Has this ever happened to you before? You are listening to the radio or reading a book when something said really strikes you as being something you would like to strive to reach? I know it has for me. The next time this happens, don’t shrug your shoulders and move on. Stop for a moment and think about the words. Write them down. While these may not be “official” codes, they can still set standards for how you live your life. There is a wealth of knowledge in the world—you never know when you might find a gem seemingly designed specifically for yourself. I would like to take a few minutes today to talk about these resources and present you with some examples of what you may find.
If you are anything like me, than when the word “poetry” is mentioned in the context of a class, you shudder. Believe it or not, some poetry really does reflect a code of some sort, no matter how the verse tries to hide it. The challenge is to read into what the words are saying and not to just read the words. But then, this isn’t all that different from what we must do with the Jedi Code. And, of course, interpretation varies from person to person.
Here’s an excerpt from one of my favorite poems-as-codes. “If” by Rudyard Kipling.
“If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thought your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools;”
Everybody has a favorite band (or bands). Music is one of the universal methods of communication because of the feelings it provokes. While anyone can understand the feeling, it is often augmented by the lyrics. Yep, codes can be hidden in those words, too. Like poetry, not every song is going to have a code hidden in it, but they do exist. Songs tend to be a bit more straightforward than poetry, but this is definitely not always true. Find the songs that moves you, and, chances are, you will find a code written somewhere in the words.
This code comes from the song “Free” by Powerman 5000.
“Everybody needs to start their own fire;
Everybody needs a riot or their own;
Everybody needs to be something that they’re not;
Everybody needs to go it alone.
Living so free is a tragedy
When you can’t be what you need to be.
Living so free is a tragedy
When you can’t see what you need to see.”
Fiction (short stories, novels, comics) is another great place to find inspiration for a code. There is a seemingly unlimited amount of material available to everyone; all of you should have access to a local library, a school library, a friend’s library, or even your own personal library. The Internet is another place to locate literature of any type. Again, codes may not be written out as a code—look to the actions of a favorite character. Also, codes don’t have to be entire passages; they may be a single quotation or phrase.
Non-Fictional Literature and Real-Life Experiences:
The final area I am going to talk about today is really two different sources with the same idea. Non-fictional literature (novels, essays) and real-life experiences (either your own or an acquaintance’s) also can be places to find inspiration for a code of any kind. Remember that a code is simply a set of guidelines for you to follow; you may admire the way a friend is handling a tough time in her/his life, or an authors words of healing.
Just remember that no matter where the source comes from—or whom the author behind the words is—anything can lead to inspiration for a way that you would like to live your life.
For the lecture, please provide a personal example of a “found” code from a poem, a song, and either a fiction, non-fiction, or real-life source.
Homework: Please write a paragraph in your journal that answers the following question. What do you believe, if any, is the benefit of following a “found” code rather than an official published one? Why do you believe this?