Stanley Kubrick Teaches Us that Life is a Hedge-Maze

There’s something magical about the “center,” isn’t there?

  • The center of the earth
  • The eye of a tornado
  • The center of a Tootsie Roll Pop
  • The center of a hedge-maze

Whenever I think of a maze I think of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. It’s such a great film, and to me it’s the epitome of a psychological thriller.

Some people (Wendy and Danny) make it to the center and the fruits of their labor yield reward, and the weight of the unknown lifts itself off of their shoulders, and a sense of accomplishment flows through them. Another (Jack) may work just as tirelessly, but blindly, and blinded, only to find himself stuck, paralyzed, frozen.

There’s a lot to learn from that film (and book). But that maze! So subtle and yet so obvious; it’s teaching (reminding) me now how patience truly is a virtue.

Take time; laugh. Take chances! Make well-intentioned decisions and you will eventually find the way to your “center.” And, like learning how to ride a bike or tie your shoes, the knowledge will always be with you.

Chase and you’ll find yourself where you started, or worse, further from anywhere. Eventually your sight will go red and delusion and anger and incompetency and frustration will cloud judgement. Run toward, not from.

I’d never spent any time thinking about that maze like this, and I certainly never (consciously) saw the symbolism of it. This theory could be nonsense but … perception is reality, right? And art in all of its forms, including but not limited to film, literature, painting, photography — the beauty of it is that we’re free to perceive how we wish, no?

Find your center.

Author: Kevin Baum

I'm a Chicago native with a passion for style, fitness, travel, and personal improvement. And pizza!

3 thoughts

    1. Agree, and I feel the same. Nicholson was incredible. There’s a YouTube video – maybe 10 min long – behind the scenes. Follows Nicholson around; there’s a shot of him warming up before the “axe through the bathroom door” scene. It’s brilliant.