By Poh Shi Hui
The opening film, “Outrage” opened eyes and hearts, to see that above our weakness and aggression, lies a common vulnerability to defending our ego. Like the bandit, the lady and the warrior, we want ourselves to appear before others as virtuous, brave, and fearless, many times out of the desperate desire to gain recognition from the people around us. We imagine understandably that if we fail to live up to the moral expectations of others, we might be frowned upon. The pressure driven from this fear caused all three witness to lie, even owning up to be the murderer knowing that the death penalty awaits the murderer. We may easily accuse all three witnesses to be unscrupulous liars and feel justified to look at them with disdain. But if we look closely, we can actually see our reflection in each character, can’t we? Their deeds and speech at the court were but manifestations of a common fear of non-acceptance.
As the caveman says (note that the ill-mannered caveman was interestingly chosen to expound the “moral of the story”), “we always like to imagine that we are noble and important, that we are heroes… but what we really are as humans, isn’t noble and important at all, we are mediocre, weak, selfish, fearful, hypocritical, and have no dignity” – This may be an overstatement to some, but it certainly is more truthful than it is exaggerating.
If we continue to hold on to our ego, this will be a very depressing truth, but if we concentrate less on ourselves, we’ll be able to appreciate that we sentient beings are much more equal and similar than what the society and media may tell us. As I quote from the caveman once again, “we all are good and bad at times, but that’s not important. Life’s like that, there’s no way to find out who’s inherently right and wrong. Life is short, and it’ll be foolish to waste our time on this.”
We aren’t perfect, and we don’t know what others have gone through to commit the hurtful deeds they have done to others, and perhaps even more to themselves. What we know is, if we can open our hearts to accept them, then the vicious cycle of looking for acceptance and recognition may have a chance to finally stop.