Wednesday, June 28, 2017

"Forrest Gump, Hippies, and Such"

What keeps people from getting close? There are a myriad of reasons, I suppose. I won’t attempt to judge the validity of each line of “creative reasoning”. I would however like to offer one perspective that might garner a little thoughtful reflection and interactive dialogue. By nature, we are creatures of self-preservation. And it seems the older, or (clear throat sarcastically here)…“more mature” we get, we seem to get more and more astute at justifying this tendency of looking out for number 1, first and foremost. At what point in our existence do we start recognizing the need to seek our own defense, our own comfort and convenience, and our own sense of protecting our “stuff”? Is it as a toddler, setting up awkward, yet simply definitive boundaries with our toys? Or as we grow into teenage mode, when our privacy and “business” become first priority to us, above the needs of ANYONE else? How about as a young adult, when our opinions, ideals, and goals become that for which all else is quickly sacrificed? Whenever this cognitive behavior becomes highly visible in our nature, is surely up for debate or circumstantial speculation. The root motivation of this paradigm, however, is consistent in every stage and aspect of life it seems—We must protect US and that which relates to US at all cost, no matter what! My wife and I had a rather late night last night. We were channel surfing before going to bed, and we “landed” on the movie, “Forrest Gump”! It was one of those times and movies where, no matter how many times you have seen that movie, you are compelled to relinquish the remote and get swept away in the saga, yet again. And so, “just like that”…..we did! This movie is amazing! Tom Hanks is nothing short of brilliant! The story line and plot twists—the way that the life of a rather simple dude intersects with such strategic times in American history-- is movie script “genius”! Much of the story takes place in the sixties era when Vietnam, the drug culture, the “hippy” movement, protests, racial tension, and other culture landmarks of time took place. I found myself caught up in wondering what it must have been like to live through those restless, “wide open” times. I was born in October of 1969, just as the smoke was clearing (among other substances prevalent during that era) from a tumultuous chapter in our country’s epic stanza. I do regret that many of the peace lovin hippies had already put away their signs, beads, and tambourines by the time I hit the scene. You see, I happen to think that many of them were on to something—maybe even ahead of their time—with their desire to care for others and give peace a chance. Many of their mannerisms, modes, and motivational tools were questionable, and in my opinion unwise, BUT, I think at the heart of many of them, they had a vision of what was needed, but they didn’t seem to have a grasp on how to get there, or what tools to use. When you’re searching for something that you can perceive with your senses, frustration is multiplied when you just can’t seem to find the way to get there and achieve your objectives. This in turn, can cause some to foolishly experiment and begin grasping for anything that might look like a means to the desired end. This often will derail the process completely, and it’s easy to totally lose sight of the original vision and settle for a distorted, prostituted counterfeit of the real thing. Then, as desperation sets in, drastic decisions are made, and it becomes a violent determination—a point to prove, if you will-- that blinds to the true vision of what is desired. Instead, we are left with a manipulated process, driven by a personal agenda that ends up quite possibly being the complete opposite of where the vision was originally directed. Is that what happened with the hippies? Did they get caught up in trying to force something by manufacturing varying methods because it seemed to, on some level, “look” like progress? By doing this, did they get so bogged down in methods, madness, and agendas and somehow completely lose sight of the vision of peace, love, equality, and opportunity for all? Are we ever guilty of that? Does our world become smaller and smaller the more we continue to cater to self, to the point that we become totally desensitized to anything that doesn't directly affect "Numero Uno"?

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