Being There

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In Kosinski’s novel, the first thing Chance does upon awakening each morning is tend to his beloved plants. He very gently touches “every plant, every flower, every branch of the garden” (3), a direct metaphor to Christ and the church. Chance, who possesses the qualities that were taught by Christ, compares the plants he tends to human beings. He compares their life cycle to that of humans who need care in order to live, to survive disease, and to die peacefully. He makes the following observation in the film: “Young plants do much better if a person helps them,” emphasizing his compassion and nurturing nature. Kosinski tells his readers that Chance occasionally turns the water off and sits in the grass to meditate in the wind. The garden, which is full of life, “was its own graveyard.  Under every tree and bush lay rotten trunks and disintegrated and decomposing roots. It was hard to know which was more important: the garden’s surface or the graveyard from which it grew and into which it was constantly lapsing” (5). The importance of life vs. that which gives life is discussed by Campbell in The Power of Myth. According to Campbell, “Death is required for new life” (127).  Campbell uses this metaphor to represent the idea of life consuming life in a constant cycle and recycle, “a continuing inbeingness” (p.127). Kosinski states that plants are different from people in that they have no mirror in which to recognize themselves, and they cannot reason or dream. Kosinski’s concept reminds his readers of Carl Jung’s theory about the qualities that make one human: conceptual thinking, wonder, and love, and further that the world is a mirror of one’s own unconscious. According to Jung, one can only make sense of the world by unconscious projection of his or her own previous experiences. In order to lead a human, happy, fulfilled life one must learn to read his or her own mythology. Only then, will humans find out who they really are and what they really wish to do....
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