The Parable of the Prodigal Son

Note to future self…

Today I watched a snippet of a great interview Joe Rogan did with Guy Ritchie (film director). During the interview Ritchie talked about his interpretation of the Parable of the Prodigal Son, which absolutely blew my mind. Just for context here’s a gist of the parable (from Wikipedia):

In the story, a father has two sons, a younger and an older. The younger son asks the father for his inheritance, and the father grants his son’s request. However, the younger son is prodigal (i.e., wasteful and extravagant) and squanders his fortune, eventually becoming destitute. The younger son is forced to return home empty-handed and intends to beg his father to accept him back as a servant. To the son’s surprise, he is not scorned by his father but is welcomed back with celebration and fanfare. Envious, the older son refuses to participate in the festivities. The father reminds the older son that one day he will inherit everything, and that they should still celebrate the return of the younger son because he was lost and is now found.

Ritchie’s argument is that the parable of the prodigal son is a reflection of yourself. Here’s a great summary I found on Ritchie’s interpretation:

“Ritchie believes that in the parable we are the father, our intellect is the eldest son, and our spirit (or soul or humanity or whatever you want to call it) is the younger son. He believes that our spirit is for some reason compelled at some point to venture into the world and attempt to claim it. It wants to be accepted by it. So we become malleable during this pilgrimage. We try to mold ourselves into what we believe is the currency accepted by the external world at that given time, and only after a spell of true dissatisfaction are we prepared to retreat back into ourselves to find a sense of purpose.

At this point our intellect and rational thought, the eldest son, becomes angry and indignant. Who are we to accept this reckless spirit once again. Rational thought is unwavering. Logic is pure now and has always been. Our intellect knew from the beginning that the actions of the spirit were folly. We must shun that behavior and abandon such romantic notions of acceptance by society. But the father says no. We’ve got to welcome in this spirit because it is valuable. Just like the intellect. They have their place within us as a whole and we must wrestle with them equally.”

In Ritchie’s own words:

“You disappear into the material world living vicariously, trying to find all the razzle dazzle, coke and tits. And then after a certain period of time, you realize all that glitters is not gold and that you want to come home. But where you coming home to? You’re coming home to yourself. You’re not going home to anyone else. There is no other home. So you then return to the father, at which point the father, being you, the authentic you, as opposed to the spurious you, says, ‘Nothing would make me happier.’ The intellect, in the middle, doesn’t know what the fuck is going on because the intellect doesn’t understand the prodigal nature. The only way to glean wisdom is through being wasteful.”

Absolutely beautiful.

Now back to work…