Last night I watched War for the Planet of the Apes with my new friends, who absolutely hated the movie. Guess they’re not into talking apes. I, on the other hand, loved it. My friends grew up watching it, had possibly seen the original in the movie theater, and maybe had a different idea of what it would be like. I had seen the TV show reruns when I was a kid, but didn’t remember the plot, just that I loved the fake-looking set with the different atmosphere look of the planet, as if they were standing on top of a papier mache sculpture of Mars like one might see in a kids’ museum.
One thing I love about Planet of the Apes is its commentary on human nature. It’s about how “animalistic” humans are, and how “human” animals are. It’s about fighting for justice for the “people,” or rather, for the apes. My sister worked in a chimpanzee sanctuary for years, so these movies have even more meaning for her. She’s seen the brutality apes have endured, having been caged in zoos, kept as pets, experimented on, used for humans’ entertainment, infants torn from their mothers… But the thing is, people don’t just do that to apes. We do it to each other. We have been doing it for centuries, and the most obvious example is slavery.
Not to be a downer. And in my opinion we are evolving as a species, but that’s the harsh reality of what’s happened in history. It’s not just us Americans, though we certainly seem to be at the forefront. We have this idea that we’re at the top of the food chain and we’re entitled to destroy the planet and subject everyone else, animals, nature, other people, to succumb to our will.
Before you click away from this blog because you think this will be all about how bloodthirsty and ruthless humans are, I do believe we are all inherently good, and we want to do good. We have different ideas about what that means, and we don’t always act in the best ways. The Colonel wants to protect his family and his species just as Caesar does. Unfortunately, he cannot see the “humanity,” or rather–the spirituality–the spiritual nature of all beings. It’s enough to make me never want to kill another bug again. Not that I ever really wanted to do that.
On a more positive note, this movie is about love: the love a parent has for their child, and vice versa, the love friends have for each other, that a species has for its own, that a species can have for another species, so much in all cases that this individual is willing to die for it. That is ultimately what it’s about, for me. The willingness to die for a cause, for justice. I wish I had that kind of heroism and passion, but I must admit that too often I’m focused on Self.
That’s all I have to say about that for now. It’s just interesting to think about.
On a completely different note, one thing that stood out to me was my own reaction to the movie compared to that of my friends.
Recently was a comment a fellow (codependent, like me) blogger posted on one of my codependency/relationship posts, which was that she too once didn’t know her own likes and dislikes. It struck me, because I thought, Of course I know what my likes and dislikes are. I’m not that weak, or spineless, or stupid.
My therapist keeps reminding me that it doesn’t matter so much whether or not my new guy is madly in love with me—I mean, yes, that’s important at some point—but keep the focus on how I feel. Because it didn’t work out with Steven, I’m confused about what love really is. If that wasn’t love, I don’t know what is. Or rather, if it’s not healthy love, then what is?
I’m probably just overanalyzing it. The simple truth is, I loved someone and it didn’t work out. What are you gonna do.
But it’s almost as though I’m looking for someone else to validate my feelings, my very opinions. Ugh. What a yucky realization. If he’s in love with me, then I can fall in love with him. But if not, I can not be in love with him. Tell me now if you’re into me so I can decide how I feel about you. Because when my friends hated the movie, I questioned my own viewpoint. Maybe it wasn’t that good of a movie after all. Talking apes is a bit weird, maybe a bit childish, and it’s all totally unrealistic, and the last one was better than this one anyway. Maybe my friends won’t like me that much anymore. They probably have a different opinion of me now, as someone who likes bad movies, someone who’s probably a terrible artist/writer, or really someone who’s not an artist at all. Because that would all be just absolutely blasphemous, and that person would not be worthy of love and respect.
Different strokes for different folks.
I get to decide what my likes and dislikes are, regardless of someone else’s opinion. I don’t have to wait for you to tell me how you feel about something, or about me, before I make up my own mind.
Personally, I love Caesar. I wanted to hug little Cornelius. And I wanted to hug Maurice. I really wanted to hug Bad Ape. Cornelius made me wish I had a kitten or puppy to cuddle. Baby animals are just the cutest thing in the world. Sweet little babies. A reflection of pure unconditional love and awareness, of the way we’re born to be, before we allow pain to harden us. If we’re wise, hopefully we can learn how to allow pain to soften us. And that, my friends, is how you end war.