Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Nothing as Apocalyptic Allegory

If you have not seen The Neverending Story, you may not want to proceed. This article is about the movie, its themes, and how they apply to survival.

In The Neverending Story, a young boy named Sebastian is told by his father to get his head out of the clouds and to plant his feet firmly on the ground. When he leaves for school, bullies chase Sebastian into a bookstore. Here he finds a book bound in red leather with a mysterious gilded symbol on its front cover. Sebastian steals the book and takes it to school where he hides in the attic to read.

Sebastian spends all day in the school's attic reading.  The Nothing, which devours everything in its path and does not even leave a memory of what once was, threatens the imaginary world. Its inhabitants are powerless to stop The Nothing.

Sebastian saves the day by naming an emaciated princess with deep purple bags under her eyes.

"And...what's the point?" you ask.

The point is that while Sebastian saved a dream world from apocalyptic annihilation, he did more than that. He saved himself and his future by ignoring his father's sage advice.

Dad had forgotten something paramount: life is about dreaming.

Sebastian realized that dreams are as important to life as reality. They are the driving force behind literature, science, fashion - everything. Without hopes and dreams and heads in clouds, all the little things that make living so much fun would never have been.

Everything that has been invented is the product of a dream. Nothing humans have created is not the product of a dream, an aspiration, a desire.

How can you survive the present without a dream for the future? How can you fight demonic oil slugs bent on taking over your body and living out the rest of your natural life if you never dream about what you want to do with that life?

What are your dreams? Tell us in the comments!

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  1. My dream is that there won't BE an apocalypse...does that count??

  2. MBush: That is totally a worthwhile dream, but just in case, what would sustain you?

  3. Check the "Why would you survive?" post. There's a picture