Guest Author - Sabera Chowdhury
You may not necessarily be a fan of this filmmaker, or even have watched any of his movies, but chances are you may have at least heard of a few of them. His science fiction mythical adventure movie Avatar, along with his movie Titanic are considered to be the top two “highest grossing movies of all time” according to the statistics sourced in Wikipedia’s entry on him, which is a pretty impressive achievement for any screen writer come producer come director. Certainly James Cameron’s success depends on the skills of a mammoth crew of professionals each in their own field working synergistically, but that aside, he is the one who has the vision and is articulate enough to bring his vision to life on screen through collaboration with others, and then compel sizeable audiences to participate in it.
When reading the Wikipedia entry on him, it was precisely this quality of his vision, and long term vision at that, which really struck out for me, as a unique skill and gift that he has really learned to harness. The film that earned him his break as a director and put his name on the map so to speak was “Terminator”, defying all the skeptics, and the idea for this movie apparently came from a nightmare that he had had during a period of illness some years before that. Wow. Having the vision and foresight to see the potential in a “story” (no matter how it came to him) and to then be able to bring it to life and make it an entertaining and meaningful cinematic “reality” for a worldwide audience to view, is definitely no mean feat.
I would imagine that filmmakers and artists would all need to have vision to some degree, as a fuel or food for continual inspiration in their particular art or work, but as ordinary human beings who are perhaps not of an artistic bent, I wonder if vision is something which all of us might somehow connect with for benefit. I would even go so far as to ask whether vision is something which would give all of us a way to connect with “deeper meaning” in our lives. It is often when meaning goes out of life that it can be hard to find a reason to feel motivated or inspired. Perhaps connecting to and discovering a vision of our own (however seemingly insignificant to others), that has some personal value and meaning to us as individuals is a worthwhile activity and might give us something to spur us on when the days and nights drag on and we don’t feel inspired by anything at all.
Perhaps many of us have deprived ourselves of a richer existence by thinking that the realm of visions was solely for the artists and creative geniuses on this planet. But put in simple terms, discovering and naming a goal or dream that we have, and then finding out the various steps we would need to take in order to make that dream a reality, sounds like a very constructive way to focus one’s energies and intent, and also give meaning and purpose to an outlet of one’s life and self. It could be having a simple, short-term goal of getting a college diploma for example, or learning to drive, but then these smaller goals could be linked in to a deeper vision of say publishing a book in five years’ time or going on a two-thousand mile road trip across Western Europe, or perhaps even something as simple and mundane as being able to visit one’s best friend regularly who lives across the other end of town - the possibilities are endless and completely individual, based on those deeper desires and inclinations and wishes that we all secretly harbor somewhere inside, even if we have long lost touch with them or buried them deep.
I suppose the difference with the likes of those like James Cameron with the majority of us is that these people devote a major part of their lives in realizing their inner visions, and give that pursuit primary importance over all others, perhaps even merging it with their career or making it their “life’s work”. It may not be a way that all of us choose to live, or all of us can afford to live by ultimately, but perhaps it would be worth giving some time and reflection to what activities or pursuits would give us real or “more” meaning and purpose, or inspire us in some way. It seems to me that the “greats” in whichever field, were all pretty much driven by a sense of an inner purpose or vision which they felt compelled to try to realize in some way. We don’t have to end up on the cover of “Time” magazine, but perhaps all of us can put aside a moment or two every day or on our precious time off, just for listening to what our deeper inclinations are saying and pointing to.