Recently I watched the movie Dead poets society. The movie hit me hard, I had tears in my eyes during the last 20-25 minutes. After the movie got over I was numb for sometime and my mind wouldn’t get away from it.
Its been 3 days since I watched it but the movie is with me. I can close my eyes and play the whole movie for myself. So I guess its not a bad idea to write a post about it.
It teaches some of the most important lessons of life and delivers them in quite a hard hitting way.
Most institutions and influencers around us discourage us from following these lessons and sometimes even force us, “to conform, to follow, to accept established views & methods, and to be safe”. These include – schools, colleges, parents, govt., relatives & more.
The movie is set in Welton Academy, shown as USAs most prestigious preparatory school, after finishing the school 90% of students get into Ivy League. The school is run by a headmaster (and management) who is proud to continue the traditional, conformist ways of learning and wants to maintain absolute discipline. Mr. Keating (played by Robin Williams), an graduate of the same Welton Academy, comes into the school to teach English Literature – which is given pretty much a step-motherly treatment since the school wants to only produce – Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, MBAs.
Keating on other hand has different ideas. He starts his first class with “Carpe Diem” – a latin word that means “Seize the day” and Carpe Diem is the central philosophy of his teachings. He wants the students to be free thinkers, to create their own identities – he wants to them to “Seize the day” – Carpe Diem.
As per him English poetry has all the things we stay alive for – beauty, love, romance. His style of teaching is very fresh and totally out-of-the-box. Some of the boys go look up the yearbook for the year in which Keating had graduated from Welton and among other things they find the mention of Dead Poet Society. They ask Keating about it, at first he doesn’t want to talk about it. But when the boys push him he tells them about it but asks them to keep it a secret. During his school days, members of Dead Poet Society met in the Indian Cave which was away in the jungle by the river after dinners, read poetry and sucked the marrow of life. A group of boys lead by Neil like the idea, re-form the Dead Poet’s Society and start the meetings. These boys also start becoming free thinkers and start to create their own identities. One track of the movie is about the teaching methods of Keating – where he uses poetry to teach them some important lessons of life. Second track shows stories of all current members of Dead Poets Society who are influenced by Keating’s teachings and decide to “be thinkers and find there own destiny”, instead of just doing what their parents and headmasters are telling them to do. As expected the school management does not appreciate his endeavor of making real thinking citizens out of the students and they decide to throw him out. The movie has an amazing ending, but I wont spoil the movie for you by telling the end. But let me tell you – it is the ending that is the most hard hitting. Watch the movie – you will enjoy it.
One of the reasons India has not realized its entrepreneurial potential and not produced the googles is that our kids continue to grow up in a conformist environment, risk averse society, surrounded by schools, colleges, parents and other influencing forces telling the kids to just follow, to conform and not to try new things. All of us admire and respect people like – JRD, Dhirubhai, Sunil Mittal, LN Mittal, Sanjiv Bhikchandani, Subhash Chandra, Narayan Murthy and many more, the entrepreneurs who have made a difference. Ironically, these guys were anything but conformist, all of them traveled the ‘road less traveled’, took the risk , trusted their guts and pursued opportunities which looked stupid to others. When Nandan Nikeleni decided to join Infosys as a young engineer from IIT Mumbai – his friends and family thought he was crazy and today he is one of the most respected guys in India.
The lessons of Dead Poet Society are cardinal to the success of an entreprenuer and I would strongly urge all entrepreneurs (current and would be) to watch the movie and internalize the lessons. Get your parents to watch the movie as well.
Lessons once more:
Musings from the community