Imaginary hoops and tick boxes

Why is it that we don’t just run around naked eating berries?

I have just finished watching the (relatively) new film ‘Boyhood’ and I’m not sure what to think. The film took a staggering 12 years to make (very The Truman Show – esque), showing a time lapse of the lives of the characters. Normally, a film would use several actors of different ages to show tha characters aging, but in this film, the characters age for real. As the viewer, we can see them grow and develop and become the ‘people’ they are at he end of the film, if not mentally, then at least physically.

I suppose in a way, we did this with the actors in the Harry Potter series, from the filming of the Philosopher’s Stone in 2001 to the second half of The Deathly Hallows in 2011 so really, the idea of filming over a long period is nothing new. What is new is having it all happen in one 2 hour film.

The difference between these two films (or sets of films) is the topic. The Harry Potter series is a magical world. Full of delight and wonder, and sorcery. Of dark deeds and dark people. Boyhood on the other hand, is about life. Normal, boring, run-of-the-mill, day-to-day, life.

Now, the most interesting thing I noticed about this film was, well, life. He has to watch his mother go though several divorces, move house several times, eat breakfast every day, fight with his sister, learn to drive, and all the other mundane things that happen in life. Along with all of this, from¬†start to end, the boy as so very many ¬†hoops to jump through, and goals to achieve. He starts school, passes his SATs, then GCSEs (or the American equivalent), then he gets a job, then completes his A Levels, then needs a degree. It is astounding how many things in life we ‘need’ to do, in order to be able to have a job, in order to be able to earn money, in order to be able to eat and have a roof over our hears, in order to survive. It’s absolutely mental.

We have created all of these goalposts which we must pass in order to live. Why on earth do I need a piece of paper to be able to eat?

I suppose perhaps that this is just human nature. We are curious beings, we questions everything. We strive to better ourselves and learn about our world. I wonder though, has it gone too far. I mean yes, keep learning, keep striving, keep aiming higher and higher but so we really need so very many hoops that we much jump through to feel that we’ve succeeded? Moreover, for others to believe that we have succeeded in this mad thing we call life.

I must say, I’ve always loved learning. I thought at one stage that perhaps I had had enough and that I didn’t want to learn anymore but I was wrong. I love it. I love learning and studying and challenging myself. But not everyone does so why do the same rules apply for everyone? And ultimately, why is this process of achieving these goals, so very instrumental in our survival? Why in fact, are we not running naked around the woods, eating berries.

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