This scene is half about biology, and half a metaphor of life, systems and nations. Each of us has a role in society, as we are “living organisms”; it is a responsibility from which we cannot escape.
Scott Voss, a professor obscured by school policies, finds the light thanks to a noble mission: to prevent the suppression of the music course and save his work colleague Marty’s job. To do so, he has to become a wrestler and get beaten in exchange for large sums of money.
It is a really extreme solution, but it makes you think about what the responsibilities of the individual are in the “system”, whether it be academic, social or business. Are we all doing our part?
The theme today is that of responsibility.
That thing that looks like “bubonic plague”, a red-hot ball to be thrown as fast as possible into the hands of someone else. Collective responsibility has long since been replaced by “personal benefit”, from small to big things.
In politics, as in the family. In companies, as in communities.
Voss is called by the Dean because he suggested to a student to invest in her own education rather than waiting tables at the family restaurant; as is the function of a teacher. But this happens because it is the girl’s father not wanting to see his responsibilities:
“But it’s not your daughter’s problem, it’s yours.”
Voss is reprimanded because he is a bad example for the school, since he practises martial arts, but the Dean ignores the root cause, the origin of the problem which is a superficial and nefarious management of school funds, which has led some teachers to come up with anything to save “the music.”
Voss, however, shows us what it means to “take care of the problems” in a living system with words and deeds. In part, it is biology and in part, it is life:
“Anyone know what happens to a stagnant cell? (…) People, a cell that is not in motion is not a productive member of the system. It ends up assuming all the other cells are gonna pick up the slack somewhere. But they don’t. In fact, they imitate the stray cell until basically the organism begins to die. Yeah. But you know what? Biology is an amazing thing. And here’s the good news, all that decays can be restored. (…) And once that cell’s back on track, it creates energy amongst the other cells. That’s what happens. It starts getting a little movement going. It gets a little rumble. Can I get a little rumble from everybody? (…) But then the cell starts banging into other cells. And the cells push back and go: “Hey, what are you doing to me?” They hit into another one. “Hey, don’t do that!” “Hey, that’s my friend”. “You don’t even know him!” “You don’t know me either!” And they’re rumbling everything around. And once that happens, it’s like the mosh pit! They’re goin’ crazy. “I know you, we work together!” Because then, they hit a rhythm. They all hit a rhythm. And this is the beginning of the restorative process. So now, even if the entire system is close dead, what happens?”
The stagnant cells are all those who do not take on “responsibility”,
who prefer to receive more than to give
who prefer to be cared for, rather than “serve”
who prefer superficiality rather than value
who prefer personal benefit to collective benefit
who prefer whining instead of investing discipline.
It seems that a few bad apples in the basket has influenced many other apples. Rotting talents, motivation and hopes. And the system heads towards death. But I want to echo the words of Voss:
“What do you say? If all the cells work together, what will happen? The entire system is healed.”
The system, companies, Nation, they all heal when members individually begin to take on their responsibilities. Without counting on others: the Government, luck, but only on its ability to create value. The decline began a few decades ago, but it can be reversed, and many possibilities go through school and training. As Nelson Mandela said:
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
“… and in case I don’t see ya…
good afternoon, good evening and good night!”…
(The Truman Show)