Thirty six years ago things were so much like they are today (with the exception of who was president) that one of the most often quoted lines in movie history (ranking 19 out of 100) was first heard in the 1976 film Network. In it, news anchor Howard Beale states:
"I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be! We know things are bad - worse than bad, They're crazy!"At the end of his tirade, Beale tells his television viewing audience he isn't going to recommend they riot, or call their congressman, and he admits he doesn't know how to fix any of the problems. Instead, he tells them they have to value their life and get mad as hell. He tells them to get up out of their chairs, go to their windows, open them and shout:
"I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!"Believe it or not, that's not what started the idea for the cartoon, but it works. The point is nothing ever changes except us. In truth, nothing really exists except the ability to perceive. How we look at things determines if the world is hopelessly dismal or as Howard Beale offers the only hope we have to effect real change in the world.
In addition to the presidential primaries and race this year, there are plenty of ways our attention may be hooked out of the power of the present moment, and diverted to fuel the planetary dream of loss, lack and limitation.
Like the vote, it may seem like a right or a responsibility to get hooked up in the world. There are many who would say it's as "mad as hell" (read: insane) to consider doing otherwise, but that's what I'm suggesting based on my own long, long history of not being able to make anything better by focusing on how bad it is.
Lets all get mad as hell: smile inside, keep our outlook open, and to all that is dark and negative, happily shout out, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!" Forget what 'everybody knows', let's choose instead to create heaven in as many moments as we can.
links: A great clip from the movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90ELleCQvew full text at http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Network_(film) (Two good reasons SOPA shouldn't go through as written.)
With gratitude to mom and dad for helping me see what's really important.