Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Why Watch Disaster Movies

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men - as a whole - experience it." - Helen Keller

Recently, I've been filling my entertainment time with disaster movies. The Impossible. 2012Titanic. Contagion. War of the Worlds. Twister. And, of course, World Trade Center.

Helen Keller was right. The world is not a secure place. It never has been. I have always been drawn to those stories that acknowledge that fact and put ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances; stories that show how people respond in the face of frightening, impending danger and to tragic, multitudes of loss.

In times of disaster, a person must suddenly draw upon his innate pioneering spirit and break ground in unknown territory without the choice and preparation of our pioneer forebears. She must step up to the plate, with no practice swing, and pray for a hit or suffer a miss. Nothing prepares you for a tidal wave, a mugging, a twenty-car pile-up, an earthquake, a terrorist attack, or a broken limb as you miss your footing down a flight of stairs. Somehow, we get through it, and are indelibly changed when we get to the other side.

As Mark Twain once said, spirit has fifty times the strength and staying-power of brawn and muscle. Whether that spirit arises in response to disaster, or by choice as we pioneer into space and other new ventures, I draw comfort knowing that in an insecure world, we can count on the human spirit in times of emergency.

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