The speech itself is from a comedy directed by and starring Charlie Chaplin. First released in October 1940, Chaplin plays two characters who look strikingly similar- a jewish barber and a dictator who looks like Adolf Hitler. Near the end of the film, after a series of bizarre incidents, the dictator gets replaced by his look-alike, the barber, and is taken to the capital where he is asked to give a speech.
It’s worth watching because the speech is as relevant today as it was 71 years ago. The full transcript of the speech can be found below the video.
I’m sorry but I don’t want to be an Emperor – that’s not my business – I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible, Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one…
“Well, there is narcissism in all of us, of course. I mean we are the protagonists of our own lives, so naturally it feels like we’re at the wheel. But we’re not at the wheel. That just happens to be where the window is located” — Jean Marie Korelitz
I’ve been up at the mountain house since Sunday. It’s good to be back, though the first few days without any connectivity to the outside world was a little daunting. No phone service, no Internet. I thought that would be fine – and it was, except when the night encroached and I was reminded that I am a very little, inconsequential person in the great big scheme of things – and the mountains are a fairly imposing backdrop from which to consider this. What serendipity has brought me to this place in time. And yeah, there were occasionally shout-outs imploring the universe to keep me safe. So far, so good.
On some level it appalls me that silence can be unrequited, when it is so necessary and valuable. I’ve been struggling a lot of late with the outline of this next story line in my life (made even more difficult by the fact that I have yet to figure out what I want to be when I grow up). Itchy, out-of-sync, closing off more parts of me to see if I could get to the essence of what I want. The reality is I need this silence right now (though it is good to be able to converse with you again). With all the noise going on in my head, something had to force me to be still.
I have not arrived at any great conclusions, though I feel like I’m on the cusp of…something. And I’m feeling a bit less anxious about not being able to touch it. When you can’t avoid yourself, you have to figure out a way through the mild panic and self-deriding thoughts that circle around as a cyclone. Stepping outside myself to look inside and provide the reassurance that it’s ok. Let life carry me – for that is what it’s going to do anyway. What hubris to think that because I want answers now that I’m supposed to have them. They’re en route – like the spring.
I marvel that the buds on the trees, the flowers, etc are so insistent on blooming regardless of the temperature. They’re straining to burst forth, determined to honor their rightful time in the sun. A part of me wants them to be a bit more self-protective and wait until the temperature proves more accommodating. Another part of me is cheering them on, encouraging them to claim their rightful place. They’re going to bloom, in their time and on their schedule. I am learning a lot from them. The hide-and-seek exercise that transitions us from one season to the next, and the incoming season is always ‘it’. And always wins. So with this thought, I toy with a new season in my soul.
It’s all good. Learning to give myself a break, give myself permission to stare at the clouds, read a book in one sitting, make some tea and just savor. Savor my husband, my children (when they allow me), the cocoon I am ensconced in on top of this very large and imposing mountain. Make music in the silence and write a verse that has yet to be sung.