There are a lot of ways to look at the world and our part in it, but one of the most outlandish may be The Rampage Manifesto, and yet it’s amazing how commonplace it can be.
When I was a kid I used to love going to 7-Eleven. It was, all poetry aside, like heaven. There was an entire row of candies you could buy for pennies so that you could easily leave with a small bag of candy that would rot your teeth out so you could put them under your pillow to get money for even more candy. It was sublime.
In front of the candy row were a couple video game machines that changed about once a year. Some of the best games I ever played were in that 7-Eleven, and since it was just down the street from my house I was there constantly.
One game I loved to play was a game called Rampage. The idea was simple: You played a giant lizard, wolf, or gorilla who, through science gone wrong, were the size of buildings. Your job was to go around destroying the city. Every time you knocked a building down you earned a ton of points. For a kid with very little control over his own life, this was a blast.
So when I heard they were making a movie about it, I was thrilled, and while watching it, I discovered The Rampage Manifesto.
Rampage the movie was released last year. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson played scientist Davis Okoye the lead who’s trying to avert destruction.
In the movie, there was a lizard, wolf, and gorilla who, through science gone wrong, were going around destroying the city. Davis, who had raised George the gorilla, was doing his best to save George and the city.
Throughout the movie, buildings were felled, skyscrapers razed, and areas destroyed. Then in the heart of the chaos, The Rampage Manifesto became quite evident, to an almost painful degree. And it’s not just in a movie.
The Rampage Manifesto
Warning: There will be spoilers ahead.
In the movie Okoye and the other lead, Dr. Kate Caldwell are often in danger. Likewise, Okoye is doing everything he can to save George and reverse the effects of the chemical that has unleashed George’s rage.
Throughout the movie we feel connected to Okoye, Caldwell, and George. We fear for them when they are in danger. We cheer for them when they succeed. We hope against hope at times that they come out of this alive and well.
And yet, at the same time, buildings full of people are toppled. Planes, cars, and Humvees are smashed. Debris and glass are thrown everywhere. People are dying left and right. Of the three creatures that were transformed, only George survives. Tens of thousands were probably caught in the mayhem, but we only care about the three. As long as they make it out alright, everything worked out okay.
This is The Rampage Manifesto – the thought that if I’m not personally connected with them, I don’t care.
The Manifesto in Real Life
As much I enjoyed the premise of the movie, The Rampage Manifesto made it a challenge to enjoy the real thing. So much loss of life and we only care about two people and a gorilla. If only this were limited to a movie, but it’s not.
There are all kinds of things that happen the world over that we just tune out. If we’re okay and the people we care about are okay, the rest doesn’t matter. Unfortunately that thinking can lead to some painful ends.
Just because we don’t know someone doesn’t mean they don’t matter. It doesn’t mean they don’t have people that care about them. It doesn’t mean there aren’t people they care about. We have to get past The Rampage Manifesto and realize there are real people that are more like us than different that we often don’t think about.
If we want to make the world better for ourselves and others, we need to work to undo the thinking of the manifesto.
Undoing the Manifesto
In order to avoid the type of thinking that fuels the manifesto, we simply need to have one thing: empathy. We need to put ourselves in other’s shoes. We need to think about how we would feel if we were in their position.
“How would I feel if” is the cure for the manifesto. It’s the way to improve our world when we start to realize that we don’t care.
Empathy is the solution. We simply need to employ it in big doses. Where can you show some extra empathy today?