The Gods Must Be Crazy
The Gods Must Be Crazy is a South African film that cleverly pokes fun at modern society. The film tells the story of the Kalahari San, a remote African tribe. This tribe lives simply and peacefully, far from the hustle of the world.
One day, an airplane pilot drops a glass Coca-Cola bottle into their village. This tribe, cut off from the rest of the world, sees the bottle as a strange gift from the gods. However, the bottle, being the only one of its kind among them, creates conflict and disharmony within the tribe as it cannot be shared like their usual communal resources.
This leads to conflict and disharmony among the tribe members. They think the gods goofed up. So, the plot follows one tribesman on a mission. He wants to throw the bottle off the edge of the world. He believes this will bring back peace to his community.
I started my Masters Thesis in political communication by asking, was the African tribe better or worse off after its first encounter with the Western world? There is a scene in the movie where the tribesman comes across the main character. He sees the leading lady only in her bra and underwear. In the West, she is a desired object of beauty that others want to personify. But his observation is “this is the ugliest creature I have ever seen.”
It’s all about perspective.
In the pursuit of profit and being the best, we are losing touch with what is truly valuable in life.
Today, so many are striving. Wanting the latest gadgets, the swankiest cars, the brightest social circles and the spotlight. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are our stage. We believe they are free but are mining our lives so we can consume more and more. We are also giving them permission and power too often over our mental health. And there is no one to blame but us to be discerning and no longer live in a victim-hero society.
The world sees us vacationing, meditating, eating at fancy places. We’re even watching reality TV stars feeding on our attention. But if we’re not ‘posting’, is our life even happening? Is life better or worse before our first encounter with television and social media? Or does it depend on whether we are enthralled or leading our own lives and integrating technologies when valuable. No longer a slave to the programming du jour.
Let’s reflect on life before we allowed screens into every corner of our lives. It’s not a question of generational divide. It’s about the purpose behind these technologies. Bots like ChatGPT are constantly reminding us – they’re only learning machines. They don’t feel emotions. Even their apologies are mechanical, something we’ve taught them to mimic. It’s up to us to decide: fear tor integrate them when they are valuable?
Parents are the ones who are given the responsibility of raising children. A child does not demand to have breakfast or any meal watching a screen unless it is a habit we planted in them. Maybe instead of trying to regulate technologies, we took a second to question our social structures and how we choose to adopt technologies?
We can complain that our partner sits for endless hours scrolling a device. But why are we blaming the screen? Just spend time with a pet and you will become aware of its never-ending desire to play and be outside. Do we outsource playing and walking with our pets to a technology? Maybe someone is creating a robot to offer the service right now. But what choices are we making? What is truly important?
Some believe there are two sides. One where we desire to live fully in the present moment. And another whether we have the need to immediately turn each experience into social media content. But why are we divided and have sides when we can simply experience life in its sacredness?
Nothing in life is really free anymore when we buy into someone else’s agenda. Whether it’s money, energy, attention, time or any other exchange, our actions speak volumes about what’s important.
Maybe the reason we have so much noise is that we are infatuated with false likes and influence. But at the end of the day, like parents, do we not have a responsibility to become aware why we are posting and what we are sharing. What if it is to spark dialogue? Perhaps without all this likability, we would go back to sitting around a virtual campfire and connecting in rich dialogue and creation?
The Gods Must Be Crazy shares opportunities to examine how we relate to each other and our surroundings. “The one characteristic which really makes the Bushmen different from all the other races on earth is that they have no sense of ownership at all. Where they live, there’s really nothing you can own: only trees and grass and animals.”