Tuesday, August 18, 2020 is likely to be one of the most important days of my life…
It’s the day so many projects I’ve been working on come to fruition. I feel it is a day of battle for me, and for all of us.
I understand one of the unique things about me is I think in movie terms. It’s an odd habit, but probably pretty common for writers. As I’ve thought about what’s waiting for me in the near future I was drawn to this scene in The Last Samurai.
If you haven’t seen the movie I’ll give you a brief overview. It’s 1877, and soldier of fortune, Tom Cruise/Nathan Algren, a former Civil War hero and Indian fighter, has been hired by the government of Japan to put down a samurai rebellion. Cruise is captured in battle by the samurai and comes to realize he’s fighting on the wrong side of this war.
The samurai believe Japan is losing its identity by contact with the west, which seeks to exploit it. The samurai choose not to fight with modern weapons like guns, but with the honorable weapons of the samurai. This puts strategist Tom Cruise in the position of trying to figure out how the samurai might defeat their enemies.
Cruise/Algren befriends the samurai general, Katsumoto, played by the wonderful actor, Ken Watanabe, and here they plan the first day of the battle.
I love this movie because as much as it’s a thrilling action picture, it’s also deeply philosophical. It asks, “What is the value of our lives? To what principles do we dedicate ourselves? And how much will we sacrifice?”
The answer from the perspective of the heroic journey, as popularized by Joseph Campbell is clear: