The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009): Bringing Light to Serious Situations
An uplifting scene about using sparkly eyes technique and the way of the warrior monk
Yesterday morning I woke up without much excitement for the day ahead. Everything felt serious. A streak of clear skies had brightened days previous and now there was gray. Rainy gray. I paced around my little apartment, avoiding my morning routine of writing, stretching, and meditating.
Deep down, I knew this serious sensation was an illusion, a test for summoning creativity — for dancing with life. To submit to seriousness, or choose another way? Another way I chose.
What helped with this was watching a scene from The Men Who Stare at Goats, a dramedy based on true events featuring a reporter played by Ewan McGregor and a decommissioned “Jedi solider” played by George Clooney. We follow them on their quest to uncover what’s become of the spiritual military faction called The New Earth Army.
The role of The New Earth Army is to resolve conflict worldwide. Jedis will parachute into war zones using sparkly eyes technique, carrying symbolic flowers and animals, playing indigenous music and words of peace.
In one of my favorite scenes, the characters find themselves in a serious situation, about to be taken away and tortured by terrorists. Clooney uses the sparkly eyes technique while saying “You don’t want us” and “Put your weapon away” repeatedly before charging one of the terrorist with a knives-in-hand movement — without any knives in hand.
This movement was invented by Ben Echmeyer, a man known among the Jedis for being able to hold bags of sand on hooks through his scrotum. This character is based on Michael Echanis, an American soldier who developed a hand-to-hand combat course sponsored by Fort Bragg.
This scene and the entire movie bring creativity, comedy, and lightness to something serious like war, and it’s the perfect watch when I feel like I’m in my own little war with depression. What’s cooler is that The New Earth Army is based on The First Earth Battalion, the name of the real faction ideated by Lieutenant Colonel Jim Channon for creating warrior monks in the military.
According to The First Earth Battalion field manual:
Chinese monks were often attacked by robbers. They developed a new fighting system based on using the force of the attacker against him. Likewise the soldiers of the First Earth will learn martial arts with the same ethical basis. No Earth soldier shall be denied the kingdom of heaven because he or she is used as an instrument of indiscriminate war. The conscience will be developed together with the ability to neutralize the opponent.
What is the indiscriminate war within you? Can you use its force against itself or the sparkly eyes technique to move through it?