Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"... it's only on the brink that people find the will to change. Only at the precipice do we evolve..."

from the entertaining sci-fi fantasy movie, 'The Day the Earth Stood Still', starring Keenu Reeves as Klaatu, a very important visitor from Outer Space (together with his giant robot counterpart), Jennifer Connelly as a scientist, & British comedian John Cleese as Professor Barnhardt.

Here's the whole fascinating piece of conversation from the movie:

Professor Barnhardt: "There must be alternatives. You must have some technology that could solve our problem."

Klaatu: "Your problem is not technology. The problem is you. You lack the will to change."

Professor Barnhardt: "Then help us change."

Klaatu: "I cannot change your nature. You treat the world as you treat each other."

Professor Barnhardt: "But every civilization reaches a crisis point eventually."

Klaatu: "Most of them don't make it."

Professor Barnhardt: "Yours did. How?"

Klaatu: "Our sun was dying. We had to evolve in order to survive."

Professor Barnhardt: "So it was only when your world was threated with destruction that you became what you are now."

Klaatu: "Yes."

Professor Barnhardt: "Well that's where we are. You say we're on the brink of destruction and you're right. But it's only on the brink that people find the will to change. Only at the precipice do we evolve. This is our moment. Don't take it from us, we are close to an answer."

My first reaction to the final summary comments by Professor Barnhardt in the movie was my instant recall of the Intel guy Andrew Grove, who wrote the classic, 'Only the Paranoid Survive', from which the world came to learn about "strategic inflection points".

In simplistic terms, they are the nightmare moments when cataclysmic change occurs, & in order for us to survive, we need to adapt quickly or else, we fall by the wayside.

As I recall from one expert who once said, "radical change in people only comes when instinctual survival instincts trump comfort zone instincts".

On the whole, I have enjoyed watching the movie on StarHub cable television recently.

It was certainly a refreshing change for me to see British comedian John Cleese playing a serious & sober role. I last saw him as the gadget sidekick 'R', replacing the previous & older 'Q', to Pierce Brosnan's character, James Bond 007, in 'The World is Not Enough' & 'Die Another Day'.

By the way, John Cleese holds a law degree from Cambridge University.

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