This is not a movie but an existentialism review. “Surrogates” a Bruce Willis sci-fi B-movie, for me raised some grade-A questions about our flawed human existences: What does it mean to be human; What would you explore from the comfort of never leaving your home; What could you be if you were perfect — and Would the world actually be a better place if we were all perfect? Stretches of this flick feature Willis as a flawless-skinned, freaky blond wig-wearing Surrogate (e.g., robot) detective in the near future where the crime rates are down 99% in a society where the “real” people/Operators live through their “surrogate” robots/units, which represent them and dominate in the Real World.
The best bits include when a hot hunky unit shows himself to wildly misrepresent his shaloompa oompa real life Operator — just like most trawlers at online dating sites. And then there is Willis’ screen wife’s perfect surrogate whose bears no resemblance to her burnt out Operator’s dysfunction and broken down addictions. [Potential spoilers alert!, stop reading here if you intend to see this movie and want to be surprised. Beyond that, I'm trusting that if you are reading this, you are bona fide REAL Operator who gets the meanings I try to put out there about the empowerment of tuning IN in our media-pop culture. Mamacitas, in the vernacular of this film, you are most likely coded to your own neural signature!]
Tuning IN to Feel Your Self Up
I’m para-quoting a pivotal speech by anti-surrogate leader, the Prophet (Ving Rhames): “When you sacrifice your own personal desires to the greater cause, a greater good, you never die…you never disappear. That is what it means to be human. You can try to escape by living through a puppet…but deep down inside you know you’re living a lie. …we know the truth. We sacrifice many modern pleasures and conveniences to feel truly connected, not with machines, but with ourselves. This is the human condition. This is what gives life meaning. My friends, soon will come the day when surrogacy must end. That day, I promise you is close at hand. The day we get a second chance.” Whoa, deep, dude. Later when Willis’ real Operator character gets a beating from his bodyguards, the Prophet says, “It’s different when you actually feel the pain, isn’t it?”
So in our days of climate change and personal and global financial crises, this timely popcorn movie made me think hard about the eternal Why am I here and How do I roll?- existential questions that haunt us humans — uhh, at least if, as Carrie Fisher puts it, you’re culturally lucky enough to have time to have such “high class problems.”
When I’m feeling off my game and need to deal with very human angst , I log off and tune IN to listen to my body’s wisdom. What is it telling me about how I actually feel about how cleanly I’m living my life on all levels, female aging in our culture, or when I eff up small- or big-time with someone? What are the states of my stomach (related to 3rd chakra), neck (5th) or chest (4th) trying to tell me? I breathe deeply and consciously send a healing golden light wherever needed, breathing in the energy of self-acceptance and repeat, “When I know better, I do better,” and breathing out anxiety and self-doubt from the affected places. Ten times is a meditation. I thank my body’s wisdom and guidance.
How do you embrace your imperfections? Own your flawed humanity? Or while you’re developing that skill as habit, how do you represent your best self out in the Real World? Are you a misrepresentin’ Surrogate (including cosmetics, diet, Spanx utilitarianism, plastic surgeries), or do you spend your valuable life denying a dysfunction (until it maybe manifests as a dis-ease)? Does your Operator self-numb with, or aggressively disdain technology (texting, or the much-aligned TV)? Is it possible to ever feel 100% free to be ourselves, aging, sagging, smart-alternately-not-so-smart selves as our true flesh and blood Operating selves? Another way to ask this question is: Do you walk your talk more than half the time?
Image: Disney, Touchstone Pictures
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