Every once in a great while, someone comes along and shows us we have not really been recognizing the reality of the world we are living in. People tend to speak of this as “disruptive thought”, subtly implying that this clarity may not be a good thing — at least for some. Certainly Freud, Marx, & Einstein have been leaders in this field, but equally disruptive has been the community at large, as we recognize that our group think might well be a bit wrong headed. Now it is being recognized that the traits that make good filmmakers, traits that haven’t previously been championed in other fields, may just make the world a much better place.
I was so fortunate when I met and fell in love with my wife, Vanessa. Among the many gifts she has given me is a vigilance to make sure that I grow and become more thoughtful in all my actions. Among this focus is a greater attention to my emotions and general empathy. Although I have struggled in some areas, I have always felt comfortable applying those aspects to characters on the page and screen. Perhaps this is because those skills are always rewarded in development, and generally by the critics and audience. People appreciate it when films help us connect with one another both on the screen and later, off.
Often when I am speaking to filmmakers they express dismay that their skills appear to be so non-transferable. “What else can we do than make films?” “Who would ever need the skills that we’ve developed, other than other filmmakers?”. Well, it seems like the world is now waking up to the fact that those same skills are needed everywhere and both politics and business are in desperate need of our gifts.
NYTimes OpEd contributor had a must read piece last week entitled “The New Humanism“. Of course, Vanessa tipped me to it. The article distills a great deal of thinking being done in many fields, but when Brooks laid out the new necessary attributes, he might as well have been speaking about much of the creative community:
Attunement: the ability to enter other minds and learn what they have to offer.
Equipoise: the ability to serenely monitor the movements of one’s own mind and correct for biases and shortcomings.
Metis: the ability to see patterns in the world and derive a gist from complex situations.
Sympathy: the ability to fall into a rhythm with those around you and thrive in groups.
Limerence: This isn’t a talent as much as a motivation. The conscious mind hungers for money and success, but the unconscious mind hungers for those moments of transcendence when the skull line falls away and we are lost in love for another, the challenge of a task or the love of God. Some people seem to experience this drive more powerfully than others.
Isn’t it nice to know that your skills and talents are needed? But, dang, it is a bit of a heavy responsibility to try to make the world a better place. We’ve got a lot of work to do. Maybe if we all woke up an hour earlier…