2023.13 : I Choose Sacrifice

California, U.S.A. Circa 2023

The purpose of life, as far as I can tell, is to find a mode of being that’s so meaningful that the fact that life is suffering is no longer relevant.

— Jordan Peterson

You may have heard that Casablanca is, if not the greatest film in film history, in an elite group of a handful of movies that can contend for the title. Those who don’t understand why, are forgiven for thinking it’s a dusty Hollywood love story.


For me, Casablanca deserves every bit of its legendary status: the craftsmanship that made the film, the unforgettable characters, the lines of dialogue still quoted today by so many who don’t even know they came from this movie, and its moving scene of a singing competition between Nazis and the French. Most of the actors of the latter having fled just in time to America to escape being crushed by the Nazis. Their tears, their hope, their defiance, are real. It was filmed when the outcome of the war was truly unknown. (scene)


Famed movie critic Roger Ebert wrote of Casablanca in 1992, “There are greater movies, more profound movies, movies of greater artistic vision or artistic originality or political significance… But [it is] one of the movies we treasure the most… This is a movie that has transcended the ordinary categories.”


And why? Watch the film a couple of times, and then the central message pierces the heart: there is no meaningful love without sacrifice.


As Rudy Behlmer put it, by the end of the movie, “everybody is sacrificing.” In the companion video below, you can re-watch when all the sacrifices meet in the final scene. If you have never watched Casablanca, do yourself a favor, put the phone and distractions away, and let the film transport you.


This week’s photo is of a lemon from my aunt’s orchard. Her late beloved husband of 50 years, my beloved uncle, and she sacrificed for decades for the love of their family. The fruit trees they planted are still fruiting the most delicious flavors. There are many who look forward all year to getting their share of the fruit. Sacrifice bears fruit long after our sacrifice is completed.


And now … know the photograph.

Here's Looking At You, Kid - Casablanca

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