Defending Your Life - Film
Defending Your Life might possibly the most accurate portrayal of what happens after we die. Rather than focus on Heaven and Hell it focuses on what fears we were able to face and overcome, that the goal of life isn’t to just be a good person, it is to push ourselves beyond our comfort zone, to “do one thing that scares you every day” as Baz Luhrmann says, or as Yoda says, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
Conquering fear is directly opposite of what some religions promote. “Fear of God” and all his wrath is encouraged. These are wrong. Why would any human be encouraged to “fear” anything—especially their “Father in Heaven” (and no you can’t just wiggle out of this by claiming fear is a synonym for respect)?
This is not a justification for bad behavior or the suggestion there is no consequence. It is simply signaling fear as something to be overcome, not sought out.
The idea that learning in life is based on repetition also just makes sense, no matter what form it takes. The idea that we only get one lifetime to determine our status within the Universe for all eternity is preposterous, even downright moronic. Assuming their in an all-powerful intelligence governing the Universe, which I do think is likely, that intelligence would clearly have to acknowledge the kindergarten fact that learning is an ongoing process of repetition and practice, that life is not one big pop-quiz for all eternity.
Every time I watch this film I burst into tears when I see the scene of the parents fighting in front of their toddler. It is such a reminder of how important equanimity is, and how delicate it is to obtain and maintain. I can always do better. I likely have done this. And I have witnessed parents of students do this through my widow as they picked up their children.