Another Earth: Forgiveness as a gravitational field
The earth in Another Earth attracts a supposed copy of its own while the motive for forgiveness is the gravitation of the film. Rhoda Williams caused as the protagonist a car accident with a fatal outcome, which ended a whole family life. John Burroughs, a former professor and family father, has been in a coma for a long time, and afterwards he is depressed and alcoholic. After she served official punishment, Williams feels inwardly cold and derealized and lies herself in the ice-cold night to die. Her internal state is immediately reconciled with the contextual configuration of the plot. Cleansing the school (she takes a job as cleaning power) represents the attempt to escape the past. The past is to be undone, to be cleansed.
This desire is reflected not only in her activity as a cleaner, but also in the behavior of the cleaning company Purdeep. This mirror figure pours bleaching into his eyes and ears, in order not to have to experience himself. Even more impressively, this becomes the leitmotivic metaphor when Williams begins on a false pretext to clean the professor’s house on a regular basis. This is all symbolism of the effort to actively create forgiveness by someone who feels guilt. However, this effort is doomed to failure because the past is uninhabitable and can not be cleansed and can only be reconfigured in the present. You have to face the old and accept it to reconfigure the future. That is why Williams writes “FORGIVE” in the hospital of Purdeep. And so, in the end, Williams must confess his true identity to Burroughs – resignation as the only act that can lead to forgiveness.
The other earth represents the constant possibility of a new beginning. The depression that can not be broken out of the prison of the past is lifted by the new earth. It shows, on the one hand, that one is not alone with his destiny, that one is not the sole damned one, as a depressant feels. When another man has experienced the same destiny, the sense of guilt is relative, the condemnation is no longer absolute because the supposed singularity of guilt is abolished. The new earth makes clear that no matter how damned, banished, lost oneself feels because of the supposed guilt, one is not alone: An exact copy has fortunately experienced the same. Knowing that another person is sharing the same fate weakens a sense of guilt. From the ground of being, everything (every phenomenon, every living being) is the same version of the One in another form. This circumstance is made concretely by the other earth. The fact that the exact reflection was lifted by the encounter of the two earths by the fact that the Broken Mirror Theory expresses a space of dynamic new possibilities opens up. The new earth presents and makes possible the abolition of the conditions constituted by the past.
The relation of man to the external world is expressed in the relation of one earth to another. The energy that is invested in the outside world is replayed. The reasoning is: If the other earth is attacked, the attack will hit oneself. Here applies both “treat your neighbor as yourself” as well as “You reap what you saw”. The metaphor of the astronaut’s ticking sound in space plays on the constant thinking of the accident happening. The happening can not be eliminated, but it can become music by accepting it and arranging yourself with it. The film shows how human beings, depending on their interpretation and world outline, change their relationships and their behavior. The same person, who devotes a fatal hatred to Borrough, is equipped with desire and love on the basis of other interpretative parameters. It follows that forgiveness is not an act of certain parameters, but rather a subjective decision: forgiveness is always possible, but not through a force of purification. Interestingly, in the film the act of forgiveness also sublates the past determination of destiny. Only because Borrough spares Willams, he can potentially meet his deceased family on the new earth.