characters struggle to find meaning. As with other Bergman movies, the deeper questions about life and God are present. It's amazing that he packs this all into such a tight and lean story, with four characters over a single day. He makes use of reflections and light more effectively than anyone - watch for this throughout the movie. The opening and ending scenes are especially meaningful in light of its themes - inner reflection on one's demons, what the people around us mean to us, and whether God exists.

There is no easy answer to that last one. At the very least, he knows that love exists, and that it helps us in our difficult, meaningless lives.

Prey (2017) - Let's Play - Part 2 - "Through A Glass Darkly" - DanQ8000

Through all the darkness and difficulty, and though we cannot perceive meaning, looking as we do, "through the glass darkly", there is hope in love. Great film. Antonius B Super Reviewer. Jul 14, The situation is obviously tragic, but as far as character empathy to most I felt was pity towards the father. The acting was overall decent except for Lars Passgard who wasn't all too convincing and had an annoying whiny character. The cinematography is stunning, and it's masterfully directed but it left craving a more powerful Bergman, might just finish the trilogy off tonight with Winter Light.

Daniel D Super Reviewer. Sep 24, Ingmar Bergman, bar none one of the best filmmakers who have ever lived, has just proved here in "Through a Glass Darkly" that one does not need a complex set-up to convey something powerfully meditative. Merely utilizing the sterile landscapes of the island of Faro in Sweden, he, with the aid of the more than able hands of legendary cinematographer and frequent collaborator Sven Nykvist, has made a film that deeply questions religion yet also explores the painful beauty yes, you read that right of insanity.

If John Cassavetes' film "A Woman Under the Influence" has presented insanity as something akin to a suburban necessity by showing how it can keep a family together in the most trying of times, "Through a Glass Darkly" depicts it as something that seems to border on the artistic. Bergman, by equal amounts probing and observant in his approach, portrays insanity not as a terrible mental disease but as a symphonic descent into the unknown.

This, I think, is the only film that I have seen concerning mental illness in which I do not really pity the character's psychological condition but instead, in a strangely perverse way, envies it.

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What is she seeing that we don't? The film, a true landmark in simple yet reflective storytelling, is about a small family living on a quiet island and how their lives and own states of mind are being drastically affected by the only woman in the family's troubling mental health. What is it that she is waiting for that they are all oblivious about? Through this simple dichotomy of insanity and the otherwise, Bergman is able to construct, in true auteur fashion, a philosophical statement about both the futility of religion and the intrinsic role of love in human existence.


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Despite of the film's increasingly despairing situation as Karin careens into psychological oblivion and as she finally finds out the true, beastly nature of the 'God' whose arrival she so patiently awaits, "Through a Glass Darkly" was still able to find light by utilizing some logical fallacies that solidifies Bergman's faith in human faith itself. There's this scene in the end where Minus and his father David, while contemplating Karin's fate, unexpectedly swerves into a melancholic conversation about the true connection between 'God' and 'love'.

David, the classic image of a jaded yet hopeful human being, blurts out his belief that God and love is the same thing, and being equipped with that comforting idea makes him feel less empty inside. With that thought, Minus then asks his father: "Can that help her? It could have ended right at that very moment but Bergman, immediately shifting gears from skepticism to enlightened assurance, made the father answer his son with the line "I believe so". With that dialogue, Bergman seems to put his own way of religious thinking in perspective. Not that sure, not that certain, but definitely adhering to some kind of light and hope, that line highlights what "Through a Glass Darkly", at least for me, is all about.

Despite of Karin's description of the 'God' that she has seen as something akin to a monstrous spider, David, with his final answer to Minus' inquiry about the whole 'God is love' thing, is a testament of faith, however futile, amid weighing questions. Only a few filmmakers can do that. Well, maybe only Ingmar Bergman can. Ivan D Super Reviewer. Apr 20, Some interesting themes in the first entry of Bergman's so called 'Trilogy of Faith. Dillon L Super Reviewer.

Såsom i en Spegel (Through A Glass Darkly)

See all Audience reviews. David the Father: We draw a magic circle and shut out everything that doesn't agree with our secret games. Each time life breaks the circle, the games turn grey and ridiculous. Then we draw a new circle and build a new defense.

Karin: Poor little daddy. David the Father: Yes, poor little daddy, forced to live in reality. Karin: The door opened, but the god was a spider. He came up to me and I saw his face. It was a terrible stoney face. He scrambled up and tried to penetrate me, but I defended myself. All along I saw his eyes. They were cold and calm. When he couldn't penetrate me he continued up my chest, up into my face and onto the wall.

I have seen God. Karin: He that loves for real always does right by his loved one. Fredrik David's son known as Minus: Oblivion shall own me and death alone shall love me. View All Quotes. Best of Netflix. Go back. More trailers. Couples Therapy. The Great British Baking Show. The Politician. No Score Yet. Murder in the Bayou.

Through The Glass Darkly: Britain’s Civil Wars

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