Serious Stuff from 'Funny People'
by Shen Shi'an, The Buddhist Channel, Oct 23, 2009
Singapore -- ‘Funny People’ is largely a comedy, but it is also a serious movie with elements of tragedy too. Okay, a tragicomedy it is then, with a heavier slant on comedy. It’s about a seasoned comedian (George Simmons, played by Adam Sandler), who was diagnosed with a fatal sickness, who thereafter struggles to take it lightheartedly – even cracking jokes about it.
Though there were a couple of Buddhist references in the film, the line that was the most memorable to me was a simple one. George utters this with mild exasperation when he realised his sickness seemed healed…
Now what do we do?
His doctor suggests that he makes another funny movie. But is it worth it? I guess so, if wit is shared with wisdom generously to transform other lives? What’s intriguing about that line is that it applies to us too. Whether we are well or pronounced to be dying, we need to ask ourselves this – ‘Now what do we do?’ While George gets a new lease of life, we already have this lease of life. Our new life begins now. It always does. Even when George realised he was dying, his new life began then too – it took a turning point, as he reflected upon the worth of his life and changed his ways. Before, despite being rich and famous, he had no genuine connections with anyone – not even family and friends. When he learnt to care, his life became meaningful, worth living… before it was too late. As Stonepeace put it…
‘Things might not always become better,
but we can always become better,
and that can always make things better.’
‘One can have a better rebirth now,
by becoming a better person now.’
When we learn to die, we learn to live.
When we learn to live, we learn to die.
- Zen Saying