Travel Philosophy as taught by Rick and Morty

I almost got slapped in the face several weeks ago. I was eating hot wings with a friend while we discussed our favorite shows. Between hot sauce and blue cheese dressing we quoted our favorite lines, mimicked our favorite actions, and enjoyed each other company; That is until I committed a cardinal sin. With red hot sauce on the corners of his mouth my friend scowled at me with spicy disdain.

“HOW THE HELL HAVE YOU NOT WATCHED RICK AND MORTY?!”

Rick and Morty. Peace among worlds
It’s always good to meet new people. Just don’t do this// Adult Swim, Warner Brothers

Yeah, up until about a week ago, I hadn’t watched Rick and Morty. For those of you who are in the same boat, it’s essentially a cartoon about Rick Sanchez and his grandson Morty Smith travelling through different dimensions. The show is absurd and nihilistic, so much so that I can’t give a concise synopsis of it to you in a blog post. But I suggest you watch it if you haven’t yet.

Rick and Morty: The Philosophy of “Rixty Minutes”

Rixty Minutes channel flipping
Adult Swim|Warner Brothers

I binged watched the show over the course of several days. I genuinely enjoy the chaos of it, the ridiculous sociopathy of Rick Sanchez, and the absurd conclusions of each episode. An episode that stood out to me was season 1, episode 8: “Rixty Minutes”

The show opens with The Smith family (Jerry & Beth with their kids Summer and Morty) watching “The Bachelor,” a reality T.V. show where a man chooses his bride from a group of contestants. The family is invested enough in this show that the results of the contest elicit genuine reactions (not unlike real life).

 

Then Rick makes a poignant statement about Reality TV in general:

“If It’s any consolation Summer, None of it mattered, and the entire show was stupid.”

and then the chaos begins…

A small synopsis of “Rixty Minutes” **Spoiler Alert**

If you’ve seen the episode, you obviously don’t have to read through this.

Rick makes it so the TV is capable of playing any show from any conceivable reality. As the Smith family watches the various shows, they come across time line where Morty’s Dad, Jerry, is a famous actor. This causes the Smith family (sans Rick and Morty) to obsess over the lives of their alternate selves. Between doing mounds of coke with Johnny Depp or becoming an accomplished surgeon in another timeline, the Smith family begin to resent one another for the actions that they took in their real life. All while Rick and Morty watch the most interesting (improvised) commercials in the multi-verse:

 

Yeah it’s pretty nuts (You should see the WHOLE episode). With the Smith family at each others wallowing in their own regret Morty goes to console his sister Summer. We don’t need to break down the episode too much farther, but the nihilism of “Rick and Morty” is broken down into one line said by Morty:

“Nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere, everybody is going to die… Come watch TV?”

What the Hell does that have to do with travel?

“Rick and Morty” may be extreme in it’s nihilistic absurdity but “Rixty Minutes” conveys a wise message:

The council of Ricks
Adult Swim|Warner Brothers

When you play the ‘What If” game with yourself, you’re always going to lose. The basis of the show is that there are an infinite number of universes with an infinite number of Ricks and Mortys that all have different paths in their lives. When the Smith family gets caught up in observing their alternate lives they ceased to live their own. Imagine how frustrating it is if you are burdened by every decision you didn’t make.

When it comes to travel, I make the mistake of trying to experience too much in a short time. The need to get the most out of a destination is understandable, but if you’re on such a strict schedule that you can’t even sit back and enjoy yourself, then what’s the point? On the other side of the coin, too many people look at all the things that can go wrong in a trip and paralyze themselves into inaction. Life is meant to be enjoyed and you can’t do that if you are too worried about stuff that hasn’t even happened yet.

“Nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere, everybody is going to die… Come watch TV?”

Summer and Morty from Rixty minutes
Adult Swim|Warner Brothers

Morty’s quote to Summer may seem a little dark, but I think it’s wisdom lies in your approach to it. There can be something oddly comforting about knowing that things aren’t as important as you make them. Don’t get me wrong, we should all live with purpose, but to allow the pressure to push you to the point of “losing it” is not good either. I think what Morty is trying to say is that the things that happen in your life may seem earth shattering, but they don’t have to be. This especially rings true when you are getting caught up in the “what ifs” of your life

You exist along with millions of other people trying to do the best they can, try to enjoy it. And don’t be so hard on yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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