I saw my first Charlie Chaplin movie this year at the age of 54. I was performing in the orchestra for a cinema in concert performance of Modern Times and I’m so glad that it came up on our season schedule because I learned that I LOVE Charlie Chaplin. He is a true genius. Of course I’ve always heard that Chaplin was a genius, but I was never inspired to watch black and white, silent movies until I was forced to as part of my job.
What a gift!
The movie that we performed was Modern Times and even before we started the work the title got me to thinking about that theme. The dehumanization of us through the early 20th-century mechanization of everything, or rather now in the 21st century, the dehumanization of us in the commercialization of everything.
The commercialization of addictive behavior is something that I blog about often. I have written post after post on the toxic mainstream media marketing of wine o’clock and mommy’s wine time. One of the most toxic cultural trends of my adult life has been the sale of this lifestyle as consequence-free. It’s packaged beautifully and artfully sold, everywhere from the grocery store to your television screen to your social media feed to the cinema, the idea that the problem is not the drink but the drinker becomes deeply ingrained in our sub-conscious.
If you cannot drink jumbo glasses of wine from 10 am without becoming addicted, depressed, overweight, pre-maturely aged, there must be something wrong with YOU because They can do it .
Our media and our culture bully us relentlessly to drink in a way that is addictive and hide the resulting addiction. We are relentlessly shamed with false familiarity, glamour, humor-
I would much rather watch Charlie !
And I can chose to do just that anytime I want to thanks to You Tube on my computer or Smart T.V. or even my phone. One of the wonderful things about our modern times is the incredible choice that we have at our fingertips. We can chose to be surrounded by the banal or the sublime or a bit of both. Of course, everything that is good and productive and creative about this high-speed cyber era we’re living in is balanced by equally bad, destructive, dehumanizing and exploitative stuff. We need to think it through carefully or we can be artfully sold all kinds of garbage.
It’s so important to slow down and re-humanize.
It’s so important to stop and think and feel and whenever possible to step away from those who are desperately trying to sell you an image, a product, a lifestyle. I bet that there are shocking statistics somewhere on how many times a day we’re thrown an advertisement online and in life. It’s mind-numbing and soul-numbing and it’s meant to be.
We have been designating a sober hero every day for our blog and our community and today that hero is Charlie. The poet, actor, musician, composer, director, who I am so thrilled to have had a chance to meet by performing his brilliant music in front of his equally brilliant movie.
Charlie wrote the following text on authenticity. I don’t know what his habits were concerning alcohol, apparently his life was full of scandal, but this text is the experience that many of us have had in sobriety. I have heard that he wrote it at 70 which makes it all the more appropriate for our sober hero quote today, because at many different ages, from 25 to 80, the members of our BOOM Community have found that it is quite literally never to late to turn it around.
Thank You, Charlie Chaplin, for your artistic legacy.
“As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.
As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody if I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it “RESPECT”.
As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it “MATURITY”.
As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm. Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”.
As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.
As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.
As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”.
As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worrying about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”.
As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.
We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know “THAT IS LIFE”!”
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