Happiness and Boredom in the Twilight Zone
"The Twilight Zone" was a popular television show created by Rod Sterling. The original series ran from 1959 to 1964. The show was a fascinating mixture of science fiction and social commentary. The episodes often explored different aspects of the human condition and human nature. The theme of each show typically took the form of a moral parable that exposed a particular human foible or character flaw.
Rocky Valentine - Happiness and Boredom
Life is full of uncertainties, disappointments, and frustration. In other words, life is a struggle and there is no guarantee of success. At the same time, the lack of struggle presents another problem, boredom or ennui. The phenomenon of boredom has been explored in literature and philosophy. The term boredom first appeared in Charles Dickens's Bleak House (1852). Blaise Pascal, Arthur Schopenhauer, and Martin Heidegger each analyzed the relationship between boredom and the human condition. Although Pascal, Schopenhauer, and Heidegger don't necessarily agree on the topic of boredom, one of the common themes in their work is the intimate relationship between living a meaningful life and striving after particular goals.
One of the interesting and appealing things about the Twilight Zone was that it always adopted a moral point of view in its story telling. One episode titled "A Nice Place to Visit" (April 15, 1960) explores the issue of boredom or ennui as a type of punishment.
The story line concerns a small time burglar named Henry "Rocky" Valentine. Valentine is shot and killed by a policeman. At first Valentine is unaware of the fact that he has died. He meets a mysterious character dressed in white named Pip. Pip introduces himself as Valentine's guide. Pip takes Valentine to a luxurious apartment filled with everything that Valentine desires, food, booze, gambling, and women. It eventually dawns on Valentine that is dead and that he has passed into the afterlife. He is thrilled at first because he gets everything he wants, however, he eventually becomes bored and frustrated because of the lack of risk and the thrill of uncertainty. Valentine assumes that he is in heaven and asks Pip to take him to the "other place." Pip laughs uncontrollably and informs Valentine that he has at the other place.