I just watched the ‘children’s movie’, “Coraline“. Fantastic. See it!
It got me thinking…
Coraline chooses to live in the ‘other world’ where her parents are much nicer to her and give her everything that she wants. Naturally, there is something sinister going on and nothing is what it seems.
For a long time I viewed the story of Adam and Eve as literal. There really was a garden where these two people lived. I no longer believe that and see it as much more of a fable of how we and the world came to be. If people choose to still view it as a literal story then that’s fine because I think the meaning is still there regardless of if it really happened or not. There are many ‘truths’ in the story but after seeing “Coraline” I was reminded by one of them. We, as human beings, were designed to have limits. The story goes that Adam and Eve could eat whatever they wanted apart from one tree. I used to find that weird but I think I’m starting to understand it.
We were never designed to take everything that we wanted. There were limits put on Adam and Eve and ultimately on all of us. When we live just to please ourselves things get messy. It did with Adam and Eve and it did with Coraline. When the focus is no longer to help other people but to help ourselves, things just don’t work.
Because of this ‘truth’, I believe we are in the place that we are. We have stopped having limits. The journalist Amitai Etzioni has written a great article in ‘The New Republic’ about consumerism which links everything that I’ve said. But she says it so much better than me. Check out the full article here.
Here’s a short excerpt:
A culture in which the urge to consume dominates the psychology of citizens is a culture in which people will do most anything to acquire the means to consume–working slavish hours, behaving rapaciously in their business pursuits, and even bending the rules in order to maximize their earnings. They will also buy homes beyond their means and think nothing of running up credit-card debt.
“Coraline” is a story about limits. Once she stops focusing on herself and her wants, she realises what she has. Adam and Eve realised that too late. So did we.
But things can change…