I woke this morning for some reason thinking of the film Forbidden Planet. Pretty interesting film for a lot of reasons, but I was thinking of the backstory: a technologically-advanced civilization, known as the Krell, builds an incredibly massive power generator, tapping into the core of their planet. Rather than deliver this power as we do to run their devices, they have figured out how to direct the power using their minds. Presumably it was only certain individuals that could do this.
Those who have seen the film know that what happened is that out of the subconscious mind arose a monster of pure energy that could tap into the full power of the planetary generator, becoming an unstoppable destructive force. I’m guessing the monster evaporated once it had managed to kill all the Krell.
The idea comes from the Freudian id, the primal subconscious, but given specific form by some good ol’ Judeo-Christian guilt. The particular notion is that living within each of us is the seed of evil that must be constantly guarded against; presumably with Bible-reading and church-going or something.
Of course, I don’t see it that way. There is no evil lurking inside of us. No malign sentience plotting to corrupt us. That specious but advantageous notion forms the foundation for an authoritarian society–but that is not the point of my little essay here. My point is we can get so fixated on getting what we want that we are totally unprepared for the consequences of getting it.
It all comes down to impatience, I think. Impatience is grounded in an assumption of lack or incompleteness, and as such is destructive to our well-being. We only want something we think we don’t have, right? And we’re only impatient for it if we think we might not or won’t get it. So impatience is also a lack of faith.
The Krell in Forbidden Planet were impatient. Like someone buying something they can’t afford because they want it and have a credit card, they figured out how to get something they wanted and hadn’t earned. And were utterly unready for. Granted, it was instructive: they probably knew their mistake for a little while before it killed them, but too late to correct it.
I think the Krell could have averted their fate by giving everyone the power to control that generator. That is not the moral lesson of the film, of course: the moral lesson is more along the lines of “we must somehow evolve beyond or rise above the Evil that lurks within.” That kind of thinking is poisonous and should be rejected out of hand; it’s a trap. It’s a line of thought engineered to exploit our feelings of guilt (we all have them…) so we will give our power, liberty and money to an authority that might be able to protect us. If we’re good.
The Krell felt, as we apparently do, that absolute power is best given to only a few of us. Had they, as a civilization, the courage to embrace an egalitarian model, they might have survived because there would have been so many signals controlling the power in so many ways, that the formation of a single, destructive force would have been impossible.
Back to impatience; with patience comes the fulfillment of our wants, not because it will somehow manifest them, but because we will find them transformed and fulfilled in each moment. With the added bonus that we won’t be getting anything we aren’t ready for. Fulfillment does not run up a credit card bill or vote for a demagogue, however, so I don’t expect patience to get much play in our civilization.
Make a Comment
Please log in to post a comment.