Hits to the Heart and Mind from the Land of Dreams
Great Expectations '98 version
Finn: I'm not going to tell the story the way it happened. I'm going to tell it the way I remember it.
This '98 version of the novel by Charles Dicken is one of dozens of productions that have been made of this tale. When it comes to storytelling, it is astounding how much of a heavyweight Dickens really is.
The story is, well, about expectation, and the way it affects the course of events and the way the course of events affect it. In the original and this movie, chief among the chronicles of desire is naturally that of the main character, (Pip) Finn. He sees potential love and fulfillment via a benefactor, suprisingly turning out to be someone different than he thought and later, finding out he had still not recognized his true benefactor till then. All the while, events and emotion force him to assert and build his own way, though he stumbles, tries to quit, can't hide from what drives him.
Finn: Seven years passed, I stopped going to Paradiso Perduto, I stopped painting. I put aside the fantasy and the wealthy, and the heavenly girl who did not want me. None of it would happen to me again. I'd seen through it. I elected to grow up.
The famously tragic, though rendered with depth, character of Ms Havisham—in this telling, Ms Dinsmoor—carries a poignant but rather blunt message. If the human spirit cannot find some way to recover, to heal from heartbreak and crushed expectation—that sadness and anger can continue to grow and destroy, into the future and other lives.
Ms Dinsmoor: She'll only break your heart, it's a fact. And even though I warn you, even though I guarantee you that the girl will only hurt you terribly, you'll still pursue her. Ain't love grand?
Ironically, it is negative expectations being fulfilled.
Estella: We are who we are. People don't change.
In general, we are creatures of habit. And yet, profound tranformations of personality and belief do occur. Dickens himself wrote what might be the premier story of personal metamorphosis of our times with his novella, A Christmas Carol. Ebenezer Scrooge faces the spirits of his own condition and that of the world and turns into, one might put it, what he could have and should have been.
Estella: Let's say there was a little girl, and from the time she could understand, she was taught to fear... let's say she was taught to fear daylight. She was taught that it was her enemy, that it would hurt her. And then one sunny day, you ask her to go outside and play and she won't. You can't be angry at her, can you?
Truly recognizing and facing the ingrained notions that seem to dictate what we do and how we do it can be, of course, a challenge and a journey. Part of that journey is getting at or getting closer to that essence of who or what we really are. The outer ego is an aspect of it but as some spiritualists accentuate, the outer ego does not contain it. The ego is not "in charge."
So that would mean that when we hear about changing our beliefs or changing what we are, essentially part of that process is reaching the real point of origin in ourselves. It obviously is not just the outer self saying, "I believe this now. I will manifest that now. I have become a certain something." Even though, the ego is the main part of ourselves, in some sense, that we have to work with. It must surely be a legitimate part and demonizing it may not really be the answer to anything.
Finn: What's it like not to feel anything?
There are many interesting pieces of advice and concepts regarding expectation.
"Expectancy will determine the outcome." "Replace expectancy with ambition." "Expect everything." "Expect nothing."
Joe: Nothing harder than being given your chance. At least, that's what I hear.
In the continuous flow of spirituality and philosophy, the idea of practicing the contradiction of being extremely intent and completely accepting at the same time—perhaps appeals to both common and extraordinary sense. Key into what you desire and what you perceive as the best goals and conditions—be focused, even single-minded—then let go.
Finn: The night all of my dreams came true, and like all happy endings, it was a tragedy, of my own device, for I succeeded. I had cut myself loose from Joe, from the past, from the Gulf, from poverty I had invented myself. I'd done it cruelly, but I had done it. I was free!
But recognizing what really are the best goals, the universe-given desires—and integral in them, the "right why"—is key.
Finn: I did it! I did it! I am a wild success! I sold 'em all, all my paintings. You don't have to be embarrassed by me anymore, I'm rich! Isn't that what you wanted, aren't we happy now? Don't you understand, that everything I do, I do it for you. Anything that might be special in me, is you.
It's interesting to note that Dickens rewrote the ending to Great Expectations, making a clear allusion that Pip and Estella stay together. He was perhaps answering his readers'—expectations.
Finn: I knew that little girl and I saw the light in her eyes, and no matter what you say or do, that's still what I see.
There are metaphysical posits that say desire, wish, expectation—are the cornerstone of all realities. Here's to expecting a better tomorrow for everyone.
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Written Content G.A.M.