"O Captain! My Captain!"
Students rise up in defiance against their headmaster and a system that tries to curb creativity. Against a society that doesn't want youngsters to have a voice of their own.
Let's start from the beginning.
Dead Poets Society - a movie released in 1989 managed to revolutionize the lives of thousands of people. It left them with more questions than answers. But, what was it about the movie that managed to achieve this feat?
John Keating is an English teacher who encourages his students to live in the moment and pursue their dreams. He is one of the most unconventionally flamboyant teachers. He stands on desks, asks students to rip out pages from their textbooks, and challenges them to 'make their lives extra-ordinary'. He is a revolution contained within a man. His quotes are lessons themselves. Lessons that we need to live by.
"Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for."
Books are the bearers of the past and poetry is the language they speak in. If life is a play, we have the opportunity to contribute a verse to this beautiful work of art. What will your verse be? Will it be about passion? Will it be about your dreams? Will it be about your identity? What will it be about? If all you had was one chance, what would your verse say?
Never thought of this, have you? Nor did Keating's students. But with each passing day, he managed to stimulate their thoughts and teach them how to question everything. He taught them to be more than what they were.
“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”
Where do revolutions start? Is it within one man? Is it within a group? Is it within a nation? Or does it start with a single idea? In the end, isn't that all we need? One single idea? Didn't Martin Luther King have an idea - to live in a world where his children are treated equally? Didn't Mother Teresa have an idea - to rid the world of suffering? Isn't that all that we are? Ideas?
“...but only in their dreams can men be truly free. 'twas always thus and always thus will be.”
Are we truly free? Or are we shackled by our expectations? By our choices? By our situations? We've never truly been free, have we? A bird that flies in the sky, with its wings outstretched, is it truly free? Or is it weighed down by the fear of getting shot down by a hunter? No one is truly free. It's only in our thoughts and dreams, where we can ever be free.
“You must strive to find your own voice, boys, and the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all.”
In a world that dictates your life choices, have you found who you are? Do you know yourself? Or are you a shadow of what others make you out to be? Are you a puppet under the control of someone else who's in charge? Who are you?
These questions don't have definitive answers. They managed to rock the world three decades ago and continue to do so, even today. All our lives, we've been conditioned to go with the flow and do what's best for us. We never stop and question why we're doing something. We live our lives for others and don't even realize it.
So stop. Question yourself. Question everything around you. The answers won't come easily. Nor will they come immediately. But when they do, your life will have more meaning than it once did.
Until then, carpe diem!