Sunday, August 15, 2010

Alice in Wonderland 2010

The original world of Alice is English formalism ruled by empirical experience, and isolated individualism with no authentic relationships. Alice goes down the rabbit hole where she is in a different epistemological world where quantitative sizes and measurements are meaningless for the relationship between living beings, human and animal (who are personalized by virtue of their unique and distinct relationship to the human person). The animals are wonderful in their diversity and obvious creation to be at the service of the human person.

This epistemological horizon removes the inauthenticity of the one-sided empirical and formalized experience of the daily English fare of common life in England and discloses the good and the evil that exists beneath it. In the lower world, there are two sisters pretending to be Queen. One is very good, the other very evil, proud, vain and ugly (small body, large head, contemptuous personality, living for power to control all).

Ultimately, Alice freely enters the struggle between the real good and evil that is masked in the inauthenticity of the upper world of her previous consciousness, and unmasked here below. She loved and was loved down below, but must wake up and return to the upper consciousness. She does, whereupon she confronts the lie with the truth and quickly sets relationships right.

On this feast of the Assumption, one cannot help but think of Heaven as the Person of Christ Himself who has assumed the full humanity of the individual human nature of Jesus of Nazareth into His Person, and the act of faith of the Virgin who “heard the Word of God and did it” (Gospel of the Mass of the Assumption). Since faith is the action of hearing the Word of God and doing it, that hearing as a taking in renders the believer to be “alter Christus.” Having taken Christ into her persona and becoming her life and giving Him her entire humanity (whereupon He becomes flesh), Christ takes her into His Persona, which is Heaven.

The lower world is literally the upper world unmasked. The full humanity assumed by Christ is is infected with sin ("He made Him to be sin" [2 Cor. 5 21]) and is the lower world of the rabbit hole. But it is unmasked in Christ, and there is struggle which eventually becomes victory on the Cross and subsequent Resurrection.

These two epistemological horizons: 1) the semi-real sensible, experiential world disguising evil, and 2) the really real world of the “I” as transcending self in the act of faith, are marvelously portrayed and connected with the really real return of Alice to the secondary reality with a mission to render it authentic.

To accentuate the appositeness of the movie with regard to Benedict XVI’s theology of revelation and faith, consider once again his Address on the realism of the Word of God:

“The Word of God is the foundation of everything, it is the true reality. And to be realistic, we must rely upon this reality. We must change our idea that matter, solid things, things we can touch, are the more solid, the more certain reality. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount the Lord speaks to us about the two possible foundations for building the house of one's life: sand and rock. The one who builds on sand builds only on visible and tangible things, on success, on career, on money. Apparently these are the true realities. But all this one day will pass away. We can see this now with the fall of large banks: this money disappears, it is nothing. And thus all things, which seem to be the true realities we can count on, are only realities of a secondary order. The one who builds his life on these realities, on matter, on success, on appearances, builds upon sand. Only the Word of God is the foundation of all reality, it is as stable as the heavens and more than the heavens, it is reality. Therefore, we must change our concept of realism. The realist is the one who recognizes the Word of God, in this apparently weak reality, as the foundation of all things. Realist is the one who builds his life on this foundation, which is permanent. Thus the first verses of the Psalm invite us to discover what reality is and how to find the foundation of our life, how to build life..[1].

[1] Benedict XVI, Keynote Address at the Synod on The Word of God, October 6, 2008.

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