The ongoing search for Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 370 covers most of each news day across the globe. As sad and frustrating as it is, it’s still better than coverage of the British royal family and their newest addition. People keep asking how such a large aircraft with so many people aboard could simply vanish. Well, there’s a relatively logical explanation – we just haven’t found out yet. But, astute readers, especially those with a fetish for the mysterious, have noted somewhat ominous similarities between the real nightmare of MH 370 and James Hilton’s classic novel “Lost Horizon.” Originally published in the United Kingdom in 1933 by MacMillan, the story involves a group of travelers whose plane crash-lands in the Himalayas. As they struggle to survive, they encounter a Tibetan monastery called “Shangri-La” and become enamored with its wonderfully philosophical residents. The interaction between the two groups makes the foreigners realize life contains more than material wealth and petty arguments.
One Shangri-La native opines, “We rule with moderate strictness, and in return we are satisfied with moderate obedience. And, I think I can claim that our people are moderately sober, moderately chaste, and moderately honest.”
That doesn’t describe most Americans, including the Chief, but it’s a good conviction to follow. Whatever becomes of Flight MH 370, one thing remains eternal in the minds of dreamers: while getting lost may be frightening, there’ll always be that deep-seated desire to get lost on purpose and put the past behind us.
A small clip from the 1937 film version of “Lost Horizon.”