Wake Up Calls!
Typography

Jim (Chris Pratt) has been vilified as a misogynist for waking up Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence).  Jim isn’t a misogynist; he’s a man, with the natural born psyche of a man.  A misogynist would have awakened several women, and turned them into his harem.  

 

Jim (Chris Pratt) has been vilified as a misogynist for waking up Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence).  Jim isn’t a misogynist; he’s a man, with the natural born psyche of a man.  A misogynist would have awakened several women, and turned them into his harem.  

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Like Adam before him, Jim needed a helpmate.  If you question Jim’s motives, you haven’t understood how the human psyche works.  Without duality, nothing happens, there is no psychic energy and we are inert as stones.  Sentenced to 90 years of talking to the robot bartender Arthur (Michael Sheen) is too much for Jim.  He struggles with the morality of his decision, but ultimately nature takes its course.  

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The overarching metaphor of Passengers is that the human species as a whole is asleep about the fact that we are unconsciously riding along on our space ship, planet Earth, from which there is no escape.  Things are going wrong, just as they are on Jim and Aurora’s space ship, but at least they’re awake to save the unconscious passengers.  Who of us are awake to what needs to be done in our own society to save our space ship and its inhabitants?

Stories teach us how our culture works.  In the Middle Ages this was done with Fairy Tales.  Today we do it with movies.  A story cannot hope to express the complexity of our lives, not even of the lives of Adam and Eve.  Suddenly we wake up and find ourselves in a man or woman’s body, living in the United States or Uganda, born to wealthy parents or to paupers.  

But whatever our circumstances, if we are to survive and thrive, our future depends on our own adaptation to the facts of our lives, our ingenuity and our commitment.  We need to understand both our own natures, and our capabilities. Life is about making the most of what we’ve got, and leaving something behind in the end, even if it is only a ripple.

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In Passengers Jim commits the “Original Sin” of waking up Aurora. A woman would have awakened Jim if the roles were reversed.  Can he ever be forgiven?  Have we forgiven Eve for giving Adam the gift of knowledge?  What is Good and what is Evil?  Jim didn’t commit a sin.  He only did what any man in like circumstances would do.   

Yes, Aurora was right to be angry, but so are many humans angry about their circumstances, whatever they may be.  But writer John Spaihts and Director Morten Tyldum give her and us enough reasons to believe that Aurora would adapt to her new situation, regardless of the morality involved in waking her up.  We all do!  Or at least we had better!

Perhaps the days of the “lived happily ever after” ending are over, but isn’t that better really?  Doesn’t that help us adapt to the ambiguity, ambivalence, and anxiety of modern life? Tomorrow we have to wake up again, and live the life that is before us.  Passengers teaches us that in an ever-elegant manner.  How can we expect more from a story? Besides, what would have happened to Aurora and Jim if they didn’t wake up?

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Jung for Laymen

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