Friday, June 27, 2008

Remaking the Old

I recently rented the remake of the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. For a movie that flew under the radar, I thought it had great suspense, without all that cheap jumpy stuff you see in most horror films today. The underlying message, on the other hand, I had some dispute with. Here is some dialogue:

Yorish: I say that civilization is an illusion, a game of pretend. What is real is the fact that we are still animals, driven by primal instincts. As a psychiatrist, you must know this to be true.
Carol: To be honest, ambassador, when someone starts talking to me about the truth, what I hear is what they're telling me about themselves more than what they're saying about the world.
Dr. Henryk Belicec: Quite right, well done, doctor.
Yorish: Perhaps this is true, perhaps being a Russian in this country is a kind of pathology. So what do you think, can you help me? Can you give me a pill? To make me see the world the way you Americans see the world. Can a pill help me understand Iraq, or Dafur, or even New Orleans?
Dr. Henryk Belicec: Don't be drawn in by his madness, doctor. He is Russian, he needs to argue like he needs to breathe.
Yorish: All I am saying is that civilization crumbles whenever we need it most. In the right situation, we are all capable of the most terrible crimes. To imagine a world where this was not so, where every crisis did not result in new atrocities, where every newspaper is not full of war and violence. Well, this is to imagine a world where human beings cease to be human.

Is it our selfishness, our intolerance, our malice what make us human? I surely hope not. Instead I would say it is these things that keep us from being fully human. Sin is not our default, it’s our fault. What separates human’s from other life are our abilities to reason, to imagine, and to sacrifice for others. I think now that the purpose of religion is not seek to restrict our human nature, but instead restore it.

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