We had a wonderful time at our June Philosophy Drive-In. Our group watched Stand By Me (one of our all-time favorite coming-of-age stories) and enjoyed a great post-film discussion about friendship, change, mortality, vulnerability, and growing up. Some of the questions we explored included:
- Is it possible to have a coming-of-age experience without a loss of innocence and vice-versa?
- What do we actually mean by “innocence”? Freedom from guilt? Freedom from deceit and harmfulness? Pureness or simplicity? Lack of knowledge or understanding?
- What is the relationship between vulnerability & connection (with self & others) or lack thereof?
- How might the difference across eras affect the experiences we have as children and the kinds of friendships we develop with others?
- And more…
Read a synopsis of the film as well as some of the philosophical questions raised here!
Check out pics from our philosophy drive-in below!
The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them – words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more that that isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of a listening ear. — (Stephen King)
Film Trailer & Synopsis
Stand By Me is by far one of our favorite film coming-of-age films ever!!!! A 1986 American comedy-drama film directed by Rob Reiner and starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O’Connell, this cult-classic film for all ages tells the story of four boys in a small town in Oregon who go on a hike to find the dead body of a missing child. But it’s about so much more than that. It longs for a listening ear…not just because it is a beautiful film (which it is), but because of what it can teach us about ourselves, of what it can inspire in us, and of what it can remind us to never forget. Based on Stephen King’s novella The Body (1982), Stand By Me is a story of friendship, adventure, loyalty, life, loss, death, and growth and is rife with philosophical depth. A work of existential humanism, it embraces and conveys the depth, purity, simplicity, complexity, beauty and sadness of life and the experiences (and choices) that can so significantly impact and shape our younger years.
NPR Interview with Wil Wheaton (Gordie LaChance)
Thank you to the Philosophy Learning & Teaching Organization (PLATO) for supporting philosophy in the community and helping us bring activities like these to the Helena community!