I saw Matt Damon’s latest feature, The Adjustment Bureau last night; it challenges issues of the belief in fate, of the questioning of who IS God, who makes decisions, if these decisions are final, and who has the right, or the ability to change them, why they might change them, and what might happen if or if not they are changed – and other maddening, deeply existential and thought-provoking questions that are not all necessarily answered in this even, exciting, intriguing and above all, incredibly salaciously romantic film. Yes, it’s very good — see it.
Anyway, I’ve often questioned my belief system and where it stems and I know only that it does NOT stem from some organized religion, someone else telling me that only THEY have the blessed power to believe in God and only THEY can interpret ‘His’ words. I don’t do that. I don’t believe in that. That is not a part of my life, nor is it important to me. I’m not a puppet on a string that exists somewhere out there in the universe, which is controlled by a puppet master who also cannot see where the string is coming from and so he fabricates its origins for his own benefit, or his own belief system to be imposed on me, the mere puppet… did that even make sense? Anyway, the point is… I don’t believe in that stuff, really.
And yet, some things just feel so divinely correct that they seem a part of someone’s master plan… if one little misstep could cost you the best years of your life and the greatest people and your best work and your best friends and your most worthwhile life lessons… what would have happened otherwise? When there is no other option (there’s not) and nothing else you could possibly even IMAGINE could lead you to the place where you are… what other outcome could there have been? It feels as though it’s been drawn up for you by some divine entity somewhere. They knew it all along, and they placed you in that position with the knowledge of all that would ensue.
Sometimes I wonder if this feeling of divine intervention has anything to do with heartbreak (a conversation that is vaguely toyed with in the Adjustment Bureau). Matt Damon’s David Norris asks the bureau, “if this isn’t supposed to happen, then why do I feel this way?” We learn why, and if we’re runnning with the idea that many aspects of our lives are indeed not the result of free will and they are actually written for us… can the “plan” be incorrect? Or changed? Amended? We tend to say sometimes in times of turmoil that “it’s for the best”… is it? How do we know? How do we know that someone out there isn’t maddeningly fucking with what’s ‘meant to be’ for some reason and they’re actually dead wrong? And how is it that some people allow this to happen and say that it’s “for the best” and others take their fate into their own hands and live on free will and impulse while not giving a fuck what fate tosses at them?
Why was I not that person? How come I wasn’t born with that? And what will “they” decide for me next time as a result?