Do not go gentle into the night
If I had a teacher like John Keating during my school days, undoubtedly life would have been very different. However, it is what it is and we cannot change the past much less than we can change the ending of this poetic film, otherwise full of life-affirming and thought provoking ideas.
Conformity without inquiry is the bane of our education and social system. We are taught what to think, not how to think, obeying the maxim ‘Do as I say, not as I do’. Notwithstanding, there is value in pursuing new perspectives and following new thoughts to their culmination and this film showcases it.
Dead Poets Society highlights that there is an extraordinary genius within all of us that can rebel against conformity, change what we hate, and fight for what we love. Sometimes the most powerful thing we can do is to seize our own thoughts and feelings and voice our deliberations.
“But you’re wrong if you think that the joy of life comes principally from human relationships. God’s placed it all around us. It’s in everything. It’s in anything we can experience. People just need to change the way they look at those things”
— Christopher McCandless
“Aristotle be damned!
By Zeus and all the gods, what makes you so much better than them, Cassander? Better than you really are! In you and those like you is this!
What disturbs me most is not your lack of respect for my judgment. It’s your contempt for a world far older than ours!”
— Alexander the Great
“I cannot waste time with these classes and these books, memorizing the weaker assumptions of lesser mortals! I need to look through to the governing dynamics, find a truly original idea. That’s the only way I’ll ever distinguish myself. It’s the only way that I’ll ever… matter”
— John Nash
“You know the worst part?
The world didn’t stop. The newspaper still came every morning, the automatic sprinklers went off at six. Jerry next door still washed his car every Sunday.
My life ended and nobody noticed.”
— Phil Woodward
“You’re an interesting species. An interesting mix. You’re capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you’re not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other.”
— Carl Sagan
“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked…
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?”
— Kahlil Gibran