Episode 92 – The Epic Speech of Joaquin Phoenix

 In Podcast

Through all the glitter and glam, red carpet fashion statements and dazzling entertainment, a message of Universal Love and Hope came through the person of Joaquin Phoenix at the 2020 Academy Awards. When accepting his award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in the movie, Joker, he chose to use his three minutes to share a profound message. He didn’t take sides. He didn’t make anyone wrong. It was a message of Gratitude, Awakening, Hope, Forgiveness and Grace. In this episode we share our reflections on the universal message of social justice for all beings.


Joaquin Phoenix’s speech was a message of Gratitude, Awakening, Hope, Forgiveness and Grace

His speech followed these topics:

1.Gratitude and Humility

2. We are in the same boat – we are all for Compassion/against domination/injustice

3. We’ve lost our way (egocentric worldview)

4. Change isn’t sacrifice – we are creative!

5. We are at our best when we help each other grow

Gratitude and Humility:

“I’m full of so much gratitude now. I do not feel elevated above any of my fellow nominees or anyone in this room, because we share the same love – that’s the love of film. And this form of expression has given me the most extraordinary life. I don’t know where I’d be without it.”

We’re in the same boat – we care about each other – there are no boundaries:

“But I think the greatest gift that it’s given me, and many people in [this industry] is the opportunity to use our voice for the voiceless. I’ve been thinking about some of the distressing issues that we’ve been facing collectively. I think at times we feel or are made to feel that we champion different causes. But for me, I see commonality. I think, whether we’re talking about gender inequality or racism or queer rights or indigenous rights or animal rights, we’re talking about the fight against injustice.”

“We’re talking about the fight against the belief that one nation, one people, one race, one gender, one species, has the right to dominate, use and control another with impunity.”

We’ve lost our way through an egocentric worldview:

“I think we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world. Many of us are guilty of an egocentric world view, and we believe that we’re the center of the universe. We go into the natural world and we plunder it for its resources.”

“We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable. Then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal.”

Calf being carted away from his mother shortly after birth
Calves separated from their moms are placed in individual hutches and fed artificial milk

We are inventive, creative and ingenious – we can make changes for the good of all:

“We fear the idea of personal change, because we think we need to sacrifice something; to give something up. But human beings at our best are so creative and inventive, and we can create, develop and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and the environment.”

We can give each other grace; we’re at our best when we guide and help each other grow:

“I have been a scoundrel all my life, I’ve been selfish. I’ve been cruel at times, hard to work with, and I’m grateful that so many of you in this room have given me a second chance. I think that’s when we’re at our best: when we support each other. Not when we cancel each other out for our past mistakes, but when we help each other to grow. When we educate each other; when we guide each other to redemption.


“When he was 17, my brother [River] wrote this lyric. He said: ‘run to the rescue with love and peace will follow.’”

River and Joaquin as boys


Belief in domination

Oppression/domination is oppression/domination independent of who is being oppressed

“We believe that all life is sacred and that man should not kill or be a party to the killing of animals for food; also that cruelty, war, and wanton destruction of human life will continue so long as men destroy animals.” Charles Fillmore, co-founder of Unity

“People are easily offended when animal activists reference human slavery and the Holocaust, as though the differences of the victims somehow cancel out any similarities in the offenses committed against them. We are told that to make such comparisons is disrespectful to the real victims, the victims who are most like us. We might want to consider though whether what we are offended by is actually a question of who the victims are, or more a question of who the perpetrators are. We can read, hear and learn about such atrocities with a combination of sorrow, regret, and compassion, as long as the slaveholders and the Nazis are individuals we can separate ourselves from, but our response rapidly turns to a combination of guilt and shame when we’re compelled to think of ourselves as wearing the uniforms of the guards.” Angel Flynn, Medium Magazine

NOTES: In the dialogue Paul mentions the burden of the oppressor. We rarely, if ever, give this a thought. To learn more about it, click here and here. Also, here is a short video that explains how dairy works. Remember we are called to love one another and take care of Creation.

Dialogue and Inquiry

What about Joaquin Phoenix’s speech inspired you the most?

What part challenged you?

How do you react when you are called to change a paradigm?

What universal aspects of humanity mentioned in the speech did you most resonate with?

What would you say if you had just three minutes to convey a message?

Closing Thought

There is one Presence and one Power and we are each born of it. We are ALL One. Justice for one is justice for all. Love for one is Love for all. Similarly, domination and exploitation of one is domination and exploitation of all. We open our hearts today to recognize those who we may have been conditioned to overlook. There are no boundaries for our Compassion and Understanding. We are all One.

Deepen your spiritual life. Each week’s dialogue topic is communicated in our newsletter.

Recent Posts
Contact Us

Hello! Please send us a message and we will be in contact with you, shortly.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt