Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search

H2O Man

(73,997 posts)
Sun Dec 21, 2014, 05:40 PM Dec 2014

I am/ War is Over

“I am he as you are he as you are me
And we are all together.”
-- John Lennon

Last night, I watched the 2010 documentary, “I Am,” by Tom Shadyac. The film chronicles his journey from a successful film-maker, to a conscious human being. While I have heard of some of his previous movies, this was the first time that I have ever watched any of his works. It was, in my opinion, a worthwhile investment of 90 minutes.

Briefly, a bike accident that caused a relatively long-term injury to Shadyac’s brain caused him to question the meaning of life. Previous to this, he was the very definition of “successful” in the context of our society’s material world. But a severe post-accident depression sent him on a quest to find a greater meaning to life than accumulating material possessions.

The documentary included clips of interviews with scientists, environmentalists, religious leaders, and philosophers. They focused upon two general questions: what is wrong with the world?; and, what can we do about it?

Part of the attempt to answer these questions was based on the human understanding of two systems. The first is the mechanical -- for example, the life cycle of water, from rain to stream to river to ocean to evaporation and back to rain. The second is Darwin’s concept of survival of the fittest.

In the human culture of “western civilization,” the concept of “social Darwinism” has led some to consider how to exploit the natural world, with its various systems, for individual financial gain. This is connected with the need to make others -- the masses -- into less-than-human consumers. Little if any of this is “new” to most participants on this forum, I suspect. Yet, I think there is potential value in reviewing it -- perhaps especially at this “holiday season,” when a lack of ability to buy/consume products that we likely don’t really need, creates feelings of loneliness and separation from that group that, at least in theory, is our family and/or social circle.

The late December holiday season tends to bring about stress for the majority of people. Stress, of course, is part of human life experience, and can be positive or negative. The dynamics of modern society tend to create far more negative stress at this time of year; hence, for many adults, there is a sense of “I can’t wait until it’s over.” Other than when my children were little, I know that I have not enjoyed the Christmas season since I was little.

The documentary noted how important “little” things are -- even just how we respond to people as we pass by them on the street or in a store. It notes that it is the sum total of these small events that actually brings about change, far more so than a “big” event, such as a new act being passed by Congress. This is, in fact, the key to changing the world in which we inhabit: our every-day actions with the living environment, of which human beings are but one important part.

At risk of sounding utterly foolish, I would thus propose a living experiment for DU:GD that I hope others will be willing to participate in. In part, it is rooted in the message of that documentary. But a bigger part has to do with the tone of some of the OP/threads that I’ve read here in the hours since watching the flick. While the majority appear to be posted in an effort to stimulate thought and discussion, too many have a harsh, hostile quality that is unlikely to lead to anything positive.

Let’s make an effort during the week to be polite. That doesn’t mean that we should agree with everything that other folks post here. Not at all. But it does mean that we should respond in a thoughtful manner, rather than simply reacting with an insult -- even if a statement appears to beg for a verbal spanking.

More, no matter if one celebrates any religious or spiritual “holiday” this week, we are all aware that others do. And we know that this includes having a fair number of community members here who are dealing with loneliness, loss, poverty, or any number of other unpleasant issues that are worse during the holiday season.

And, even more, we just might find that, by putting our minds together, we can find not only the common ground that makes life more pleasurable, but who knows? We might come up with some good ideas for us to approach as a community in 2015.

H2O Man

22 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
I am/ War is Over (Original Post) H2O Man Dec 2014 OP
Thank You For Sharing cantbeserious Dec 2014 #1
Thank you! H2O Man Dec 2014 #15
Blessings on your holidays and New Year, H2O Man Hekate Dec 2014 #2
Thanks! H2O Man Dec 2014 #16
Awesome post, Pat... Cooley Hurd Dec 2014 #3
Thanks, CH! H2O Man Dec 2014 #17
I join you in recommending 'I Am', Tom Shadyac is a fascinating person and the film is great Bluenorthwest Dec 2014 #4
Right. H2O Man Dec 2014 #18
Thank you for this post BrotherIvan Dec 2014 #5
Very interesting! H2O Man Dec 2014 #19
Yes, I often wish we could rediscover those values BrotherIvan Dec 2014 #20
I love that move! babsbunny Dec 2014 #6
I just watched it. THANK YOU! babydollhead Dec 2014 #7
k&r.... spanone Dec 2014 #8
Thanks. I also liked the movie and recommend it with you. JDPriestly Dec 2014 #9
John Lennon-Happy Xmas (War is Over) Video...and More KoKo Dec 2014 #10
Thank you for this post Bigmack Dec 2014 #11
Thank you so much, my dear H20 Man... CaliforniaPeggy Dec 2014 #12
"Make an effort to be polite." Actually, that requires very little effort. Scuba Dec 2014 #13
K&R We are what we do everyday. Each day bringing a chance to live a life that makes things better. raouldukelives Dec 2014 #14
Wonderful post. I will make an effort to see the documentary. sabrina 1 Dec 2014 #21
I keep listening to this song hfojvt Dec 2014 #22

H2O Man

(73,997 posts)
16. Thanks!
Mon Dec 22, 2014, 09:39 AM
Dec 2014

May you & yours have a great holiday season!

I'll be home with my four children. I could not ask for more.


Cooley Hurd

(26,877 posts)
3. Awesome post, Pat...
Sun Dec 21, 2014, 05:45 PM
Dec 2014

I'm a champion of little acts. It costs nothing to be kind and it goes a long way.

H2O Man

(73,997 posts)
17. Thanks, CH!
Mon Dec 22, 2014, 09:41 AM
Dec 2014

Those little acts, as you note, cost nothing; yet they are a huge investment in "Now" (and the future, which by no coincidence is also "Now&quot .



(45,319 posts)
4. I join you in recommending 'I Am', Tom Shadyac is a fascinating person and the film is great
Sun Dec 21, 2014, 06:02 PM
Dec 2014

His story just knocks me out.

H2O Man

(73,997 posts)
18. Right.
Mon Dec 22, 2014, 09:46 AM
Dec 2014

The reviews of the film suggest that not everyone fully "gets it." I'm thinking of the one I read from the LA Times, that said the various clips are often disconnected. Actually, they are absolutely connected -- although it is impossible to convey every connection in a 90 minute format -- although at a certain level, those connections go beyond what we grasp intellectually, and are found within our hearts.

I hope that you & yours have a good December, and that 2015 is the best year of your life thus far, my Good Friend.


(9,126 posts)
5. Thank you for this post
Sun Dec 21, 2014, 06:52 PM
Dec 2014

I have added the doc to my Netflix to watch.

It made me think of a visit to Fiji and one of the large islands called Taveuni. The people were for the most part what Americans would consider very poor: living in huts with dirt floors, farming, working for little more than food and board at small hotels or businesses. But they were so happy, truly happy. Of course no one there was truly poor because they have the sea and the sky and you can pick your food from the trees if you like; in fact, they seemed far richer than most people living in what we call civilization.

The first rule you have to learn in Fiji is to greet every person you see with a big smile and "Bula!" It makes you look someone in the eye and see their goodness. It was so simple but it truly changes your mood and outlook. It was very difficult to come back to the US and shut down and act like the people walking by didn't exist. It felt so isolating in a way I had not experienced. I missed that Bula feeling for quite a while after.

So I think your advice is very good. I do try smiling and acknowledging people, even though some look at me like I'm nuts, some smile back. It's true that we do need to see each other, great each other as another living being. I am as guilty as the rest as I tend to have a very short temper with those I disagree with. So I thank you for making me think.

H2O Man

(73,997 posts)
19. Very interesting!
Mon Dec 22, 2014, 09:52 AM
Dec 2014

Thank you for this.

In the Traditional Way (at Onondaga), a "leader" is the man or woman who is most capable of putting other people's needs first. The desire to accumulate -- especially at the expense of others -- is considered a disease. Sharing, even with "strangers," is not viewed so much as an obligation, as the way to a better life for both the group and individual.


(9,126 posts)
20. Yes, I often wish we could rediscover those values
Thu Dec 25, 2014, 12:30 AM
Dec 2014

Custer called Sitting Bull a coward because he did not fight in the front. He was in the back, as was his duty, caring for the children and elderly of the tribe. There are many things that our society and capitalism make very difficult. I believe that people are feeling isolated and heartsick and that is why they are seeking the extremes of religion, or politics, or gun worship: it's a whole lot of fear and dread swirling in a bottomless pit.

I wish you and your family all the best and better days for the new year.


(84,711 posts)
10. John Lennon-Happy Xmas (War is Over) Video...and More
Sun Dec 21, 2014, 08:27 PM
Dec 2014

John Lennon - Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

As of 2014:

Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Pakistan, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia & Disturbance in Ukraine...AND GAZA!



(8,020 posts)
11. Thank you for this post
Sun Dec 21, 2014, 10:51 PM
Dec 2014

I didn't know about this film, but my old man has ordered it for me from netflix. I suspect it will be a very meaningful film for me, as I suffered a nasty bicycle accident with brain damage several years ago. One is never the same after a brain injury, but thankfully I've recovered way more that "they" initially thought that I would. And by the by, IF you ride a bike, DO wear a helmet. Clearly mine saved my life and staved off a way worse and way more lasting impact. Anyhow, MANY thanks for your post and Happy Holidays and Best Wished for a fine New Year. Ms Bigmack


(150,306 posts)
12. Thank you so much, my dear H20 Man...
Mon Dec 22, 2014, 12:12 AM
Dec 2014

I agree with your ideas. Being polite is such a good idea. Sometimes being snarky feels really good, but I don't respect myself for having done it.

Peace to you and yours...



(53,475 posts)
13. "Make an effort to be polite." Actually, that requires very little effort.
Mon Dec 22, 2014, 07:53 AM
Dec 2014

Thanks for another thoughtful post H2O Man.


(5,178 posts)
14. K&R We are what we do everyday. Each day bringing a chance to live a life that makes things better.
Mon Dec 22, 2014, 09:07 AM
Dec 2014

Instead of one that assuredly makes things worse. For this, and more importantly, future generations.

sabrina 1

(62,325 posts)
21. Wonderful post. I will make an effort to see the documentary.
Thu Dec 25, 2014, 01:52 AM
Dec 2014

Good suggestion regarding trying to be more polite.

Latest Discussions»General Discussion»I am/ War is Over