On Apocalypto

Apocalypto

It might be strange to mention a movie on a website like this. But movies are a form of art and some of them are so mind blowing that they leave an unforgettable impression on our minds. I recently watched Apocalypto and felt surprised on having missed out on this for so long. To me, it is right up there with the greatest of movies ever made, what I call an A+ list. I might update this list later but as of now this is how this looks like (in no particular order).

  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • Interstellar
  • Forrest Gump
  • The Grey
  • Apocalypto
  • Predator

The dictionary meaning of an apocalypse is “a very serious event resulting in great destruction and change.”

The story builds up slowly. And then gets completely out of hand. Never before in my life I have watched a movie actually from the edge of my seat. I actually attempted to get into the screen and remove the protagonist from the hands of danger myself. The hero survives against all odds, partly due to his luck and the rest due to his determination and will to fight to the end. The underlying motivation for him is to go back to his wife and son who are trapped in a pit while hiding from an invading force. This is a simple fact many self-help enthusiasts never learn: it is easier to get unlimited energy to fuel our ambitions when our motivation is to help one or two special people in our lives instead of changing the fate of the whole humanity. Our minds work better with small numbers.

The Mayan civilization and their practices reinforce the concept that human beings are similar to the machines which can be programmed through their thoughts. This programming ends up in controlling a frame equipped with arms and legs (i.e., our bodies) to accomplish what the programmers want. Imagine how dangerous this concept is when someone can influence millions of such machines. This process unleashes the most devastating force ever seen on the planet.

It is worth noting that it was the Spaniards who put an end to the practice of human sacrifice. On the other hand, it was the same time that they were burning the heretics back home during the Inquisition. This is a peculiar characteristic of a human mind to hold contradictory views at the same time and actually believe deeply in both of them. Another example I can think of is the decade of 1960s. It is hard to believe that many Americans actually believed in racial superiority of white over black when NASA was preparing to land a man on the moon.

Finally, there is a story told by an old man in the tribe which is fascinating to read and relates to the present world.


And a Man sat alone, drenched deep in sadness. And all the animals drew near to him and said, “We do not like to see you so sad. Ask us for whatever you wish and you shall have it.” The Man said, “I want to have good sight.” The vulture replied, “You shall have mine.” The Man said, “I want to be strong.” The jaguar said, “You shall be strong like me.” Then the Man said, “I long to know the secrets of the earth.” The serpent replied, “I will show them to you.” And so it went with all the animals. And when the Man had all the gifts that they could give, he left. Then the owl said to the other animals, “Now the Man knows much, he’ll be able to do many things. Suddenly I am afraid.” The deer said, “The Man has all that he needs. Now his sadness will stop.” But the owl replied, “No. I saw a hole in the Man, deep like a hunger he will never fill. It is what makes him sad and what makes him want. He will go on taking and taking, until one day the World will say, ‘I am no more and I have nothing left to give.'”

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