Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chained Reaction

I watched a movie this morning, one which I had seen a few times before.  Chain Reaction is the name.  The movie concerns some scientists working on a new technology that will provide clean energy (not fossil fuel dependent).  Unfortunately, behind the scenes lurks a secret government agency that has been monitoring these experiments and, once it is clear that the technology can work, take control of the experiments, and ultimately, those involved in its development.  Of course, when I say take control, they kill the lead guy, blow up their lab, and kidnap one of the other main contributors. 

As the story progresses, the main character played by Keanu Reeves begins to discover the truth of the death of his mentor, and the details of the secret organization which has taken control of the research.  As it is Hollywood, Keanu makes the final leap to discovering the secret of the new technology, foils the plot of the bad guys, rescues the girl (a fellow scientist), and releases this new, clean, free energy to the world.  The happy ending is only tempered by the fact that the main bad guy, played by Morgan Freeman, survives as well, knowing that he will begin again with a new secret organization.

As I have said, I have seen this movie a few times before.  But on this particular day, I was struck by a scene towards the end, where the Keanu character, after secretly tinkering with the parameters of the experiment to make it work, now faces the two lead bad guys.  He offers a trade, the technology for his life and the life of the girl scientist.  He is told in no uncertain terms that he has not bargaining chips.  After all, the bad guys hold the guns and the power.

What they forget, what is so often forgotten in the dynamics of using violence to get one's way, is that the idea, the intelligence behind the technology in question is greater that any gun or threat of violence.  The Keanu Reeves character anticipated their dependence on guns and threats to get their way, and simply withdraws his intellect from the success of the experiment.  Despite the bad guys' monopoly on the guns and power, they fail in the face of the intelligence behind the breakthrough.

The phrase "the pen is mightier than the sword" (if not the idea, which had been expressed in various earlier forms) was coined by English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839 for his play Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy

Whether it be the pen or computer keyboard, ideas are the true power of this world.  It is in ideas and innovations that societies are built.  To continue to believe that violence, even when used for a presumably good cause, can bring about good, or result in something positive, is a reaction which chains the believer to a path of failure. 

As I have said many time before, I believe in the evolution of mankind, physical and spiritual.  When I hear the many comments, and I hear them weekly, that society is going to hell, that mankind is doomed to kill himself and/or his planet, I generally counter those statements.  Perhaps I am naïve, perhaps a glass half full guy, perhaps just living in a fantasy world.  But to me the days of violence being used to obtain one's needs whether personal or national, are beginning to wane.  Further, it is my hope that this realization will not be lost on the American people and our elected officials.  If we wish to change the face of the earth, inspire the peoples of the third world, deflect the actions of those countries that violate human rights in the name of their sovereignty, we need to do it by example, by spiritually progressive ideas rather than by bombs and "peace-keeping" forces, and drones.



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