Our Inherited Dysfunction

A perspective on human interaction and Tarantino’s demonstration of it.

Fear, greed, and the desire for power are strong motivators, and many past occurrences are directly caused by these human qualities. These are repeatedly seen in everything that we do. Eckhart Tolle attempts to explain these motivators in his book A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purposes by finding the root cause of them; the dysfunction that has caused so much pain and suffering throughout history, “the same dysfunction, a more subtle and rarified form of self-enhancement, of desire for more and a strengthening of one’s conceptual identity, one’s self-image” (Tolle 13). Tolle makes it clear that much of this distress is caused by people attempting to “change external reality” in hopes to find something more meaningful within themselves (Tolle 13).

Tolle’s focus on the innate desire to find a sense of self worth is used to explain much of the disappointment and anger that life can bring. This optical illusion of consciousness distorts your reality into “a reflection of the original illusion” (Tolle 28). The true simplicity of life becomes tainted by self interpretation because of the creation of self.

Tao Te Ching, which can be translated from Classical Chinese as The Book of the Way is often wrongly seen as encouraging passivity due to a large theme throughout the book; Wei wu wei is literally translated as “doing not doing” (Mitchell 6). I too was thrown off by the reoccurrence of the importance of non action. The book seemed to have two different messages: the desire to live in peace without fear and contempt, and the desire to help those who live in pain and ignorance. I initially began to read this book in hopes to achieve both, but I began to feel the necessity to choose one. Then I came across a passage that explained to me what was meant by wei wu wei.

Therefore the Master acts without doing anything and teaches without saying anything. Things arise and she lets them come; things disappear and she lets them go. She has but doesn’t possess, acts but doesn’t expect. When her work is done, she forgets it. That is why it lasts forever.

The message of Tao Te Ching is not the submission to evils, it is the power of acting not for yourself. The power of doing a job because it was assigned to you. The power of disassociating your desires and sense of self from your actions. By doing this your actions are pure and untainted.

Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister for the Nazi Regime, inflicts his own restlessness onto the 6 million Jews that he helped decimate during the Holocaust by increasing the popularity and power of the Nazi Regime through propaganda films, posters, and radio stations. In Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds the fictional manifestation of Joseph Goebbels takes a similar approach by creating Nations Pride, a film about a lone German soldier that kills 250 enemies. Throughout Inglorious Basterds, Goebbels is displayed as a man who is driven by the desire for power and need to be accepted by those he respects.

Tarantino does not explain why Goebbels constantly strives to be seen as powerful, but then again that is part of the fun of Tarantino. When introduced to Goebbels, he appears to be a little sleazy and cold, but Tarantino leaves it up to the audience to discover that this is largely a defense mechanism due to his fear of appearing weak. As examined in my second essay, many of Goebbels actions were in compensation for his youth with a deformed foot in hopes to strengthen his self identity through power and control of those he viewed lesser.

A large theme in The Hateful Eight was the differences between civilized and frontier justice. In my second essay, I examined the form of justice taken on by Major Marquis Warren and Chris Mannix in the death of Daisy Domergue. The attempted civilized justice by John Ruth went astray with his murder and suddenly frontier justice full of passion and hatred took its place. The men were no longer disassociated from Daisy Domergue’s crimes, and from that point on their actions to ensure her death were self interested. They attempt to change the natural course and sentence Domergue to death by hanging, and finally the murderous criminal is killed. But despite seeing the heartlessness of Dormergue, these actions do not seem heroic, and the audience doesn’t fell closure despite the death of every character. This self interested action makes the situation to appear to be not that of fate, but of the result of madness. As Andrew Judd put it in “Vox Populi,” “every man can be heroic, except for those men who reject fate and inflict their restlessness on all other men.”

I continued to examine the self interest in actions and the power of disassociating ones self from ones work with my wildcard. My wildcard is a journal entry from when I first began to see the similarities between my two essays. I had recently spoken to a high school friend, and her words were filled with anger concerning missionaries who had come to her village. I was shocked that she was so infuriated by something that appeared so kind and selfless, but slowly I began to recognize that she did not see their actions as generous. In my journal entry, I examined the difference between acting for God and having God act for you, and eventually concluded that perhaps the point of missionary trips is to slowly shed each layer of yourself.