Crafting Gentleness

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


There’s a scene from the movie Patch Adams that I mentioned in my talk in Cork, and which I constantly refer to in class. As it turns out, I was relaying the spirit of it but getting the description all wrong. (Makes me wonder about the variable helpfulness of accurate description ...). Anyway, here’s the script version of what appears in the Robin Williams movie Patch Adams, which was based on the life of the real Patch Adams.

The scene is a mental hospital, where Hunter Adams has checked himself in. Arthur is a mathematical genius and inventor who probably had a breakdown at some point. Hunter has just put a piece of sticky tape on the bottom of Arthur’s leaking coffee cup, stopping the leak.

[Arthur holds up four fingers]

Arthur: How many do you see?

Hunter: There are four fingers, Arthur.

Arthur: - No, no, no. Look at me.

Hunter: What?

Arthur: Y-You're focusing on the problem. If you focus on the problem, you can't see the solution. Never focus on the problem. Look at me! How many do you see? No, look beyond the fingers. How many do you see?

Hunter: Eight.

Arthur: Eight. Eight. Yes! Yes! Eight's a good answer. Yes. See what no one else sees. See what everyone else chooses not to see ... out of fear and conformity and laziness. See the whole world anew each day. Ah, the truth is, you're well on the way. If you didn't see something here ... besides a crazy, bitter old man ... you wouldn't have come in the first place.

Hunter: What do you see when you look at me, Arthur?

Arthur: You fixed my cup. I'll see you around ... Patch.


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