As I finish up this issue of MFM, I find myself looking forward to the Succos (or 'Sukkot') holiday with relish. Translated into English as “Tabernacles,” Succos is a reminder to Jewish and traditional Christian believers of the 40 years the people of Israel spent in the desert before they were ushered into the Promised Land. It is a time of rest, in which normal work and labor is suspended. As “tabernacles” refer to the tents the people lived in while in the desert, some Jews will actually live in tents for the entire festival.
While we don't live in tents, MFM honors and celebrates the traditional festivals of Israel, closing down shop for the 10-day festival and encouraging our writers to rest as much during this period as they can. For a type-A personality like me who tends to burn himself at both ends until his body gives out in illness, a time of rest is exactly the thing that the doctor ordered.
What I find interesting is that, in this day and age, with all of our technology and all of our profoundly youthful “wisdom,” just how mixed up as a people we've grown. By and large, there's a modern tendency to believe that traditional religious texts, especially the Bible, are oppressive and controlling. We are too “smart” for “old” beliefs. As such, our nations are full of workaholics that don't take vacations so that they can afford all the luxuries of life, only to kick off forty years early due to a heart attack or a stroke. Addictions to caffeine, nicotine, and cocaine help push back the realization that our bodies need to be cared for, preventing us from seeing the warning signs until it is often too late.
We've all somehow agreed that there is no greater good in life beyond our own self-improvement, but often spend most of our time indulging in our own self-destruction. When we're not doing that, we agonize the rest of the time, trying to figure out what to do with ourselves. Like ADD moths, we flit from flame to flame, looking for something to fill the void.
We're a world of frenetic, chaotic people who have sold any belief in the eternal for a shadow dance that consumes us, all the while a feverish uncertainty nags at us that must be kept at bay with more career advancement, more entertainment, and more shadows.
Like children permitted to have no bed time and eat candy all day because that's what they “wanted,” we have grown sick and tired of the reality of this way of life. Perhaps it is time to silence the frenetic work and entertainment that consume us and just rest.
As filmmakers, we can never make the films that change the world until we can provide a new insight on the world around us. It's simply impossible to do this if we stay constantly plugged into the ceaseless diversions surrounding us. We must stop, and think, and rest. Only then will we see the realities that others have passed by--the realities that can inspire brilliantly insightful films and pieces of art that might cause others to turn from the shadows on the wall and look at the fire.
Just a thought.