Monday, May 11 – We’re Not in the Same Boat (Some of Us Aren’t Even in the Same Sea)

We are all NOT in the same boat. We are all out at sea during a bad storm with 3-meter waves in a huge array of sea-faring or barely faring boats. Some are riding the waves in 4-person rubber zodiacs but with six occupants. Some are sheltering from the storm below decks, in their 10-meter catamarans, while a few ‘lucky’ ones are huddled in their 68-meter nuclear submarines, 200 meters below the surface. A few hardy folks are smashing the waves head-on almost completely unaffected in 250-meter-long Bismarck Battleships, whilst many, paddle around riding the waves on planks and home-made plastic bottle rafts. The diversity from which we may experience this pandemic is as varied as there are cars on the road or types of cereal.

Yes, we are all humans, who are born, breathe air, drink liquids, eat, think, shit, sex, grow old (not always) and die but the degree of variance in experience based upon, social, economic, educational, religious, psychological, spiritual, geographical situations, life events, and understanding creates a totally different experience, basically unique to everyone.

So it is ignorant and disrespectful to say we are all in the same boat. I personally do not know what it is like to be shot and have only shot ‘half load’ blanks, never an actual bullet. I have been shot at by five police officers unloading their entire clips from 10 meters away… behind a plexi-shield for a film, but that is not the same but it gives a definite adrenaline rush (my heart was racing for many minutes after) that is probably pretty close to the real experience, that I must say, I never want to truly have happen. For me, that whole process is a fact that I do not want to ever make a reality. But some people have actually lived through that type of scenario, and it is a true life experience as well as a fact. Now their belief, I propose, is stronger than my belief about that ‘fact.’ I honestly felt like ‘pissing my pants’ during the sequence, but I volunteered to do that shot, overruling my camera operator, because I trusted my operating better for what I was trying to achieve with that shot. I did not want him, the crew and the actors to have to do that take more than once. However, it was still a fake scene with real guns but ‘half loads’ ( half the amount of gun powder without the piece of steel or ‘bullet’) to be fired. However, I have worked on ‘rogue’ low budget indie productions whereby we switched to live rounds to get the dirt to spray up, in front of a speeding car for a shot in which I am lying down, ‘hiding’ under a furniture blanket, with my camera assistant, on top of a cube van, 45 meters away but I was just a stupid kid back then…

So the point is that there are facts, and then there are facts that can be personally backed up by life experience. These life confirmed facts can hold more value and have a deeper belief connected to them than someone just spouting facts. We are bombarded with so many facts, from experts, politicians, doctors, newscasters, front-line workers, researchers, reporters, and the like, but many do not actually experience these facts in person, or if they do, they only see their small but powerful, personal window into the situation. It is truthful and factual to them, and their life experience engraves that experience/fact so that it becomes indelible, but its reality may not transfer to others due to lack of similar experience; thus, it gets dismissed or loses its importance. Or the life experience/fact for one becomes a hollow rallying point for another who stands behind it, touting its validity, but not having the life experience it is really just hearsay, yet it still is true. Truth, the real truth is undeniable but sometimes an accepted fact that cannot be easily proven, such as if you are without oxygen for 13 minutes you will die, or if you jump out of a plane at 1,000 meters above the ground, without a parachute, you will die, after hitting the ground. No, you are not flying above a mountain.

So truths and facts can have levels and can have differences in importance or belief systems due to the variance of our life experience, reference, and understanding, but some facts are true regardless of personal proof or not. If you have ever gone bankrupt or lost your house, you know how that feels, and that fact or reality has a different level of truth to you than someone who is just mouthing the words, and when you have actually experienced it, first hand, it is totally obvious like the difference between a teenager talking about sex versus the talk of a forty-six-year-old man on his third marriage, to a twenty-four-year-old, with two kids from the previous marriages. One of these two has had sex, and the other knows about the fact and concepts but has never experienced it. The truth of sex, the fact of sex is the same, but it resonates and means different levels to each of those two parties. Today we see that difference in appreciation and understanding about all aspects or facts of this pandemic and its effect on our lives. A politician can say things about trying to help the artists, single parent of two, or the corner coffee barista, but their realities and facts are perceived differently from their perspective and current life situation, then that politician, who may never have ever experienced and probably may never, the life of a single mom as an example. This is not meant to be condemning of the politician, they have a thankless, almost impossible job right now, trying to assess the many facets of problems whilst one ear is listening to medical facts and projections whilst the other is being ‘fed’ 24/7 business analysis and future projections. However, the issue here is the use of broad, disrespectful ‘wet blanket’ statements that we are all in the same boat. It is ignorant to summarize all of our positions, understandings, realities, truths without acknowledging how vastly different our worlds are, even for those living on the same block or in the same family even.

We are all in the same storm, on the same sea, but our experiences or how we relegate these events are based on the watercraft we inhabit, it’s strengths, size, and structure. Our value is being reduced to the lowest common denominator, and it represents a sentiment that is disrespectful for the sanctity of human life, but that has been the direction of money-driven government policies for decades, if not a hundred years or more.
We are in a time, at least currently, in North America, that seems to be a pause before we move onward, hopefully upward, and we might have the opportunity to more carefully align our future, our governments, our businesses, our countries to evolve into a better world. Yes, at the core I am still an optimistic dreamer, a romantic yearning for better; I would rather surf the waves than smash through them.

Rhett the JETT Morita