Sunday, January 29, 2017

Silence & The Curse of Narcissus

For the atheist, Christianity, like all religions, are man made belief systems where human beings make God in their own image. In short, religion is the story of how humanity lost the Garden of Eden when it fell in love with its own reflection in the heavens, like Narcissus.

At a certain point in the movie, Silence, we see an allusion this idea. The bedraggled priest who is the main star of the film, looks into a pool of water and sees his own reflection. As he stares at it, it turns to the image of Christ, and than back to his own face. A Christian is likely to interpret this as if Christ comforting the priest by letting him know He (Christ) "goes before us always," and that the priests sufferings and hardships in Japan for Christ, are simply a reflection of Chris's sufferings for humanity.  

For the atheist, however, the priest spying his own reflection in the water is reminiscent of the story of Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection in a pond, until he fell into the water and drowned. As the priest looks at his reflection, it turns to Christ, as if to suggest that the priest is simply projecting his own image, and that of his beliefs, onto the world, as he now seeks to do in Japan.

The priest even encounters a monk who describe Buddha as Christlike, by saying, "Our Buddha is a being that someone can become," but still the priest cannot see anyone but the reflection of his own ideas about what "Christ" is. Yet the monk understands how the plank in the priest's own eye results in convincing the priest that it is only everyone else who suffers from a splinter in their eyes; a splinter that the priest has come to remove, even if they don't think they are suffering from such a visual impairment.

This is expressed by the monk, who point out that "a priest will teach but will not learn."

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