The Power of Ideas

Have you ever thought what moves us, literally and figuratively? My wife and I were watching a great movie the other day called The Help. IMDB blurb: An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960’s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maid’s point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis. Well there was certain parts in this movie that made me furious and at other moments made me a little verklempt. I would never let my wife see this, she would never let me hear the end of it, especially after I giggled when she cried at Titanic. It was the scene when the ship was sinking and the poor family just lay in bed with their kids accepting their fate. Oh crap…now that I have a kid I get it, give me a second to compose myself.

Whew…anyway it amazes me that an idea can stir up emotions in us, that people pretending in movies can anger us, or make us cry. As I sat watching the movie I could feel waves of emotion moving through my body. I haven’t cried in a long time. The last time I did is a story for another blog. The cry sequence for me is usually a wave of emotion that comes on strong, then almost pulsates like waves on a shore until I burst. As a man though I always fight it, keep it suppressed and it usually manifests itself in my throat, if I don’t cry, my throat hurts. I wonder if this is bad for you, like holding back a sneeze.

Anger to me is a flight or fight response, the other day I was playing hockey and another player and I went into the corner, I held up and he slipped into the corner, he thought I tripped him so he got up and before I knew what was going on, he pushed me full force in the chest with both hands, needless to say I fell back in shock. Like a tiger though I jumped back up, my primal mind already searching for weak spots. In the split second it took me to get back up I had gone from my reptilian survival brain, to realizing if I hit this guy I was an asshole. What would my daughter think? I just stared at him and quietly but firmly said two inches from his face “Check yourself, I have 30 pounds on you, I would destroy you.” I saw his face twitch, not physical retaliation, but mental. How can emotions be this powerful and make us act in a way we normally wouldn’t.

An example is the riots in Vancouver after game seven of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals. The mob mentality destroyed parts of the city. Why? It is just a hockey game, but if you have ever been in a situation like that, you know how easy it is to give in to mob mentality. I know people that were in the Vancouver riots and they will tell you, it was a very scary thing. My friend actually was watching the game on TV at a pub and realized that the news footage was showing the rioters on the same street the pub was on, and like a surreal Inception type movie scene, the mob ran by the front of the pub. He got out unscathed.

With so many bad examples there is also good ones out there. Like the juggernaut of people now recycling, this just happened cause people thought it was a good idea. There is that word again, Idea. People think you need tanks and bombs and guns to change the world, but I think all you need is an idea. Like Martin Luther King’s dream, an idea is a powerful thing and if we all decide on what is right maybe we can start to form our own ideas, powerful ideas, ones that can change things for the better. And maybe, just maybe, my ideas can be a small part of that.

Wordle of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Speech “I Have a Dream”

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