Life Lessons from Movies

Street Angel

In Drama, Movies on February 18, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Street Angel (1928) is a silent drama directed by Frank Borzage about an impoverished woman (Janet Gaynor) who gets into trouble with the law and is on the run from the police when she meets a painter (Charles Farrell) with whom she falls in love.

Life Lesson:

Do not look down on others. You do not know what misfortune led them to where they are, and you do not know their strength of character.

Movie Scene:

Title Card: “Everywhere… in every town, in every street… we pass, unknowing, human souls made great by love and adversity.”

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  1. “Looking down on someone” is a little different from judging them. “To look down on” implies a sense of superiority, i.e. that you are “better than” the other person. There probably is no socially accepted way to look down on someone. Anyone who would do this would be considered a snob and would immediately open themselves up to criticism. If you believe that “all are created equal” then you would be offended by someone looking down on another. However, this does not mean that you cannot make a negative judgement about a person’s behavior. You can decide that someone’s actions are reprehensible and that given the same situation you would try to look for other options. This would not be “looking down on” someone, but clearly you would be judging them negatively.

  2. Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect. But this is often hard to do if you feel morally superior to another, which frequently occurs when you negatively judge someone’s behavior. You really have to consciously decide that you are dealing with a sentient being: an individual with intelligence and emotions, who is doing something you do not like or is offensive to you, but who does not deserve to be denigrated or abused in any way because of it. It is a difficult thing to achieve in practice.

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