Last night I watched a film called “9”. It is, ostensibly, a children’s film, but I liked it so much the first time I saw it that I bought it on Blu-ray and watched it all over again.
For those who haven’t seen it, and without wishing to spoil it if you intend to, it is set in a post-apocalyptic world and revolves entirely around the adventure of a group of… I suppose ‘dolls’ is the best word to describe them… made by a long-dead inventor. I don’t want to include any spoilers here, so I shall just say that each of them is imbued with his own particular characteristics.
On a second viewing, though, there was one character who really stood out for me. He was dressed, rather symbolically, in a very ecclesiastical fashion – tall hat (rather Bishop-like), long cape, staff with crook (the religious overtones were implied rather than explicit, but very obvious) – and had a side-kick who would be better described as a henchman, to do his dirty work and strong-arm everybody into line. He was the ‘leader’ because, in his own words, “Somebody has to be in charge!” and spent the majority of his time telling those whose opinions differed from his that they were wrong; his orders were given in the form of directives intended to keep everybody safe, but he wasn’t beyond putting others directly in danger’s way if he felt they were getting a little too wayward and independent in their thinking: those who dared to challenge him were banished, not overtly, but irrevocably.
He had an odd effect on me. The first time I saw the film, I felt anger and righteous indignation. But last night… Last night I felt pity, compassion, sympathy.
Because the one word that kept repeating in my head was ‘fear’ (which I touched upon when I wrote about Attachment). He controlled the others using fear, by invoking fear of himself, of the unknown, of the terrifying atrocities that may befall them if…
But more than that, he was consumed by fear . It controlled him. Unconsciously terrified that releasing his fear may remove his power; fear of the unknown, fear of losing power, fear of change, fear of being ‘different’, fear of not being different enough, fear of not being in control, fear… Fear is such fodder for the ego. It is the ego that tells you you’re important, more important than anyone else, know better than anyone else, are more entitled than anyone else. And fear is the perfect tool for convincing others, and yourself, enough to keep you in that position of ‘authority’.
And fear is, in my opinion at least, one of the saddest states in which to live, and yet one in which so many do without the slightest awareness of it.
What is there to be afraid of?