Utopia? Far From It.

Even in an Eden like ‘Elysium,’ the good life isn’t all good

August 8, 2013

In “Elysium,” opening Friday, Matt Damon hatches a plot to escape a ruined Earth and head for the titular utopian space colony. While Earth is an overpopulated, plague-ridden cesspool, Elysium is an exclusive paradise for the uber-rich, with mansions overlooking infinity pools that reflect the rays of artificial sunlight. Still, life on a space colony, even one as idyllic as Elysium, isn’t easy. Some advice:

Space Crunch
When the walls start to close in, “bashing a pillow or stomping on the ground, sort of like a child throwing a temper tantrum, is actually a good way to dissolve that stress and anxiety,” says Michell Stanley, owner of Moksha Living, a holistic psychotherapy practice in D.C. Keep in mind, though, that you want to keep the physical expression of your anger to inanimate objects. An extra-hard swing on the zero-gravity golf course? Good. An extra-hard swing at your boyfriend? Bad.

Meeting Your Match
Dating won’t be easy on Elysium, population 7,946. That’s a small dating pool, but don’t despair. “Look at it like an arranged marriage,” Stanley says. “There are plenty of examples in arranged marriages where you make a commitment to a person understanding that maybe this wouldn’t have been your first choice. But because you make a commitment with a person to make a partnership, you make it work.” As for running into your dreaded ex on Elysium (let’s face it, it’s gonna happen), it doesn’t have to be awkward. “Think about how you feel and what you fear, and then decide how you want to react or respond,” Stanley advises. Confront the urge to shove your ex into an airlock before you cross paths and you just might be able to resist the temptation.

Trouble in Paradise
After daiquiri No. 5,687, you might start to feel trapped by all this luxury; of course, leaving Elysium isn’t an option (or at least not a good one). “Eastern philosophy tells us that we are attached to these things that we think will bring us happiness,” Stanley says. When you realize “things that exist at a very basic level are more important than these false attachments, you find true happiness and meaning,” Stanley says. Or just move on to daiquiri No. 5,688.

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Kristen Page-Kirby | August 8, 2013