Here at San Diego Comic Con, the creator of Buffy, Firefly, Dr. Horrible and Dollhouse, and the director of two Avengers movies, just told us the nature and purpose of existence. He also revealed one of his next projects: a “Victorian female Batman” called Twist.
So during Joss Whedon’s big one-man show panel here at Comic Con, a fan dressed in a Jayne hat and a Sunnydale T-shirt asked what was the meaning of life, what was the nature of reality, and how we could be sane and happy in the world. And Whedon responded:
“You think I’m not going to, but I’m going to answer that. The world is a random and meaningless terrifying place and then we all—spoiler alert—die. Most critters are designed not to know that. We are designed, uniquely, to transcend that, and to understand that—I can quote myself—a thing isn’t beautiful because it lasts.”
Whedon added that “the main function of the human brain, the primary instinct, is storytelling. Memory is storytelling. If we all remembered everything, we would be Rain Man, and would not be socially active at all. We learn to forget and to distort, but we [also] learn to tell a story about ourselves.”
And Whedon said, “I keep hoping to be the hero of my story, [but] I’m the annoying sidekick. I’m kind of like Rosie O’Donnell in that Tarzan movie.” He keeps hoping to be Tarzan, but finding that he’s that weird monkey that nobody can tell if it’s a girl or a boy.
“My idea is that stories that we then hear and see and internalize—and wear hats from and come to conventions about… We all come here to celebrate only exactly that: storytelling, and the shared experience of what that gives us.” The shared experience of storytelling gives us strength and peace, Whedon added. You understand your story and everyone else’s story, and that “it can be controlled by us.” This is something we can survive, “because unlike me, you all are the hero of your story.”
Anders, Charlie Jane. “Joss Whedon Just Explained the Meaning of LIfe to Us.” io9.com. 11 July 2015. Web. 12 July 2015.