Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

The Great Dictator

--by Charlie Chaplin (Feb 13, 2012)

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. We all want to help one another -- human beings are like that.  We all want to live by each other's happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone and the earth is rich and can provide for everyone.
The way of life can be free and beautiful.  But we have lost the way.
Greed has poisoned men's souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.  We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in: machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little: more than machinery we need humanity; more than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.
The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me I say, "Do not despair".
The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress.  The hate of men will pass and the power they took from the people will return to the people and liberty will never perish.
In the seventeenth chapter of Saint Luke it is written, "The kingdom of God is within man."  Not one man, nor a group of men, but in all men -- in you, the people.
You the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy let's use that power.  Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age and security.  Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men's happiness.  Let us all unite!
Look up.  The clouds are lifting, the sun is breaking through. We are coming out of the darkness into the light.   The soul of man has been given wings, and at last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow - into the light of hope - into the future, that glorious future that belongs to you, to me and to all of us. Look up. Look up!
--Charlie Chaplin, excerpted from The Great Dictator (1940)

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On Feb 11, 2012 Derek wrote:
This excerpt from Charlie Chaplin's movie "The Dictator" is so relevant to our time. The movie parallels an era when the U.S. was in peaceful terms with Nazi Germany. Charlie could read the writing on the wall. 

Speaking of wall... Do you find a similarity here with the movement "Occupy Wall Street"? We are also in a time where humanity is undergoing positive change. Our awareness of what surrounds us and compassion for humanity is coming to the forefront. Just as the development of radio communication and air transportation hit the early 20th century, we now have the Internet that is bringing us all closer together as a community. Look at the Middle East as an example. 

As long as we all we stay connected with each other, keep the lines of communication flowing, we will have a better understanding that we are all one. That we all want the same thing. That we all have the Divine within us. That harming our brother or sister is as harming ourselves. From this, compassion flows and we begin to live our lives with love. 


On Feb 11, 2012 Conrad P. Pritscher wrote:
 I saw this movie in 1940.  Chaplin was great. Coming out of the darkness into light is moving from selfishness to kindness. It  is moving toward seeing, as Gandhi did when  he 'ssaid: "If you don't see God and the next person you meet is a waste of time looking for him further."  Even atheists and agnostics can see the unity of everyone and everything.  When one has a narrow old small God as I one time had, it is more difficult to see the unity of everyone and everything.When you are kind to someone and/or take care of the environment, you are simultaneously taking care of yourself.  One changes the world by changing oneself.  Charity and I journey have helped me change myself.  They have my deep gratitude. Thanks for the opportunity to respond. Warm and kind regards to everyone.

On Feb 11, 2012 PK wrote:
 The key to deal with our own fears, uncontrollable desires or greed is turning them around. A mother might be afraid of dogs all her life but when she sees her daughter going closer to a dog, she will get over her fear instantly. Love triumphs fear. Similarly, desire gets reframed when we give instead of consume. How many of us remember the feeling of getting something we always wanted vs. giving some gift that brought a big smile and a bear hug from others?
Inner GPS are Guilt, Pride and Shame and those are social control mechanisms. Religion, moral traditions help us to stay within societal norms through GPS and they are connected with our greed, violence and hatred.
What I found in my life and that of others is to reframe GPS to mean something meaningful for us -- genorosity or gratitude instead of guilt; passion or purpose instead of pride; and service instead of shame... You see where I am going -- create your own meaning for GPS -- then you have more energy and interest in connecting and uniting with others!

On Feb 11, 2012 Dave Doane wrote:
 As I read the piece, I recalled the saying that happiness is not about having all that I want, it's about having less wants.  I agree that greed is poisoning our soul.  Sharing, consideration, respect, looking out for the other person all seem to be in decline.  To be happy it is important to share, work together with consideration and respect for one another, look out for the other person.  We are in this together.  I do believe the plight of the least of us affects each of us and the whole of us.  I do believe we will grow and be happy as a working together whole or decline and die as greedy individuals.  

On Feb 14, 2012 Chris wrote:
Abraham Lincoln wrote "We are as happy as we make up our mind to be".  We have allowed ourselves to let others/things determine our level of happiness.  We judge our selves and others within the confines of not being enough.  This harsh, critical and low energy concept is fed to us enthusiastically by businesses who are getting filthy rich from our beliefs that we are "less than" the perfection given us by our creator.  It will change only as we take the responsibility to question our thoughts/beliefs in the light of truth. 

On Feb 14, 2012 arundebnath wrote:
I did not watch the movie but find excerpts very moving and uplifting - it takes my mind off to a different level - only up, up and up...what a wonderful feeling. Thanks for sharing the reflection.

On Feb 15, 2012 Chris wrote:
I find as I quiet myself to listen, I discover the rich gifts that others are willing to share with me.  As a result I am grateful.  Slowing my thoughts and allowing myself to be, instead of the running chatter and judgement has become a much more valuable tool.  Material things need to be either useful or to remind me of either relationships or experiences that I love.  This brings me joy that I in turn have to share with others....especially smiles! 

On Feb 16, 2012 Dinesh Mehta wrote:
 "Audio clip from this week's circle of sharing ..."

On Feb 23, 2012 tenzin wangdue wrote:
 I think in this 21century most of the clever person they create many things for our home of earth but they believe those new inventions can bring more easier to do lots of work in a short time!yes it served many pesons for saving time and energy but another way it created more unempoler to the earth served many poor persons no works and no pay just waiting to die!So I think the human inventions more progress more people will waiting for die so it's better to stop progress!

On Mar 3, 2012 Pam Brennan wrote:
How much [or little] has the world changed since CHARLIE CHAPLIN wrote this in 1940?