I wrote a review of the movie “The Hero” starring Jet Li, which I sent out to several friends via email. One of those friends responded questioning the underlying theme of the movie (and the legend it’s based upon), which is the “sacrifice of the individual for the national banner” (as she put it).
My response was:
“As I said in my review, it’s a Chinese legend and therefore reflects that which is gallant to Asian Man: sacrifice of one for all. It is to the Chinese what individualistic warrior heroes like Ejil are to Westerners. The legend itself is a great story, while the underlying theme is a basic understanding of Chinese (and generally Asiatic) thought on the whole.”
Her response is encapsulated in this one sentence of hers: “If our cultures would follow our own legends more closely I think the world would be a better place.”
On this point, I could not agree with her more. So, of course, I expounded even more…since I’m such a wordy bastard…
It is an age-old “custom” (if you will) for rulers, leaders, etc. to use legends and ideals as propaganda to further their own schemes. Witness George W. and his pals nowadays over-using the words “freedom” and “democracy” in a way that promotes totalitarianism and slavery.
The mind of man, no matter his race, grasps at things higher than the self. These ideals become driving forces for religion, government, and even business. Usurping those ideals in order to drive men into accepting what is, in effect, the opposite of those ideals is the way one man has controlled another since time began.
You are right, though. If our individual cultures would follow our legends, myths, and true ideals as they are, without bastardising them, we would definitely be better off. Perhaps the Atlanteans did this. Perhaps those ten thousand years before them did the same. Who knows? Or perhaps man is doomed to look towards great ideals while suffering under the plowshare of another.
I am not God and cannot answer these questions for sure. I can, however, postulate that what God wants from us is for us to shake free our chains and strive for these ideals at whatever the cost.
Got comments? Email me, dammit!
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