The other day I was thinking about one of my favorite movies, The Third Man, and in the movie Orson Wells (Harry Lime in the movie) takes his friend Holly (Joseph Cotton in the film) to the top of a Ferris wheel which stops briefly at the top so that Wells (a black market dealer in vaccines which he waters down for greater profit but disastrous results for the patients) can tell his friend how he can live with himself selling his lethal “medicine” on the black market. In a brilliant dialogue Wells explains that when you are on the ground you see all the people walking and can see them as people but as you climb higher and higher on the Ferris wheel they all begin to look like ants or like little dots. What does it really matter if one of those dots were to stop moving?
I was thinking of that dialogue the other day in regards to cyber bullying and how while social media claims to bring us closer together is it really just giving us a platform to distance ourselves from our cruel intentions. Does it allow us to live without being effected by our actions by allowing us to hit a send button without ever seeing or knowing the effect? Or are we now practicing a sort of social media carpet bombing by saying what we want and letting the dust settle where it may? And is that free wheeling lack of consideration for our actions such a bad thing….
The following is a bit of the dialogue from Sir Carol Reeds, “The Third Man”
Do you know, I don’t ever feel comfortable on these sort of things…Victims? Don’t be melodramatic. Look down there… Would you feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you £20,000 for every dot that stopped – would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money? Or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare?…Free of Income Tax, old man…..free of Income Tax. It’s the only way to save money nowadays.
You know what the fellow said – in Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. So long Holly.