Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The confusing message of "Cloud Atlas"

I finally got around to watching the film Cloud Atlas, curious to see how it would play the reincarnation and related themes. It was a tad bit better at making clear it was a reincarnation film than the vastly superior "Groundhog Day."  Groundhog Day made it clear that the process in question was growing and changing. Cloud Atlas emphasized that our actions today affect the whole future of humanity. Both are more true than not...

Of course, I'd have to watch it again to figure out how that happens with the plot and characters. If it had anything to do with one's past lives influencing one's current life, or even the evolution of one's relationships with others from life to life.  

Now a days half the films made have so much whispering and background noise and confusing action, it takes more than one viewing to figure out what is going on.  I think they do it to make you watch the film at least twice to figure out what the heck's going on, bringing in more money to their coffers. Extra benefit, the film doesn't have to be so good you'll want to watch it twice! In this case confusion probably resulted more from from trying to put a big, confusing book into a 2.5 hour movie. This review tries to make sense of it all. And I am tempted to read the novel to see if it's more coherent.

But not if the below quotes - gathered from Wikiquotes - are the rather confused message of the novel, as well as the film.  See my comments about them. Below that a video of the characters and of the "John Galt"-type ideological speech at the end - but blessedly shorter.

We are bound together from womb to tomb. And from before the womb and after the tomb...

* Controlling patriarch says: There is a natural order to this world, and those who try to upend it do not fare well. Hey, big daddies everywhere, there is an evolving natural order and we participate in creating it, by constantly upending the old order.

* Belief, like fear or love, is a force to be understood as we understand the theory of relativity, and principles of uncertainty. Phenomena that determine the course of our lives. Yesterday, my life was headed in one direction. Today, it is headed in another. Yesterday, I believe I would never have done what I did today. These forces that often remake time and space, they can shape and alter who we imagine ourselves to be, begin long before we are born, and continue after we perish. Our lives and our choices, like quantum trajectories, are understood moment to moment, at each point of intersection, each encounter, suggest a new potential direction.  Which forces are these? Some combination of intention and chance, catastrophe and serendipity, pluck and luck.

* All boundaries are conventions, waiting to be transcended. One may transcend any convention, if only one can first conceive of doing so.  Yowza! Secession.net 
* I believe there is a another world waiting for us, Sixsmith. A better world. And I'll be waiting for you there.  Sure, for a few years on the other side. Til they call a meeting and tell you it's time to go back. And then, may if you helped create a better world last time around, you'll have a better one next time, loose nukes, asteroids and super-volcanoes allowing...
* I believe death is only a door, when it closes, another opens. If I care to imagine heaven. I would imagine a door opening. And behind it, I would find him there, waiting for me. On the other side in the next life, though they may come back as your son or your grand niece or the kid down the block who is a friend for life, or as long as it takes to resolve unresolved issues?

* If I had remained invisible, the truth would have stayed hidden. I couldn't allow that.  Did Edward Snowden read that and get motivated?  I heard, and now re-read, it and say: Get motivated, Carol!!

* Truth is singular. Its "versions" are mistruths.  So let's kill anyone who disagrees! That's today's way, I'm afraid.  The uncertainty principle and relativity and a few other theories suggest there are only different versions of ever evolving truths. And Gandhi said since truth is relative, and we all search for truth, we must resolve nonviolently our conflicts over versions of truth....

* You can maintain power over people, as long as you give them something. Rob a man of everything, and that man will no longer be in your power. Very materialist and determinist viewpoint - unless the speaker is talking about the psychology of most males!

* To be is to be perceived. And so to know thyself is only possible through the eyes of the other. Sounds like a bunch of BS to me. In fact, few people know us as well as we know ourselves. (And if they haven't read my astrological chart they hardly know anything.)

* The nature of our immortal lives is in the consequences of our words and deeds, that go on and are pushing themselves throughout all time. Our lives are not our own, from womb to tomb, we're bound to others, past and present.  Oh, so maybe it's not reincarnation, it's just humanistic "we are all connected pay your taxes and vote and you'll be happy." After all "our lives are not our own..."  However, there is an allusion to karma, which exists in so many ways it needs its own blog entry. Or ten.

* Freedom. The fatuous jingle of our civilization. But only those deprived of it have the barest inkling of what it really is. The movie includes several characters enslaved in one way or another and includes this sentence. And yet a major message is "our lives are not our own..."

I'm sure I have lots more thoughts on all this, but this has been sitting in draft for a couple days, so out with it!

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