Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tron, Kenosis and the fabric of the universe.



This past Saturday, Josh, Sam and I went to our local library for a viewing of the 1982 film Tron which was one of the first to utilize computer graphics as a major part of the story-telling. After seeing Avatar late last year...well, let's just say we've come a long way. How long has it been since you've seen Tron? I haven't seen it since it was on video and I was still plunking quarters into the Tron game at the Arcade on Sunday afternoons. While not the greatest film in the world, it's value is more in the nostalgia than anything. And because of the nostalgia, Tron 2 will hit theaters in December of this year.

Josh, Sam and I were the only ones to show up to watch the whole thing along with the nice library lady who turned on the projector and made us popcorn. But as we watched, I was stuck anew by an element my friend Brad used to talk about in our YWAM Discipleship Training Schools in Canada. About how many stories, and this shows up a lot in sci-fi, carry similar elements. How there is a story that we do not tire of telling in our books, movies, plays, shows and songs.

In Tron, Flynn, a "user" from the real world gets sucked into another reality, a reality he helped to create. Flynn finds in this alternate world that things are amiss and he is caught up in an effort to set things right. Flynn is the only one of his kind. The rest of the inhabitants of the computer world are created programs but Flynn is a user, a creator. Flynn finds that he can heal, he even brings a program back to life. And in the end, he realizes that he must give of himself, by jumping right into the heart of the evil Master Control program in order to absorb his nature and through a Resurrection of his own, he resets the computer world as well as things gone wrong in the real world.

That reminds me a lot of....



The Matrix...

...where Neo finds that the world he thought was real is not and things are not right. All of humanity is being controlled by machinery that has created a false world in order to keep us happy. After he has been awoken to reality, Neo enters back into the Matrix to find that he can do incredible things. But the controlling agents kill Neo and after love resurrects him, he has the power to bend the nature of reality in the Matrix, then on into the real world where the ultimate sacrifice is asked of him. Neo absorbs evil and the world inside and outside the Matrix are reset and a new day begins. That reminds me a lot of...



The Iron Giant...

...who comes to earth and is very out of place. He's huge! He befriends a marginalized boy from a small community. The Giant has great power and is designed to be a weapon when challenged. But in his love of the boy, Hogarth, he chooses to lay down that power. The military get wind of the Giant's existence and are threatened by him. Through a massive misunderstanding, a nuclear weapon is deployed on the tiny town the Giant has come to love. The Giant chooses to sacrifice himself by embracing the bomb and flying with it into space, destroying himself in the process. Hogarth and his family's life are forever changed by meeting the Giant and in the end, we are let in on a secret that he is coming back. that reminds me a little of...



E.T...

Where E.T. finds himself in another world. He befriends a group kids and has a special connection with one of them. He can feel Elliot's feelings. He can heal and do extraordinary things. He brings a dead plant back to life. After a time here, E.T. gets sick from being in our world and dies after being in the hands of government officials. The flower he brought to life, withers. In a time of great despair, beyond hope, the flower blooms and E.T.'s red heart glows. The kids help him get back to his ship and he goes back home but not before telling Elliot and the kids that he would always be with them. Which reminds me of...



A recent interview I heard on the NPR show, "Speaking of Faith". In an episode called "Science and Hope" (which you can listen to HERE or read HERE), South African Quaker cosmologist George Ellis talks about a principle he has observed in the universe that he calls Kenosis. It's a Greek word that means "letting go, giving up or emptying out."

Dr. Ellis talks about how this counter-intuitive "losing to win" is at work in many different ways in nature and in our experience. Parents giving up to see their children thrive. Gandhi and Dr. King as modern examples of literally absorbing pain and suffering, and in the act, a certain system of oppression is reset, made right. When a star dies, it goes super nova and in a last great cataclysm, throws off the stuff that forms new stars. New life in the rain forest sprouts from the dying matter beneath it. New life, resurrection, redemption all come from losing, letting go, emptying out, dying.

And all that reminds me a lot of...well, you get the idea.

"I love to tell the story, for those who know it best
seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song,
'twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long."

2 comments:

Jim and Kelly said...

Reminds me a lot of...
Awesome.

shayn said...

i have a friend who wrote a paper for a film class about this very thing. a "messiah" theme is very prevalent in most sci-fi