The First Free Hugs Campaign… And… The Courage To Confront Life!
On June 30, 2004, a man by the pseudonym of Juan Mann (pronounced, "one man") unwittingly started a viral sensation known as the Free Hugs Campaign. Learn more.
Revisiting Boston Legal’s “Alan Shore” and the Free Hugs Campaign founder, “Juan Mann”
“The tyranny exercised unconsciously on the minds of men is the only real tyranny, because it cannot be fought against.”
-Gustave Lebon “The Crowd” (1896)
If there’s one cautionary tale worth pausing for… it’s the notion of ‘fighting the good fight.’
In a day and age where a proliferating pocket of society just doesn’t want to stray from the norm of not upsetting or offending…
I sometimes wonder if we’ll allow ourselves, collectively, to get to a point where we’re okay with being sanctioned / fined if we speak out against anybody doing and saying idiotic / self-defeating things. Or, if we confront insidious social stupidity head on.
Well, the good news is that Joey B vs the World (his curated clips) hasn’t been kicked off YouTube…. Err, yet.
But, damn, let’s get real and focused here, by getting back to that ‘fighting the good fight‘ expression.
Without doubt, I get it could mean multiple things to different people.
For some, it’s only about personal persistence and stick-to-itiveness in the face of personal setbacks.
To many others, though, it’s accepted as meaning going beyond oneself (while not really caring if you stand out in doing so) to challenge value systems, controlled processes, and anything or anybody that you KNOW prevents you from living an independent-life, where you and your family’s priorities can flourish.
A bit Braveheart in vision there, I realize.
I could elaborate, in writing, if I wanted to. But, quite honestly, I feel a monologue by James Spader’s character, Alan Shore, in the hit T.V. show Boston Legal (2004 to 2008), will nicely assist me.
Mr. Shore, of course, was talking to a fictional jury, but he’s really talking to every American.
In his closing arguments, he gives a 3+ minute tirade on a topic that is now close to my heart, and should be to yours too: the apathy of the majority of the people in this world in the face of continual loss of liberty.
Now, look, I know the common, unspoken assumption is that spirituality is about calm and peace, and conflict is nonspiritual.
And, of course, I know I’ll get comments saying I can’t (or “shouldn’t”) integrate self-development with politics (which is all about conflict), but I want to bring your ATTENTION to this anyway.
Never was the case for democracy so articulately and compellingly — and entertainingly — distilled into an argument that lasts just a few minutes.
PART 1 (2:29)
My favorite part of Alan Shore’s statement above is this:
“In fact, if the people of this country have spoken, the message is we’re okay with it all. Torture, warrantless search and seizure, illegal wiretappings, prison without a fair trial — or any trial, war on false pretenses. We, as a citizenry, are apparently not offended… At a presidential rally, parade or appearance, if you have on a supportive t-shirt, you can be there. If you are wearing or carrying something in protest, you can be removed. This, in the United States of America.”
Oh, if he only knew back then what 2022 had in store for the world.
Part 2 (2:44)
In Part 2 above, he goes on to mention that fear breeds repression.
Read that again: fear breeds repression. Our government and media excel at keeping us in fear. And under the guise of “keeping us safe,” we are losing our freedom.
Just recently, the satirical comedian JP Sears did a bang-up job in his video, BOMBSHELL Safety Data Released on “Life Jackets,” making that point.
But, if we go all the way back to 2004 (around the same timeframe the speech above, by the character Alan Shore, was done)….
We have a guy named “Juan Mann” (a pseudonym pronounced, “one man”) who didn’t really have any “fight the good fight” purpose outside of his own desire to combat his own insecurities and shyness.
In Juan’s words, “I thought that if I could offer Free Hugs, then I could do anything.”
Still, I kid you not…
In the same reasoning vein as dismissing a 3-year-old from a pre-school for hugging a classmate (yup, that really happened to the son of a friend of mine), when the video below went viral in 2006, further “Free Hug” campaigns across the world were banned.
The excuses, via the overreaching mouths of government officials, were all tied to public liability and CYA (cover your ass) red tape.
In the end, though, due to humanity-at-large speaking out and stepping up and making their voices heard, more and more campaigns, like the original one shown below, have been seen throughout the world.
To learn more, simply go here:
So, if you’ve made it this far in this post, hopefully, you now have some foundational reasons to feel good about going through life with all 6 senses on HIGH ALERT.
Meaning, be AWARE of everything in your existence, not just the cheery ol’ good stuff.
And, in regard to expressing yourself…
Be bold. Be meek.
Be confident. Be unsure.
Be strong. Be weak.
Be a hard-ass. Be forgiving.
Strive for results. But, be willing to admit a setback.
Share your struggles, if needed, but don’t let the despair run your life.
Be pissed off. Be happy.
Show diplomacy. Show controversy.
Dream a lot. But, truly LIVE this life even more.
Laugh. Cry. Sing.
The point ?
Just Keep Things Real !