The terrible truth

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A recurring theme on this blog is acceptance of the world around us. See the world as it is, not as other people tell you it is, or as you’d like the world to be. Big difference. Truth tellers need metaphors to explain the difference. Hence the allegory of the Cave, The Matrix and They Live.

Personally my favorite image for ‘waking up’ comes from an Asian horror movie I saw so long ago I forgot its name.

[EDIT: thanks to a very helpful comment I now know the movie is called Nang Nak. Trailer. Movie. Spoilers below so stop reading if you want to watch it.]

In the movie, the protagonist, a jungleman, returns to his wife and newborn child after a long absence (I believe he fought in a war). He is overjoyed to see his wife’s pregnancy went well, to see he now has a family and that they love one another. They live happily together in their bamboo house on the jungle riverbank.

However, other villagers act differently. Since his return they avoid him as if he were cursed. The man does not understand but does not mind so much. He is happy after all.

Then an older man comes to him and says: ‘my friend, something is terribly wrong. I have to tell you: your wife died in childbirth and so did your child.’ Our protagonist gets angry. His wife is at home, in good health! How dare this grey goon say something so horrible! But the old man insists. ‘Your loved ones have passed. Evil spirits have taken their place. If you want the truth, bend over and look through the opening between your legs. Then you will see.’

Our protagonist shakes his head in disbelief. ‘Crazy old man, who does he think he is.’ He goes home, finds his wife and child smiling and laughing. He kisses them on the forehead. All is well.

But something feels wrong. He never sees his wife eating, for instance. His wife never goes out into the village, for another. Other strange things keep happening. And the villagers still retreat in fear whenever they see him.

Eventually it is too much for the man, and one day he stands in his bamboo living room, bends over and looks through the hole between his legs. The first thing he sees is cobwebs and dust everywhere. The second thing he sees is the rotting carcass of his wife, lying on a chair, cradling the remains of a dead baby. Naturally, he freaks the fuck out.

I don’t remember how the movie ended and I’m sure I’ve misremembered some parts, but that scene of the rotting wife carcass always stuck with me. That is the red pill at its worst. Not some ‘I know Kung Fu’ bullshit, just some plain old ‘nothing is what you thought it was, the people you thought loved you actually hate your guts’. Truth can be horrible like that.

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