No man is an island?
On Thursday evening we had the first film club for adults in Rootz coffee shop. Delightful it was. I had a tea, a caramel slice and a peanut butter and banana smoothie at the end. They were all delectable but I felt uncomfortably full for about 24 hours after the smoothie. (And to my shame I realised on the journey to Ipswich after I hadn’t paid for any of it!) Oops- sorry Team Rootz… I’ll be back to settle my debt… promise.
We watched About A Boy. A good choice some told me, too girly others told me. Mainly I just got feedback about Hugh Grant. A few years ago I used it for a mini presentation in my ‘Human Personhood Through Popular Culture’ module, and it’s always been a film that has spoken to me about community.
It starts with Hugh contending John Donne’s quote, “No man is an island.” He disagrees, and he’s pretty much got an island life set up around him. It’s not until 12 year old Marcus comes crashing into his life until his own framework for life starts to be contended.
Over the 97 minutes of film we see both Marcus (aka now the hottie off of Skins) and Will (aka Hugh Grant) both develop individually and integrate more heathily into the world around them. For both of them it’s a painful journey, but seemingly worth it in the end.
People are messy. I know this because I am one. There is evidence on the floor of my Ipswich-bedroom, piled with clothes. But there is also evidence that not just I can testify to, but so can those who’ve had the grace and courage to step into my mess with me.
This is John Donne’s quote;
“No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.”
It sounds a bit extreme, but I think I’m coming round to agree with him more and more. To be fully alive, fully human, is to get involved with people. To deeply know them, not just settling for superficial relationships.
For me there is something so needed about being properly heard, truly seen. Yet at the same time this takes a huge amount of courage and bravery to let people into those intimate places of yourself; your fears, your dreams, your experiences, your perspectives and ideas.
In my opinion, it’s not until we see these things that we can truly celebrate and appreciate a person. We live in a world where it’s so easy to accept or reject without going that bit deeper, my feeling is that the deeper we go and the more we understand of a person, the harder it becomes to reject them.
My resolve/suggestion. Let’s get brave. Let’s go that bit deeper into knowing those around us. It will inevitably change both them and you… and probably cause a greater butterfly effect. Where our feelings of vulnerability prohibit and limit, let’s ease out of these restraints (with wisdom of course) and take some steps towards being life changers.
And where we have made some assumptions about what lies beneath the surface of people, with humility let’s have a go at learning to live without these. Let’s assume value in every person. Expect to be delighted and privileged to see something that not every person gets to see.
Island living seems safer, not having to rely on anyone. Being your own bezzie. It’s definitely neater and more defined. There’s more self satisfaction and instant gratification. A credible image is easier to maintain. In reality, island living is also sad. You miss out on joys and depth of existence that is immeasurable.
In the end Markus concludes this;
“I used to think two wasn’t enough. And now there’s loads of us. And that was great… mostly.”
“I don’t think couples are the future, you need back up. The way I saw it, both Will and I had backup now. It’s like that thing he told me Jon Bon Jovie said, ‘No man is an Island’.”
Now to quote the amazing Will Ferrel, from Semi Pro…
“E.L.E… Everybody Love Everybody!”