Fantastical tales are fantastic ways to convey important truths. The movie ‘Ruby Sparks’ is one such example, packed with facts in fiction. Without giving away excess details, it proposes the possibility of writing the love of your life into existence, and explores what would happen then. Calvin realises the mysterious ability to do so. But does this make him the happiest person alive, or the most conflicted?
Exhilarated with his newfound power, Calvin takes the existential ride of his life. Like real life though, no ride is without its ups and downs. After a string of highs, to his exasperation, he inevitably sees faults in the titular Ruby. As expected, he rewrites to ‘tune’ her character. Later jealous of her popularity with others, thus losing part of his self-centred affection for her, they gradually spend more time apart…
And why not? As Ruby remarked, ‘There has to be space in the relationship. Otherwise, it’s like we’re the same person.’ Indeed, if there is no time and space apart for individual growth, any relationship with someone else becomes narcissistically self-serving and existentially claustrophobic. Missing her later, he writes her to be miserable without him, which makes her possessive and needy instead.
Ruby becomes a reflection of Calvin’s alternating hopes and fears. His love and hate for Ruby were but aspects of himself. As Lila, his ex-girlfriend exclaims, ‘The only person you wanted to be in a relationship with was you.’ It was through realising this that he could make peace with Ruby and thus himself. To be able to accept her as she was, with virtues, warts and all was ‘self’-acceptance too.
True love accepts the beloved as they are, but who is the beloved really? If your love-interest is a real person, he or she will change from time to time, just like you do. Thus, to make peace means to make peace with impermanence and non-self. They say ‘when you love someone, set them free.’ This also means letting the beloved be free to change, which sets the lover free too.
If you can write someone into existence, who would you create? Would you be able to write someone truly ideal (like the Buddha) into being? Or would he or she be but an extension of your ego? And if you are not an ideal person yet, how can you create someone ideal? But if you are already ideal, would you still crave to be with someone ideal? How ego-based is your ‘ideal’ relationship?
Who is the ideal person in your life? Not someone who satisfies your ego ideally, but one who challenges your ego ideally – for your next spiritual breakthrough. Through brushes with opposites, or anyone different, we discover aspects of ourselves otherwise unknown. Remember – the one you can always rewrite is yourself. This is the only way to recreate your relationships with everyone else.