The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

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By Forrest Hershberger
View from the Handlebars 

Fear Planned


April 20, 2022 | View PDF

The only thing worse than Shangri-la exposed, is to learn it was designed with an enemy.

We stumbled upon a movie, by a social critic of sorts who has gained a name for off-center cinema, about a cluster of people, who appear to be living in a different time.

It was almost like a rewrite of Milton’s “Lost Horizon,” or maybe a variation of the creation story. Things are perfect. The elders are respected. Children can play safely. Young adults court and marry. Everything seems right in the world… except.

As we learn later, the founders of this micro-society had been among the race and recklessness of society when each experienced a dark side of normal life. Pick a vice, a method of loss, and it was experienced, culminating to a decision to withdraw from mainstream interaction.

But how does a secluded society, even a cult, keep its members from venturing out to the bright lights and loud noise? What if “they” don’t have to? The quaint little village is kept within its borders by legend of a monster, a bloodthirsty sort that must be feared.

This story’s monster was best described as a character flaw of the story writers who were also part of the cast. Their fear, and failure to face their fears, resulted in designing a creature that reflected the dark recesses of their minds collectively. It almost had a Franklin D. Roosevelt quote in the sub-script: “The only thing to fear is fear itself.”

I find it interesting how often lessons remain to be learned and relearned through life. Without question, life can be a dangerous adventure.

We can be told about the “What If’s” that plague the world, only to die of a stress-induced heart attack, or worse yet live a dull life because we chose not to face life’s challenges and instead hid in the shadows, creating our own reality instead of accepting that the human existence is not designed for a forever.

I was struck by how this movie, years before current events, almost reflects the feeling of many people. Through the last two years or so, the haves and have-nots have changed focus to who masked and who didn’t, who accepted the vaccine series and who didn’t. We can debate who is right and who is wrong on the topic.

One thing we should agree on is freedom means choosing for ourselves, standing up to the fears and taking a chance. Sometimes having the freedom to choose means we fail, and other times we succeed.

The lesson needs to be if we cower from every person or event that stands in our way, we will become part of the shadows and never see what lies before us.


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