The Human Experience

Follow the journey of two brothers who willingly chose to experience homelessness in New York city, followed by a series of mission adventures in order to deepen their understanding of a shared human experience. The documentary ends showing their reconciliation with their own father who had physically abused them in their own childhood.   They finally found closure through their own suffering, not by forgetting it or denying it, but by delving into the reality of human suffering. They were reconciled with their own suffering through the greater reality of suffering in humanity. I think this can be an important lesson for all of us – the solution to our problems don’t lie outside of them, but within them.  We can only overcome a difficulty when we face it, acknowledge it, and put it in perspective. This can take a long journey, a journey that some people never begin. The two brothers in this documentary were just as “bad off” as many other people – unwanted and abused by their parents, living in an community institution… but they were able to journey out of their circumstances and use their own experience of suffering to bring relief and understanding to others.

In addition to following the brothers’ own journey through a suffering humanity, this hour and a half film highlights the importance of meaning in life and shows how many of the peoples and nations that suffer the most are the happiest because they still have meaning in their life. They recognize that they are loved and they firmly believe that they are needed, by their family and friends, by their town or village and, ultimately, by the world. Another important idea brought out is that people are always human beings, no matter what their condition – whether they have leprosy, live in poverty or have been abused, they think and feel the same way we do, so we should treat them the same way. That seems so obvious – and yet in todays segregated world, it’s far from the norm.

This documentary was produced by Grassroots Films and can be purchased online or streamed on Netflix. If you have an hour and a half to spare, watch it. Even if you already know all the ideas, seeing beauty and suffering, mercy and joy is always renewing.

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