Pirates of the Caribbean is a perfect movie for our times. It flows from our culture and then flows back and nourishes that same culture. It will join Star Wars and Lord of the Rings as a popular mythology that everybody in the youth generation knows. It will become a permanent point of reference.
For the last couple dozen of you in America who haven’t seen any of the “Pirates” trilogy, permit me to fill in a couple details. Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is a rogue and a scoundrel who gets in and out of trouble. His morals and loyalties are for sale and constantly shift around. He is charming and resourceful, able to fight but cheerfully willing to run away as well.
And he has the most marvelous compass. Captain Jack’s compass doesn’t point to true North. It points toward what the holder desires in his or her heart.
It struck me the other day that this is how people resolve moral questions today. They lack a true compass, to give them an absolute, universal, timeless guidance on right and wrong. Instead, everybody has a Captain Jack compass, which assures them that the highest good is seeking and getting what they want. Their own desires make it right or wrong.
Do you have a compass? Where is it pointing right now?