Deciding to be boring this past Memorial Day, I decided I’d bum around a bit.
Searching for a movie to watch, I stumbled across one I haven’t seen in probably over a decade – “The Truman Show.”
If you’ve never seen it, then I highly recommend you do; it’s sort of a classic.
You may even want to pause reading this article until you’ve watched it, but I do promise to keep the spoilers to a minimum.
For those of you who haven’t seen it, “The Truman Show” is a movie about a man born and raised in a little world created just for him.
This little world is filled with thousands of hidden cameras that record and air his life on live TV, 24 hours a day, for decades on end.
Most importantly, Truman has absolutely no idea any of this is going on. He’s the star of the most popular TV show in the world and is completely oblivious to the fact.
While watching the movie, I couldn’t help but draw some unsettling comparisons between it and the lives we all live today.
Governmental surveillance aside, we live in a world where just about each and every one of us is willingly broadcasting our lives to anyone and everyone willing to watch it -- basically in real time.
But this is only the tip of the iceberg.
The fact is we’re all living our own version of “The Truman Show.”
And even more frighteningly, most of us are just as oblivious as poor Truman.
1. Everyone has access to some of our most personal secrets.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Tinder, Google+, YouTube, etc. Our lives are basically being translated into digital -- by our own hands.
People post updates on where they’re located, where they’re going, what they’re doing, what they’re eating, who they’re with, how they're feeling and too often give out information that is way too personal.
Sure, not everyone in the world is interested in you and the things you do, but I’m sure plenty are.
Otherwise, why in the world would you be spending so much time glued to your phones?
People watch your life unfold from a distance, and you almost never know when they’re doing it. It’s pretty damn creepy if you think about it.
2. There is product placement everywhere.
This is probably the most amusing part of “The Truman Show.” You have different characters clearly selling products to those watching the show.
Truman himself may be oblivious, but everyone else knows exactly what it is he or she is being pitched.
In our day and age, we are bombarded with advertisements all the time. Every time you use social media or visit any of your favorite websites, you’re being advertised to.
Digital advertising has gotten so advanced that ads can literally follow you across the web.
More than that, with all the name products we wear, all the cars we drive and all the top-shelf liquor we drink, we’re basically walking advertisements ourselves.
3. We're convinced that a safe, comfortable job is a dream job.
“You hate your job? You have a desk job. That’s the best job anyone could ask for!”
It’s time to face the facts: We’re all being bred to work desk jobs. They’re safe. They’re comfortable. They’re going to allow for a decent life.
Are you looking for a “decent” life? I sure as hell won’t settle for that garbage. Not to mention nothing is really safe -- consider how many pencil pushers were laid off in the last half decade alone.
4. We're taught that a safe, comfortable life is the dream life.
Some of us are struggling to live a safe life, a life that allows for four walls, a roof, clean water, food and not having to worry about losing your life or the life of your family and friends.
Most of you reading this, however, don’t have all that to worry about.
Most of you have either been shuffled into this sort of stagnant lifestyle or have chosen it for yourself.
The problem is it isn’t maintainable. Too much comfort and safety gets to our heads, makes us go a little crazy. As humans, we need to take risks to feel alive.
5. We are controlled by our fears and uncertainty.
Truman couldn’t get over his fear of water. Those running the show knew this -- because they made sure he was afraid -- and then used this fear to control his life, making sure he stayed in the little bubble they created for him.
You most certainly don’t realize it, because that’s the point, but people, governments, corporations all use the same scare tactics to make sure you do what they want you to do. It’s manipulation 101.
6. “We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented.”
As Christof, a character in "The Truman Show" responsible for creating the show, brilliantly puts it.
There are infinite realities we can experience in this world. Why? Because a reality is nothing more than the interpretation of our perception of the world around us.
Truman never figured out that his whole life was being lived for others to enjoy and/or profit off of because he took everything he saw for face value. He didn’t question. He didn’t wonder.
He didn’t bother to consider maybe, just maybe, there was a different, more authentic reality that surrounded him. Sound familiar?
7. Everyone you know is an actor -- you never get to see the real person.
Truman’s best friend was hired to be his best friend. His father was hired to be his father. Same goes for his mother, wife, coworkers, neighbors, etc.
They’re all paid actors -- nothing else. While this may not be the case in your life, those around you are really only acting.
Think about it: How often do you act yourself around those around you?
Surely, you act yourself around those closest to you (to some extent), but when it comes to most people, you’re basically putting on a show. Same goes for everybody else.
8. People only care about you while you're relevant.
“Where’s the TV guide.” -- Parking lot attendants.
Probably my favorite line from the whole movie. Once the show comes to an inevitable end, you get to see the reactions of those who spent decades -- literally decades -- watching the show.
The best they could muster was basically: “What should we watch next?”
People only care about you as long as you’re relevant -- as long as you’re somehow pertinent to them and their life.
As soon as you no longer interest or entertain them, you’re basically dead to them.
If you don’t think this is the way our world works, then think again. By nature, people only care about things, ideas, other people who affect them.
If you aren’t relevant, then their minds will automatically shift to something or someone else. It’s not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing; it just is what it is.