Some words can spark an idea for a story or a deep, self-reflection. That’s just part of being a writer, really. However, some words can also make us think back on favorite characters, books, shows, or sayings we haven’t thought about in a while. Today is such a day, for me.
Today I remember Mad-Eye Moody and his catchphrase: Constant Vigilance.
This is a phrase many of us know, I reckon. For anyone who knows Harry Potter well, they will be familiar with the iconic Mad-Eye Moody and his part in the fourth book of the series (Goblet of Fire). His part in the series, while not all that important, does make one stop and pause whenever we stop and think about the saying he uses and how important those two words truly are.
Granted, Mad-Eye isn’t who we really think he is – though you’ll have to read the book yourself if you want to know what I mean if you don’t know who Mad-Eye Moody is in ‘The Goblet of Fire.’ I’m not here to talk about the book or its characters or what I think about ‘Harry Potter,’ I’m here to discuss a phrase that pops up from the fourth book and on.
Constant Vigilance – this is the one phrase I think could have had such a larger impact on the story, but that’s not here or now. When I think of that term, it really makes me aware of how so much happens around us without us being aware of it. Humanity is constantly blindsided by willful ignorance, always looking in the other direction even as we question why so much happens.
How often do we stop and stare in the mirror?
Someone falls and hits the ground. How many stop and help? A child cries at school, his or her mother running late. How many stop and comfort the child, staying until the parent(s) arrive? A teenager screams and shouts, acting out in violence and anger. How many people stop and unravel what storm churns under the skin? A young boy goes to school and kills twenty classmates. Who looks beyond the horror and delves into the madness eating him from within?
These are only a few things out of thousands, horror after horror, sorrow after sorrow, that unfolds around us. So many of us miss what’s happening because we’re involved in ourselves – while it is good to be self-aware, we are deadening ourselves to the possibility of being able to change what happens. So many speak out against the injustice of this world, but, from what I’ve seen, few exercise the constant vigilance to rise and start making changes themselves.
It makes me think of a movie I just watched on Netflix called ‘Re-Mind.’ It is an Asian film, but I often find that I like those movies. It centers around a group of schoolgirls who find themselves chained to a dining room table, none of them knowing what, exactly, happened to them or why they’re there. However, as the series, progresses, we learn each girl has one thing in common – each and every one of them are part of a group called Perfect Justice that focuses on punishing the crimes of wrongdoers.
A noble cause, but one that isn’t well thought out. They see bad things happening in their community and they record it happening. They post these videos online for everyone to see, not thinking about how the people in question are also going to be impacted – some get their lives ruined entirely, one ends up loosing his wife and child because the rumor posted about him wasn’t true – in ways they hadn’t thought about. To change what happens means knowing what may result in turn and being ready to address oncoming difficulties.
Vigilante Justice isn’t the way to go. Turning a blind eye simply won’t do anything, no matter how much many of us wish someone else will step up and do something. So what does that leave? From what I’ve learned, the only way to make a difference is by looking inward first.
Are you shy and self-conscious? Then learn to be bold.
Are you judgemental or racist? Learn to let go, to accept.
Are you hateful or critical of others? Learn to love, to see the beauty in flaws.
If there’s something wrong in the world around us we want to change, we have to think about who we want to be. Do we want to make change, to help make the world a better place? Then learn to embody the traits of the person you want to be, drink it in and learn how to live the life of a person you want to be. Change starts from the inside and then it leaks out.
Be an example – if you see someone being bullied, stand up for them. If someone is hungry, buy them a meal. Donate to the poor. Be part of a community service group. Or, perhaps, go to school and pursue a degree that will enable you to go further and help others directly. Write about it, draw about it, do something (even it its as simple as making a post here on WordPress) and start a ripple-effect that will reach further and further from each person it meets.
Change starts from within us, embodied in a phrase of a character: