Bird Box: Antagonising the mainstream, hopefully!
Bird Box is a film that was released recently on Netflix, technically, the Netflix section is not their strongest part but, if you like to watch films of Sandra Bullock then you would be a little bit convinced on spending your next two hours watching something that would be interesting and hopefully inspiring. The Bird Box movie would be summarised on having something affecting people –which you will never find out what is it through the entire movie and it is not really important- and makes them kill themselves! This is the story and if you are a fan of thriller genre may be you would think that this is one of them or something else. My advice is that with such type of films, first, we need to stop categorizing them and we need to see what message it is trying to communicate, hopefully, this can be the case with everything we watch!
Anyhow, you will continue watching attentively the film until the actors and the children found a way to move into the safe space where nothing will happen to them. They reach this place at the end of the film of course after too much drama, resistance, and the thrill that audiences are looking for. Almost at the last scene of the film and without talking, we got to learn that this place is a foundation/center for people who are blind! A simple thing, who are the ones who will never be affected by this wired phenomena happening and making the entire world to go mad and everyone is just killing themselves?! It is those who cannot see, cannot look into the eyes of this strange thing!
There, there is an entire world being led by persons who are blind. In fact, this world existed before this wired phenomenon started to happen but, in the “regular” world, we –sometimes- hear inclusion for person with disability, recognition of the writes of the people with disability and so on. One of the questions would be, how much of inclusion we are seeing taking place? To what extent we are seeing the diverse community, not the cultural based and the pluralism, but, communities of people who are with different abilities and disabilities?
While the movie’s message apparently was not to follow the mainstream even when everybody around you is joining and is part of the mainstream then you as an individual you should remain stick to who you are and what you know in terms of self-consciousness. Then, what would be the actual manifestation in the real world, is cross nations challenges!
People eating Tide cleaning pods that are toxic and with irreversible damage, to more dangerous practices like walking close by your moving car and the adult is walking beside the car instead of driving the car and having their friends to film them so they can post this video to social media saying they did the Kiki challenge! Or now this Bird Box challenge where people are filming themselves blindfolded doing stuff in their daily life!
I am wondering if the movie is about giving the audience a moment for pausing from our fast-paced life and to have deep reflections about “being blind” in a falling apart world since if you see this mystery thing then you will be transformed into a person who would be a killer. Obviously, audiences are only looking for meaningless entertaining that would make even more shallow anything related to using rational thinking and decision-making process. This phenomenon of “being influenced” all the time and having others to tell you what to do and to keep putting aside any rational thinking behavior are alarming! For the simple fact that our brain is a muscle at the end and if we do not use it, if we do not train it, then we will lose it!
Who we are without any self-determination?
Absolutely nobody! But, still, we can re-own our self-determination. There is a need to get out of what was being dictated to us about who are influencers and who are followers and the game of numbers on social media. If we are aspiring for role models in our lives, then, you need to try to be your own role model, or, maybe you already have a role model but you are “blinded” for not thinking nor reflecting nor having a purpose in anything but clenching on others’ 1% influencers from people you will never interact with and you even do not know!
How it feels being a member of the huge masses of crowds being led without any well?! Without any intellectual autonomy! Nor any rational thinking behavior!? Carrying a head and heart that does not serve you anymore, instead, they are serving the brands and the sellers who are turning this world into a bigger trash collector with massive consumerism behavior which is being dictated to you as a “need” and you are even not aware of nor have a slight consciousness of what you really need, want or aspire for?!
This false satisfaction that we are seeking from acquiring more material and from being in the influenced zone of strangers. In some places around the world if you having a certain number of followers then you worth this amount of money because companies and advertisers turn you into a billboard! Influencers are aware of this and they are proud of this. So, if you are being sold stuff (more material that you are not in need and you do not even know), or behavior or ideas or anything… for sure, you cannot control that, but, you can control yourself hopefully if you still have your own agency and well. Social conformity is a pathogen and it deprives you of taking the lead of your own life and decisions. Activists around the world are fighting for more freedom; freedom for expressions, rights and so on… while they are governing themselves with someone else’s ideologies!
Mainstream challenges that are going viral and in many times they are really stupid and even a 2-year-old child who does not have enough experience in life, have developed rational thinking understand that living creatures do not swallow cleaning detergents! And, you do not jeopardize your life for a selfie from a dangerous space. In fact, you should be less concerned if not at all with anything that makes you fallen into the trap of social conformity and to keep proofing for others, for strangers, and for those who does not even know that you exist. Simply, live for your own sake and self and be present in the life and moment where you have those who are part of your life.
By Suha Ayyash