“Cowboy Bebop” or Existential ennui

Imagine 2071, you were born in another planet but you still human, you have never seen Earth, you navigate through space, lonely space, across universe… This is “Cowboy Bebop”.

The series follow the lives of a “cowboy” (bounty hunter) crew traveling on the spaceship Bebop. All the characters struggle with their own past and live present like life no matters, like there’s no tomorrow. As cowboys, they live day by day, just trying to gain money for food, booze and keep living. Loneliness, existentialism and existential ennui (boredom) are the main topics.

maxresdefaultSpike is the main character, he represent the struggle with the past and existential boredom. Philosophers like Pascal, Nietzsche and Kierkegaard were interested in people’s quiet struggle with the apparent meaninglessness of life and the use of diversion to escape from boredom. Being a bounty hunter might not be just a job, maybe helps the boredom.

Soren Kierkegaard published the book  Either/Or. This two life views represent an hedonistic being. The section Either from the book is about aesthetic way of life and the other part, Or, may introduces the idea of the ethical stage. He describes the rotation method, like crop rotation in agriculture, a method used by higher level aesthetes in order to avoid boredom. The method is an essential hedonistic aspect of the aesthetic way of life. For the aesthete, one constantly changes what one is doing in order to maximize the enjoyment and pleasure derived from each activity.

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In 1970, Robert Spitzer find a “depressive personality” that has being called persistent depressive disorder (PDD) or Dysthymia (ancient greek for “bad state of mind”). This is a mood disorder with the same cognitive and physical problems as in depression, with less severe but longer-lasting symptoms.

The series explores the idea of the characters being in some loneliness an existential boredom. Faye Valentine have a meaningless life now that she is in a different time and all the love ones have died; and Jet Black has lost his love one, his police job and his bar, kind of the same feeling of loneliness. Cowboy Bebop explores philosophical concepts including existentialism, existential ennui, and loneliness.

 

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