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"Think of these three things: whence you came, where you are going, and to whom you must account"--Benjamin Franklin

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Last Weekend, I Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

I spent the better part of weekend cogitating and talking to myself. I was trying to strategise, and understand my life, where it's going--and some of the dynamics inherent within them that I would need to take a rein of.

Not to divulge too much, I found myself rehearsing rhetorical battles that I might have with the folks on matters of independence. As the only child--by dint of circumstances, mostly being the demise of Samuel D Bensah--and fast becoming a "consolidated" adult son, I sometimes sense the empty nest syndrome afflicting them: the folks appreciate me and want me to be independent, but a bit of them don't want to see me go. I am not talking about leaving my house or anything; it's mroe to do with the introduction of a partner.

Perhaps, like my good friend confessed to me last year, I've been rather immature about it all, by not being upfront with them about who my partner of two years is. I have kind of dilly-dallied, letting them suss it out fromthe phone calls I get from her, and the gifts she buys me. I have yet to be categorical.

As a seasoned diplomat, I like to take these things in my stride--but perhaps when it comes to my partner, I ought not; after all she is the one with whom I am going to spend my life with and if I am serious as I claim to be, she is going to be the mother of my children, and inevitably my parent's daughter-in-law and mother of their grand-children.


That's a lot of cogitation to handle at a time when I want to reach the peak of my career by publishing a crime thriller, get organised over driving...and then some.

Over the weekend, I had happened to watch the brilliant performance by Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest--a 1975 oscar-winning film. I had seen it several years ago, when I had less to worry about in life. Today, watching it again was both as emotional as it was an esoteric experience.

McMurphy, the protagonist, who ends up in an asylum in order to escape prison ends up using -- what one reviewer called on as -- his "indomitable spirit" to find creative ways of his "loony" colleagues to have a good time, and challenge themselves in the positions they are. McMurphy made this point that got me thinking that those in the loony house were no less crazy than the rest of us outside in "normal" jobs, living "normal lives."

The ending, if you've seen it, is so horrific it's hard to believe this is what was done on people in asylums. It gave one food for thought on how the world sometimes never seems to leave you space to be yourself.

McMurphy's spirit was just so free, so care-free; so laissez-faire, and borne out of a good-natured desire to give those perceived to be crazy a good time. Though he got it out of hand, they loved him for it--and so for this supposed criminal to experience what happened to him in the end was more than symbolic.

It was, to me, not just an indictment of the mental health institutions at that time, but a searing indictment of man's inhumanity to man: the capacity and the power of the few to make whimsical decisions that affect the course of lives of so many.

Thinking about how one character played by Brad Dourif killed himself after being told by the icy matron that his mother would be told that he was caught having had sex with a prostitute, she said coolly that one had to carry on.

That's when the protagonist snapped, and attempted to strangle her--for all the horrific treatment both he and his co-mates had endured--and this quasi-nihilistic approach to a human being.

The film leaves you ambivalent: joyous that one was able to get away, thanks to the inspiration of McMurphy, but saddened by what happened to McMurphy himself.

Sometimes we forget. But, we mustn't allow our spirits to--neither must we allow it to be dampened by the negativity of others.

Though easier said than done, like life being the proverbial battle it is, there is always necessarily the deeper drama that we must connect to to ensure that we live the life that is most fulfilling for us--and not for anyone else.

We've only got one life to live--and if it means being indomitable, then so be it! All the while bearing in mind that sometimes madness, which takes many different forms, is not a weakness -- but a strength.

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At Thursday, February 21, 2008 5:28:00 pm , Blogger wanderstruck said...

Hey, I tagged you! Head on over to my blog to see what you have to do :)


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