By Yonatan Gordon
When we heard that there a relatively optimistic science fiction movie being released, we decided to take a closer look. After all, the “incredibly airy and light feel” of Pacific Rim, seemed a welcome reprieve from the other recent sci-fi flicks out there.
So did the story really end “happily ever after”? Well, sort-of. The alien portal is blown up and all, but the plot also leaves way too much room for a sequel. Meaning, that while this one portal was closed, and the humans rejoiced, what about the next portal?
Shortly after I thought, “hey, maybe we should write about Pacific Rim,” I saw an article on Mashable entitled, “The Real Tech Behind the Mind-Controlled Robots of ‘Pacific Rim‘” .. Great! Now we’re getting somewhere.
The article talks about the recent history behind Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs), because that’s how the actors in the movie control these giant robots. While the movie says you need two people, because manipulating these colossal humanoid war machines would “overload” a single mental pilot, should defeating giant monsters really be so difficult?
While teamwork is certainly important, wouldn’t it better if we could vanquish monsters by more natural means? Like blink our eyes and they’re gone?
When you can find the theme alluded to in the movie title itself, then you know someone along the way did a good job naming it. The Pacific Ocean in Kabbalah corresponds to Wisdom (Chochmah),* or the first of the intellectual sefirot. The literal meaning of “Pacific” is “rest” or “peace.” On the one hand, the Pacific Ocean is the biggest of all the oceans, yet, for all its tremendous size, it is relatively peaceful. Peace and rest are inherent qualities in the Shabbat—the day of rest and peace. In Kabbalah, the Shabbat is associated with the sefirah of Wisdom and the father principle; indicating that wisdom is the most peaceful and quiet of all the sefirot. Another allusion to the quiet nature of the sefirah of Wisdom is the sages’ aphorism that “wisdom is bound by silence.” The Pacific Ocean thus corresponds to the sefirah of Wisdom and everything that it represents.
From Silent to Loud
So the natural thing for an action movie to do, is to test these tranquil waters. If the Pacific Ocean is supposed to be so calm and placid, let’s put some monsters there and see what happens then. But from this fictional test, we can also generate a real-life answer. If the thing that made this movie so marketable is that it made the “silent” Pacific Ocean “loud,” then the path to victory comes through both the rewind and reset buttons.
How does Kabbalah teach us to fight against monsters? Simple, no gigantic robot needed … just flip on the switch. Kabbalah teaches that darkness appears because of a lack of light or Godliness permeating the world. But if you add just a little bit of light, then all these ominous shadows would simply disappear.
This could also explain some of the disappointment behind the Matrix films. For all that Keanu Reeves accomplished, still the end result was to battle using guns. Wouldn’t it have been much cooler if he could’ve just blinked each of those “agents” out of existence?
From Out of the Concealed
In general, thought, in contrast to speech, corresponds to the “concealed world” of Understanding (Binah), the first hei (ה) of the Name Havayah (the Tetragrammaton, or four letter name of God). This also explains why the best way to combat these creatures, that come from the concealed waters of the ocean, is through positive thinking.
Every Jew has the inner potential to become a tzadik. It is said of the future that “Your people are all righteous [tzadikim].” The question then becomes how we can then actualize this potential today? How to we bring this future state of collective righteousness, into the present day? The simple answer is that it comes down to one’s thoughts, as in the expression, “think good and it will be good.”
What we are now explaining is more profound than the “positive thinking” or feel-good approaches in psychology today. Instead, we are describing a visceral shift in both the reality around us, and within ourselves. While it is easy to see how a determined hero of a movie, can save the world through efficacious thoughts, often we don’t appreciate the true power of thought in our everyday lives. Sometimes then these big blockbuster movies, are helpful to remind us of the big superhero potential within ourselves.
Don’t Give Names
Upon reading the above, you may have wondered how we can view these Pacific Rim monsters as something imagery and fleeting. After all, they seem real enough, and even come with their very own name and background story. So how could a positive thought simply vanquish them out of existence?
This question, really contains the answer. The fact that the movie gives these things a name, itself is the reason for why they appear real. But if we were to strip them of their name, then like the many mythologies before them, they would be revealed as the sheer imagination they are.
For instance, we call the known skin ailment “yenna machlah” (that disease), because stripping it of its name, is the first step in approaching a method of healing. Western civilization is especially fond of labeling things, from psychological conditions, to diseases, social ills, etc… But Chassidut teaches us that true healing begins when we strip away these impure shells of negativity, and sweeten the core root of the ailment.
Pacific Rim 2.0
So how would we have done the movie better? Aside from adding more modesty and appropriateness to the characters themselves, the climax of our version would have ended in awareness. A revelatory moment when the characters awakened to the fact that there was never any enemy to begin with.
While the good news is that truth prevails, it is also true that our thoughts create our reality. In order then to return the waters of the Pacific Ocean to their naturally peaceful state, takes the realization that there was really nothing to fear to begin with.
This again is how we would have also ended the Matrix, and other mental-oriented sci-fi movies. The greatest message we could convey, is the ability to bring collective righteousness into the present-day. The real heroes are those that learn, through their power of positive thinking, to flip on the switch to all those imagery shadows and obstacles that seem to get in our way.
* See Earth Sciences A Kabbalistic Model of the Oceans and Continents by Harav Yitzchak Ginsburgh
Photo Credit : Warner Bros. Pictures