Our movie-date last night was The Giver. Men have finally created a utopian society free from wars and violence, where pain and suffering have been eliminated. The members of the communities receive a daily dose of medication that numbs all their ardor and passion. They live their lives in shallow and light emotions. Equality assures everyone gets the same thing everybody else does, eliminating envy, greed and selfishness. Everyone is encouraged to be the same and differences are strongly discouraged. People in this society have surrendered their freedom and capacity to choose to their elders, who decides who gets to be born, who one’s family is, what career one is to pursue. People who are different and do not fit the mold of sameness are released to a place called Elsewhere.
Logic and reason reign supreme in this Utopia with irrational emotions and passions totally suppressed. Yet, just below the surface, there lied simmering in some members uneasy questions of why things are the way they were, what if things were different, what are the stirrings of emotions they were feeling when they surreptitiously skipped their daily dose of medications. On the outside, everything looked perfect “like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth” as those who were not different and did not fit the sameness mold were released to Elsewhere.
Take away passions and emotions, even if reason remains, man loses his humanity and is no more than an automaton. Take away his freedom and capacity to choose and you take destroy and do away with man’s nature as a human being and make him one with the rest of other animals. Take away their differences and everyone is but a clone of a human caricature. It is from the messiness of emotions and passions that the most noble and most sublime acts of men come from. It is from man’s complicated capacity to choose that he is able to accomplish his greatest and often impossible to believe feats. It is from our differences that the beauty and joys of living are made possible.
Yet, there will always be those who would simplify the complicated creature that man is and take away all our emotions and feelings, curtail our freedoms and capacity for choice, condemn us all into a sameness that would reduce us to herds to be led by the noses. And the real tragedy of humanity is when such people often end up in positions of power and leadership. And it happens again and again.
Life is complicated and full of contradictions. It is these paradoxes that make life a mystery. it is in this mystery that, if and when we learn to live with it, we come into the wisdom and understanding of the the fullness of life.
Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside,
but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.
Even so, on the outside you appear righteous,
but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.”