Reminder: What is Elysium ?
Elysium, was mentioned on several occasions by famous historic poets and authors.In the Greek mythology, this term was referred to the dwelling place of the blessed after death.It was also portrayed as paradise, in the world famous Odyssey by Homer.
Elysium is simply a place or state of perfect happiness, according to multiple dictionaries today.
Initially the admission was reserved to the mortals related to gods, and was a realm separated from that of Hades. On various occasions, Elysium was described as being isles. Isles reserved for the blessed or the VIP’s of the time, also making it known as the Fortunate Isles. A little like the favored being accorded entry in to the heavens (in many monotheist religions of today).
Most of us, have already heard of this intriguing term, on top of its mysticism, through the Sci-Fi movie called Elysium, written, directed and produced by Neil Blomkamp.
Elysium: Sci-Fi ?
Elysium, has now come a long way since the oral traditions of story telling. Specially, after being put on the big screens starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. However, the plot of the movie isn’t any different from the myth, as it also categorizes people and clearly delimits those with access to Elysium. But instead of relations to gods , those with access to Elysium in the movie are the wealthy.
Elysium is as inaccessible as in the myth (in which it is found at the edge of the earth) and reserved to those with a birthright. In the movie Elysium, also right off the edge of the earth but in space, is reserved to the rich ; that would benefit from a perpetual luxurious lifestyle and the liberty of participating in any activities their souls would desire. They do not know death, poverty, fatal illnesses because they had the luxury of being cured from any calamities nature could surprise with . Whereas those on earth faced multiple facets of poverty and desperation. Their living circumstances slightly differed whether they were educated or on parol, they belonged to the less fortunate bound to slowly die along with earth.
If it wasn’t for the spaceships, robots, robotic humans and the aesthetic looks of Elysium itself, the movie isn’t that farfetched after all.
Elysium: closer to reality ?
When you look into the characters on earth that are struggling to better their lives, distance themselves from the sad reality of what earth has become. When you see how desperate they are to risk their lives in the hope of finding opportunities better than those presented. You realize that they are willing to risk their lives for a better one whether it involves dying in the process or not.
Without wanting to spoil the movie for anyone, those with important positions were doing all in their power to keep Elysium as elitist as possible. The movie is filled with plots to overthrow the head of state, by deceit and intimidation. Up until the selfless act taken on by the main character, at the end which resembles that of a savior. A glimpse of hope necessary for many to keep going daily. Just like the myth, the access to Elysium was made more flexible even to those that were not divinities.
You are probably asking yourself how this fictional myth and story is closer to reality, to our reality ! When given a closer look, the categories of the societies resembles that of what many are going through today, in the unfortunate parts of our earth. In a world where people risk their lives on boats, while crossing borders or deserts while paying a fortune in the hope of finding a better life somewhere else, it is almost as if we are endlessly looking for Elysium.
They say the grass is greener on the other side and I think the grass seems to stay greener as well. Many are complaining to this day, about the inequalities of our society. We have all heard and over a long period of time that ” the rich get richer when the poor are getting poorer” and this movie doesn’t portray anything different than that unfortunate reality. However, a hope of a savior that will die to give life to the many is the last image and message given out. (The fact that the selfless act starts off selfishly is another debate) But the hope that inequality and injustice will one day cease is hopeful !
Either based on the belief that the future and hope of the disregarded humans is left in the hands of a male hero or any other belief … I wonder if it is a positive hope at all. Should we wait for a hero to come and save us from the injustice and inequalities the majority of us are faced with? Wouldn’t we be fooling or better yet, giving ourselves excuses not to act ?!
Isn’t there anything we can do about it today ? The inequalities will only prevail if nothing is done about them. Those in power will keep their power, specially if it keeps being handed to them. Therefore I ask you … (yes you, reading or being read to ..) Can you be a hero today? Either for your family, your community, for the society or the whole humanity? What brick can you lay that will eventually help build a strong foundation for the future generations?