Tag Archives: Will Smith

Quick Thoughts on Will Smith’s “After Earth”

Have you seen Will Smith’s new sci-fi flick, After Earth? The box office indicates that you probably haven’t as it came in 3rd this weekend with just under $30 million domestically. If you happen to read movie reviews online, you’ll know that there’s almost been what looks like a one-upmanship contest to see who can give a more scathing review of After Earth. One of the most striking reviews is the attempts to connect Will Smith to Scientology. I may be wrong, but from what I’ve heard of Will Smith on the subject of spirituality, these claims seem to be a bit far-fetched.

I had the chance to see the movie over the last couple of days and let me tell you… I don’t think it’s nearly as bad as the reviews would have you believe. In fact, there was a pretty good post about the movie from io9 that serves as an FAQ/review with spoilers. As I’ve gone back and read some of the reviews, there certainly seem to be some valid points. Although, I wouldn’t consider myself a film critic by any stretch of the imagination nor a film expert. While I’ve seen many movies, I don’t know what to look for the same way that someone who’s studied film would.

This may be a bit out of left field, but I wonder if the reaction to the movie has more to do with the philosophy it espouses than the “poor acting.” I remember Cloud Atlas wasn’t received with open arms, but there were some folks who did still give it positive reviews. There was certainly a philosophical bent to Cloud Atlas, though different from the one in After Earth.

The philosophy from After Earth reminded me a lot of what you might find if you read some of Byron Katie’s writings. In fact, the mini-monologue that Will’s character gives to Jaden’s character seemed like it might be something that Katie could have said herself!

Spirituality From an Unlikely Source: Will Smith

I was on YouTube like I had been a and on the sidebar, I noticed a video under the suggestion heading by the title of: . I’ve always subscribed to the theory that our words and thoughts have an effect on the world around us (check out our or , and you’ll see some of the kinds of books that I recommend discuss these principles in their books), but I didn’t expect this kind of wisdom from a famous actor.

It’s not that I don’t think that Will Smith has the capacity to understand or even believe these kinds of things, it’ s just that with entertainers, it’s harder to imagine them outside of some of the roles they’ve played. After watching the almost 10-minute video of many clips spliced together where Will advocates the theory that our thoughts have a decided effect on the outcome of our lives, I couldn’t help but write a post here about it. In fact, I’ve even included the video at the end because I really think it’s worth the 10 minutes it takes to watch it.

One of the interesting perspectives that he offers is on talent and skill. He says:

Talent you have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft.

I think that there is definitely truth to this and it is backed up by the work of in his book . In it, Gladwell purports that to be over-the-top successful at something, you need to spend upwards of 10,000 hours doing that something. Gladwell cites an example of , explaining to the reader that for 4 straight years, The Beatles were able to perform live in Germany. In this time, Gladwell claims that The Beatles accumulated over 10,000 hours of (practice) at their craft and that when they came back to England, they were an instant-hit. Gladwell also cites the example of Bill Gates who, when in high school, gained access to a computer. Gates spent nearly all of his free-time on this computer, accumulating hours and hours of (practice), which eventually led to .

Another interesting quote from the video:

You don’t try to build a wall. You don’t set out to build a wall. You don’t say I’m gonna build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that’s ever been built. You don’t start there. You say, I’m gonna lay this brick, as perfectly as a brick can be laid. And, you do that every single day, and soon you have a wall.

I’m sure this concept is not new to anyone, about “,” but it’s something that I think is worth repeating, and I think it’s also adds a different level of authority to hear someone like Will Smith say it.

I want to do good. I want the world to be better because I was here.

Wouldn’t it just be fabulous if we all walked around with this attitude: wanting the world to be better because we were here. Performing acts, volunteering, making a difference – making the world a better place.

I just believe that. I believe that I can create whatever I want to create.

Around of the video, he begins talking about how our thoughts are physical things in the universe.

Our thoughts, our feelings, our dreams, our ideas — are physical in the universe. That, if we dream something, if we picture something, if we commit ourselves to it, that is a physical thrust towards realization that we can put into the universe. That the universe is not a thing that’s gonna push us around. That the world and people and situations are not something that’s gonna push us around. That we are gonna bend the universe and command and demand that the universe become what we want it to be.

Celebrities can be a mixed bag. They can run the spectrum from those that are having a hard go of things, like , to those like Will Smith who use their celebrity for other means. Whenever I learn that a celebrity is involved in the kinds of thinking that Will Smith is, I can’t help but smile just a little bit, knowing that maybe our world really is changing faster than we know.