Thursday, January 1, 2009

Taking Responsibility in Life--“Seven Pounds” with Will Smith

Some reviews say the movie Seven Pounds with Will Smith has a “graceful, moving revelations at the end.” I beg to differ. The writer of the film makes several assumptions. One, the assumption is doctor knows best. Two, transplant is the answer. Three, killing oneself can be martyrdom. Four, many years of upbringing by parents and loved one plus years of higher education plus a newly gained awareness to serve others is less than seven pounds of organs.

The main character is presumed to be a real person, which feels like an insult to my intelligence because the story cannot possibly be real. In comparison to another well debated movie, “The Curious Benjamin Button,” in which the main character is presumed to be fantasy, I respect the writer’s creative thinking though not perfect, but it provoked thoughts of “what ifs” in me, which is a sign of success for a movie I think. Because the main character played by Will Smith in “Seven Pounds” is so not believable, this is why Smith would shift from one character to another completely different person in seconds, playing an impossible role that is way beyond bipolar.

The Chinese culture renders suicide the most selfish act one can commit. How does one weigh one’s responsibility for his upbringing by parents and so many people’s hard work? One is most inconsiderate of his loved ones and irresponsible to life itself to end his own life. Even Jesus who knew he would die did not end his own life. A life is most precious because we can do so much good with a life on this Earth than any THING we can give. According to Buddhism, when one commit suicide, one is stuck in the middle realm for the rest of his natural life span, only an observer of the trauma his untimely departure has cost to others, but not able to live or change anything. It’s a compulsory time and space for inner observation. In Smith’s case, he’d have lots of time to think over whether seven pounds of organs is the most he could give to this world.

Psychologically when one wants to commit suicide, he is hopeless that there is anything more for him in life, sunk in darkness, shrinking away from living life and detaching from connecting with others. When Smith cannot forgive himself for killing many people, he would be incapable of forgiving others and therefore cannot be capable of giving to others, reaching out and connecting to others. When he cannot recognize the goodness in himself, how could he recognize goodness in others? When he is hopeless, how could he offer hope, inspiration and power to live their lives to others? We can see that dark, hopeless, disconnected and tortured expression whenever Smith thoughts of killing himself.

When he was thinking of helping others, his facial and body expressions completely shift to another character, one who is strong, powerful, making things happen, connected to his own feelings and others, able to love himself and others. In reality our thoughts are manifested into our words and actions. Our inside and outside are mirrors for each other. Smith’s character is at odds, conflicted because the story is trying to patch two impossibly opposite characters into one. No wonder the character felt like an extreme split personality to the extent of unbelievable.

Another aspect of the film is the western modern medicine’s myth that one can be instantly saved by a doctor, and one can be magically healed from a transplant. In modern alternative medicine, most of the heart diseases can be healed with nutrition. Some studies show that Congestive Heart Failures can even be caused by blood pressure medication. Whereas in traditional Chinese medicine, even the most debilitating heart diseases from birth can be healed easily and quickly from the subtle energy/emotional realm. Even if one receives a new transplanted heart, if one’s diet and emotions don’t change, the new heart will fail just like the old; whereas if one changes one’s diet and emotions, one does not need to go through a heart surgery or transplant at all.

Indeed it’s the patient’s responsibility to look at his life, how his past has made his present condition. If we go into spirituality, birth defects come from past lives unresolved issues that can be healed now in this life as well. Again we can help ourselves, and we are the only one who can truly change ourselves, not an all-powerful force from the outside of ourselves, like a doctor or a God that lives in heaven.

It’s unfortunate that actors have to portray such unreal characters in such impossible storylines. I hope as we shift into new energy, more movies will be more in touch with people’s lives and hope to inspire people to empower themselves through a process of taking charge, how people makes living responsibly for ourselves, our community and environment a daily practice. Because we could all use reminders from time to time.