Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Contagion - The Real Test of Humanity?

Watched the movie 'Contagion'.  Even if you haven't seen the movie, you would've probably guessed that its about a contagious disease, an epidemic to be more exact.  We have seen movies like this before, '28 Days Later', 'Resident Evil' etc.  But this movie, is much more realistic.  Its not an action packed adventure like Resident Evil or a thrilling apocalypse like 28 Days Later.  This is more of a drama that tries to portray how people in general react to this danger and what actions individuals take.

It reminded me of something Joker said in 'The Dark Knight', "their morals, their code...it's a bad joke.  Dropped at the first sign of trouble.  When the chips are down, these civilized people, they'll eat each other."  That sounds a little extreme but its not too far from the truth.  When our life is at stake or even in an increased level of risk, we drop our ethics.  Worse than that, we start to doubt our fellow men.  Our fears move us to survival mode and we start suspecting everyone and everything.

Its easy to be law abiding and decent when its all good.  We think that we are the good guys just because we give lift to someone on our way to work.  We think we are civilized just because we gave some money to charity last year or because we paid taxes this year.  But how ethical will our actions be when we are put in tough situations?  What if, one day our financial system completely collapses and we enter an age with no rules, no order?  Will we still be kind and gentle in a chaotic world?

There is no single answer to that question.  Some people will still do their best to be humane and be helpful.  Some, will just switch to survival mode and act as if its 'every man for himself'.  We get a sense of this, in the movie.  We see how some people get scared and turn violent while a few risk more than we ever would to help others.  Those selfless acts are the reason we humans even have a civilization today.  And those individuals who went into survival mode, they are probably today's terrorists and extremists.

So, what will you be, when the chips are down?!!

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