“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti, Asian Indian philosopher
Last weekend, I talked my two grandsons into joining me to watch The Fifth Estate, the new feature film about WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange. The movie is being marketed as an “action thriller” and is reportedly having a hard time competing, revenue-wise, with two current blockbuster movies, Gravity and Captain Phillips. (I don’t doubt that fact because, at the end of the Saturday afternoon screening, we were the only ones left in the theater; folks who had been in the audience at the beginning had bailed out, presumably for more mindless, more entertaining fare elsewhere in the multiplex theater.)
For those readers who are not fully aware of what WikiLeaks really is, here is a good definition from a supporter:
WikiLeaks is an international, online, non-profit organisation which publishes information submitted by courageous whistleblowers, people with conscience. Most whistleblowers prefer to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals. Google what happened to Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden. They are being hounded, hunted, criminalised, ostracized, ex-communicated by the very top people whose secret criminal deals and activities they have exposed.
The final sentence of that quote explains why tremendous courage is necessary to be a whistleblower and why most of us are too frightened to speak out when witnessing injustice. The last phrase summarizes what is a major component of what constitutes “a profoundly sick society”.
I brought my grandsons to see the WikiLeaks film because I thought it was important to expose them to a movie about a historically important movement that was trying to respond to Krishmamurti’s concerns (about the western society he had witnessed in the first half of the 20th century). My busy, “wired-in” grandsons, like most distracted, computer game savvy, over-entertained adolescent students their age, seem to be relatively oblivious to pertinent past history – and even current events. I see the eternal truth of George Santanana’s powerful truism about the mistakes made by sick societies who are historically illiterate: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Whistleblowers, who are all motivated by their consciences, might be our only hope.