Thursday, June 25, 2009

You, the Living

Two years ago in Rotterdam, before I started studying Buddhism, I saw this film. The girl in this scene is in love with the guitarist, and fantasizes their wedding. After a one-night-stand he's no where to be found. She goes searching for them, thinking they're an item, to no avail.

The Swedish director Andersson is really right on in his social commentary. You, the Living is a beautiful film. People are looking for kindness everywhere, but only running into people looking out for themselves.

I'm not cynical enough to think that everyone on the planet is too selfish to care about anyone else but themselves, because I don't think it's true.

On the other hand, Andersson's vision does speak the truth to me quite accurately. Even genuine people who'd like to express their kindness often end up missing each other. Too many people are stuck in their own narrow and problematic world to make an overture to someone else. So that even if they'd genuinely like to express kindness, they're too afraid of the "other's" unkindness to make the first step. It becomes a process of pre-emptiveness; a means of self-protection. It's a complicated mess of people out there. People are all mixed in together radiating neurosis. Almost no one is brave enough to be consistently kind to everyone he comes across. The Christian ethic of brotherly love has been watered down by one-upmanship.