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The Science of Cronenberg: Transcript 05

DAVID CRONENBERG: It’s always a different thing. I suppose, it really comes from what I think of as my existentialist bedrock underpinnings, which is that you have to invent your belief. You have to invent your what we’re calling a focal point. You have to invent it. Such is saying that it is condemned to be free. And Heidegger, since you’ve mentioned that, Heidegger saying we are thrown into existence without any preparation without enough time in terms of lifespan to deal with the enormity of existence. For me, this is not Heidegger necessarily saying, we therefore immediately, like a crustacean who has to quickly create its own shell or else it’s going to be vulnerable, we create our own shell to protect us and to integrate us. And so it’s a belief system, it’s something creative. I think everybody at basis is very creative, not necessarily in terms of the forms that we recognize, filmmaking or art or whatever, but to survive as a human in society, in this world, you have to be creative. You fall apart like Spider, disintegrate, literally. In each case, it almost doesn’t matter what my character believe, that’s the thing. Whether it’s a belief in science or medicine, or in Packer’s case, Wall Street, investment, whatever. Those who are more successful are usually more obsessed and less flexible. their strength comes from this intense obsessive focus on this thing that they have chosen. But it makes them very vulnerable as human beings because they can’t deal with the other things. Often what they can’t deal with is everyday life, as in the case of Spider but also in the case of Eric Packer who has all the technology and the money around him but he barely knows how to use his [---]. He doesn’t know how to speak to people, he doesn’t how to talk to his wife. He realizes that in becoming successful by focusing with laser—like intensity—it’s like the magnifying glass under the sun and that hotspot that burns—he has ignored really what almost any normal human being has learned which is how to deal with people in a social setting. So he says, “This is how people talk to each other when they’re married,” as he said to his wife. He doesn’t really know, he’s faking it on that level, even though he’s a total master of this particularly contracted universe within his limo.

So it doesn’t really matter what they believe. I guess I’m always exploring the implications of that same existential conundrum.