It’s True Even If It Didn’t Happen*


 OK. It is probably either because I’m an insecure misfit or else am in search of an excuse for misanthropic behavior, but I’m again going to quote my bud Carl Jung: “The more a man’s life is shaped by the collective norm, the greater is his individual immorality”.

  Why now?  Well, because, as you may have heard, it is the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.  On NPR I just heard the bit from the movie where Jack Nicholson playing McMurphy asks Nurse Ratched to modify the work schedule so the guys can watch the World Series.  “A little change never hurt, huh? A little variety?”

  She wouldn’t have it.  “What you’re asking is that we change a very carefully worked out schedule.”  Conform.  Hew to the baseline.  Don’t raise your hand, ask questions, or use your outside voice inside.  That was in 1962 and the tumult in western society was just getting started. 

  Thinking back upon all that, I find it incredible that in one sense popular culture is more misdirected than ever.  Globally now even.  As Irish poet John O’Donohue told Krista Tippett**, “One of the huge confusions of our time is to mistake glamour for beauty.”  It’s like the metaphor from The Cuckoo’s Nest that pervades is the lobotomy…

*A great line from the book.  And I guess it would apply to all great fiction…

**On Being 1/26/12

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