I’ve never been a fan of movies like Avatar. They just feel lazy. Why do we marvel at ridiculous, blue creatures who are the product of fancy while we sit in a theatre with a bunch of ridiculous, pink creatures who we can converse with if we choose? This isn’t imagination, but the lack of it.
It’s not that media and cinema is a bad thing; I love going to the movies. I enjoy the occasional video game. But the willingness we have for allowing other folks to direct our creative spirit runs the risk of sacrificing our imagination in exchange for stimulation. It’s easy to look at another planet with a green sky and two moons and be impressed; but how much more remarkable is the fact that we have one moon that can shine like a second sun on dark nights? A unicorn is a quaint idea; a narwhal is a magnificent reality. If we don’t see foaming horses rushing at the shore on the backs of waves, it’s not because they aren’t there; it’s because we don’t have eyes to see them.
As Wordsworth said, the world is too much with us–much too much with us. Apathy and boredom resulting from overstimulation is the gift our culture has given our spirits in exchange for our imagination. I propose that we take this terrible present and dispose of it as if it were poison–for it is just that. What type of man is no longer enthralled with wonders of life, except one who have ceased living? A corpse takes no pleasure from mountains and grass and song. A corpse can’t feel sunlight as the breath of God, or see a cactus as a quiet sentry watching over the desert–only a man can have the eyes to see.
Am I being fanciful? I would hope so! As the poet writes: I would rather be a Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; so might I, standing on this pleasant lea, have glimpses of things that would make me less forlorn. Our world is an imagined one; our lives are the product of infinite creativity. Why look at a movie to see strange, new creatures? Look instead to a deer–that ridiculous miniature horse with bounding steps and bones growing out of its head. Be repulsed at that alien insect, that wriggling horror with tearing claws–the earwig. Don’t look to movies and books, look around you.
Every mountain can be a temple or a fortress; every person you meet is a hero or a villain in their own way. The off-key strumming of a guitar in the park is the next Bob Dylan in his early stages. The man who directs movies is a story-teller; pay him when you want to hear one. But would it not be better to tell your own stories? We aren’t living in a movie; there isn’t a director in the world who can encompass the human experience adequately. Any good media–whether it be music, television, or cinema–is merely a snapshot of life; only a fool would look at a picture album and think that it was comparable to going on a road trip.
Every experience is the backdrop for a film. Every interaction writes the chords for a song. Every drink from the waters of life builds the foundation for a novel. And if the song is never written, or the movie never filmed, or the book never put to pages–then the world will not know it. But you will know it, and you will have lived in that moment, burning with life.
We imagine rivers of whiskey and are wonderfully delighted at the novelty of it. But a child sees a river of water and is enthralled because it is water running along the earth. In the same way, a green sky seems novel, but an infant in its mother’s arms stares slacked jawed at the sky–because, of all colors it might be, it is blue! And then in the evening, it becomes streaked with blood and wine, as if by magic. Have we lost our child-like wonder? I certainly have, but I suggest we reclaim it forcibly.
Let’s work together; I know I am weak–maybe you can offer a hand? Next time I complain that I’m bored, slap me. How can we be bored? We’re alive! If we can’t find anything interesting, we’re not looking hard enough. Be distraught, be ecstatic, be devastated or broken or amused, but be not bored.
For God’s sake, be not bored with life.