‘C’est l’histoire d’un homme qui tombe d’un immeuble de cinquante étages. Le mec, au fur et à mesure de sa chute se répète sans cesse pour se rassurer : “jusqu’ici tout va bien, jusqu’ici tout va bien, jusqu’ici tout va bien.” Mais l’important n’est pas la chute, c’est l’atterrissage.’
‘Heard about the guy who fell off a skyscraper? On his way down past each floor, he kept saying to reassure himself: “So far so good… so far so good… so far so good.” How you fall doesn’t matter. It’s how you land.’
– La Haine (1995)
We just watched this movie in French class today, and I have to say, this quote left me speechless. It reminds me of so much in not just our society today, but also in my daily life.
At first glance, this quote seems empowering; however, it reveals a depressing pattern in our society. We humans have an overwhelming capability for hope, hope that reveals itself in so many positive ways, but hope that can be disastrous. Hope – “so far so good”- can breed ignorance which shields our sight from impending doom and actions to avert the doom. The first example that comes to my mind would be the war on terror. The first response to most with terror is to attack those who attacked them. Although this may seem like a good idea in the farsight since it’s been “so far so good,” in hindsight, attacking those who have attacked them has only led to ever increasing violence which may lead us “landing” in a way that is not preferable.
On the other hand, even more revelatory, is that I have seen this pattern even in my own daily life. Going to school, a lot of us high school students are always telling ourselves to just keep going and pushing on, similar to La Haine’s “so far so good.” What we lose in doing this, though, is having agency over our own daily lives. Weighed down by the enormity of time that school and school work takes up, we feel powerless to carve our own path in life. We feel limited and restrained by the system; however, don’t do anything to get ourselves out of it because up to now, it hasn’t done anything significantly damaging to us. But over time, it does build up, (*trigger warning*) and when it does, some people, even people in my school, have gone so far as suicide because they stuck to the “so far so good,” until their faces were smashed on the pavement. Society is often unable to avert its incoming doom because it refuses to recognize its own cracks.
This is something to keep in mind as we move forward. If something has been working fine until now, it doesn’t mean it’s good. There are always other options, and they should be thoroughly considered.