OK, so I'm sitting in my family room watching the first episode of the HBO series True Detective. It stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as partners Rust Kohle and Marty Hart, homicide detectives for the Louisiana State Criminal Investigations Division.
The two are driving along the highway, getting to know one another, and suddenly I'm presented with what must be the most philosophically interesting conversation I've ever witnessed on screen.
Here it is, edited ever-so-slightly for the tender sensibilities of my reading audience...
Marty: "So what do you believe?"
Rust: "I consider myself a realist, but in philosophical terms, I'm what's called a pessimist.... I think human consciousness was a tragic misstep in evolution. We became too self-aware. Nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself. We are creatures that should not exist by natural law."
Marty: "Huh. That sounds god-awful, Rust."
Rust: "We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self, this accretion of sensory experience and feeling, programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody when, in fact, everybody's nobody."
Marty: "I wouldn't go around spouting that, I was you. People around here don't think that way. I don't think that way."
Rust: "I think the honorable thing for the species to do is deny our programming, stop reproducing, walk hand in hand into extinction, one last midnight, brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal."
Marty: "So what's the point of getting out bed in the morning?"
Rust: "I tell myself I bear witness, but the real answer is that it's obviously my programming, and I lack the constitution for suicide."