I have only watched some preview scenes of the movie “The Hunger Games” in Youtube, besides the official trailer. At first, I thought the movie sounded cool, as there was much talk about the great acting performances, which I came across when I was doing research for the movie review for my magazine project, hence I decided to check out the preview videos. But I felt disturbed upon watching a scene of a teenage girl running towards another teenage girl armed with an axe to attack her. Maybe the message of the story is about the sad effects of living in a dystopian society, but nevertheless I can’t help feeling that stories like these based on violence and gore tend to be part of propaganda themselves, and they are probably being marketed to feed the attention of the society that is hungry for action, to stimulate their senses (and perhaps also to escape from having to explore and deal with the inner depths of their own souls).
I think there is a certain danger that over-exposure to media that are filled with violence can cause people to become numb to our basic human emotions and sensibilities. At the same time, I believe everyone has a dark and light side in themselves, and when people feed only on one side, either light or dark, they tend to harm themselves and others indirectly, by becoming either too legalistic and judgmental (by preaching behaviour modification and enforcing conformity – don’t we all hate moralising and condemning sermons by preachers, however well-meaning?), or too soulless and callous (by accepting harm done to a neighbour as a necessity in the name of revenge or survival).
In the face of all this, how can we make a change? I don’t know. I suppose each of us has to find our own answer because ultimately, we do not want to impose our own beliefs or convictions onto other people too. For me, I will choose the way of meditation and contemplation because I am realising more and more that we are all connected as One, so if one being is hurt, the rest of the beings are hurt as well. Similarly, if one of us is peaceful, the rest of us will benefit as well. Maybe the realisation of our interconnectedness and oneness will be able to override the society’s mindset of “us” versus “them” that is based on the illusion of ego and separation.
I believe peace is possible, and yet it is not something that is boring or ethereal or unrealistic. There is a difference between fake niceness and genuine kindness, which I find lacking in the movie story. Maybe it is intended to be that way, since people will watch and despair at how the characters struggle to make sense of the brutal reality of being ruled by a totalitarian government and having their human dignity snatched away by the harsh circumstances in which they have to fight for survival.
Maybe a buddhist might willingly give his or her life in such a scenario. Or anyone who has awakened to the truth of our oneness. To die in such a brutal reality may seem like losing, but then again, much of the society tends to think only in terms of good and bad, or us and them. We can move beyond the concept of duality in order to embrace the totality of our existence. Life is more than “winning” or “losing”. In a war, no one is truly a winner. No wonder by the end of the story (the third part of the trilogy), even those who survive the war (Hunger Games) through bloodshed and violence are left feeling forlorn, each a jaded and crestfallen being. Why? Because the senseless killing of one another does not honour our true Self. I feel that each of us intuitively knows we are designed to be loved and to love. We are beloved and innocent children of Divine Love at our innermost core, when all else is stripped away, when all the conditionings of the society/religion/politics are removed.