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I wrote the following decades ago. In light of the Hemisphere Hypothesis, I re-consider it. Is Forrest a left hemispheric or a right hemispheric? If his odd character is on "the Spectrum," he's a man bereft of the right hemisphere (autism is left-hemispheric). But maybe he's a man absorbed into the right hemispheric whole? The left hemispheric latches onto essence--the properties that distinguish things from other things and allow them to be categorized (abstracted, universalized)--but Forrest doesn't seem attuned to them at all. He is an existentialist character and the existentialist character is, I believe by definition, a right hemispheric.

The movie Forrest Gump is a 142-minute lesson in how a man with an IQ of 75 can make it in a world . . . if he is an existentialist. Intelligence is needed to navigate the world of essence and definitions: to be clever, to manipulate, to plan, to scheme. None of that is for Forrest. He simply exists. He never even tries to marry or win over his beloved Jenny, but rather, simply accepts her as his “all,” with no reference to himself.

Forrest Gump is the lovable version of Camus' Mersault. Forrest is an everyday Zen master. Forrest is perhaps the most radical existential character in all of film and literature.

He is also the most popular movie character of all time, according to a recent massive fan poll.

His existentialism and popularity aren't a coincidence.