12: Free at Last - New Perspectives
Truman is stepping outside his world at the end of the movie, he is leaving his entrapment, his prison which used to confine him physically and mentally, and he boldly makes a step after the other into the unknown. Behind him, there lie imprisonment and illusions and lies; what lies in front of him he doesn't know yet. But he's an explorer - he accepts the risks because both curiosity and necessity compel and thrust him forward. He hesitates, of course, for a brief moment, listens for a final time to his 'creator' - but the illusion is destroyed, nothing will bring it back.
The glimpse behind he is taking lets him think about what he might lose, the glimpse forward shows him what he'll gain. This is, most of all, freedom - in the most ideal sense of course. Taking it literally, he just exchanges one imprisonment for another, which is much lighter of course but still does not guarantee the total freedom he's looking for. But in a metaphorical sense, the sense I have tried to get behind throughout this entire essay of mine, it lets him get free of all bondages; he is free at last.
He leaves the system which has imprisoned him for so many years, he also leaves a system which is the very singular he has ever known. There exists virtually no other reality than this one; except in his mind. So he enters the mental vision of reality he has developed - his wish of escaping also having come true. He is able to do so because his perception has changed, allowing him thus to see behind the structures confining instead of supporting him. He leaves a system where he hasn't been cared for, a system which has constantly hindered him from pursuing his own agendas and dreams.
His step is beyond understanding for most of us; as we are trapped within the reach of our perception. Ours is a life of more or less fixed variables, accompanying us from birth to death, night and day; most of us even have accepted this as the only reality - but what we see around us is just what we interpret as being what we then believe it to be. We have constructed reality and believe in this construction; have accepted a certain fixation on what we perceive and what we are told to be perceiving. Well, but then, this is just working in theory - we might live within constructions, but we are certainly able to penetrate them and substitute them with something else when the time has come. What it is we are lacking though is the ability of complete insight, a possibility obviously not granted to the physical universe.
In addition and contradiction to conformity, we also have faith and a certain persistance to nevertheless try and proceed further into the future, into a new life, into a better life. I am again reminded of that by the balloon start made yesterday; again an attempt to circle the planet with an hot-air balloon, again after so many failures. If something fails, we try again and again until it will work, meanwhile trying to fix it that it may work. We do not give up that easily. And perhaps, one time, we will also be free, free of poverty and misery, free of prejudice and hate, free of borders and confinements, free of materialism and oppression, free of violence and terror, free of constructions and restrictions of perceptions; free at last.
February 18th, 1999
(The entire essay was minimally reworked by July 25th 2001, concerning spelling and minor corrections, while the substance of it was left intact.)