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'Sense8' - What a Cluster

Four Ways That 'Sense8' Pushes the Envelope on the Social Norm and Encourages Change

By Michael HardackerPublished 5 years ago 7 min read
Courtesy of Netflix / Sense8

Sometimes as we find out in life, there are rules that need breaking. Now I'm not necessarily talking about breaking the law, however, I am talking about the social norms, the constructs that keep us confined in our own little space. Too often these "rules" dictate our lives; where we go to school, where we work, what we wear, what we say, who our friends are, and who we love. Now if you haven't seen Sense8, I very highly recommend that you watch it, but for those of you that have, you know that this show does nothing but challenge these rules of society. We are given eight different perspectives from eight complete strangers with varying views, beliefs, sexuality, race, religious preference, and see how they come together despite all their differences. So, follow me as we take a deeper dive and see just some of the ways that Sense8 pushes the envelope on what it is to be normal.

1. Sometimes having a little empathy can go a long way.

The true beauty is that Sense8 takes something that seems to be all but forgotten these days and pushes it into the spotlight. This 'thing' is empathy. When you look at empathy. it's very meaning is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, which is exactly what Sense8 does for us. Being a Sensate furthermore, gives people the ability to actually be in the shoes of one another as well as a chance to talk freely together, allowing them to truly understand and see from each other's perspective. There is a beautiful moment in the very first episode of the second season of Sense8 where we as an audience get to experience a similar moment where eight perspectives are smashed together as an interviewer tries to undermine and challenge one of the Sensates. This interview leads to probably one of the most memorable quotes of the show, "Who am I? Do you mean where I'm from? What I one day might become? What I do? What I've done? What I dream? Do you mean... what you see of what I've seen? What I fear or what I dream? Do you mean who I love? Do you mean who I've lost? Who am I? I guess who I am is exactly the same as who you are. Not better than, not less than, because there is no one who has been or will ever be exactly the same as either you or me." A little lengthy, but through this interaction, all eight of the Sensates come into the conversation, each overlapping one another allowing us to not only spot the differences, but also the commonalities and the respect they have for one another. Now this does not mean you have to be a Sensate to have empathy or to understand another person, but you do, however, have to be willing to open yourself up to communicating and understanding as best you can. The biggest problem we face sadly is a lack of communication and in an era of technology booming that allows for more ways to talk to one another than ever thought possible. It's this lack of communication that causes; relationships to fall apart, family ties to sever, friends to split, wars to be fought, and paranoia and fear to rise. If anything, Sense8 taught us is that having some empathy can help us understand each other a little more and that it can bring about positive change for a brighter future.

2. Change can be wonderful, so don't be afraid to be a little different.

We are creatures of habit, we change how we dress, eat, walk, and talk for fear of being an outcast or even physically assaulted. Now, being a Sensate automatically makes you different in Sense8, but aside from that, we see each of the characters are also unique in their own way, and because of this they all face their own struggles with alienation and resistance. However, Nomi sees that differently as well and gives us insight into her thoughts by saying, "The real violence, the violence I realized was unforgivable, is the violence that we do to ourselves, when we're too afraid to be who we really are." Despite all of the resistance of outside forces and internal struggles, the Sensates come closer together and even the families of the sensates become closer, almost like relatives seeing each other for the first time. We are shown that even though all of these people are different they can, not only coexist, but be happy and friendly to one another. Similar to life, Sense8 shows us the many changes that people go through and the key thing that we see is that it's okay for change to happen and that it's okay to be different. All you have to do is open yourself up and accept who you are.

3. You can't always choose whose in your cluster, but you can choose who you want to be a part of your family.

Sense8 gives us a glimpse not only into the minds and hearts of the eight main characters, but also a look into their families and own relationships. We see how some families come apart. How they are family only in name and that there is nothing but bitterness and toxicity at its core. Then we see a different kind of family that is formed not only by love, but by choice. No one says it better than Wolfgang, when he says about his friend Felix, "He's my brother, and not by something as accidental as blood...by something much stronger. By choice." It might seem cheesy, but there is no denying that love can bring people together and in Sense8 we see how each person is surrounded by their own family which most if not all by choice. To take it further, we see how each of these small families come together in the end and become one big happy mess of a family because of these choices (aside from the whole Sensate thing). It goes to show that no matter who you are or what your circumstances may be, you can make happiness with whomever you want to. You make the choice.

4. Give a little love from your heart and accept who you are.

Love. It's at the center of Sense8 and love as we know is the thing that can elevate and bind us together or discourage and tear us apart. Now there are plenty of television shows, movies, plays, songs, and art out there that portray love, but Sense8, like everything else it does, displays it a little differently. We are given a very diverse cast of characters and also the ability to see their feelings in a heightened "sense". Because of this, we see how some of these characters are closed off at first, that they refuse to accept who they are and that they don't believe they can be loved. However, that is not the case as Hernando puts it, "Love is not something we wind up, something we set or control. love is just like art: A force that comes into our lives without any rules, expectations or limitations. Love, like art, must always be free." So regardless of where you are and who you are, love no matter what remains the same and accepting that you can love and be loved can set you free.

Sense8 is a crazy beautiful mess that challenges all those that watch to open up and experience the world from a perspective you may not have recognized before. It takes us on a wild adventure that allows us to witness all the pitfalls of society as well as the beauty and triumph of the heart. It is a one of a kind show that is not only very entertaining to watch, but it's also a very beautiful piece of art that is to be admired for its complexity, zaniness, loveliness, and cathartic release.

Courtesy of Netflix / Sense8

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About the Creator

Michael Hardacker

Hey there! Very excited to share my writings with everyone, whether its a poem, article, short story or a book. I hope that you enjoy my stories and will stick with me as I grow as a writer!

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