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Connection

If I speak all tongues of men and of angels, but speak without love, I am no more than a noisy gong or clanging cymbal. If I can prophesy and fathom all mysteries and knowledge and if I have so much faith that I can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all my possessions to the poor, or even give my body to be burnt, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind and envies no one. Love is never boastful, nor conceited, nor rude. It does not insist on its own way. It does not take offense, nor does it keep a record of wrongs. Love does not enjoy evildoing but enjoys the truth. There is nothing love cannot face; there is no limit to its faith, its hope, and its endurance.

Love never ends. Prophecy will cease. Tongues will be stilled. Knowledge will fail. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the Fulfillment comes, the partial will be done away with. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I saw as a child, I thought and reasoned as a child. When I became a man, I put away the things of a child. Now all we can see of God is like a cloudy picture in a mirror, but then we shall see him face to face. I do not know everything now, but then I will, just as God completely understands me.

In a word, there are three things that last forever: faith, hope, and love: but the greatest of them all is love.

                                                            Paul of Tarsus / 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are there some things we can learn  – about ‘creating connection’ … from a former FBI Lead Hostage Negotiator (Chris Voss)?

 

Absolutely.

 

Nathan Lozeron does a nice job summarizing Chris’s book  – “Never Split the Difference” in the following video:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIRk382yJm4&t=324s    (How to Negotiate)

 

It turns out that the key to negotiating successfully is based on the ability to (genuinely) empathize with your opponent and his feelings about his current situation… and then to get him to empathize with you and your situation.

 

Once you do that, the negotiation changes into a problem-solving session.

 

They (your adversary) can end up feeling they were understood and treated fairly … and you may well end up with what you were hoping for.

You allow them … to have your way.

 

It’s manipulative, I will admit.  But it works … because it is based on sound psychology – that we all have a need to be heard, understood, and respected … and to connect with others.

 

One of the best videos I saw this past week … is a TED talk by Lena Sisco, who worked at Gitmo (Guantanamo Bay) … as a military interrogator.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9j8iJHSCbY    (Building Rapport & Detecting Deception  – Lena Sisco)

 

Lena was very successful in this capacity (possibly, in part, because she is a good looking woman, but also) because she was good at building rapport.

 

She says that – if you’re NICE to people … it is Very Hard for them – not to be nice back.

 

She always greeted her (terrorist) detainee … with a smile  (a genuine smile).

 

Next – she would look for common ground: … ‘family’ … or ‘devotion to a cause’ … or whatever.

 

And she talks a bit about lying (which we ALL do) … and detecting deception.

But this video is less than 14 minutes;  it’s probably worth your time.

 

But now, I’d like to change gears.

 

Let’s talk about LOVE … as a Supreme Force.

Love is said to be the ‘glue of the universe’.

 

We have a saying – that “Love conquers all”.

 

Is this (actually) True … or is it just sentimental ‘crap’.

 

Well, this (very) question seems to have been taken on by a certain (Italian) movie –

 

Salvo (2013)

written & directed by Fabio Grassadonia & Antonio Piazza.

 

Salvo (the main character) is a body guard and hit man for a Sicilian mafioso. After foiling an attack on his employer, Salvo hunts down and kills the man who organized it … and encounters the man’s blind sister, Rita.

 

Rita has good hearing, and (while she is not in the same room at the time her brother is killed) she well understands what is taking place.  And (a minute later) when they meet, Rita knows that THIS is the man who just killed her brother (and, for all we know, her brother was her only family)

 

Then (perhaps through a TREMENDOUS DESIRE to see her brother’s murderer … we do not know, but) Rita regains her ability to see!   And Salvo is witness to this miracle!

 

(as must be obvious by now … this is an INTENSE movie)

 

Now (by this point in the film) there is no doubt that Salvo is a man of considerable courage.  You would say, actually – that “this guy’s got BALLS!”

 

But

 

He does NOT kill Rita (like he “should” have … for she is a ‘loose end’,  and protocol requires her death).  He decides instead … to protect her. (And all of this is communicated without words.)

PRIOR to this event, Salvo had been his Boss’s MAN … a Company Man.  But he is deeply moved by this experience; and he completely (and spontaneously) reorients and reorganizes his life.

 

And now, the set-up is complete.  And we see that the story is NOT about the mafia … or about killing.  It’s about Love.

 

Now the Test begins.

 

Rita has been SUPREMELY WRONGED; and she knows that Salvo has brutally murdered her brother … in their home.

 

Salvo (who has killed many men) is unquestionably the culprit.  He murdered Rita’s brother (within her hearing) . But …

he’s had a change of heart.

 

And now … these two … Salvo & Rita … begin to act out the Great Question –

Does Love have the power to overcome ANY obstacle?   even the Greatest Imaginable Obstacle?

 

When she has the opportunity, Rita attacks Salvo … verbally … and physically.

Salvo (only) protects himself; and never retaliates.  In fact he never even makes any attempt to win Rita’s trust with words.

Instinctively, he knows that would be ridiculous.  He has killed Rita’s brother.

His resolve to protect and care for Rita though … never wavers.  He never tries to take advantage of her sexually (or anything of that kind.)  His life has now become about loving her … whatever that requires.  We see NO indication (after his transformation) that Salvo is struggling to ‘do the right thing’.  His life has become (completely) simple:  He loves Rita.   He does not seem to experience any interior struggle or conflict.  His heart and mind are unified;  he is at peace.  Focused.

We can say that his Redemption is complete and (apparently) secure.

Rita then becomes the ‘question mark’.  Will Love prevail … in her?  (Will she also experience ‘Redemption’?)

 

Well, when Salvo’s boss figures out that Rita is still alive (and that Salvo is protecting her), he undertakes to solve this problem in a very predictable way … to have them both killed.  And he is not short of personnel or weaponry.

Then (we could say, that) the plot thickens.

But I do not think I will tell you any more of this story.  You should watch the movie.

 

On the surface, this film is so rough … that I have been generally reluctant to recommend it.  Today, however (after a little research) I became aware that ‘Salvo’ actually received 8 awards … and (another) 18 nominations.  (this would not happen in America)

Just keep in mind (as you watch it) that it is no ordinary movie.  It is Very Ambitious.  And Daring.  It deals with Extremes.

It’s not (really) an Action Movie, or a Gangster Movie … it’s not even a Romance.  It simply (and bravely) takes on the (big) question –

Is Love All-Powerful?’

**{Please note the below addendum} **

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ [  28 March, 2019]

What follows is an addendum (to the above review of the movie – ‘Salvo’)    and, to a certain extent, it is a ‘retraction’.

I wrote the (above) ‘review’ on the day I posted it (20 March 2019) … but several years had passed   since I had seen the movie. But the next day (March 21st) I did manage to find and re-watch the film!  And … I must tell you that some of the things I had told you (about what takes place in the film itself )    are actually incorrect.  This was not due to dishonesty … but simply due to how my memory had (somewhat) reshaped the events portrayed.    But – rather than deleting the original review, I decided to let it stand (as it was written “in good faith” … if distorted) … partly AS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW OUR MEMORY CAN CHANGE OVER TIME.

Anyway, let me now try to clean up the mess I made earlier. 

*    *   *   *   *    

Immediately after Salvo murders Rita’s brother, Rita tries to “see” Salvo’s face … by feeling it with her fingers.  Then, as he is about to kill her (as well)   Salvo realizes that she is regaining her eyesight … and he decides not to kill her..

I would still agree that this is the point at which the ‘setup’ is complete.  But it is not true that Salvo’s life has then become simple and one-pointed (that it has simply become about loving Rita.)  This is an exaggeration. I think the viewer of this film is meant to understand that neither of the (two) main characters knows clearly what they will do next.  The movie is really pretty organic (lifelike): when the next situation arises, then they are required to make a choice … and do something.

After killing Rita’s brother (and “meeting” Rita … witnessing her regain her ability to see … and deciding not to kill her)  … Salvo takes Rita to an abandoned factory (probably owned by his boss.  He transports both of them there in the trunk of his car.) He carries her in and puts her on a mattress. (He had probably knocked her unconscious at her home so that she would not cause him trouble … as we see blood on her hairline.)  Salvo buries her brother’s body ‘out back’ of the factory … as (& where) he had probably buried other bodies before. Rita, when she comes to … basically acts like a crazy woman for a day or two (which is understandable). One time (when Salvo goes away    and then returns) he finds that Rita has stuffed various materials into the bars of the windows … presumably because she is having a hard time with “regaining her eyesight”. Salvo’s response to this … is that he pulls all that stuff out of the windows. I took this to mean that he was “saying” –  “No, Rita. Even if it’s uncomfortable … being able to see is better than blindness. Let us not hide from the truth. Let us face reality.”

Perhaps a day later (when Salvo is again at the factory … and has left the door open) Rita comes storming out… clearly angry (& vengeful) and is brandishing a knife.  She comes at Salvo as though to kill him. But he only stands there … making no attempt to stop her. (as though he were saying to her – “If you wish to kill me, I will not stop you.  I killed your brother; you may kill me if you wish.”) At this, Rita throws the knife away but slaps him hard … then pushes him. Then again slaps him hard and pushes him again.   And yells – “What do you want from me?” And at this, Salvo (in anguish) embraces her (awkwardly, from behind) and only weeps. I took this to mean – that he was trying to tell her (without words)    that he would like to cherish her, to protect her, and to love her … but knows he does not have the right to ask it.

I reckon it is not a normal Romance … but it is a Love Story.

There must have been considerable import to the song Rita was always listening to  (or singing) in the beginning of the movie; but I know no Italian.  If anyone fluent in Italian would be willing to fill me in about this … I would be grateful.

I think it is a lovely film.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Someone who does not run

toward the allure of love

walks a road where nothing

lives.  But this dove here

senses the love hawk floating

above, and waits, and will not

be driven or scared to safety

                                     

                                   – Rumi

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