The premise of the Academy Award winning movie Crash is simple yet profoundly difficult to take in: we as human beings crash into each other in all sorts of violent and chaotic ways as unconscious and ill-advised means to connect and to touch.
It doesn’t make logical sense, does it? And yet as I watch this violent and chaotic world unfolding before me, I ponder if indeed it may be true.
In times of tragedy, terrorism, and natural disaster human beings often rise into their most magnificent expression. When looking at demonstrations of the worst of the worst of what humans are capable of there are almost always contrasting acts of heroism, generosity, kindness, and compassion. Superhuman feats of transcendence happen in the middle of terrifying acts of darkness, violence, greed, bigotry, and hatred. It truly is as if unconscionable darkness calls forth the supremacy of light. We see it over and over again.
There are a number of scenarios in Crash where people are thrown together in tragic and terrifying situations that are admittingly difficult to watch. And yet in each of these scenarios people touch and are touched by both violence and tenderness, greed and generosity, bigotry and equanimity, hatred and love. When the characters find themselves in what seem to be insurmountable situations something within them lifts them up and sets them free.
People crash together and are changed by the touch.
With all of the social media and instant internet access we as a culture are less connected than ever before. We mistake virtual access with intimate connection. We have hundreds of “friends” we have in actuality never met. We say things virtually we would never say in actual proximity. Cowardice masked as courage is rampant on all forms of social media.
Perhaps we are more divisive than ever in an unconscious attempt to at least engage. To feel the life force within us meeting the life force in someone else. To feel felt. To be heard and acknowledged, even if it is with reactivity and rebuke.
Perhaps in a world of so much unconsciousness and distraction I would rather crash into you than to never touch you at all.
It is unfortunate to me that many tend to gather with others in a mutuality of against. We dislike and disagree with the same people, so let’s start a club. Let’s paint signs and gather on the street and shout and make news. It won’t feel good or peaceful but at least we will be together and perhaps touch and sense some sort of comradery.
If there is any validity to this thesis, and I personally believe there is, I for one am choosing to consciously touch without the unconscious need to crash. I want to listen to you without requiring that you scream to get my attention. I do not need to wait for tragedy to happen to fully show up and to be my highest self. I do not choose to cluster with others in disagreement and protest. I willingly gather with others who choose to energize what we are indeed for.
I choose connection over protection. I choose intimacy over illusiveness, I choose to open myself to the depth of the human condition. I am willing to risk the hurt in order to feel the love.
The more open I am to chosen connection the less likely I am to require the pain of crashing.
There is a tragic level of disconnect in our culture today. Far more than in 2006 when the movie Crash was released. We feel it. We long to connect and touch. Our shared humanity calls to us to listen. To see. To connect. To touch.
Let’s not wait for the next tragedy to do so.