MASH is an amazing movie. I’m not talking about the TV series here but the original movie from 1970, directed by Robert Altman.
This was a controversial film when it first came out because it was full of 1960’s cynicism and anti-war sentiment as well as lots of graphic blood-gushing surgical scenes. However, I believe this film also carries a very positive message which is frequently overlooked…
To me, this movie is about freedom. The freedom to choose our focus. The freedom to decide what to make of our experience rather than having it define us.
MASH is the story of a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (the title is the acronym). This can be a very depressing place. Here are people confronting death and suffering on a daily basis. Yet their focus is on doing the best they can to alleviate the suffering and find ways to see past it, to distract from it and to lighten it up.
Not everyone in the film adheres to this philosophy, but those who resist it do so at their peril. Some adjust and some are crushed, they reap the consequences of their choices.
It’s a dark film to be sure, but it sheds a lot of light on how people may face traumatizing circumstances in the healthiest possible way. I find it very uplifting on this level.
While facing horror and death, these people choose to celebrate life… and in that celebration lies their salvation.
If you haven’t seen MASH, or haven’t seen it lately, check it out. It’s about finding/creating some good in a very bad situation. That’s a lesson I can always use.