When asked which film of M. Night Shyamalan is greatest, my answer is consistently Unbreakable. I give that answer because The Sixth Sense has too easy an answer to the deep questions it asks.
Little Cole, who plays with latin speaking icons is in trouble. Dr. Malcolm Crowe has seen it before.
Before he clicked the gun at Malcolm and before he blew open his own head in the white light of the bedroom, Vincent offered a horrendous epitaph for himself:
You don't know so many things.
Do you know why you're afraid when you're alone?
I do, I do.
Vincent dies in the blinding wealth of his knowledge of the source of our lonely fears. This is the thrust of The Sixth Sense, this is its universal principle of discussion.
When we meet Cole, we hope for the redemption from our terror. Another great little moment comes from Cole's mother, when she admits to her son in a moment of candor; I don't know if you've noticed, but our little family isn't doing so well. For Cole, his secret fears have many consequences, the worst of all being that they may have the power to alienate him from his mother's love. Cole's deepest fear is that he'll be left alone, with no one to understand him.
I'm a sucker for the common line, Don't give up on me. I often want to make this plea with others that I respect and yearn for intimacy with. The fear is that if they can't understand me, if they decide to give up on me, then so will everyone. I will be left with only myself.
The Bible tells me no. The Holy Spirit is with me always. Fears of betrayal and loneliness should never be in my mind, for I am never away from the One who truly understands me. Need for fellow humans to fill some loneliness void shouldn't be necessary.
Regretfully, at this point two thoughts of devilry arise when I think of the Spirit's impact on my goings.
1) He does not talk to me. He does not commune with me like I can commune with my fellow brothers and sisters in the flesh. Therefore, He is not here.
2) He knows me better than I know myself, so He also can stand and judge me in a way that I have not myself the capability to do. You see, I struggle often to know my own motivations. Despite my desires to seek my Lord in obedience, I often am plagued with doubts that I am seeking this path of Godliness for repulsive hidden objectives. I fear I betray myself. This would then explain why He is not with me in the manner of which I want, for my inner self proves then itself to be too beastly and too proud to truly embrace the faith necessary to welcome the Spirit into my heart's abode. I fear I've secretly banished the Spirit from my presence, and hidden this knowledge from my thinking, walking self. I fear I have no faith, only the desire to have faith.
These are cruel thoughts with cruel, twisted consequences. It is good to not dwell on them.
On the show In Treatment, an Indian man mourns his recently departed wife. He writes in a journal thoughts directed at her. His psychiatrist asks him what he writes about. The man answers simply that he writes normal things. Good morning...It was rainy today...I forgot to water my plant...Good night. These were, obviously, not profound reflections of his life without her. No, this was the longing to share the mundane, to keep his love invested in every aspect of his life for no other reason than to share it with her.
I want this intimacy with my Lord. I desire to have the desire to share every moment with Him.
The Sixth Sense ends with Cole's realized gameplan. He'll just help the screaming, angry ghosts out! That'll solve the problem. It's too damn easy, I say. He'll end up just like ol' Vincent. Perhaps he's dealt with the practical concerns of seeing dead people, but he's got one hell of an existential crisis barreling towards him.