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By Brianna Wiest
Imagine for a moment that you could relive all of your experiences with the events organized not by succession, but by similarity. You’d spend two months driving the street in front of your house, seven months having sex, you’d sleep for 30 years without opening your eyes. You’d take 27 hours of pain, six days of clipping your nails, 15 months looking for lost items, 18 months waiting in line.
We know that, in the words of Annie Dillard, “the way we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Though it’s easy to be conscious of this lovely sentiment, it can be difficult to fully accept: if this is all there is, we must acknowledge that frustrations and rote tasks and mundanity are parts of our lives, not obstructions to them.
This is what English filmmaker, illustrator and composer Temujin Doran is trying to show us in his lyrical documentary, “Sum.” Based on the book by neuroscientist David Eagleman, “Forty Tales from the Afterlives,” it illuminates erases any notions of grandeur we may have about what our lives ultimately amount to.
The bulk of our existence will spread out between spent waiting on lines, grooming ourselves, sleeping, working, going food shopping, and so on. The only problem with this is when we assume there should be more. In these mundane, frustrating things, we learn patience, and love, and rest, and fortitude and everything else we come here to master, or at least acquaint ourselves with.
When you watch this, remember: this is all there is, and it is more than enough.