Is Pleasantville, a 1998 film, one of the greatest movies illustrating our power to create our own reality? (Click that link to Tweet it) I’ll make the case here. But a word of warning: if you haven’t yet watched Pleasantville, this post is full of spoilers.
In Pleasantville Toby Maguire plays David, an intelligent adolescent introvert who is devoted to an old television comedy called Pleasantville, portraying a wholesome and idyllic 1950’s life of yesteryear ala Leave it to Beaver. Reese Witherspoon portrays David’s sister, Jennifer, who is an extroverted and rather shallow teenager, consumed with boys, sex, and social popularity.
David and Jennifer Are Given an Unprecedented Opportunity to Change Their Reality
A mysterious television repairman (played by Don Knotts in a funny ode to the similarly wholesome Andy Griffith show) gives David a bizarre television remote that transports David and Jennifer into the old, black and white Pleasantville television show. The characters of Pleasantville, however, don’t know they are in a television show and David and Jennifer realize they must pretend to be Bud and Mary, the television children of Pleasantville’s lead family who they have now replaced.
The plot is propelled forward by David and Jennifer’s grossly differing views regarding how to proceed. David is enthralled to be Bud and insists that the two must stay in character and not disrupt the lives of the people of Pleasantville. Jennifer, on the other hand, believes that the people of Pleasantville are staid and square and proceeds to educate the town’s teenagers about the pleasures of sex (which is an unknown concept to anyone in Pleasantville, even the adults).
Each time a Pleasantville teenager has sex, he or she changes to full color (while the rest of the town remains black and white). Eventually, anyone who experiences a burst of emotion or passion becomes colorized and the town is thrown into full turmoil amid the uproar of these new “colored” people and the frightening fun and zest for life they are displaying.
Citizens of Pleasantville: Your Neural Pathways of Habitual Thought Are Not Carved in Stone
What moves Pleasantville to the upper echelon of films with messages about creating our own reality is the consistent message of how powerful our beliefs are (and how completely our reality changes when we intentionally reform them). Both David and Jennifer have very divergent beliefs about life and the film does a good job of showing that neither set of beliefs is the “correct” one, as they both prove valuable in the long run.
We know that our reality is derived from our expectations, which stem from our beliefs. And our beliefs are nothing more than our neural pathways of habitual thought. While our beliefs almost always feel correct and true for us, they are not universally, nor independently, correct and true. They are true for us alone. (Click that link to Tweet it)
Because our beliefs are merely habitual thought, we are able to change them when we are either inspired or willing to do so. (Click that link to Tweet it) Whether that inspiration or willingness is born of a desire to escape our current pain or a desire to finally achieve a long held goal, all we need do is adhere to a process of telling ourselves new, better stories about our desires to enter into the process of creating new neural pathways of thought. And once in that process, we will begin to see a new universe created from the quantum field.
Both David and Jennifer Illustrate The Unlimited Creative Possibilities Each Moment Holds for Us to Create Anew
During their adventures in Pleasantville, David comes to value being open to life and the passion of emotional expression. Alternatively, Jennifer comes to value introspection and intellectual curiosity. Both of these characters see a different universe by telling themselves new stories about these new values which they had previous eschewed. The beautiful and touching awakening they experience is mirrored by the citizens of Pleasantville, who also awaken to a wonderful new reality.
The process of awakening, of Pleasantville becoming “colored”, is an inspiring metaphor for all former sleepwalkers who now know that they have the God-given, inherent power to create their own reality. Like David, Jennifer, and, eventually, the entire town of Pleasantville, you are also striving today to color your life by having experiences more closely aligned with your greatest desires.
Pleasantville Can Inspire Your Awakening Which Is, After All, a Daily Decision
At the end of the film, David has learned to feel and accept his passions and emotions and heads back to the real world ready to fully embrace the wonders of life. Jennifer, on the other hand, has learned to be more introspective and appreciative of intelligence and subtlety, choosing to remain in Pleasantville for a while longer to finish her personal growth.
Pleasantville reminds us that we never need sleepwalk through life, accepting the collective reality of conventional wisdom. Our life experiences are ours to create. Like the citizens of Pleasantville, we understand that this awareness is often frightening and unsettling at first, but eventually provides us with the immense freedom and power we were born to wield.
And stay tuned to this blog for more techniques and tips to use new paradigms from quantum physics to create a life more aligned with your dreams…