Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My God..

I recently watched one of the greatest movies of all time. It’s one of those rare films that I can watch more than once. Superbly acted and superb music...but most of all the message and lessons learned.

The movie is the Academy Award winner for Best Picture in 1984..Amadeus.

Before I begin analyzing it..Here is a broad outline.

In the mid 1700s Austria was at the center of European culture and music.
The court composer in Vienna at the time was a man named Salieri...and this whole movie is narrated from his perspective in an insane asylum some 30 years after these events were alleged to have happened.

How did he end up there?
As a young boy in Italy he was raised in a strict home and could not follow his life passion, music.
One day he made a deal with God that if he finds a way to go to music school he’ll dedicate his life to him.
The next morning his father died.
He was off...and became an accomplished musician and composer. He also kept his promise to God. He was also a deeply religious man and viewed music as a gift from God and musicians as Godly vehicles in this world.

In 1758 a boy was born in Salzberg that would take the world by storm. An absolute musical genius of legendary proportions. By the time he was 4 he was performing for kings. At 8 he wrote his first full symphony and at 12 his first opera.
His name was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
When he came to visit Vienna it was the talk of town and Salieri went to see this divinely gifted young man.
What he saw shocked him to the core. A vulgar, immature, haughty and immoral young man churning out song after song of such genius and longing. This made him intensely jealous, which led him to become angry. Naturally his anger turned to God. The one that gave him his gift, which suddenly seemed mediocre compared to Mozarts (see movie clip).
A few months later Mozart made a mockery of one of Salieris pieces in front of the Emperor. He became enraged.
How can a just God tease him this way??
Why give such a gift to someone so undeserving??
Whereas I devoted my life to you..to celibacy..only to be treated like this??
And so..from that moment on he devotes his life to Mozarts destruction and through that, enact vengeance on God himself.
(The acting of F Murray Abraham (he won the Oscar for his part) is really great.)

The movie ends with an elaborate plot to kill Mozart who ends up dying under mysterious circumstances while writing a Requiem which had been commisioned by a mysterious benefactor (Salieri).
He was 36 years old and composed over 600 pieces of music during his life.

Here’s what I’ve been thinking...

I think, what brought down Salieri was his close relationship with God.
I think that having an intimate relationship with God can sometimes be nothing but a trap and in fact you could be the furthest possible from him at that moment.

Gaaveh, haughtiness is an expansion of the ME.
The sense of self.
The bigger it gets, the more, more of the world revolves around you, the haughtier you become.
It can get so big that it swallows up God himself.
The world sooo revolves around you that when things fall into place, you start to relate to God in a more intimate way BECAUSE he’s so good to you. You start to feel "spiritual".

But in reality it’s all a trap, you feel good because your ME suddenly encompasses God himself!

Thus when God suddenly “betrays” you, you feel anger and betrayed. Just like a jilted lover feels that intense love turn into intense hatred.

But it’s really your sense of entitlement and your own selfishness that forged this “God” in your own image.

That’s when you need to pick up the pieces, humble yourself and find the real God.




Blogger BEHIND A SMILE said...

Intense but beautiful and well written.

June 26, 2007 4:01 PM  
Blogger Chaya said...

That's the difference between religious and spiritual. 'Spiritual' is what makes you feel good...it's the selfish version of religion.

June 26, 2007 4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very insightful. Thank you.

June 26, 2007 5:50 PM  
Blogger The Dreamer said...

He didn't dedicate his life to G-d. He dedicated it to his passion, which had come before his recognition of G-d - his passon for music.
G-d was an afterthought. A pretty adornment upon the passion of his life.

But did he truly dedicate his life to G-d? No. He did so to music, and music only.

Because music was his self.

And when G-d no longer acted as an adornment, he seeked to rid himself of the burden.

(so much for humor, huh?)

June 26, 2007 8:00 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...


excellent point...

Thank u..

But he didnt want to rid himself of his adornment..He was truly commited to the god that gifted him and even became celibate..
It wasnt a burden to him at all...

I was just pointing out that we sometimes exhibit similar behavior..perhaps more subtely..

June 26, 2007 8:27 PM  
Blogger FrumGirl said...

Bravo! Wonderful post!!! I LOVE that movie!!!!! Thanks for writing this, it really put a smile on my face its so up my alley!

June 26, 2007 9:22 PM  
Blogger The Dreamer said...

he was NOT committed to G-d. he was committed to hmself, nd himself meant music. if part of making that music pure meant placing G-d in the picture, then so be it. that's what he did.
but once he saw that his music wasn't as pure as those without the adornment of G-d, G-d became a burden of which he had to relieve himself, or else reconcile the discrepancy of his own view of himself.

June 26, 2007 9:46 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

Put a smile on my face..

Thats exactly what I'm pointing out..In his mind sometimes we think we're commited to God but we;re really just using God...

June 26, 2007 10:30 PM  
Blogger jewmaican20 said...

I saw that movie for the first time YEARS ago.
To me, the most powerful scene is in the beginning, when the priest goes to visit Solieri aftre his suicide attempt. Solieri plays him a tune on the piano, to which the priest responds with delight and recognition aftre several failed attempts.
When told by the priest that he didn't know that he'd composed it, his response is heartbreaking...
A great movie..

June 26, 2007 11:11 PM  
Blogger The Dreamer said...

(sorry, i just like to argue...)

June 26, 2007 11:12 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

yes..that scene sort of sets the tone for the entire movie....
The patron saint of mediocricy..as he calls himself later on...

I know..thats why I indulged you once..

June 27, 2007 10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree with david. but i think it goes further, than whats being played out here.

what happens, when a person totaly dedicates his life to god. not based upon getting anything, just to serve his lord. he feels the chovos halvovos hakoros hatov demands, and tries to live up to them.

but god shows his mercy. and after years of selfless avoidah, he gets repaid with accaptence, appreciation, and honor etc.

of course he will see it as gods ways hagomel tov leshoimrei mitzvoisov.

but then suddenly he loses all of the above. and for reasons that arent his fault in the least bit. this person ends up in shame, abandoment and alone.

thats where the problem is for all of us.

we are chaya's religious ppl not spiritual...
we have served the dreamer's god not ourselves.

and suddenly we feel lost.

June 27, 2007 11:15 AM  
Anonymous limey said...

me thinks the celibacy clouded his judgement...

June 27, 2007 1:06 PM  
Blogger Chaya said...

LOL limey...I think you may be right...

June 27, 2007 1:53 PM  
Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Very nice post as always.

June 27, 2007 3:57 PM  
Blogger jewmaican20 said...

Also for another good example of your observation, David, read A Contract With God, by Will Eisner. It's a graphic novel (which is a longer version of a comic book when put into simpler terms), but if you aren't familiar with the comics genre, don't push it aside. It's a very interesting read...

June 27, 2007 4:44 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

so ur saying that no matter what..the relationship always becomes about us?

lol..Does that happen to you..?


I'll make sure to read it..

June 27, 2007 8:27 PM  

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