TED Conversations

Andrea Morisette Grazzini

CEO, WetheP, Inc.

TEDCRED 30+

This conversation is closed.

Who should be more feared. Lions & Tigers & Bears? Or, the Men Behind the Curtains?

The iconic movie The Wizard of Oz premiered August 15, 1939.

it's contributions to cinematic innovation, social identity and philosophical concepts are numerous, if not, uncountable.

Beyond visuals so vivid they can't be missed, the story communicates subtle, often highly sophisticated, themes of human experience and emotion. And how these, engaged with co-relational discoveries and collective action, can result in shared understandings of unseen realities. Specifically: critical truths belied by otherwise accepted facades and conspiratorial agents that undermine common experiences and understandings.

Two pivotal transformations occur in the story that show how appearances can deceive.
-- First are scenes in which Dorothy encounters the heretofore scary characters of the lion, scarecrow and tin man. All, far more flawed than fearsome, as it turns out.
-- Second is the scene in which the powerful Wizard of Oz is revealed to be not only flawed, (just as the others), but more ominously: to be highly manipulative. Playing them, as he does, by amplifying their fears in his efforts to control society.

Contexts in which the original book, the original movie and it's iteration "The Wiz," say much about why the story resonates with so many.

Each was produced during times of civic disparity. Times when gaps between poor and rich were significantly magnified, due to the amplification of fears, fomented and abetted by hidden agents pulling strings that maximized rich privilege by playing on common-fears. From behind closed doors--figuratively or literally.

Given all this and parallels to the times we're in now, it seems prudent to revisit Qs The Wizard of Oz cues up, like:

1. Who should be feared more: Those who coercively communicate, in plain site? Or those who manipulate, beyond common view?
AND --
2. What's more important: Revealing those who conspire to corrupt? Or, facing challenges with efforts that "un-suppress" individual and collective power?

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Aug 16 2012: Stay in Kansas where there are no lions, tigers, bears, or men behind curtains. If some catclysm beyond your control hurls you into the mean, hard world then trust nobody except your dog. Fearsome things may actually be empty threats. Friendly appearing things may actually be hostile. Try to help others when you can. Always try to get back to Kansas.
    • thumb
      Aug 16 2012: Edward,

      Some might argue that Kansas occasionally harbors powerful hidden people, pulling strings.

      And that empty threats, reacted to with fear can become fearsome; and hostile things, reacted to with friendliness can become friendly.

      In any case, it is good advice to help whenever possible. And, never forget that home is where we are reminded our humanness was conceived.

      Andrea
      • thumb
        Aug 16 2012: In reverse order:
        -Home is where the heart is.- rolls off the tongue much easier than, -Home is where we are reminded our humanness was conceived.-
        As a card-carrying pessimist and a curmudgeon I do not advise the technique of trying to turn hostility into friendliness by being friendly. Henry Ward Beecher said fear is a kind of bell. . . it is the soul's signal for rallying. Life, especially outside of Kansas, is a place of warranted fear. The wicked witch is deceptive and dependably malicious. What matters is effective threat assessment.
        Dorothy's Kansas was, for her, a safe, sound, place. Auntie Em should have had a storm cellar.
        • thumb
          Aug 16 2012: I understood Andrea to say that hostility can sometime be turned to friendliness rather than that hostility can always be turned to friendliness. I agree that threat assessment is a good thing, though there is evidence that humans tend not to be very good at it, over-fearing some things and under-fearing others.
        • thumb
          Aug 16 2012: Edward,

          Fritzie's explanation gets at my intent.

          While I agree with you, being friendly doesn't always achieve transformations in hostile situations. There are times it does. Depends on numerous variables.

          In my view, it's worth a try. If nothing else, as others observe the effort, if positions attempting friendliness as alternative to meeting hostility with hostility or with abandonment of the situation. Neither of which are always practical or prudent. In fact, my preference, is to take a position of "staying in relationship," with due caution if called for. In time, as in Oz, things become clearer on all sides.

          Which, as Fritzie notes, jibes with your view that: effective threat assessment is of significant value, when possible.

          I've seen all these scenarios work, in various situations. Though I've yet to have visited Oz. There are days that I do wonder if some places aren't functionally Oz-ish.

          All this said, I do think it is fair to say there are seasons--sometimes quite long--when certain folks are, like the wicked witch, as you say: "dependably malicious."

          Andrea
      • thumb
        Aug 16 2012: No disagreement here Andrea. If the threat is real but cannot be assessed (like the man behind the curtain) then assume the worst. If a peaceful solution is arranged, Hallelujah! We made a new friend! I am more wary of the unseen potential threat than of the observable. I think the courageous thing to do is to make every effort to "reveal those who conspire to corrupt." Thank you! --Edward

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.