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Byron Shire
December 2, 2021

Same, different, equal

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The new film Unity by Shaun Monson
The new film Unity by Shaun Monson

Not the same but equal is the tagline for the new film Unity by Shaun Monson (Earthlings).

Unity takes an in-depth look at what it truly means to be human, to be mortal, and to be incarnate in this world. With its message about compassion and reverence for all life, Unity is also a plea for the end of cruelty to humans and animals, and humanity’s hopeful transformation from living by killing into living by loving. It is a unique film about caring for all beings and going beyond all ‘separation based on form’.

We live in the least violent time in history – why do you think we often perceive it as the ‘most’ violent?

Every new age or generation could claim it’s the ‘most’ violent time. But since we weren’t there in the past during other violent times (for example, I’m sure those living during WWII would say it was, without a doubt, the most violent time in history), comparing isn’t really possible. Most violent, least violent, it’s all a completely arbitrary positionality. 

Why do you think religion is so often the root cause of so much violence and conflict? 

I don’t feel it is the root cause. Humanity versus religion is only an excuse we use. And if that excuse doesn’t work, we use politics. And if that doesn’t work we use money, or territory, or sexual orientation, etc.

Do you think money is as the adage says ‘the root of all evil’? Is change possible in a financial system that relies on perpetual growth? How can this ever align with the ‘sustainable’ practice required immediately to reduce climate change?

I believe it’s on the individual level, not a systemic level. All one has to do is work on oneself. Frankly, it’s all one CAN do.

Can films change anything? Or are you documenting a shift in consciousness? Has our consciousness started to shift?

Earthlings seemed to change a few lives. A picture can be worth a thousand words. 

Is our capacity to suffer intrinsic to our humanity? I mean, without it, would we have ever had art or music or films? Van Gogh? Cobain? Woolf? Wouldn’t Living in Love eradicate art as we know it – just a bunch of people holding hands singing Kumbayah?

A landscape is one of the most beautiful images the eyes can behold. No angst required to ‘create’ it. Besides so much of what we call art is more mis-creation than creative. Suffering needn’t be a prerequisite.

Does the reality that we all evolved from the one ‘speck’ still make us the same?

It makes no difference – evolution or creation? Life is multitudinous. We are transitional characters either way, merely passing through. Not the same, but equal. 

Unity screens at Palace Byron Bay Cinema on Sunday August 16 at 12pm. Tickets $18–20.

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