Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Movies

I find it interesting that in times of economic hardship, theaters prosper. During the Great Depression in the 1930s there are many accounts of couples deciding whether they wanted to eat or see a movie, and they'd choose the movies. It was two hours that they could forget their hunger and their problems and find some relief in this escape from a difficult world.

A new theater just opened at University Mall and it just got me thinking. What is it that the movies give us that we are drawn to? I mean, one answer is escapism. We just want to escape from our problems. I think this might be the cause for the melancholy feeling you sometimes get when you walk back into the world after watching a feel-good movie with a happy ending. But I suspect there are other reasons that we are drawn to it. Not everyone feels the need to escape.

I wonder if, in part, it is the connection we have with other people. Not only do you get to sort of come to know the characters on the screen intimately, but you share a commonality with the hundreds of people around you. They laugh when you laugh. They jump when you jump. There is this connection you have with total strangers. It this what draws us to the movies? Do we all have this subconscious desire to feel connected?

I often look over at the person on the road driving next to me and wonder what their story is. Where are they going? Are they having a good day? I mean, each of our lives and the relationships we have with those around us are extremely complex. Everyone has a story. We just never really get to hear it.

Lately there is so much talk about hate and intolerance. It is easy to think that the world is screwed up and people are heartless. I still like to believe though, that people are mostly good. When in a situation that calls for intervention by a complete stranger, I think most will heed the call. There is some sense of duty I think we all feel to help other people when they are in need. Not necessarily religious duty, or duty to God, but simple duty because they are human and we are human.

It reminds me of a story my mom told me about her friend. She witnessed a car accident and the woman involved was bleeding severely. My mom's friend acted on impulse to stop the bleeding. It was only after the paramedics came and took over the situation when she realized she had some stranger's blood on her hands and clothes. In that instant that duty to another human being calls, we forget about all the "what ifs." Usually people want to have gloves on when contact with another person's blood is possible.

Last year for Thanksgiving I was four-wheeling in the dessert when my sister and two cousins drove off a 15 ft cliff into a ditch of barbed-wire and rusty metal poles. I was the oldest one there at the time and I pretty much focused solely on my sister who was bleeding and unconscious as she lay in barbed wire and crunched into a metal post (my cousins we slightly injured, but awake and alert). It wasn't until the paramedics took her (in what seemed hours later) that I finally looked up to see that the gouge in the earth was surrounded by concerned neighbors.

By the time we got back from the hospital later that night, the neighbors had gotten tractors and filled the ditch with dirt and had begun a barbecue at my aunts house for everyone. It was really an amazing snapshot of what people are really like inside. Anyway, I don't know why I started writing about this- it just popped into my mind.


Michelle said...

what a good insight. I liked it very much :) There is unity and with or without the gospel there is still good in people. I also have looked at people and wondered about their life. It's funny how the people passing you by one minute could be the random people u meet in 20yrs for an interview. Everyone plays a role in this Earth and we are all individual people. Thanks for putting that in perspective for me.

I See Badgers said...

It's true. The more I interact with people outside BYU the more I realize that it's not necessarily the haven I've considered it--there are good people everywhere. You just have to give them a chance


Brensters said...

Now I know where you came from when you said that some people that you know that have gotten hurt at the desert. I'm glad your sister is o.k. Sometimes we don't expect the goodness in other because we are blinded my all the fears that are going on right now...war, murders,economic crisis and crime. My Mom works for the D.A's office and she sees nothing but the bad that is going on in the world but she says there are plenty of the good that happens we just hear about it. Their duties are silent and sometimes seem small. Like what your neighbors did for your family or your Aunt they were being selfless. Kinda reminds me of a movie that I watched in film as Lit. class. How somehow we are all intertwined that the person you glimpse at in the car. One day you may meet again in a different time and a different scenario. It was a very interesting movie.

Lei Bay Shan said...

Hey, have you ever seen the movie Crash? That's what your post reminds me of. Go get the edited version. It's worth a see.