Last night I experienced another interesting example of synchronicity. The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra presented Metropolis, a silent film. The orchestra played the sound track (really good) while the movie was shown on a big screen. The movie was an amazing experience—fascinating and thought provoking.
Metropolis was made in Germany in 1927 by Fritz Lang and is supposed to be about the dehumanizing effects of capitalism. We’d bought tickets for the show back in January, little knowing how timely the subject would become.
Before I get to the synchronicity, first let me tell you a little about the movie.
It is very strange in that silent movie way. The Metropolis is this giant art deco city built by a mega industrialist. He and the “Managers” live fantastically comfortable and privileged lives as do their sons. (They don’t seem to have any daughters.)
The workers, on the other hand, live and work in “The Depths” and they are portrayed as broken automatons mindlessly operating bizarre and complicated machines and responding only to the giant steam whistle which marks the beginning and the end of their ten hour shifts.
The big boss’s son starts wondering about why he has it so good when the workers exist only to make money for the Managers, and he sets about to do something about it. The film then embarks on a series of wild art deco science fiction daring rescue mob violence scenes and, to make long story short, all’s well that ends well.
What made the experience particularly interesting is that the Occupy Auckland protest (a New Zealand version of Occupy Wall Street) was going on right outside the Town Hall where the concert was held.
My wife and I had arrived early and decided to have a walk around the tent city.
Compared to other major orchestras, the NZSO has a wonderfully relaxed dress code to encourage a wider audience. Nevertheless, I felt a little conspicuous wandering around talking to the people and taking pictures. Unfortunately I was taking pics with my new mobile phone which I can’t understand (another story altogether) so some of the best pictures came out blurry or non-existent. But you get the idea:
The sign above says: “It is well enough that people do not understand our banking and monetary system, for it they did I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow” –Henry Ford.
The tent city is right next to the Auckland Town Hall where the Orchestra plays.
Everyone we met was friendly and interesting and welcoming, especially the security guy at the entrance with whom we spent a bit of time chatting and he even posed for a special photo for us while doing a little guitar haka:
And I got a bracelet to show my solidarity:
Walking around the tent city and interacting with the people there was valuable and it was a great way to lead into watching Metropolis.
The theme of the movie, and the means to the reconciliation between the workers and management is the recognition that everyone should be working
for the same side and is interdependent. The head (management) needs a mediator with the hands (the workers) and the best mediator between the head and the hands is the heart.
It isn’t such a bad idea in the real world as well. Perhaps a little less of me and a bit more of us is the answer.