Joe vs the Volcano

Almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. There are only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement.

This has to be one of my most famous scenes in a movie. This of course is Meg Ryan in a movie called “Joe vs the Volcano“. It stars Tom Hanks playing a character named Joe Banks. As one of the beginning scenes Joe is one of dozens of people who have no meaning in their lives other than going to their job every morning. They have a dazed state and extremely dreary surroundings. They appear to be in a limbo between being awake and sleep. They appear barely aware of their situation and they seemed to have stopped caring long ago. What these people don’t even seem to realize, is that they have traded their souls for a life void of anything exciting or full-filling.

Oh man does that hit home. Have you ever found yourself in a rut. Going to work to make some company rich. Heading out to the grind of rush hour, day after day, after day. No wonder everyone lives for the weekend. I remember walking downtown last week going to a Minnesota Wild game with my wife and walking past a building, that I actually consulted in many years ago, and pointing down into the windows and telling my wife, “That’s cube hell.” Too many it was.

Later in the movie Joe meets DeeDee, played by Meg, and when they were out on the ocean Patricia was amazed at the serenity and beauty of the ocean in a sailboat. She then says the quote above. So in a bit of my recent reading I’ve been seeing a lot of things about being awake. I figure it means that it means that peoples thoughts are present. That is that they are living now. they are not contemplating the past or worrying about the future. They are aware of their surroundings, feel the textures, smells, vision of what’s around them, and have let go of their egos. It’s really a state of existence that is very relaxing and one I think everyone has forgotten. As DeeDee says, the ones that aren’t awake, are missing out on constant total amazement. Someone said it was a saying of the Budda, but he ends up getting credit for everything. I’d much rather it be DeeDee’s father.

I do recommend the movie, but watch it as symbolism of the times. There are ton’s of psychological undertones in it, and after you watch it, you end up contemplating areas of your own life.


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