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Reply To: Don’t Look Up: The Doomsday Dilettante,” with mythologist Norland Téllez”

Robert Juliano

    Let us consider the image of the Last Supper. While I think it is an extreme stretch to apply this image to the movie, in a way it could work depending on how you see that image. In some imaginings, Christ as redeemer does not do so in the way which is popularly held. He is not the Christ who saves humanity, but is instead the man who embodies the example of how to live life authentically and uniquely. He is the one who has lived his own life and worked through the problems as they have emerged, both psychologically and physically, in his own life. He is the one who has been gripped by the Divine and the Devil – the one who has confronted both and worked out a solution to both – instead of following someone else’s path (which may also be likewise Divine). He is the one who is dealing with the particular challenges/problems of the Age in which he has been born. And he offers the possibility of redemption to us, not by being a hero, but by having set an example of how to live life authentically and responsibly. Crucially, by living an authentic life, one can be led to dismemberment, whether physically or psychologically, something which is shared across the cultures of the world throughout time. The Divine has inspired us in Life, and as we are human-all-too-human, we must experience to the dregs the ultimate culmination of that life, which may be crucifixion. Thus, we see Christ, not in terms of the hero myth or in terms of the “Imitatio Christi” of Thomas à Kempis where imitation is of Christ’s outer life, but instead as a far more nuanced being whom we can imitate on a far deeper level by living, as Christ did, one’s own life and doing so authentically. If we are to see the final scene as relating to the Last Supper, it is as a unique life authentically lived, especially in its last moments, before enduring the crucifixion.

    Of course, none of this is meant to say or imply that the crucifixion is a necessary part of the path. Instead, it is meant to recognize that crucifixion may be part of one’s life and, if so, we still must live an authentic life. And one of the great impediments to living an authentic life is the hero and that a hero will save us. Living like there will be a solution to our problems instead of living an authentic life whether there is a solution or not. There is a certain wisdom to Dante’s “Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here.” It is a very soulful saying, one which helps us to find our way in the dark; to learn to see without light. The hero myth can sometimes interfere with living life as it is, especially in dire times. It is the holding on to solving the darkness that is part of the experience of dire circumstances with light instead of learning to see or navigate in the dark. The challenges of life may or may not have solutions. If there are solutions, we must absolutely strive to find them! But, if there are no solutions, we should not live life in despair – we must go on living, not a provisional life in fear, but an authentic life, affirming and embracing Life as it is.