Earlier this year I watched Margin Call, a film loosely based on the financial collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008. To me, the most meaningful part of the entire film was when Will Emerson (Paul Bettany) and Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci) are sitting on the steps outside Dale’s house. Part of their conversation goes like this:
Dale: Did you know I built a bridge once?
Dale: A bridge.
Emerson: No I didn’t know that.
Dale: I was an engineer by trade.
The conversation carries on, with Dale describing how much shorter people’s commute to work was as a direct result of the new bridge. He starts to list off the number of hours that the bridge had saved people from being stuck in their car, driving to and from work.
This speaks to me because it subtly reveals how desperately we, as people, desire to build things that matter.