Tears in Rain

I have… seen things you people wouldn’t believe… Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those… moments… will be lost in time, like [small cough] tears… in… rain. Time… to die…” ~ Roy Batty (leader of the replicants in Blade Runner)

Tears in Rain - Roy (Blade Runner, 1982)
Tears in Rain – Roy (Blade Runner, 1982)

This year we started a new “tradition” with my 13-year old son: each Friday evening, we’ll watch a movie or documentary and then talk about it. It is a great time to bring up big themes to discuss or just have a good time together and build memories…that is what life is about, isn’t it?

Last Friday it was my turn to choose a movie to watch and I chose Blade Runner, a 1982 dystopian science-fiction film where Deckard, a retired police officer, is tasked with killing the last replicants: human-like bioengineered beings who have become aware of what they are and are now looking for revenge.

The film, incredibly current after 33 years, is not about flying cars and other galaxies as it is about the discovery of our own mortality and all the phases of grief about it: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally, acceptance.

Blade Runner is also a shot to the core of what humans think they can do: bioengineering beings capable of developing awareness and emotions, beings who, like humans, would discover and deny their own mortality. It was strange for me to watch a movie that impacted me so much when I was very young (like the Vangelis/Demis Roussos piece I heard for the first time in that movie: Tales of the Future): even now, in 2015 and with my youngest son: the all-time raining, overpopulated and Babel-like Los Angeles (Climate Change?), streets full of waste and inequality, zero Nature landscapes, huge Coca-Cola advertisements and people living in the streets…and big corporations deciding what to create and sell to us…

This evening, we had a strange conversation over dinner: my 13-year old was sharing with us that some believe Pixar children’s movie “Finding Nemo” is about loss and grief: Marlin, the father of thousand fish eggs actually losses ALL its babies and Nemo is dead during the entire movie: what we see as an adventurous father trying to find his only surviving son, is in reality Marlin’s travelling through the different stages of grief.

We tend to think we can’t talk about grief and death with our children or loved ones…our culture sees illness, aging and death as “taboo” and makes us put lots of $$$ in “fixing” these things as if they were anomalies we should avoid at all cost: sick people are separated from their loved ones and submitted to all kinds of suffering and invasions to extend their lives a bit longer. Aging people are sent to “daycares” where strangers change their diapers and treat them as “patients”. Talking about death and even worse, extinction, is considered rude, inappropriate and even “negative thinking”. The first signs of aging are covered with dye and all kinds of facades so we can look like 40 a bit longer: gyms, beauty shops and hairstylists make good business out of our fear of no longer being accepted and loved.

Five years ago now and thanks to a dinner conversation similar to the one today (only that time I was talking to my then 15-year, now almost 20-year old son), I discovered the Rabbit Hole and took the Red Pill: I became fully aware of the realities of (first) Peak Oil, then Peak Resources, then Climate Change and finally, the real possibility that we are very close to a massive extinction and the end of civilization (and with them, the world as we know it)…

This incredibly rich and rocky journey brought me the best of friends, made me meet Permaculture and Transition; showed me my path back to who I was when younger (my lost path) and brought me closer to my sons, Nature and all what is beautiful and sacred in this world.

As Roy in Blade Runner, I’ve seen and lived through incredible things: some happy, some sad, some terrible, some sacred.

When I plant a seed, I know I may not be there to harvest its fruits…now, I know many of the things I’ve loved and still love so much may not be here in 20, 50 or 100 years: I’ve seen lions and elephants for real, I’ve touched a wolf and looked for centuries into its wonderful eyes, I’ve caught frogs with my own hands and played with worms in the mud…none of those species (to name a few) may survive another century: there are not enough of them to keep the genetic diversity that keeps a species alive; their natural ecosystems have been thoroughly destroyed in the name of development, progress and growth.

I’ve lived in a beautiful city which used to be safe: I walked its streets at 2 am and played in its (then) clean sidewalks with my friends. We caught fish in our nets and laughed almost naked under the rain. The milkman delivered fresh milk to our doors and mom showed me how to make butter with the fatty top…none of it will come back: my city is now a dirty, terribly impoverish, polluted, dangerous and violent city where 9-year olds smoke crack and sell themselves. It is also one of the first to show signs of climate change…

Hope is not a delusion of going back. Hope is not fixing. This will not be “fixed” by anything we do. Life, whatever it is, lives through us and goes forwards, never backwards. Hope is waking up every day and singing songs to our children even through the most terrible of wars, famines and pestilences, as we have always done…hope is also knowing we are all imperfect and limited and still behave as we would live forever, because in a way, we do.

But I still plant my seeds. Planting is an act of love, compassion and redemption.

Because those of us who are still here, those of us who are still comfortable enough to write poetry or philosophy or blogs out of it have an ethical date with themselves…

 

Blade Runner – Final scene, “Tears in Rain” Soliloquy (HD) :

 

 

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