Just when it looked like nothing much had come out of the lockdowns two summer blockbusters show indications of a growth spurt in consciousness.
The films Barbie and Oppenheimer were released on exactly the same day. By all accounts, these two films couldn’t be more different. What looked like a massive clash highlighting just how, “divided we are,” turned out to be a celebration of difference.
When the lockdowns happened I thought great things would come from them. The whole world forced into solitude and self-reflection, surely that will help expand people’s consciousness, no?
Once the lockdowns were over I noted with some dismay that there was a massive stampede towards getting back to, “normal.” There was a sense of relief, like the pre-lockdown, “normal,” was wonderful – it wasn’t.
I thought the lockdowns would spark a global raising of consciousness. Instead, there was a frantic amnesiac embrace of business as usual and a brand new war.
Then along comes a mushrooming of consciousness in the least likely of places.
A pink nuclear mushroom to be exact.
The media is very keen on promoting the idea of a very divided world with the divisions growing deeper and wider all the time. So you would think that a clash between two movies that are so different in content with cultural hot buttons like feminism and nuclear war would spark riots in the streets.
You even had two major studios facing off against each other. The director of Oppenheimer, Christopher Nolan, left Warner Brothers in 2021 for artistic reasons. He was courted by Universal Pictures who gave him creative control and $100 million to make his Oppenheimer movie which was slated, well in advance, to open on the 21st of July 2023.
Warner Brothers in fit of pique scheduled the release of their blockbuster Barbie for the exact same day.
Far from division and polarity what has happened instead is very encouraging. People, ordinary human people, have demonstrated en masse that they can hold two seemingly opposing ideas at the same time while cherishing and celebrating the differences.
There has been an outpouring of creativity for both movies equally and the Barbenheimer phenomenon was born.
In the spiritual life, you can’t get very far without bumping into paradox.
Here are a few off the top of my head,
Reality is an illusion, but to get the most out of the illusion, you need to take it seriously.
In the mystery, there is no right and there is no wrong, but right is right and wrong is wrong.
To be fully with the movement of life, you need to surrender to it completely, and at the same time take full responsibility for everything.
Being able to hold two apparently contradicting ideas/feelings at the same time, and in harmony, is one of the first things the mystery teaches you.
What Barbenheimer is demonstrating is that large numbers of people get this.
The sort of large numbers of people that were locked down. I think this is very encouraging and is some of the first shoots of the good that is emerging from the solitude and self-reflection of the lockdowns.
In a delightful final twist it turns out there is a real Barbenheimer in our midsts. The current Miss America, Grace Stanke, is also a nuclear engineer.
“I’ve been able to break stereotypes as Miss America because I’m a nuclear engineer. I think Barbie and Oppenheimer have a similar parallel”
(*I claim no ownership of any of the images in this post. They are a celebration of the creativity of the artists who created them.)