Building Nova Earth: Toward A World That Works for Everyone

Small Moves, Ellie

I’m back from my holidays, taking one more day tomorrow just to relax, and I happened to catch Jody Foster (Ellie Arroway) in Contact on TV.

I was struck by the words of former National Security Advisor Michael Kitz (played by James Woods) as he interrogated Ellie in the Congressional investigation.

Kitz had quit his post to get to the bottom of Ellie’s story that she had gone through a wormhole to another world and that she had talked to an extraterrestrial. His purpose was to create a groundswell for himself to ride into a Congressional election.

Kitz used innuendo, scorn, negative portrayals, diminishing adjectives, all to have Ellie drop her version of events, which included a visit with an extraterrestrial.

Ellie admitted the possibility that she may have imagined what she saw, but she said that she could not retract her story because everything human about her said that it was real, despite the lack of evidence in support of it.

She did not allow herself to get hooked. She did not respond in kind to her inquisitor. She did not abandon her experience.

But how hard is that? How difficult is it to face that much scorn and not lose one’s balance?

What is it about scorn that wounds so deeply? Why is it so hard to keep one’s self-possession in the face of another’s indictment?

Why do we feel so insulted when we are not believed? Outraged when someone attacks us? And how, in the face of attack, are we able to hold onto our own version and experience rather than abandon it.

Most everyone here has had to endure ridicule at one time or another for what they believe to be true. It’s the price of maintaining beliefs such as we hold here. It’s the price of holding to the truth in the face of those who would force us to deny it, often for their own ends.

But what is the secret to maintaining a belief in yourself, without attacking another, when accosted to the degree, say, that Ellie was, before a nation?

What is the source of strength when faced with a situation like that?

I don’t know the answer. I can only ask the question. Perhaps it’s an open question, one that never completely admits of a final answer. Maybe finding answers to it is an unfolding process. And perhaps that unfolding process is really why we’re here, all else being secondary.

How not to abandon the truth when all else screams at you to embrace a lie?

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3 Comments
  1. Imagine this going even further… how hard is it to hold onto truth when your well-being, your very life is threatened – and your children as well – by brutal interrogation methods that try to tell you everything you’ve seen and experienced, you “did not” see, and you “did not” experience?

  2. I haven’t had to hold my truth in front of a nation in opposition to it, but I have had to hold my truth in facing so-called “superiors”. In holding what I knew to be truth, and not allowing invasion of ego centered b.s., I won my stance, my stand, and the entire situation shifted for the truth of my truth, if that makes sense. You just stand. You take the stand you know and hold it, not wavering, not blustering, just holding. In the movie, she seemed to lose. In my recent situation, not only did I “win”, but so did the “superior”. She chose, through experiencing my truth in the situation, to become a “superior” with more integrity, and did so beautifully in the “next round”. When we stand in our reality, what we absolutely know experientially is truth, it has an outward effect and an inward one, where we ourselves become stronger and vital IN truth and integrity. So much for the sermon! : )

  3. When I wrote my first comment, I hadn’t read Niara’s. That’s indeed a biggie. I haven’t faced it. But there might be help in what Jesus did before Pontius Pilate and the whole brew of those calling for crucifixion. He said nothing. Here’s possibly the hardest part: When in that torture of tortures, he said, “Father (or Abba, which is either and both sexes), forgive them for they don’t know what they’re doing”. Or so it’s recorded, and it fits the character/nature of a Christed Being. When I’ve been faced with something difficult to forgive, I used similar words: “I can’t forgive this person. What she did was devastating and horrendously damaging to me. You (God) forgive her for me, and through me, because I cannot.” A miracle happened after I prayed that prayer. God DID forgive through me, and opened the way for it to happen directly to the person, who knew what she’d done. She was frightened when I arrived at her door with her supper (she’d pretended to be sick in order to avoid seeing me at an event we were mutually to attend). I said, “Diane, here’s your supper, and I love you”. That came through me — as if it were God him/herself. I hadn’t planned it and had no idea I would say anything. I left after she received the plate and closed the door — feeling like a cancer had dissolved in me, a nightmarish weight lifted.