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zompist bboard • View topic - Metaphoric meaning of English "to swim"?

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 1:32 pm 
Smeric
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I can't figure out why bears the title "The man who forgot how to swim". Obviously, that guy can swim. Am I missing a metaphor here?

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 2:48 pm 
Avisaru
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I don't get it either; it's probably something that made sense to the filmmaker, but isn't necessarily based on any kind of well-known idiom. Unless it's a regional thing I'm not aware of. I was ready to accuse the film of being pointlessly pretentious, but I'm honestly really impressed; it couldn't have been easy to shoot something like that.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 3:23 pm 
Smeric
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It seems to me to be punning on the fact that he's underwater as though he weren't - that is, he's doing normal 'above water' things, like writing, watching a Newton's Cradle, and playing computer games.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 6:30 pm 
Sanno
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None of which is meant to be how you swim.

There may also be a suggested parallel with the travails of quotidian life. Or it may just be to look cool.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 8:23 pm 
Smeric
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If the title is supposed to be some metaphor, then my best guess is as follows:

The character appears to be performing a number of indoor tasks. He does his work and he plays games inside. He completely fails to acknowledge the water that surrounds him (except at the beginning and the end). Based on this and the title, I assume the man is supposed to represent average people, and "swim" in the title probably means taking the time to do something enjoyable outside (since we see him playing a video game, but it does not seem to make him happy). So the title means "People in general forget to go outside and enjoy themselves." Consider as well the music. It's a sadder tune at the beginning than the end, because by the end, he has decided to leave his desk and jacket behind, presumably because he has realized that his life is unfulfilling as is. The fact that he swims at the beginning seems to undermine this interpretation, though.

Just a guess. Maybe it meant something else.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 10:58 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 8:36 am 
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:59 am 
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2014 3:05 am 
Smeric
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Right, that makes sense. It's just that he's wearing a shirt and tie at the beginning, which sends a mixed message.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 2:34 pm 
Lebom
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The man who forgot to swim - wow! Thanks for sharing. I just want to piggyback on what a few of you have said.

Water is Life. But we are so tied down to the banality of quotidian life and its conventions, we forget how to swim correctly. We are bound up in the coils of our suits and weighed down by our expensive shoes. All we can do is just short strokes barely treading water. We cannot truly swim freely through life in this way, insofar as we are merely struggling through taught, uncomfortable motions that barely resemble true, effortless gliding through the deep. Even though the protagonist is merely wearing clothes, his "swimming" is confined, almost reminiscent (to me) of Harry Houdini struggling underwater to get out of those chains.

The protagonist trying to get work done underwater came off as completely absurd. Almost all of those devices require electricity, and none would function properly underwater. Even the Newton's Cradle refuses to work the same, as the water (Life, again) exaggerates and exacerbates their sluggish cadence. Still, the protagonist soldiers on.

He is literally surrounded by water (i.e. Life). He is in a pool, a place that is meant for enjoyment and personal health and satisfaction, and even relaxation (i.e. The World). Yet he is forced to do tasks that would never work properly under water. He is comically berated by his manager, who just erupts with visible bloviations (excellent metaphor!). And the protagonist’s furtive delving into Galaga is just a paranoid shadow of the real escape to freedom all about him: the videogame is even more seen as a mere absurdity despite its intended use as a diversion from the absurdity of quotidian life. Life supports us and can make us boyant at any moment we choose, if we just accept it. The protagonist fails to realize this, or we are not allowed to see his realization.

Ironically, the protagonist seems to start to go more horizontal and almost float, as he seems to detach himself from his boss’ bubbling vituperations. Would that Life were so imminently about us like that, so that it could just lift us away.

The protagonist, submerged in the banality of daily existence, forgets the great refreshing pool that is Life, which is all around him. He does meaningless work and is berated for trying to “float away” for a few minutes. I think it’s not so much he forgets how to swim at all, but he forgets that swimming is just the enjoyment of the pool for the water’s sake; enjoying Life for Life’s sake, and not just struggling to stay afloat nor fighting against drowning.

I enjoyed the short.
Thanks. Glub glub.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 2:38 pm 
Lebom
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I guess if there's a moral, it may something like this:

Use the pool for what it's for :: Use Life for what it's for

Do not waste time in the pool doing pointless, meaningless things not meant for water ::
Do not waste time in Life doing pointless, meaningless things that run contrary to proper living.

Swim free! = Live unencumbered!

What a lesson!
:wink:


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