(1) : usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something
(2) : an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking
(3) : an illuminating discovery
(4) : a revealing scene or moment
In the self referential film – Adaptation, Charlie Kaufman (of whom, I don’t think so highly, by the way) says:
…but what if a writer is attempting to create a story where nothing much happens, where people don’t change, they don’t have any epiphanies. They struggle and are frustrated and nothing is resolved. More a reflection of the real world…
Some of these epiphanies dawn on to me, as I lead my life, various pieces of my mental jigsaw puzzle fall into place, and theories and events make sense. In the past, some have left me shocked, they have shown me my darker side. Some have flattered me. Some, I didn’t accept; reason told me they were true, but I just didn’t accept them. This “I” which is devoid of reason, this “I” is an interesting being.
Of all these moments of clarity: some get chosen, and become principles; others….well, others become nothing.
Each epiphany is also accompanied by the elation of having discovered something about myself. This elation is independent of whether the epiphany itself is flattering or not. This leads me to believe that a part of me gets happy even if it discovers that the rest of me is disgusting, despicable, not-upto-the-mark, or pathetic. This happy-to-have-known-something-new part, lets call it the audience. The moment the nature of an epiphany is identified: good, bad, flattering, disgusting – another part of me wants to keep it, or change it, or shed it, or in the worst case, forget it. Lets call it the critic. There is a part of me whose acts have lead to epiphanies, whose acts have kept the audience happy, on whom the critic will try to enforce its viewpoints, lets call it the actor. Further on, I lead more life – according to the principles I have made. The part of me which directs life, lets call it the director. The director has the scene in mind, knows what the critic wants, and makes the actor act accordingly.
Some questions remain unanswered:
– Where does the scene come from?
– Are these the only players in the arena?
– What role does time play? Is there a feedback loop that goes beyond the critic?
– Does the actor have to exist? Can principles be built without stimulants?
Stefan Kanfer said that – Philosophy is concerned with two matters: Soluble questions that are trivial, and crucial questions that are insoluble.
Charlie is obviously wrong when he says that the real world doesn’t have epiphanies. He wants to believe that life is normal, and boring, and has frustrations which go unresolved. Agreed that my epiphanies are not grand enough to make me change the course of my life visibly. I still contend that innocuous conversations, thoughtful films, great books, games nature plays, etc. do bring about epiphanies in my life; some of which have gone on to become principles.
Even the pilots which went on to become nothing, I enjoyed even those.