The Bridge on the River Kwai is a classic film about a group of prisoners of war (POW’s) who are enslaved and working for their Japanese captors to construct a bridge. It’s a movie about one man–Colonel Nicholson–and his massive hubris in taking pride in what is essentially a partnership with the enemy.
The bridge that his POW’s construct will supply the Japanese, who are at war with the Allied forces. While there is duress in extracting labor from the prisoners, Nicholson adds his own special element of delusion: Nicholson actually believes that the bridge stands for something.
Have you ever had to work for a cause that was completely unethical? Like, say, working for a corporation that skirted the law to defraud people? Or writing advertising copy that was purposely misleading? It happens everyday in the world, somewhere, in some way.
What also happens is that one day, someone comes along with a mission to blow that bridge up. To eviscerate the lies and deceptions and reveal the true nature of how things work. Imagine all the crusaders appearing with statistics and studies attempting to end the war on drugs. Or the educators who unveil a new model for learning. There are going to be pissed off stakeholders within the DEA and education system respectively who do not want to see any change.
What’s worse, what’s far worse is when the slaves themselves rally to the cause of their oppressor. Rational thought is thrown out the window as they react with rage towards those trying to change the status quo.
I think it’s crazy that people would willingly give up their freedom. But how much more terrible is it that people involved in building something unethical or contravening their own mission statement would rally against their own best interests?
I suppose it can be soul destroying to see that lie destroyed. Well, the people that lose sight of what’s important don’t really have much comfort when the truth comes out, do they?