Intro to Philosophy
A philosophical analysis of “Being John Malkovich”
“Being John Malkovich” is certainly a unique film with a very interesting and unique plotline. It brings up a lot of questions about what it means to be someone else, what it means to be yourself and most importantly what it means to be John Malkovich. In the Movie a Puppeteer named Craig Schwartz finds a portal in an office building that can somehow transport him inside of the body of John Malkovich. Throughout this essay I will refer to Malkovich’s body as a Vessel, just as Lester did in the movie. And I will explain why I believe that the movie supports the philosophical belief of Dualism.
When the portal that Schultz finds is opened and a “Viewer” Crawls in they are sucked deep into a tunnel and suddenly, inexplicably find themselves within the body of John Malkovich. They see, hear, feel, and taste everything that John Malkovich does. All of the external sensory information that his mind receives is also received by the viewer. But never at any time can the Viewer hear John Malkovich’s thoughts. What does this mean? I think that this means that two minds or souls can inhabit a vessel at once. One controls the body at a time as a dominant mind and the rest being submissive. But they never seem to consume each other as we learn later in the movie when Malkovich is released. I believe this is a strong indication of Dualism, the fact that the minds are unable to hear one another without using external communication would suggest that even though they are both within the body their minds remain separate. If that weren't the case the viewer would be able to hear the thoughts of Malkovich throughout the film. This seems correct when you look at it the way Descartes Theorized “...the mind or soul of man is entirely different from the body…” (Rene Descartes, Meditations of First Philosophy) This begs the question, what does it mean to be someone else? And did Schwartz ever actually achieve becoming John Malkovich?
I don't believe that Schwartz ever became Malkovich. I also do not think that Schwartz ever wanted to become Malkovich in the first place, after taking control of Malkovich’s body he simply continued to be Craig Schwartz, using Malkovich’s body to further...