I watched the Tom Cruise action flick “Live Die Repeat” with my wife this weekend which doesn’t have a thing to do with the Quantum Physics theme of the last few posts, but it sort of set of a chain of thoughts and conversations that tie it back to the series I’ve been doing.
From the very beginning of the movie -even before, having read the synopsis- I was preparing myself to pay close attention to what was going on in this film, knowing that it had ties to rebirth and all that Hinduey stuff. The movie surrounds the plight of Cruise’s character who is a pencil-pushing desk-jockey high-ranking officer of the U.S. military who thinks he’s above actually getting his hands dirty in the war that is going on, but is unwittingly sent to the battlefield. It’s complicated but one way or another he finds that when he dies he is sent back to the same office where this whole mess began for him. He has to go back in to die in the battle again and again, each time gaining a seed of knowledge that can help him in his next go-round. It is basically “Groundhog Day” but with guns and explosions.
So obviously I latched onto this and in my in-movie chit-chat with my wife, we both branded it as a “Hindu movie”. Later two other people came into the picture who were the Cruise character’s advisers along the way, and eventually his entire platoon gets on-board with whatever it was that he was trying to accomplish. Honestly I should have watched it again before writing this but alas the DVD had to go back to the public library. I am sure that if I watched it closely enough I could force each character into the roles similar to the Pandavas of the Gita, which were themselves allegories of certain character traits common to every jivan. There were entities known as the Alpha and the Omega which at first seemed like they could have been Atman and Brahman.
I am sure I could have done that. But that is my point. The whole thing got a little hazy for me when I lost track of what was happening in the film because I was trying to figure out exactly who or what everything represented from a Hindu angle. But then it dawned on me. “Maybe it doesn’t represent anything that has anything to do with Hinduism. Maybe it’s all in my head.”
The very general Hindu themes were definitely there, anyone would agree that Cruise’s character was in a sense “reincarnating”. And many would argue that each time we take a new body there is a -however subtle- residue of understanding that we picked up last time around that helps us to gain a good head start this time. Some might say that is what instinct is. An impression from previous lives. And again maybe there was more there had I watched it more closely. Doesn’t matter. Anyone from any spiritual angle could do the same with any movie I suppose, and there was probably more in “Live Die Repeat” that speaks to the Hindu than there is that speaks to the Catholic, say. But nonetheless it was that realization that it was all illusory that was a bit embarrassing but also a bit of a breakthrough.
Just the other day I had another conversation with another American Hindu friend of mine who is currently pursuing a degree in physics. And without having read my recent bloggings, our conversation led him to some fairly harsh words for those who try at all costs to “spiritualize” natural phenomena. I maintain that one could argue that everything can be spiritualized. He argued that if one does that, you have to take pantheism to such lengths as to make the equations (by which we come to understand phenomena) God. Which I still don’t see a problem with, quite frankly. And I am a firm believer that one should take inspiration from where you find it.
At any rate, what it comes down to is this: I am not in any way an expert or authority figure on the subject of quantum physics, or any other subject for that matter. But people are going to see what they want to see in any situation, depending on what angle they are looking at it from. The trouble for me is that, yes, if you really don’t understand quantum physics and you latch onto some aspect of it and make it evidence to back up whatever point of view you have toward the Holy Infinite or whatever you want to call it, you might miss the point and do a disservice to what quantum physics really does tell us.
Whatever the hell that is.
And we all know there is enough misinformation out there on any number of topics.
Also you might miss what would otherwise be just a really great movie that isn’t really an allegory at all. Then again, who’s to say a movie isn’t an allegory just because the writer did not intend it to be? What is the standard by which we say whether your truth is or is not true, relative to mine?
asato ma sadgamaya
tamaso ma jyotirgamaya
mrtyorma amrtam gamaya
Aum shanti shanti shanti.