“One of the finest and most uplifting speeches of all time.” How Chaplin still speaks to us.

75 years ago, with America on the brink of joining in the Second World War, Charlie Chaplin made his film “The Great Dictator.”  It is a satirical political comedy-drama designed to confront Hitler, Mussolini, fascism, anti-semitism and the Nazis.  It was Chaplin’s first talking movie, and became his most commercially successful film.

Charlie-Chaplin_I’ve only just come across it, for some reason.  I bumped into it on Facebook, where people are making all sorts of statements of support for France in the light of the atrocities there last week.  It made such an impact on me when I first saw it that I had to learn more about it.

I feel compelled to share it in case you too have never seen it.

According to several analyses, it is one of the most moving and uplifting speeches of all time.  It seems so relevant today – almost impossibly so.  Let me quote you a few lines from the text, the full version of which you can click on here:

“We think too much and feel too little.  More than machinery we need humanity.  More than clevernesss we need kindness and gentleness.”

“Without these qualities, life will be violent, and all will be lost.”

Ponder that.  I’m working with a group of leaders in an American tech business this week.  The main emphasis of our work is on emotional and social intelligence, helping them to find ways to connect with other people more meaningfully, and to build better relationships across the business.  It takes time, but when people gradually start opening up to each other as human beings and sharing what they really think and feel, the connections between them as people start to grow, and you can feel the humanity asserting itself over the “machinery”.

The war on terrorism is indeed the war for our generation, but we are also fighting a second war, against “machinery” and the increasing need to protect our humanity.  As Chaplin puts it in the speech:

“You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.”

We can only hope that we have the sense to use our power in an Intelligent way.

Enjoy the speech, and ask yourself not only how it is relevant to what is going on today, but also what impact these words have on you as a human being.

About Michael Brown Training

I'm a business skills trainer, facilitator and coach. I've been helping people to learn for 16 years, working all around the world on topics such as Negotiation, Conflict Handling, Sales, Leadership, Consulting and Personal Effectiveness. I'm an ENFP, constantly looking for new and inspiring things to do. I love my job for its variety and the stimulation I get from it, and spend most of my time seeing how far we can go with the subjects we work on in the training room. I've recently started a new venture in making video on how NOT to do things, which you can find at www.hownot2.com
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4 Responses to “One of the finest and most uplifting speeches of all time.” How Chaplin still speaks to us.

  1. Wow ! Thank you so much for sharing this. How insightful and true. I too strive to create greater more authentic connections between people in work and play, to disconnect from ‘machines’ and to reconnect with each other. I hope the people in the company you are working with begin to understand and empathise with your message and connect more with each other.


  2. chaddamitz says:

    Thanks for sharing. I like the quote from Chaplin as well. It seems that humanity has lost their ability to sympathize with one another. We are not just machines. We are not just intelligent creatures. We are humans that have deeply seated emotions. Emotions are a powerful force, enough to change the direction of a country. In my opinion, I believe it is God, Jesus, who can bring this restoration through His infinite love and grace.


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