Why Am I Doing This?

You know what’s been really interesting?– seeing what people write on this blog about their thoughts and how their interpretations are equally valid as my own and, yet, different. We could’ve sat through the same meetings and read the same emails, and still we have a different understanding of what’s occurred.

The best way to handle things, it seems, is to present all our flavors of interpretation, while continuing to develop the big unifying vision that brings us all together. That’s why we’ve all been blogging.

I also think that a way for this to not be confusing is to make a lot of “I” statements– like, these are MY goals. We can try our best to define the big picture, but I don’t want to be in analysis limbo of what it is we are doing. I think it’s ok to say that we are doing many things.

In the spirit of all that, I’d like to present my reasons for Academic Bridges in the form of movie scenes.

LION KING

1994  – Simba continues to run away from who he is, and is confronted and liberated by the responsibilities of his existence.

Rafiki: [after guiding Simba to a spot where he says will show him Mufasa] Look down there.
Adult Simba: [looks into a pool of water] That’s not my father. That’s just my reflection.
Rafiki: No, look harder.
[touches the water, as it ripples Simba’s reflection changes to that of his father]
Rafiki: You see? He lives in you.
Mufasa’s ghost: [from above] Simba.
Adult Simba: Father?
Mufasa’s ghost: [apears among the stars] Simba, you have forgotten me.
Adult Simba: No. How could I?
Mufasa’s ghost: You have forgotten who you are and so have forgotten me. Look inside yourself, Simba. You are more than what you have become. You must take your place in the Circle of Life.

KICK ASS

2010 – I feel like that kid who has no idea what it is that should be done or how to do it, but that something needs to happen.

Diner Fight Guy 1: The fuck is wrong with you, man? You’d rather die for some piece of shit that you don’t even fucking know?
Dave Lizewski: The three assholes, laying into one guy while everybody else watches? And you wanna know what’s wrong with me? Yeah, I’d rather die… so bring it on!

EVAN ALMIGHTY

2007 – I think often, we are waiting for the invitation or for permission to do something risky and meaningful.

Ark Reporter: What makes you think God chose you?
Evan Baxter: He chose all of us.

THE GREAT DICTATOR

1940 – I’ve never seen this movie, I’ve just watched the scene today, and it motivated me to write this post.

A Jewish Barber: I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone, and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say, do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines, you are not cattle, you are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it is written that the kingdom of God is within man, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power. Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill that promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfill that promise. Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite! Hannah, can you hear me? Wherever you are, look up Hannah! The clouds are lifting! The sun is breaking through! We are coming out of the darkness into the light! We are coming into a new world; a kindlier world, where men will rise above their hate, their greed, and brutality. Look up, Hannah! The soul of man has been given wings and at last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow! Into the light of hope, into the future! The glorious future, that belongs to you, to me and to all of us. Look up, Hannah. Look up!

The big question is.. Why are you doing what you’re doing?

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