Tag Archives: emotions

Detachment (2011)

Director – Tony Kaye


In the film, the character of Adrien Brody, Henry says

I realized something. I’m a non-person, Sarah. You shouldn’t be here, I’m not here. You may see me, but I’m hollow.

The film shows the degradation of the American education system where children have no respect for anything and teachers are at their wits end. Henry arrives at this school as a substitute school teacher and is able to bring an unruly class under control. He is a person who does not show any emotions and is completely detached to everything and everyone. At the same time, he is also shown expressing his love and concern for his ailing grandfather. He brings home a street prostitute, heals her physical and emotional wounds and yet refuses to accept her advances. One of this students becomes infatuated with him and starts to click his pictures in secret. Then there is a co-teacher with also whom Henry gets close. He In all these relationships, Henry tries to remain detached. He even arranges for the orphanage to take away the prostitute.

Henry teaches his students to cultivate their own consciousness against what his calls the ubiquitous assimilation of everything around us.

I liked this film because I could identify quite closely with the character of Henry, a person struggling between detachment and involvement with the world.

Man or Machine

Human frailties are glorified so much that there seems to be no way of accepting a person who has overcome those weaknesses. “To err is to human” and other similar sayings tend to accept that humans are imperfect. Although, it is true, it also closes the door to perfection. It becomes an excuse to remain imperfect, remain mediocre.

Man has always tried to make machines as intelligent or more powerful as humans. However, there is a general understanding that machines can never learn emotions. Rajnikanth may prove you otherwise.


Emotions are considered to be the touchstone on which to perform the Turing test (A test to differentiate between man and machine). In simple words, humans are humans because they have emotions, which machines can never have.

The point most of humanity misses is how mechanical our emotions are. Emotions are simply reactions to external stimuli. And despite all the talk about emotional intelligence, very few people even think about the possibility of being free of emotional outbursts.

Those who show little or no emotions are considered by other people to be mechanical. Emotions are seen to be so necessary to live and express oneself.

Take the case of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie Terminator 2: Judgement Day. He is shown to be a machine, yet when told by young John Connor, not to kill people, takes care not to do that. Now how many humans will be able to take such instructions and follow them? Obviously, we are not machines! We are emotional beings and we will not be able to do anything as perfectly as a machine can do, if we compare apples to apples.


By thinking of machines as inferior to humans and by thinking that emotions are the hallmark of human beings, we can never see how machine-like all our actions and behavior really are.

Someone who realizes that his emotions are simply reactions over which he has no control whatsoever is in a far better position to understand himself than someone who believes she has a right to be angry to express her state of mind or a right to sulk when he does not get what he wants.

Attainment of self knowledge refers partly to this truth about oneself. Take it or leave it. If you take it, you might observe your machine, set it right and be able to do far more marvelous things and have the opportunity to gain something real. If you leave it, you do not lose anything cause you do not have anything in the first place.