Last night, as I drifted in and out of sleep on the sofa, cursing insomnia and a sore back, I happened to catch the movie Hero with Jet Li.
The synopsis of the movie, per IMDB: "A defense officer, Nameless, was summoned by the King of Qin regarding his success of terminating three warriors."
It's a little more complex than that. Based loosely on an assassination attempt by Jing Ke, the story is an elaborate weaving of how a Qin warrior, known only as Nameless, successfully killed three known assassins and, as a result, was allowed to proceed within ten paces of the emperor. Nameless has perfected a technique where he can attack with lethal speed from ten paces in the blink of an eye.
The movie, by legendary director Zhang Yimou, weaves this basic tell from three perspectives. And that's what had me thinking most of the night.
First is the perspective of the story as told by Nameless.
Second is the story as interpreted by the Emperor.
Third is the story as it really was.
There are strong parallels to life in this movie.
How often does the interpretation of reality so radically differ from the truth? We form our memories of events to fit with who we are. Maybe we don't want to do that; probably most of us don't know what's what is happening. But the source of much of the world's woes is that two people can see the same exact event and remember it two different ways. You only have to look at politics to see this in action; or a sport team. We form reality to fit our opinion, rather than the other way around.
There is no way around this, if history is a predictor of future behavior. Yet maybe things are changing, slowly. So I challenge everyone to go out today and try to be the person others aspire to be. Mold your life around the concept of kindness. We can be the change in the world; but we have to understand that change might not be something we agree with. So accept that, and move on.