The Asian invasion continues this week with yet another animated adventure from the land of the rising sun. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (Complete) is not only an intense title, it is the cinematic sequel to an incredible video game. The game arrived in the late 90’s and told the story of an amnesiac youth enlisted against his will to save a dying planet. The film arrived a decade later and continued this tale about a troubled mind and a sick civilization.
The central character’s name is Cloud. Hardship is his constant bedfellow; failure his unwanted friend. And as a balance to last week’s blog “failure” is this week’s topic. Previously I discussed the odd emptiness that follows success. That said success also comes with an ample amount of distraction. Meaning: although success doesn’t grant depth, it definitely has its spoils.
Does failure have its spoils? Cloud would say no, because in the wake of saving the world he fails to live happily ever after. He and his friends contract a deadly virus which he fails to find a cure for. Destined to die he seeks some peace before passing. He fails to find it.
I know the feeling. It’s the domino effect. One set back strikes another and a dozen more collide. Soon there’s a pile of problems, and the desire to drown in them becomes tempting. What else is there to do if failure’s all you ever find? What else is there to do if a failure is all you ever feel like? The dominoes keep falling. Like success, no amount of failure is ever enough.
When we are young we are drawn a dichotomy that is retraced everyday thereafter: Success is good, failure is bad, and reasons why are offered. This belief is built as a means to inspire and deter. To a degree it does these things, but eventually it fails. Like everything, and all of us, eventually it fails. This is not a revelation, instead it is the clarity that success and failure cannot provide. These opposites are results not dispositions. They happen. Wanting to believe either “means something” tends to drive one crazy. Worshipping one and fearing the other does the same. Success and failure are not the evidence for right and wrong; they are not the signs of truth.
So with the importance of success and failure out of the way, what happens next? Life. It happens despite all this meaning we try to give it. In fact it doesn’t have to mean anything at all. All it needs to be is experienced, and in those blessed moments, enjoyed. Cloudy days will come no matter, so sing in the rain and enjoy the sunshine. Or fail to do so. Either way, smile