About twenty years after its production, “The Truman Show” (1998, Peter Weir) continues to be a pedagogical reference to deal with specific topics of philosophy and psychology. Using the media and symbols, this film clearly reflects a process as complex as the awakening of consciousness.
Consciousness and consciousness, woven from the same thread
To understand what the awakening of consciousness is, we have to be clear about what is consciousness and what is consciousness. According to the RAE, consciousness is the subject’s own mental activity that allows them to feel present in the world and in reality. For its part, consciousness is the psychic act by which a subject perceives himself in the world . Therefore, the awakening of consciousness occurs when the person is not only aware that he is present in the world, that he exists, but that he is something or someone in relation to it.
We can also understand this as realizing our importance. At that moment, a spark is lit in us that makes us doubt everything we have been told. And at that point, we can settle for what we know, or overcome our fears and insecurities to get out of the “cave.”
The myth of “The cave”
The allegory of “The Cave” was created by the Greek philosopher Plato (427-347 BC) to symbolize human knowledge. According to this theory, man would be like a prisoner in a cave, and what he knows is only a reflection or shadow of reality. The real is outside the cave, something is difficult to understand when we have never left it and have become accustomed to using and working with shadows. In this sense, we do not know the existence of the real or it scares us.
What is our cave? The family home or the environment in which we have grown up. The normal thing is that from childhood they have instilled in us a series of values, ranging from religious to political. By being born into a community, we grow up with traditions that give us identity. Thus, many people are reticent to the new for fear of losing that identity.
As security-seeking human beings, we have a certain tendency to embrace the well-known customs practiced by the people we love. In this sense, neither society nor the family teach us to “look” (although we can observe). Critical opinion is not encouraged. Few children have environments that encourage them to analyze, compare and have their own opinion, as well as practice self-awareness.
The awakening of conscience in Truman
The main character of this film, Truman, is a man who has not been able to decide anything in his life. Since he was born, he was bought by the television show of which he is the protagonist himself, and all the decisions he makes (have a girlfriend, get married, buy a house, work …) are not chosen by him, but are actions guided by the creator of the show (in this case, they compare him to a god).
Truman lives happily and oblivious to everything, within the enormous dome that has been built for him as a city. And when he suspects something or has a hint of doubt, he cannot leave that world because he is controlled by the fears and insecurities that have induced him in childhood (for example, the sea and the trauma with his father). But there comes a time when he can no longer ignore his doubts, because his world is not the same as before.
In truth, we are all Truman. The only option we have to be authentic is when that spark, that awakening of consciousness, occurs in us. And only our will helps us to overcome the fear that the scenario that awaits us may arouse in us.
The purest act of freedom is thinking
When produced in us the awakening of consciousness, we acquire energy and determination to get out of the comfort zone and our environment, encouraged by the feeling that distancing will see things clearer … and then, from within, ask: ¿ What do I want to do with my life? Do my beliefs keep filling me? What do I believe or trust? What is my truth?
Your answers must have more value for you than the opinion of others, since they are perfect for you; They are made to measure and not to that of others. It is easy to think that we are not free, since we all have responsibilities (family, studies, work), but the truth is that the most accessible and pure act of freedom is thinking. We are free to think and imagine what we want, just as we are free to decide accordingly. Truman is also given the opportunity to learn the truth.
When we stick with the usual, only with what we have been taught, we prevent an evolution from taking place. On the other hand, when we overcome the fear of the unknown and seek our own knowledge, we begin to walk down a path in which we acquire our own principles, values and beliefs, which are healthier and more authentic, less dissonant. In short, overcoming yourself will lead you to be freer and for this always, always, two ingredients are necessary: an awakening and an exercise of courage.
“There is no barrier, lock, or bolt that you can impose on the freedom of my mind”
-Virginia Woolf (1882-1941). English writer-