Posts Tagged ‘hope’

be like despereaux

05/05/2011

Watched the movie “The Tale of Despereaux” last night. While I didn’t so much like the movie, I fell in love with the big-eared mouse that didn’t sport the name Mickey.

the premise

despereauxDespereaux goes to school to learn to be a mouse. This means that he learns to be afraid, to cower and to run away from things that could hurt him. His teachers show him how scary things are and, when he doesn’t cower in fear, tells him he’s not learning.

Despereaux, unlike all of his fellow mice, is not afraid.

the awesomeness

How amazing it was as a child when we weren’t afraid of anything (or at least, not afraid of much).

We had no sense of time, no idea what “the real world” was (many times I still think I have no idea what the real world is), no idea what heartbreak felt like, no clue as to the incarnations of treachery, politics or Osama bin Laden.

As children, we ask endless amounts of questions and receive answers from those with experience, from those who have seen and felt things we never thought possible outside of our wild imagination. As a result – both directly and indirectly – we conjure these concepts and ideas as we age. As the world gets more complex and the responsibilities bear down upon us like the world upon Atlas’ shoulders, we become less than what we were supposed to be. We become adults.

stay child-like

My favorite quality of Despereaux is the child-like awe in which he holds the world (see my post on staying child-like).

Simple things like sunlight he marveled at. Stories of unadulterated bravery and heroism he drank in. Beauty unrestrained he loved without lust. We’re not born to be politicians, or to be bitter, or to be disillusioned with such a messed up world. We learn it; hence, we make the world a messed up place. An endless cycle.

Despereaux just hangs onto that child-like sense of wonder without even realizing his good fortune in that mere fact alone. So much that I found myself a bit jealous.

cynical realism for the common man”

I’m a cynic. Not born one. Not even raised one. But become one.

There are times where I say being a cynic is fun. And believe me, it really has its moments. Especially in the face of insanity, the State of the Union and inane dinner table conversation. I can make fun of things that have merely a perceived impact on dramatists and people who act in real life.

However, I’ve found over time that being a cynic, while fun, is not a proper – or feasible – path to contentment. It’s an excuse. An excuse to take no action in the face of tough decisions. An excuse to criticize others for their actions as we sit in our own tepid pool of inaction.

Simply put: Cynics don’t make the world a better place. Indirectly, the residual effects of our actions can, but it’s only by accident. Only by happenstance (e.g. you piss off a writer with your witty criticisms and she writes her magnum opus in a fit of anger and despair).

closing simple thought

We all need to be a little more like Despereaux. We all need to lose a little bit of our fear, regain a little bit of our child-like state, and just dance with no music on.

And so I ask: “Are you a man, or are you a mouse?”

new year’s resolutions

01/31/2011

Oh crap, is it the end of January already? Did I miss the boat on  making my New Year’s resolutions?New Year's Resolutions

Nope.

You know why?

Because statistics show that 80% of people who  make New Year’s resolutions break them or give up on them after three weeks. Yeah, what you know about that?

I’ve been fond of saying that New Year’s resolutions are for the weak-minded…and I’m sure I offended just about 95% of those reading this, but that’s cool. What’s life if you don’t light a few fires? However, notice how I worded that sentence – “I’ve been fond of saying…”. Take that as meaning I’m open to other suggestions. And lately I’ve been reconsidering that stance (I’ll finish this thought later).

paramount pictures presents

Alliteration aside, my paramount question is this: why the hell can’t we make that “new year’s resolution” whenever we want? Why not on July 18? Or September 4? Or February 27? Why do we need to set aside a universally accepted specific date and time to decide to change something about ourselves? To me, a new year’s resolution is tantamount to saying “I’m too weak to do this on my own, so I’m going to wait until everyone else does it to [start getting in shape.]” [insert other resolution that will also be given up in same amount of time] This is evidenced in the afore-mentioned statistic.

hope

The primary reason people make resolutions at the start of the new year boils down to this one powerful word: hope. Someone hopes they can kick their habit. Someone hopes they can lose the tire belly by spring break. Someone hopes they can spend more time with their kids. And what better divide between the old and the new than the completion of one revolution around a G2V star? I mean, right?

Hope is the foundation of a functioning society – our desire, nay our need, for change. This is why we have celebrations year in and year out. Birthdays, anniversaries, 525,600-minute divisions, etc. If we, as a collective entity, hope that things can improve, or that we can change for the better, or that we can accomplish our goals, then we can make it happen. Without hope, society would be resigned to cynicism, apathy and probably a touch of anarchy.

Hope is why people vote.
Hope is why people get out of bed in the morning.
Hope is why people head to that job they hate to work for that boss they don’t like.
Hope is why people love.
Hope is why people war.
Hope is why we dream more in the light of day than in the silence of night.

the implications of hope

But in saying hope, what does that imply? Does it not imply dissatisfaction with our current situation? An “if only things were a little bit better” mentality? In hoping, are we merely resigning ourselves to the status quo, allowing us to say “it is what it is” for a time until things [hopefully] change?

Is hope, in and of itself, a weakness?

Hope can be both a strength and a weakness.

If we can’t hope for something better, where is the motivation to progress as a human being? To drive for a goal, even if that goal is to live without goals? Hope may very well be the first step toward anything worthwhile.

On the flip side of that coin, hope can incapacitate us if it doesn’t come coupled with necessary action. Sure, I can hope that I’ll one day write a best-selling novel. That statement, in and of itself, sounds pathetic. And ONLY because it does not imply action. If I hope for it, I have to take action. I have to sit down and fill those blank pages with my chicken scratch for hours on end.

your time

I think too many people pair hope and stagnation, albeit unconsciously. I know I have with a fair amount of my own goals. Take a nice long introspective look and see if you’re doing the same. Maybe some of the things you’re hoping for aren’t what you really want or can reasonably accomplish, given circumstance and time. “So many things to do, so little time.”

So no, New Year’s resolutions are not for the weak-minded as I have believed for quite some time. That’s taking it all at face value. But don’t be afraid to make that resolution on your own time, not based on earth’s revolution around the sun.

And if you’re part of that 80%, get your shit together and stop just hoping. Act.