The world you think you live in does not exist. That’s lesson one for any student of life. As a life-long lover of movies, I’ve realized that some of the most captivating stories are about characters who realize that the world in which they live is not real.
The Matrix, The Truman Show, and Stranger Than Fiction all tell stories about people who are jolted from their everyday reality. Each of these characters comes from a different perspective. Just about everyone relates to at least one of these protagonists. Which one are you?
In The Matrix, Neo is unsettled, always sure that something is missing from life. His world is hollow. He feels empty, unsure of what needs to happen or who will ever understand.
Truman Burbank spends his life oblivious to the false reality encapsulating every second of his existence. He is a commodity, a human for sale. Every second of his life generates ratings and income for someone else. His hopes and dreams and passions mean nothing in the real world.
Then there’s dull Harold Crick who controls every instant of his life down to the number of toothbrush strokes at the same time each morning. The ultimate image of control, Harold is knocked out of rhythm by the sudden enlightenment that he is about to die, and there’s nothing he can do about it.
The passions, joys, and trials of these characters pique our interest, but their search for answers and meaning captivates us. We want the same answers they seek. We want to know if our lives matter, if there’s more to existence than what we see. We want to know if there’s a higher power.
We have omniscience over Truman and Harold. We know what they do not, who is in control. For Neo, however, we must follow him down the rabbit hole in the ultimate search for reality. Despite entirely different worlds, these three men suffer through a fundamental theme. Awakening is painful.
Americans are haunted. We live with one eye peeking back, never sure if we’ve escaped the ghosts of our past. Continue Reading…