My wife and I watched a nice Anglo-French movie called “Chocolat” this weekend. The setting was a conservative village in France ruled by a Mayor who used religion to maintain strict norms and alienate outsiders. The village community are forced to question their beliefs when an outsider who doesn’t adhere to their strict norms opens up a Chocolate shop near the square. Over time, the village, and, in particular, the Mayor, learn to appreciate and, eventually, accept her.
There was a lovely line in the movie that summed up the challenge the villagers faced. The village priest summed it up thus –
I think that we can’t go around measuring our goodness by what we don’t do – by what we deny ourselves, what we resist, and who we exclude. I think we’ve got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create, and who we include.
The village, to me, was a nice analogy of the human condition. Every time we find a system that works, we are tempted to hold on to it by resisting any new force that threatens it. It is tempting, as a result, to exclude anyone who thinks differently. But, a life lived well embraces what’s new, strives to create and be inclusive.
This isn’t a “good-to-have.” It is a necessity.
After all, what got us here won’t get us there.