You may have seen the inspiring film, Equilibrium.
If not, here is a quick summary:
In a fascist future where anger is considered to be the cause of war, it is now illegal to feel emotion and humankind is taking Prozium, a powerful drug that eliminates emotions.
But some “sense offenders”, such as Mary O’Brien, have tasted the joy of feeling … and along with other rebels refuse to take the drug at the risk of execution.
In this clip Mary has been captured and is being questioned by the Cleric, John Preston. His job is to kill sense offenders, for the cause of peace, of course!
She asks him …
Mary sums up the meaning of her existence with one piercing phrase:
You may ask, “Why would she risk her life, just to feel? After all, feelings can be pretty painful at times.”
But Mary knew what she was risking by NOT feeling … she was at risk of living a life of joyless meaningless.
You may also think, “Of course she would want to feel! Why wouldn’t someone want to feel? That sounds so empty.”
Most of us have had thoughts like both of these during our lives. But consider the idea that the demonizing of emotions is very much embraced in our world today, and the consequences are everywhere.
A few examples:
A businessman goes to the same job every day, attends meetings and makes financial decisions. He follows the agenda of the corporate world, the plan for success, by the letter. But over time he begins to feel like a robot, and can’t understand why he can’t feel happiness, or anything else.
A young girl is sexually abused while growing up. In order to escape the painful feelings of being a victim, in her child’s mind, she decides that sexual feelings lead to pain. She then discovers a way to turn off sensual impulses by berating herself with phrases such as, “You are dirty!” and “If you feel passion, you will burn in Hell!” She repeatedly does this until she has numbed herself to all sexual feelings. As a consequence, when the girl grows up she can’t feel excitement when her partner touches her.
A cult member extinguishes any independent thought that goes against the wishes of his leader. He manipulates his own feelings of doubt into those of compliance, out of fear of punishment that will ensue if he discontinues his allegiance to the leader’s ego-driven commands.
There are many mind tricks that we as human beings use to distort, numb, manipulate, and deny our emotions. But the ultimate cost in doing this is a disconnection with one’s true self.
These mind tricks work like the drug Prozium does in the film. We often are not aware of how much they mute our emotions, but little by little they choke the passion out of us. They drain our genuineness, hope, and ultimately our splendor.
If you carry a perpetual sense of dissatisfaction, then that is a sign that something is wrong. If you feel that something is missing, that you just can’t seem to feel a zest for life, then that is another sign that something is amiss. Maybe you feel like life is grey.
If so, then you may have unresolved pain from the past, you may have given up on your dreams for a more “practical” life, or you may be afraid to unleash the desires of your heart from fear of rejection.
The way back to reconnecting with your inner self is to open yourself to experiencing the unknown.
In this scene, John Preston gets a taste of pleasure, and it ultimately paves the way to an awakening.
Having tasted the deliciousness of life, John Preston was a changed man. He now knew the bliss of the sense offenders.
It is possible to delve much deeper into the mysterious waters of life and to taste fulfillment beyond previous comprehension. Finding your inner spark is the way to achieving this freedom.
But it is easier said than done. It takes work and know-how to undo the blunting effects of Prozium-like mind tricks. It takes daring personal honesty and a willingness to risk. But, the result of this soul searching is finding gold. When you begin to peel the layers of your soul, you will be amazed by the difference in how you feel, and how your life unfolds.