The Spiritual Wisdom of Groundhog Day: A Tribute to Harold Ramis

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Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell

from wikipedia

Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell

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We laugh at Harold Ramis' Groundhog Day because we too step in the same puddle every day, relive the same tensions with the same people every day. And ultimately, love breaks the rut of existence.

  • gl mccarthy

    thank you!

  • Larry

    If there is a heaven, it has a special place there for comedians.
    One of the well-known legends in the Talmud deals with Rabbi Broka who was a very holy man. Elijah the prophet would often come down from heaven to visit him. One time when Rabbi Broka was walking through the bustling market place of his city, Elijah the prophet accompanied him. Seeing all of the bustle and hustle of the city market place, being impressed with its intense activity with the myriad throngs of assembled people, Rabbi Broka turned to Elijah the prophet and asked him if any of the people here were destined to enter heaven.

    Elijah, to whom the secrets of heaven were revealed, scanned the large market place with his eyes and then shook his head and told him that no one here was destined for the next world.

    As they continued on, Elijah suddenly spotted two men and pointed them out to Rabbi Broka. “These two men are destined for the next world,” he told Rabbi Broka.

    Excitedly, Rabbi Broka ran towards them. He wanted to learn from them what it was that they did or what merit they possessed that earned them the good fortune to be destined to enter heaven. Stopping them in the middle of the market place, he pointedly asked them what they do.

    They replied that they were clowns. They continued explaining to Rabbi Broka that when they ever they see someone who is sad or depressed, they go and cheer him up. When they see two people who are angry with each other, they go to they and joke around with them and make them friends again.

  • David

    Reading this made me think that the process of making meaning (which is also my pet definition for religion) is much-used, and it is a hopeful one. I wonder, though, why the conclusion is inevitably reached that there is meaning to be found or made. Would Groundhog Day have anything useful to say if it had ended halfway through? Is such a movie not something a Prophet would make? So let’s say we love, and it breaks us out of our rut, and makes us happy. So what? What actually is the meaning, the dignity that has been added to life?

    I ask these questions not to be contradictory, but because I think it has real implications for policy. To the extent that “meaning” can be defined, we can put policies in place to help create it. If we can’t define meaning for anyone reliably except ourselves (if even then) then it says a lot about how we should conduct society. It’s interesting that Professor Safi’s friend said that modern prophets would make movies and music. The reactions to someone now denying the spiritual truth of Groundhog Day are quite different to someone denying the spiritual truth of the Torah or the Qur’an. That’s probably for the best.

    RIP Harold Ramis