Monday, August 22, 2011

hope springs eternal

I saw the Rise of the Planet of the Apes a few days ago.Let me preface this by saying that I am not writing a review of the movie, which I basically cared nothing about. It was the only semi digestible film playing at the only theater with an hour of me, and my mother and I longed to sit in a dark theater and eat super salty popcorn. It was well worth it. James Franco reminds me a bit of my husband...

I left the movie duly full of popcorn and contented, but there was something underlying the story that lingered with me. As I watched the previews and then the movie, I was struck by the fact that there are so many films with a basic underlying plot about how hopelessly messed up the human race is in general, and how we are constantly sowing the seeds of our own destruction. There was a preview for a movie about some not so distant future where everyone lives forever, and only the rich can afford to "buy the time" to stay alive. The poor die young (not so far off current reality considering the health care system in the United States, or the starvation crisis in Somalia). There was another preview for a movie about some deadly genetically engineered virus that becomes a pandemic and spreads across the globe by accident. Then of course, there were the apes and the greedy pharmaceutical companies in the main feature. Was there actually anyone in the theater not rooting for the apes?

So as I left the theater, I thought about how I feel in general about the human race. I have cancelled cable so I no longer listen to the endless stream of rubbish coming from the news channels. I am doing my best to avoid politics altogether, which inspires zero faith in me from either side of the Atlantic, and opt instead to read Scientific American or National Geographic. I am totally dedicated to my children still, and their race to adulthood is on the fast track now. I have no plans to miss the finish line. My older son spent his summer reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, the ultimate confirmation that hope springs eternal. I spend the virtual breaks in my work day surfing sites about how to volunteer as a married couple (even retirees go!) with the Peace Corps when my children are grown, and I scramble to fit in pro bono translation work for Doctors Without Borders. I could care less about the rat race permeating everything (ever think about how the human race has managed to invent the rat race?). I may be close to finally understanding the lack of meaning so apparent to me in so much of what I see in today's society. The problem is probably not with society at all, but instead with me.

What a relief!

My son also read Ralph Waldo Emerson this past summer. What a thrill to return to Leaves of Grass... sit, stare, listen. "Peace is always beautiful".

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