Defiance of conformity is the touch stone of an advanced comprehensive education which unveils its crude awakening in the movie, "The Dead Poets Society". Robin Williams portrays a poetry professor in a masterful roll set at a preparatory school for young boys. The Dead Poets Society was released into the movie houses many years ago and appears now periodically rerun on television as it was this morning.
Heaven help us as a progressive society if a growing number of our citizens remain conformists rather than becoming free thinkers. The ability to think rationally, to understand complex problems, and to be able to arrive at reasonable answers are the foot soldiers of a good education. Rote learning once dominated the halls education but stunted many young persons who could memorize, even though, they were lost when it became necessary to think.
Many live their lives in quiet desperation caught up in reposting what someone else said as in political rhetoric or slogans. This is how untruths get legs and are pasted on so fast. Passed on by unthinking people, those who never challenged conformity, those who blindly accept another persons ideas as gospel.
Some movies, whether first run or rerun on television, are filled with meaningful thoughts if only we take time to absorb them. Of course, the lead actors have a great deal to do with desired watching of any picture. Robin Williams plays his roll with pleasures that only he has masters and good young actors feed off his work.
Ronald C. Downie