It’s All So Simple, Really—the Stone is Actually a Donkey


by Wanda Waterman
The Voice Magazine, Volume 22 Issue 32 2014-08-15

Film: Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?

Director: Michel Gondry

“Reality is simple and it’s our task to show that.”
– Noam Chomsky in Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?

Once upon a time a little donkey was turned into a stone. When some children told the donkey’s parents that the stone was their son, the parents didn’t believe it. Finally the stone was turned back into a donkey.

The lesson? Our ideas of objects are not based on their physical appearances but rather on the mental conceptions we impose on those objects, such as the notion of continuity that the children in this tale imposed on their little donkey friend; they retained an awareness of his true identity even when he no longer looked like a donkey.

This is just one of the many ideas presented by linguist, thinker, political polemicist, and activist Noam Chomsky in an interview with Michel Grondy, the French filmmaker who, during the nineties, was a much sought-after musical video director for Björk and the Rolling Stones, and who was also a co-director of the remarkable feature Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. (Read the rest here.)

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