The Tao of John Rambo

Six observations and an unexpected message from the Hollywood of my youth.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

My childhood memory of Rambo is of a machine gun-wielding maniac, hell-bent on destruction. Popular cinema from that time was considerably more violent than what gets put on Netflix, today. Watched anything from the 80s, even a PG movie, recently? Some big content surprises.

Times change, but themes remain consistent. One I observed when I recently watched the first Rambo film surprised me.

I won’t be commenting on any of the Rambo sequels. I’ve never seen them and I’m pretty sure they are where my false impression of the character comes from. I will focus on the movie in which he was first introduced, the one based on the David Morrell novel, both titled First Blood.

Here are some surprising observations.

John Rambo represents an irresistible force, not unlike the one that determines all things in our Universe. Fate, God, Higher Power. Anything and everything that we cannot control.

The messages I took from these ninety unexpected minutes of reflection, are that pride gets us nowhere. Things needn’t be forced. Our will is the source of our misery.

Had he allowed it to flow, unabated, the Tao or the Way of the world would have solved Sheriff Will Teasle’s problems before he had a chance to create and repeatedly exacerbate them. A quick lunch and John Rambo would have been on his way back out of town. He had no reason to stay in Hope. The sheriff drew first blood and his pride kept it flowing.

I saw a meme, recently, with a person trying to mop up the water coming onto a beach with the tide. What a miserable existence it must be to think one can mop up an entire ocean. In most cases we cause our own problems by insisting things be the way we want them, not as they are. We can have peace if we heed Rambo’s advice: “Let it go.”

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