The Duality of Truth and Happiness
I just saw the Lego Movie, and it was quite good.
[ SPOILERS: Stop here if you’re worried about plot issues. ]
So, like most modern “kid” films, there was an adult thread woven throughout the movie. This one was fairly simple, but powerful: Everyone is special—even when they’re not. All they have to do is believe that they are, and then they can be.
It’s a play off of Matrix, where the guru in the beginning tells the “Neo” character that he’s the one, but in this movie being the “one” means that he’s the most unique and special person in the world. So that’s the prophecy: that he’s super special (when he doesn’t feel like he is).
So the movie goes on and his guru is about to die and tells him the truth: That he made the whole thing up, and that he isn’t actually special. But he follows that up with later by saying that when he believed he was special, he actually was.
Don’t be confused by this. The message isn’t that everyone is special. No, it’s exactly the opposite. That would, according to this movie, be wrong. Besides, today’s young people have heard it too much, and they’re too cynical, so they’d see through it and discard the message. Instead, the message is that everyone CAN be special, even if they’re really NOT special, as long as they believe they can be.
This resonates with me
Now, when people are occupied by an idea they tend to see that idea in everything around them. So I may be accused of doing this here, but here it is.
I see a significant parallel with my concept of “embracing the illusion” in a world without free will, and this movie’s message of pretend you’re special even if you aren’t.
Here’s how it folds out:
The author of this movie is saying to today’s young people, who can no longer be convinced of the lie that they’re a special snowflake, that yes–it’s true–they aren’t really that special. But at the same time, if you know that, but you simply believe that you are, and behave as if you are, THEN YOU WILL BE.
Similarly, my worldview is that nothing in life matters, ultimately, and that we should not pretend this isn’t true but rather tuck it away and embrace the joys of the world we do see. So, romance, love, rainbows, ice cream, happiness, art, and poetry–they’re all just atoms smacking into each other, but we can EMBRACE the illusion and be happy anyway (without forgetting that it is one).
Bottom line: Don’t buy into fantasies that are sold as real, but embrace/believe in a model that brings the most happiness.
I imagine an advanced student of this way of life walking up to the entrance of a magic show. At the door there are two alternating greeters: One tells the student that everything inside is real, and the second one tells the student that it’s all illusion, but a hell of a ride if you temporarily turn off your analytical mind.
We need to be, as a society, the second greeter. Don’t tell people it’s magic. It’s true that you can maybe even get MORE of a rise out of them if they believe it, but now they’re more vulnerable to the guy down the street after the show who tells them they can cure their mother’s cancer.
Embrace the illusion from within the framework of truth. I believe this is our best path to happiness.