One of the many things we learn growing into adulthood, that no one seems to prepare us for as children, is that there are many forms of evil. Not being taught this is understandable; our elders want us to live as purely and unburdened as possible for as long as possible. We can take that as a kindness or lack of adequate preparation, but something that I am only coming to realise of late is that no one prepares you for all the evils that are seasoned veterans in the art of disguise.
I shan’t pour through the many lists of these evils, we all know how long they are. I am, instead, going to target one.
I am quite a film orientated individual. I find a lot of my character traits, morals and expertise have stemmed from a movie based education. All in all I believe I have been exposed to wholesome, ethical material that has taught me quite well. But perhaps a con to these pros is that I become easily immersed in not only the stories of on screen characters but off screen as well; the people around me. Eerily, this is actually an epiphany I have had just now, the moment I wrote those words… hmm. Moving on, I believe that others’ lives are, or can be, just as thoroughly moved by cinema as mine, whether they realise it or not. I also believe that cinema has great power to create gospel, mindsets and culture; at least in the western world.
So, when there is a common theme to most films and series over a number of years that is relative to genuinely serious concerns of the Earth, what can we anticipate will happen to the beliefs of the public on mass? When screen writers and producers are creating the same stories about the same battles happening at the same time on the same planet all resulting in the same way but just about slightly different individuals targeted at slightly different audiences, it becomes obvious that all viewers will absorb the same message. In this case I refer to the endless stream of post apocalyptic material.
I work at a retail store specialising in a smorgasbord of old and new films and television, and the amount of stories told specifically about shenanigans after the relative end of the world is frighteningly immense. What is more disconcerting is they are consumed at a bewildering rate.
I must pause for a moment to clarify that I am not of the opinion that any of this work is badly done; quite the contrary. This is an observation of something that delves far deeper than good casting, or groundbreaking special effects. These crew and cast members all do outstanding and admiral work; the problem I have is with the writers, and the Hollywood-ization of such situations without a thought spared for how it will affect impressionable minds.
We are a world of declining health in so very many ways. Not even ten years ago the environmentalist attitude was shooed away as something ridiculous and hippy. I am ashamed that I was led astray in this way, that I never took the time to educate myself and open my eyes while I was younger. It is very important that we all become aware of what the world could become if we do not act correctly. I see that these post apocalyptic worlds that we watch on screen are somewhat a lesson in that; but they have quickly turned into something that we are settling for.
I was completely blind to this until I watched a science documentary which included positive predictions on how the Earth can still be if only we rectify the damage done. It speaks not of a soiled, bloodied and ever-divided battlefield, but of a healthy, interconnected, thriving planet full of wisdom and ongoing long term achievements. It sent so many positive and hopeful messages in all the right ways. It leaves me with an overwhelming level of inspiration every time I watch it, and robs the breath from every friend and family member I show it to. On top of the wonder and fascination it creates it never bends to condescension. The core idea of this masterpiece is to speak to everyone, young and old, educated and not-so, and to teach them that a sustained and nutritious world is not a fantasy.
Only after watching this particular documentary over, and over, and over, did I realise how it is amongst the very few that is showing as a positive instead of a negative. I experimented with my ideas by bringing them up in discussions with many of my friends, colleagues and acquaintances. I was aghast to hear most of the responses to be not filled with, at the very least, angry motivation, but with defeat. So many of the most intelligent, educated and wisest people I know sat there, discussing things from impending global destruction, to worldwide war, to pollution and more. Some even believing that the best possible scenario for the world is for there to be an ultimate failure in all electricity and for the entire human population to be thrown back into the seventeenth century. To my horror I realised that every one of these people have accepted the end of the world as the only possible future for our planet.
My point is that if we give too much of our attention to the negative then it will consume us and become all we are. Whilst it is essential to be aware of everything, including the negatives, we must remember that we can all be good. We can all do great things. We can amaze. We can flourish. We can save everything, and we don’t have to lay down our lives to do it. We don’t have to become warriors, we don’t have to kill and we don’t have to defeat. We simply have to see.