I have now seen Cloud Atlas several times and it is the best movie to come out in many years IMHO. The Wachowskis did such great job not selling out to the false assumption that storytelling is just dumb entertainment. Read this Interview with them about it: The Wachowskis explain how Cloud Atlas unplugs people from the Matrix. Storytelling always has been and always will be at the heart of what it is to be human. And Cloud Atlas is a masterpiece in telling a fine story about what is important in life as I will discuss below.
Do our choices define us? [Agency and Kindness]
So the big question this movie asks me is:
Do our choices define us?
Or are they just a rationalization of the mind who can do nothing but apply agency to everything?
I’ll start with a quote from my favorite character in the movie Ghost in the Shell.
“That’s all it is: information. Even a simulated experience or a dream; simultaneous reality and fantasy. Any way you look at it, all the information that a person accumulates in a lifetime is just a drop in the bucket.” — Batou, Ghost in The Shell
This is the movie that inspired the Wachowski brothers the most when making The Matrix. So here we are moving our focus right back at the latest Wachowski movie: Cloud Atlas and one of the best quotes:
“Haskell Moore: There is a natural order to this world, and those who try to upend it do not fare well. This movement will never survive, if you join them you and your entire family will be shunned. At best you will exist at pariah to be spat at and beaten, at worse to be lynched or crucified. And for what, for what, no matter what you do it will never amount to anything more than a single drop in a limitless ocean.
Adam Ewing: What is an ocean but a multitude of drops?”
All the drops in this world
A far bigger pond of Drops. And yet we get the feeling that when moving together we can create the greatest of waves. As we can see in the next 2 quotes
“Dr. Henry Goose: Our lives and our choices, each encounter, suggest a new potential direction. Yesterday my life was headed in one direction. Today, it is headed in another. Fear, belief, love, phenomena that determined the course of our lives. These forces begin long before we are born and continue long after we perish. Yesterday, I believe I would have never have done what I did today. I feel like something important has happened to me. Is this possible?
“The nature of our immortal lives is in the consequences of our words and deeds, that go on and are pushing themselves throughout all time. Our lives are not our own, from womb to tomb, we’re bound to others. Past and present. And by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.” — Sonmi-451
Your whole life is just a Story [From Womb to Tomb]
Weeeee. I just love this kind of Stories and what they carry with them to me 🙂
And why is it that so many movie critics and reviewers often seem to forget that it’s all about the Storytelling.
I blog more about the importance of storytelling in: Engage in Storytelling and This is Your Story. And that all your brain experiences of the world from “from womb to tomb” is just stories.
“Some say to believe in destiny is to dismiss the role of free will.
That Self-determination cannot prevail in the presence of fate.
When the Truth is, the only part of destiny we can control,
is the fate we choose for another.” — Emily Thorn, Revenge
I think that we must be kind to each others in our choices and in our actions. Kindness will ripple through the Networked society and just maybe, just maybe, it will conquer Greed and Corruption. At least it is a Crusade worth going on. An Epic Quest to be proud of.
Now you must continue to make your choices and tell your story. And remember that you do not make your choices nor tell your story alone. You do this together with others.
Holistic Thinking Ninja