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The Revenge of a Loser: Breaking Bad’s Philosophy

Updated: Jan 29

Written by Arda Kizilkaya


Breaking Bad is a TV series that tells the story of Walter White and how he changed from being a family man to a drug lord. This TV series is not only famous for its acting, storytelling, cinematography, etc., but it’s also known for its philosophical meaning of why the protagonists changed.



1-How Death Brings Potential:

The biggest thing that makes a human compatible with the path is their potential. But the potential does not show itself until you make the right environment for it like being brave, bold, and so on.


So for example if you are being a coward then the potential that you have will not show itself, and as Charles Schluz once said “There is no heavier burden than an unfulfilled potential.”. To fulfill a potential sometimes you need some kind of enabler to get rid of the obstacles in the way of your potential, and according to Martin Heidegger that enabler could be accepting that death will come for you as he said “If I take death into my life, acknowledge it, and face it squarely, I will free myself from the anxiety of death and the pettiness of life - and only then will I be free to become myself.”. Breaking Bad mentions this throughout the storyline because at the start of the series the protagonist Walter White although he contributed to the research team that Nobel prize was a chemistry teacher, which is disappointing for a man with such a brilliant mind. But then he got diagnosed with lung cancer. While some people with cancer decide to give up on life and wait for their deaths, Walter White decided to leave a considerable amount of money for his family before he was gone. Still, he knew that couldn’t do that by being a teacher. Hence, he sought the best way that he could succeed, and the first thing that came into his mind being a drug dealer since it was a profitable job. He could make the best methamphetamine possible since he contributed to a group that won a Nobel Prize in chemistry.



2- Uncertainty of Personas:


Even though Walter White had enough money to leave behind his family, he did not stop being a drug dealer. The reason for that is he felt that he reached his potential, so he felt good while doing so because now he wasn’t a weak or a cowardly man, he was finally respected for his capabilities, and his brilliance in chemistry was known all around the area. And that led to his new personality Heisenberg. As you can guess this nickname came from Werner Heisenberg, and we can find similarities between Walter White and Werner Heisenberg. Both were a brilliant mind that contributed a lot to their scientific area and break badly with Werner Heisenberg helping the Nazis with their projects like the Uranprojekt, while Walter White became a drug lord. we can also compare Walter’s personas with a concept that Werner Heisenberg found, the stable of Quantum mechanics, the uncertainty principle. The uncertainty principle states that we cannot know both the position and speed of a particle, such as a photon or electron, with perfect accuracy, for example, the more we nail down the particle's position, the less we know about its speed and vice. Walter White and Heisenberg are like the speed and position of the particle as Walter focuses on Heisenberg, Walter White starts to fade away.



3- Conclusion:


In the end Walter White achieved his goal, he finally unleashed his potential and became respected and even scared people but in return, he became hated even in his family. Still, his legacy won't last forever, as the name of one of the episodes “Ozymandias” which came is a poem by Percy Shelly. In the poem, a traveler comes to a land with a cracked statue and nothing else, on the statue writes “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;


"Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! Yet nothing remains proving that nothing stands time."




References:

  1. BAŞARISIZ BİRİNİN İNTİKAMI | Breaking Bad Felsefesi. (2021, July 4). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5WIlj5sb1o&ab_channel=Portal

  2. Shelley, P. B. (n.d.). Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Retrieved from https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46565/ozymandias

  3. What is the uncertainty principle and why is it important? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://scienceexchange.caltech.edu/topics/quantum-science-explained/uncertainty-principle















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