Friday, June 27, 2008

Touching Life

The reviews of WALL-E are out and most critics have written favorably about the movie, some echoing the views I expressed in my last post, mentioning the unevenness of the production but also feeling the power of it's message. Before I let you all come to your own conclusions, there is one more comment I'd like to make about the movie.

In my post, I mention that I was touched on many levels and that the movie stayed with me, but I don't go into any specifics. I think one of the reasons it stayed with me is because it shows the power of touch--a power that has it's own many levels.

WALL-E, the robot, sees humans holding hands as he watches Hello, Dolly over and over again. He longs for that connection with others, holding his own "hands" as a way to comfort himself in his loneliness. When he meets Eve, he reaches out to her, and their relationship at the end is sealed with a grasp.

The humans in the story have lost the power of touch--with the world and with each other. With all their needs and wants taken care of, they have become fat blobs flying around on lounge chairs communicating through the screens in front of them. Not only do they not touch each other, their feet never touch the ground as generations spend their lives floating in space. As the story progresses, they literally need to hold on to each other to save themselves and eventually do land back on earth.

WALL-E reminds us that we can't just isolate ourselves from others and from our surroundings. We need keep in contact, both physically and through our actions, to keep our communities and our planet alive. We need to keep in touch with one another, expressing support and love. As much as we may want to fly away, we must remember the importance of ground beneath us.

As I write this, I am reminded of Jacob's dream in the Torah (Gen 28:10 - 15). He sees a ladder set on the ground with it's top reaching to the sky. The melachim, the angels, are going up and down the ladder. We are like both the ladder and the angels. We need to feel grounded on the earth even as our minds reach up to the skies. We can climb up to fulfill our dreams but need to come down to share our dreams with others.

In Jacob's dream, God tells him that his descendants will spread to all corners of the earth. In WALL-E, the people come back to live on Earth once again. We who inhabit this world today need to remember the power of direct, loving touch and connections--towards each other, towards our universe. For that a key to life.

No comments: