I finally managed to find the time to watch 2012 on Blue Ray with my brother. Yes, I’m a little behind since the movie hit the theatres in 2009. But nevertheless, it was a good movie that got me thinking. This is not a review of 2012 per se; there are sites and people who have written great reviews about the movie. Instead the purpose of this article is to share the reflections and insights I had while the movie is still fresh in my mind.
Change is the Only Constant in Life
In 2012, the world as we know it changes due to various catastrophic events. Suffice to say, due to the cataclysmic shifting of the poles, there is massive upheavals on Earth. The resultant earthquakes and tsunamis destroy and reshape the surface of the Earth. Millions of lives and homes are lost. The destruction consumes many countries. Yet change is the only constant in life. Millions of years ago, dinosaurs roamed the Earth until they died out. Wars have reshaped political boundaries countless times causing great suffering and devastation. And yet today, we live in an interconnected and globalized world which would have been unheard of 100 years ago. Tomorrow, who knows? Change will continue to happen long after you and I cease to exist.
Nothing Lasts Forever
Watching the destruction of countries across the globe reminds me that nothing lasts forever. Many empires have risen and fallen throughout the course of history. Countries will continue to rise and fall. It is the way of the world. If this is the fate of empires and countries, how much more transitory is a human life? I too will disappear one day. What then can I do to ensure my life was not in vain? What will I live for and what will my legacy be? How can I live a life that will have meaning under any circumstances? Does it even matter in the end?
Relativity of Time
A theme that struck me was the relativity of time. Although the disaster took a few years to build up, the public was blissfully unaware. Thus each day passed normally for them as they went about their lives. But the moment the disaster struck, time sped up for the characters. They were no longer living by the weeks or days but by the minutes and seconds. Each delay could result in death.
Human beings are strange creatures. When we have an abundance of time, we don’t know what to do with it. We either distract ourselves or complain of boredom. When we have no time due to deadlines or a lot of work, we complain about having no time. We wish we had more than 24 hours in a day. Perception truly makes a world of difference. What matters is that we should use our time more purposefully where we can.
Human beings are such a complex species. We have limitless potential to create or to destroy. We can be selfless and selfish. We can work for the greater good or for petty gain. All of these sides were on display in 2012. What was truly inspiring is that humans are not inherently evil. It is true we tend to place ourselves and those we love first. Who doesn’t? But it is because of these very human motivations that our compassion can extend to those around us, enabling us to act in a selfless fashion.
The Power of Nature
Watching the destructive power of nature in 2012 was very humbling. It is tempting to think that humans rule the world. But in truth, we are not really the masters of anything except ourselves. There was a scene where a Tibetan Lama in Tibet calmly sounded the gong as a tsunami engulfed him and his monastery high up on the mountain. I wonder if I could face my death as calmly as he did if I were in his shoes. What 2012 did remind me of was that nature will always try to find that balance. Nothing extreme can last forever. When nature re-establishes its equilibrium once more, it is the dawn of a new beginning.
It’s funny how I’ve failed to notice the people and things around me while being caught up with work and everyday life. Watching 2012 has reminded of how fragile human existence is. It is so easy to lose everything you have in the blink of an eye. I have indeed taken too much for granted. Some of the things I am grateful for are my family, friends, life, health and home.
You don’t need a life threatening experience to feel grateful for what you have. Neither do you need the end of the world to remind you not to focus on things that are unimportant. Life should be lived with passion and vigour. But to do so, you will need a deep reason for being and purpose. And you better hurry; time is running out for us all. Just because we are not aware and take things for granted doesn’t mean that the world will carry on as it is. Change at the end of the day, is the only constant.