On February 4th, we started selling tickets to Disney’s The Lion King to the general public. Within days, we heard people tell us they thought the show was sold out.

   I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t an underlying pessimism to those kinds of statements, a belief held by many New Mexicans that tickets to such major attractions would never be available to them.

   Our beliefs direct so much of what we do. We trust our eyes so we believe things we see. We are even more likely to believe something we see on television, because we see it “happen.” That’s what political campaigns are relying on right now. They know we’re wired to believe what we see, no matter how true it is.

   We’re also wired to trust our friends. If our friend supposes something to be true, because our friend was the one to offer the opinion, we are ready to believe it. So, if a friend says he bets that tickets to The Lion King are sold out, we nod. That nod clinches the picture we place in our head: The Lion King is sold out, we know, even if it’s not.

   It helps when history supports the opinion. Because some events — usually concerts by big name stars — have sold out here in a matter of hours, we know it can happen and are ready to believe it did again.

   But we also have to carry the pessimistic notion that maybe we just weren’t meant to go or that we could never picture ourselves at that event. If all the tickets are sold, well, that just seals it for us.

   That happens in other circumstances, too, with more devastating results. A child raised in poverty can’t picture what it’s like to hold a middle class job. They can only picture themselves living like their parents or their neighbors. Unless they have help drawing other pictures for themselves — literally seeing other possibilities — they are often doomed to repeat the only picture they have.

   Yesterday, Frank Casale of Saggio’s sponsored 133 kids from Title I schools to see The Lion King. His intent was to send kids who were unlikely to have the opportunity to see anything like it on their own. He wanted to change the picture of possibilities for those children.

   Sometimes an entire state can create a picture for itself that then replicates through generations. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people here say that we are a poor state. How would the picture change if we said instead we are a state without much money? The difference is slight, but the second picture offers possibilities that the first does not.

   Just so you know, The Lion King is still not sold out. See if that information changes any of your mental pictures. If it does, see what other pictures you can change for yourself.

Terry S. Davis
Popejoy Hall

Photo: Two students from Valle Vista Elementary School show off for their classmates, all attending The Lion King at Popejoy Hall courtesy of Frank Casale of Saggio's.

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