The Truman Show, Freedom and Less-Wild Lovers

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In their book “The Sacred Romance,” Brent Curtis and John Eldredge discuss the rut that many people often find themselves in. Yearning for lives of adventure and romance but finding that those very things require risk, many settle for what the authors call “less-wild lovers” — distractions that temporarily pacify desire without requiring too much.

There are two forms these “lovers” often take. The first is addiction  — drugs, pornography, materialism — that give the rush you’re looking for without asking for commitment, risk or vulnerability.The second, and probably most common, is that of a comfortable, safe and ordered life. We close our hearts, isolate ourselves from meaningful relationships, insulate ourselves from danger and keep busy. We settle for secure jobs, functional relationships and checklist-oriented religion to bury that yearning and anesthetize our heart.

But the heart doesn’t stay quiet. It nags like none other. That’s why, deep into middle age, we can be sitting around in our comfortable suburban life and feel a twinge of discontent, a quiet panic at the back of our minds asking: is this all there is? 

This thought comes to mind whenever I watch Peter Weir’s “The Truman Show.” There’s a lot to dig into in this movie. You could focus on Jim Carrey’s nuanced performance or the film’s critique of the then-fledgling medium of reality TV. But what strikes me most is “The Truman Show’s” existentialist dilemma — the story of a man whose heart is waking up, telling him to run away from everything that’s kept it quiet. The difference between Truman and us is that we’ve chosen our less-wild lovers, while his have been forced upon him. But they certainly work hard to woo us.

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