Friday, April 30, 2010

Post for May 3

We will discuss the chapter "Archetypes and Repetition" on Monday (there will be a Powerpoint); there are many different examples and allusions to different religious figures, but don't be confused by that.

Instead, focus on the essential concepts:

1. Imitation or emulation of a "celestial archetype," "primordial act," or "mythical example";
2. "Symbolism of the center";
3. Chaos of "undifferentiated, formless premodality";
4. Road leading to the Center;
5. Profane vs. Sacred time and space.

The Center can be a literal space or object (as in holy sites), or it can be a metaphorical center: i.e., the core of the Self.

The episode of This American Life that we watched, "John Smith," features traditional symbols of the center: trees, the home. The episode also featured frequent images of the road: John Smith driving (or being driven) from one place to another.

Your blog question is this: why did the director/producer of the episode choose to feature so many images of the road, and how do these images of the road contribute to the concept of the Center?

Enjoy your weekend!


  1. Brittany Stevens
    I think the director choose to have many pictures of the road because of what the road symbolizes. The road symbolizes the path one takes and the video showed the path that the individuals were taking at the different ages they were. Many of the characters reflected on how they wished their life would be or how they didn't want it to change. Each John Smith had a different life and had experienced different things, both positive and negative. This could be a reflection of the center because it shows how the different paths these individuals took made them who they were. The different lessons, struggles and experiences brought these individuals to find themselves and realize what they wanted in life.

  2. I think the director/producer chose to use the road a variety of times to demonstrate the fact of although their are different lives and individuals it is the same narrow road, it is up to the person which path he wants to take. Throughout the movie, each John were very different and they all were in different parts of their life. Although, they were all different they all did things that was enjoyable for them. The road is their to represent the fact that although some choose to take a different road, a road is a road a place you travel on. Meaning although each person have a life to live, its just that everyone has the commonality of life, however, the decisions they make and the path they want to follow is what sets them apart from others.


  3. I think that the director/producer of the episode choose to feature so many images of the road because the road is the path that leads everyone through the different stages and locations in life. The episode showed the different stages of life each John Smith was in to represent the different roads they each took and the different places in life they were in. The numerous images of the road contributes to the center because the road represents the different paths and locations in which they may lead one through life. Different roads stand for different paths in life which one chooses to either follow or not. Each road that is chosen deals with the different consequences that are going to be faced by each individual in this case by each John Smith.

    Nancy Sanchez

  4. I think that the director of the film chose to show each John Smith on the road because the road symbolizes a pathway. The road shows the path that each John Smith is taking at different stages of their lives. Some people experienced bad things, while other experienced good things. I think the roads lead to the center which in my mind is death. In the film he shows the older John Smith last, and makes it a poit to let it be known that he does die in the end. I think the directors main point was even though we do all travel on different roads, and experience different things, in the end we all end up with the same result, which is death.
    --Rachel Sterling

  5. The road symbolizes a journey that every person embarks on. The director showed every John Smith traveling on a road. The significance of each Smith traveling on a road shows that, although each Smith was on a different road, they were still traveling on the road of life. However, each road has its end, and the end of the road is death. Essentially, John Smith is born, he has experiences, and he dies. But what matters is not the destination, but the journey.
    Sergio Espain

  6. The road is presented in the movie because it is a metaphor for life. The movie depicts men from all different parts of America who share one thing in common: their name, John Smith. As the movie progresses we can see that these people have far more in common than just their name. They all have struggles in their life as well as triumphs. The road of life is not straight and there are no directions to follow. Each person has to do their best to survive; there are no road maps; unexpected road blocks can occur and one can be left stranded, but one can also learn from these setbacks. Life is not a smooth ride. One can not plan out a perfect life because no one knows what the future holds. A person feels invincible when he or she is young, but one is not immortal and is not immune to the pressures of life. At every sage of the men’s lives, there were feelings of anxiety, guilt, and sadness. The center plays a part in the road symbol by showing how the men were searching for the center of them selves, but were shaken by life’s bit falls; they where not in control of certain aspects of their lives.
    Tracy Slegers

  7. The Director of the film "This American Life" chose the road to symbolize that are life is a road that we follow in our lifes until we die,in which its the end of that road. Like in John Smith's life wile we are going through that road we all have those experiences. The paths of the road represented the experieces and the things we follow through life wether good or bad. All the experiences either good or bad are the ones that gives us what we really want and the ones that make our LIFE.

    ~Elvira Alvarez~

  8. I think the director chose to incorporate the road in the video as much as he did because of what the road represents. It is know to most people to relate the symbol of a road to life. The road represents the path that each John Smith chooses to take in their lives. A road has smooth areas, bumps, hills, and cracks. These different characteristics of a road represent the different parts of a life, each John Smith experienced smooth and rough parts of their roads. I think that each road leads each John Smith to their center. Center representing their purpose in life.

    Kari-Lyn Doria

  9. So frequently is the road displayed in the film because it symbolizes the different paths people take in life, the different places they are at and where they have been, what paths lie ahead, and the struggles they face as they try to live their own lives. A person can end up in a very different place from others, even with a common point- such as a name.
    --Michael Adamson

  10. The director chose to feature the road in many episodes of the American Life because the road not only is meant in the literal meaning, moving from one place to another, but its symbolic meaning is the road of life or the events and obstacles that one surpasses in order to be. It starts in birth and ends in death. For instance, when people are little, their road is being chosen and they are driven to it. It is like this until they are of age, that they choose their own road to follow. The director also decided to feature many people with the same name because although these have the same name, they each experience different events in their life that may also be similar in human life. For instance, dealing with the death of a loved one and also dealing with your child's own decided path are some of the examples or events that these people deal with. How they deal with these obstacles makes them their Self or their uniqueness.

    Fatima Lucio

  11. After watching the documentary, This American Life, I conclude that the director/producer decided to show different types of roads in order to show the different ways that a road can take an individual. Each John Smith decided at some point in their life, conscious or not, to take a road that will take them to who they would become. Each individual in the documentary knew what they wanted to be and took the road that will take them there. On the other hand, the baby cannot choose a road yet, but his parents are choosing it for him (golf), but its up to the child to decide if he is going to take the road his parents are choosing for him or choose another road that will help him find what he really wants and wants to be in life.


  12. In an episode "John Smith" the director chose to show different roads to refer to lives of different people. According to Stevens, road or path is "a symbol of human life, as being a passage from the cradle to the grave." (157) Everyone chooses his or her own road in their life. Sometimes the road that you want to go may be closed, but there is always a detour. 9 years old John Smith's mother says, "Detour is when you have to go a different way because the way you planned to go won't let you go that way." In my opinion, this statement is the main point of the episode: Everyone's life is in their hands. The meaning of life is to fight through difficulties to achieve the goals.

    Nigina Boltaeva

  13. I think the director of "This American Life" chose the different roads to symbolizes a different path that life can take you. Each road took each individual to a different point of there life. Each john was a different age and was going through his own obstacle. This episode let us see how the life of the child "John" was and all the ages in between. It showed us how each John was different even though they shared the same name. It made me think how the youngest John still had time to change his road and end up on the right road since he was still young and able to make those decision. Compared to the older johns that were facing many of lives obstacles and an older age. But even with that said each road to each john to his own center.
    -maritza ayala

  14. I feel the director chose to use the different roads to evoke the sense that there are many roads that will lead us to where we want to, but as long as we choose the one that best suites us there is no telling where life will take us. The episode from "The American Life" showed various John Smiths' on different roads; this conveyed a sense of direction and searching for the direction that is meant for you. Each road was significant to each John, but none evoked the same feelings. This episode showed that in life there are going to be challenges we must overcome in order to determine who we are as individuals.
    ~Cindy Astorga

  15. I think that the director used the road image in the film many times is because his film was about different people with the same name going though life, and he wanted to show life as a series of roads. However all the roads have the same center which can be represented by being born and then all roads again come together at the center when life ends which can be a persons death. However depending on what your spirtual beliefs are the cycle repeats or a new series of roads are taken.

  16. I think that the director used the road image in the film many times is because his film was about different people with the same name going though life, and he wanted to show life as a series of roads. However all the roads have the same center which can be represented by being born and then all roads again come together at the center when life ends which can be a persons death. However depending on what your spirtual beliefs are the cycle repeats or a new series of roads are taken.

    Camila Ramirez

  17. I think the director decided to use the images of roads to show how many roads lead to different places in life and not all roads are the same. These people had very distinct lives, yet they had something in common that all humans are looking for in life.

  18. The film “John Smith” is about men of all ages and the different roads they followed. The producer capturers the triumphs and struggles men go through in this film. They not only share their names, but similar major events in their life. Although they choose different path none of them were easier than the other. In the book “The Myth of the Eternal Return” center is considered the road less taken because it is difficult, as well as the road to finding ones true identity. Consequently these John’s of different ages and walks of life have either struggled to find them or have found them and have triumphed in accomplishing their goal.
    Priscilla C Caraballo

  19. I think that the producer/director chose the road as a symbolism to life. In life there are many roads that we can choose to take, and there is only one that can lead you to the right path to success or to destruction. The road is the path of life, and many people use a metaphor of the type of choices we make. As we take roads that lead us through the adventures of life, those roads can lead us to our true identities and take us through different stages of life, like the seven JOHN SMITH's in the video.

    sarahi veloz

  20. Roads symbolize direction. The can metaphorically relate to the twists and turns in life. In the documentary we watched about all of the John Smiths, the director took many camera shots of the road to relay the message of choice and direction to the viewer. By doing this, the viewer gets the sense that each John chose his own path. That is why each John came out to be so different. Each road lead to another place. Each road had its ups and downs. Each road had its happy times. I guess the moral is to choose the road that best fits you and travel on it the best you possibly can.
    ~~Cassie Marchman

  21. I believe the director of the film chooses to show the road for every John Smith because it symbolizes the Journey to find the centre to one’s self. Each John Smith at different ages was trying to find his inner self, and find the purpose of their life through each stage. The film symbolizes the begging to the end, and the road was the bridge that brought life and death. However, the road is the pathway one chooses to follow and find what we want out our lives.
    Robert De Anda