Lately I've been in a retrospective period in my life, and I've been looking back at the things that have impacted my life, my ideology, my perspective and my dreams. I've been thinking lately about how films mold our thoughts and dreams, and in that process I was brought back to a movie that altered my entire adolescence in a span of 128 minutes, Dead Poet's Society. This movie did and still does hold a dear place in my heart. It's filled with heart and soul and an incredible cast of characters as well as actors portraying them: Robin Williams, Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard & Josh Charles to name a few.
If you haven't seen the film, then I implore you to watch it before you read this article. Otherwise let's travel on a journey through my favorite quotes from Dead Poets Society.
But only in their dreams can men be truly free. 'Twas always thus, and always thus will be. - John Keating
Only in my dreams can men truly find freedom. That is an interesting concept, because we all strive for freedom of choice and freedom of life in general. All through my younger days, I remember always feeling as though my life was so structured and I didn't have the ability to step into my dreams. It took me a few years to understand the dreams that I had were ultimately my hearts cry for something bigger than myself. I wanted something more than just a hum-drum life. I wanted something more than quiet desperation.
No matter what anyone tells you, words and ideas can change the world. - John Keating
This is one of my favorite quotes in general. Words have an incredible amount of power over the world. I've always been very literate in terms of my words and interpreting other peoples words. Words hold much more meaning to me than actions. I've seen actions be hollow and callous. I've watched as good deeds turned sour by the words that accompanied it. I've felt actions in motion as though it was only routine. As if the actions were done solely because it was expected. Whereas I feel that words have power that deeds do not. Words can build, words can destroy. Words can empower, words can undermine. Words have meaning no matter how they are used or interpreted. Words can be offered, words can also be withheld.
If you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? ... Carpe ... hear it? ... Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary. - John Keating
This quote is part of a much larger dialogue that is so beautifully exquisite that I cant help but love it. This scene is the first real interaction that the students have with Mr. Keating, and the dialogue is filled with hope for a future to me. More often than not, I see people looking back on the past with anxiety or sadness. Anxiety that they will replay their own failures, or sadness that they didn't fulfill their dreams after years of never trying. This quote is a great reminder to never take a moment as anything less than an opportunity to live bigger than your current situation.
There is a time for daring and a time for caution and a wise man knows which is called for. - John Keating
Throughout the entire film, Mr. Keating is trying to teach the boys something much larger than what they've ever heard before. That life is full of ups and downs, and it's what you do with every moment that defines and guides your life. This specific quote is a reminder that living on the edge isn't always the ideal situation. There is a time for caution as well as for daring.
Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation." Don't be resigned to that. Break out! - John Keating
This quote is what directed my outlook on life for a while. I took both Keating & Thoreau as though they were telling me that finding your own voice was paramount to living a pleasing life. For so long I dreamed of living a life outside of what I seemed resigned to live. A lot of people would probably tell me that to break out meant changing your entire being. Going out and doing something reckless, taking chances is how you break out but I disagree; breaking out, to me, is changing your entire mentality. Breaking out is an internal shift of thought. If you assume that nobody will listen to you, then you have resigned yourself to always be meek and mild. If you assume that you have no skills that are marketable, then you will never use your gifts for anything greater. It's within your mind that you resign yourself to a life, and once you discover that your mind is where all things begin and end, then you have broken out and you can fulfill the dreams that may be lying dormant inside.
Dead Poets Society is a film that has such intrinsic value for anyone who has ever felt confined to less than they believe they can achieve. If you haven't ever seen the movie, I truly believe that you have missed something incredible, so you should stop what your doing buy it online, drive to a movie store, do something to watch that movie tonight.