Knock knock knockin' on Heaven's Gate

What ever happened to the Little Rascals? You remember Spanky and Alfalfa, and Porky, and Butch, and Darla, and Buckwheat, and… you know… the whole “Our Gang” group. Granted they were a product of Hollywood, but they still represented something real to everyone who watched them. Here was a group of neighborhood kids from different backgrounds who shared a common goal - Let's just have fun.

What ever happened to Heaven's Gate? You remember Marshall and Doe, and… you know… that whole “quasi-religious group of computer programmers”. Here was another group of neighborhood kids from different backgrounds who also shared a common goal - Let's commit suicide so we can beam up to that flying saucer hiding behind the Halle-Bopp comet. I don't know about anyone else out there, but I'm having a hard time accepting the fact that things have really gotten that bad since the days of the Little Rascals.

The fact of the matter is, that in the grand scheme of things, we're really no worse off now than we were before. Regardless of how we perceive ourselves and our problems, both as a people and as individuals, the world is much the same as it has been for hundreds of years. There is still disease. There is still hunger and starvation. There is still armed conflict for all the same reasons. And there is still death and destruction for all the wrong reasons. Just what makes anyone think that the world is a better place today than it was 50 years ago?

Now I don't want any of you out there to get depressed, but I would like to see a bunch of you get angry. Nothing motivates people like anger, and the angrier you get the more motivated and determined you'll become. To do what? Well let's think about that for a minute. Collectively, the members of the Heaven's Gate “social club” were professional, highly intelligent people. These were people with friends, families, jobs, responsibilities, money, etc., who chose to leave it all behind and head off to Space Camp without so much as a “good-by”. The sad truth is that in their pitiful quest for a better life, they didn't give up on the world. They gave up on themselves.

Once you resign yourself to “your plight in life”, the battle is lost, because at that point in time you've voluntarily surrendered any right to control your own destiny. Without the will to question, or argue, or defend your beliefs, you lose your freedom. Forego the knowledge and skills you acquire over the span of a lifetime and you lose your creativity. Sacrifice these things, and the individual no longer exists. The “group” however continues to flourish… at least until someone starts passing around the Kool Aid.

Maybe we're hardened by the daily servings of despair in the newspapers and on the TV. Maybe our jobs aren't wonderful, and our paychecks aren't big enough, and in the back of our minds we're subconsciously terrified that a volcano (meteor, virus, tidal wave, …) will take us in our sleep. Whatever the case, we can all take comfort in the fact that as bad as things seem, they're really not all that bad. And if things do take a turn for the worse and they actually do get that bad, go ahead and give up the job, or go ahead and give up the car, or go ahead and give up the marriage before you do something irrational. Just don't ever give up on yourself.

Alan Sadowsky