Don’t leave the world behind

Graphic by Jenny Kwan

Pay attention to the world around you.

I abandoned social media a long time ago. I barely use most of the apps installed on my phone. I don’t always have my phone in front of me, although it’s almost always within my proximity. I didn’t realize how much I depend on my phone until I watched Netflix’s Leave the World Behind. This movie is about a family who rents a house outside of New York City for a little getaway. They witness unusual events that start to perturb them. Upon their expected return, the family realizes that they were on the brink of a civil war.

The movie was a wake-up call. To be honest, I didn’t immediately understand the moral of the story—I found myself with more questions than answers by the end. After perusing comments about the film’s trailer video on YouTube, it dawned on me. And I was terrified.

Leave the World Behind is about an apocalypse. I don’t watch thrillers often, but out of all the apocalyptic ones I have seen, this movie is, by far, the most realistic. Like Rosie, the protagonist’s daughter, a lot of us are consumed by our personal needs more than what is happening elsewhere in the world, like war. It is terrifying how preoccupied we are with our own affairs that we neglect what really matters. What I learned from the movie is that I don’t want to be oblivious.

I might not drive, but I still rely on Google Maps when I walk somewhere I’ve never been. Like Clay, the husband, I probably wouldn’t know how to find my way home if I had no access to public transportation. I’d most likely be lost without GPS, and that’s a fear that I didn’t even know I had before watching Leave the World Behind.

In the movie, the satellites are hacked. As far as the viewer knows, everyone within the New York state loses signal so that no one can turn to the internet or the television for news about what’s going on. The characters are confused and scared, as they don’t know the cause of the blackouts. All they know is that something is definitely wrong.

Although some events are extreme and might even be far-fetched, this type of apocalypse could happen to us. We live in a world where hacking is possible. Like in the movie, should our satellites be hacked, the Tesla cars in the world could probably drive and crash on their own. We might not all drive a Tesla, but most of us use a smartphone that can do so many things for us. Should there be a blackout, we’d have to rely on cash when some people prefer to use their debit or credit cards to make transactions. We rely heavily on smart services, but the story begs the question: Is this smart?

Despite how disturbed Leave the World Behind left me, I realized how important it is to pay attention to the world around us, especially the one outside our immediate perception. It is important that we learn to enjoy life outside of technology. It is important for us to have different monetary means in case the systems are down. It is important to have emergency supplies because you never know. And most importantly, it is important for us to be kind to one another, especially in times of crisis. I learned that we shouldn’t leave the world behind because this could very well turn into us being left behind one day. And that would be terrifying, to say the least.

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