Finch, Duty, and Pagan Values

Finch - Tom Hanks 2021

Spoiler alert: I just watched the movie Finch. I feel it contains much critical commentary on humanity which illustrates how desperately the earth needs either the modern pagan movement or the total eradication of humanity. While there are days I might root for the latter, I’m thinking the former might be a better route.

Now a few bobble heads of pop culture paganism will give me grief for discussing a piece of fiction. Because I will talk about The Wiccan Rede, I am sure a McWiccan or two will criticize me as well. As preemptive retort I ask: what is the Wiccan Rede but something written down on a piece of paper? Was not the Church of All Worlds based on a science fiction novel? Then there are the reconstruction folk. You know, the on es who detest the word neopagan because nothing new has value. This despite the fact that everything they know about their tradition s were new at one point. What are the classic myths of antiquity but stories? Mount Olympus and the gates to the underworld were real places. Folk could visit them and see they were not as described. Should modern psychology ignore the Oedipus complex for being based on a story? Fiction is one of several forms of expression we use to convey thought. So let’s get to thinking. Why is someone speaking about this movie on a modern pagan website?

The movie is set to a backdrop of ecological disaster. The ozone layer was shredded, allowing lethal radiation to destroy all exposed living things. The face of the earth was a dessert. Humanity waited in the shadows to starve to death or fed off each other. In the movie, the event is triggered by a solar flare. Not so long ago humanity almost caused something similar. Threw the pagan staple of environmental activism, we were able to avoid that sentence when Ronald Reagan was the US president. While Reagan told the world to wear hats and sun screen, environmental activists raised awareness and caused national laws and international agreements to be made.

The Wiccan Rede

“An ye harm none, do as ye will.”

If inaction is action, here we can see commentary on the Wiccan Rede. In not speaking against the raping of our Mother Earth, we contribute to her harm. There is a pagan chant that comes to mind.

“The earth is our mother. We must protect her.’Pagan / Paganism (from classical Latin pāgānus “rural”, “rustic”, later “civilian”) is not a religion. It is an ideology once necessary to survive a rural life style. When one lives by the grace of Mother Nature, one respects her or dies. Crops and critters become sacred, like food and water. To be pagan in the truest sense of the word, means you are thankful for these things. Who you give thanks to for these gifts is a matter of religion. Christian, Muslim, Wiccan or Jew may or may not be pagan. So while pagans do not all have to adhere to the Wiccan Rede, a Wiccan who does not consider the earth sacred is not pagan. With respect to the Wiccans who do feel the earth is sacred, I call those who do not the McWiccans. Back to the movie.

When Finch tells the robot he is dying, you realize everything Finch did in the first half of the movie was so his dog could survive him despite humanity. At a time when no food was being produced, a dog would be seen as a meal. Finch has nothing but love for his dog. He has nothing but hate for humanity. I started to cry. Not for this fictional team of man, dog, and robot. I started to cry because if someone wrote the movie then I am not alone in feeling like Finch. Dogs are the greatest things on earth. Humans might be the worse. I say might because there ia still time to turn things around. While we do not all have to embrace the word paganism, the movement’s core ideology that the earth is sacred is the only thing that can turn things around.


About a year ago, a chunk of bone came threw the stump of one of my feet. There is a reason my nick name is Half Foot. I was mostly wheel chair bound at the time, living in a camp ground and there was a winter storm. I discovered wheel chairs do not work in the snow and ice. I fell while trying to bring water to my camper.

It would be three days before I could get to hospital. I first needed to find someone to foster my dogs. David was still youthful and nuts. Almost nobody would foster him. You can probably imagine bad things happen when bone is exposed to air.

I lost a good chunk of that foot due to the infection that set in. But I would not abandon my dogs. Was it worth it? Yes. Now you are likely thinking I liken myself to Finch. I am not. Watch the movie. I am the robot. After Finch died, the robot wiggeded out.

“What am I going to do now?” – The robot asked repeatedly.

“I’m going to feed the dog.” – The robot answered himself.

Last year about this time, I was on the ground, in the snow, with bone sticking out my foot. My wife had abandoned me with no money, no food, and I thought no hope. What am I going to do now? I’m going to feed the dog. It is not a chore, it is a reason to live. Now then, do you think I am talking about feeding the dog? I am not. I am speaking about the blessing of responsibilities. That is what this wonderful movie speaks to me. In addition to the ecological concern, this sense of duty should also be a core aspect of the modern pagan community.

Remember, the word pagan initially referenced people who lived off the land. These were rural folk who would die without a sense of responsibility. Milking the goats twice a day was not a chore. It was milk and cheese. It was sustenance. Tending the chicken and duck was not a chore. It was eggs. It was sustenance. Duty was a way to keep going and very little has changed. Duty is a blessing we should give thanks for. It brings the things we need in life even when what we need is a reason to live.

While we do not have to live on a farm to be pagan, if you call your self pagan but ignore the shared core values of pagan ideology then I call you a poser.

Shared by: A.J. Drew

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