Posts Tagged ‘Reflections’
Even today, still an amazing film
Jean and I watched this film the other evening. I have seen it a number of times but Jean just once before when it first was released in 1968! Yes, over 40 years ago!
What struck me watching it today was how beautifully slow the film was. I mean in the sense of camera and scene changes. I had forgotten just how beautiful the film was from a technical perspective. It held the eye and brain in a way that seemed so foreign to the way that films have been made in the last so many years.
WikiPedia has a very good summary of the film.
And there are more summaries on the INDB website, here’s an example:
“2001″ is a story of evolution. Sometime in the distant past, someone or something nudged evolution by placing a monolith on Earth (presumably elsewhere throughout the universe as well). Evolution then enabled humankind to reach the moon’s surface, where yet another monolith is found, one that signals the monolith placers that humankind has evolved that far. Now a race begins between computers (HAL) and human (Bowman) to reach the monolith placers. The winner will achieve the next step in evolution, whatever that may be.
What is just as interesting is remembering the feelings that I had when I first saw the film, probably in 1968 or 1969, when I was living out in Australia, aged mid-twenties!
I was incredibly fascinated by the US expeditions out to the moon with the actual landing in July 1969. Indeed, I rented a TV and took a complete week’s holiday from work just to watch every minute of this historical event.
So the film, 2001: A Space Odyssey, seemed to capture, for me anyway, the feelings and mood of a brave new world reaching out beyond Planet Earth. The year 2001 felt like aeons away. It was obvious that when we eventually got to the 21st century, mankind would be unbelievably advanced in many exciting and positive ways.
Ah, the dreams of the naive young!
Now here we are heading towards the year 2011 and the world, I mean mankind, seems to be going where? Here’s Jon Lavin’s rather sombre view:
Have been musing about the part failure of the Russian grain harvest and the resultant speculation, that has forced the grain price up astronomically, the impact on bread/food/beer etc., evidence of the same mentality that kicked the banks/investments recession off.
Also, the fact that Lloyds TSB are 43% owned by the British people and are charging interest on non-approved loans of 165% and have a bonus fund of half billion pounds that certainly they have not asked my permission about.
This continuing lack of integrity, in the face of food shortages, untold hardship for millions of people, just goes to show that until an absolute calamity strikes to stop the whole of mankind in our tracks, it’s business as usual for the financially-led people and get-rich-on-the-back-of-anything-and-anybody crowd.
Are we still at consciousness level 204 or have we crossed back below the threshold, back below integrity 200, where falsehood rules?
The answer is to retain faith in the future, faith in the power of love and compassion, and faith in the fact that being the best that we can be today, now, in the present, just as dogs are so wonderful at doing, will bring us the better tomorrows we all dreamed about in 1968. Here’s a reminder:
By Paul Handover
P.S. Serendipity at work. Saw this from the BBC less than 5 minutes after completing this Post!
The beauty of wild deer.
Apologies for a ‘thin’ posting – here’s why.
Julie has gone on ahead, but returns to tell me that the sika deer are feeding in the reed beds ahead of us. (These are one of two types of deer found at Holton Lee.) She offers to stay with Genie while I go and photograph them, so that Genie won’t frighten them off. They see me, but continue feeding whilst remaining alert.
It really is a magical sight – I am quite converted from my original anxiety about deer leaping out in front of the car!
There is something extremely primeval about deer, which is probably not surprising as their bodies have provided everything from meat and clothing to fish hooks and sinews for many indigenous people, while still remaining wild. It is hard to see why anyone would hunt them simply for sport, though, and I fear that Walt Disney has spoilt me for enjoying venison – ancient, organic, sustainable, non-farmed food source or not, it would be like eating Bambi!
Taken from Ju’s Holton Lee blog.
By Paul Handover
A couple of Posts from last September.
The wonderful news that US Gray Wolves are now back under protection reminded me of the beautiful story of Tim and his ‘pet’ wolf Luna that was published on Learning from Dogs September, 2009.
The first article opened up as follows:
An amazing true story of a relationship between a wild wolf and a man.
This is a story of a particular event in the life of Tim Woods told to me by his brother, DR. It revolves around the coming together of a man sleeping rough, with his dog, on Mingus Mountain, and a fully grown female Gray or Grey Wolf. Mingus is in the Black Hills mountain range between Cottonwood and Prescott in Arizona, USA
You can read the full Post here.
But then I added a postscript which I am going to reproduce in full again.
The story of Luna has some interesting connections.
The person taking the picture in the Post about Tim Woods was Willie Prescott. He just happens to be the grandson of William H. Prescott from whom the town of Prescott is named. Here’s that picture again.
A Guest Post from Daniela Caride. Daniela writes the Blog The Daily Tail
Something about being a dog dazzles me. Maybe it’s the freedom. Dogs don’t care what others think of them. They do whatever pleases them most without guilt or worries.
This morning, it became so clear to me. My walk around Fresh Pond Reservation in Cambridge didn’t feel very pleasant. I was worried about my mother’s persistent headache.
Today promised to be the hottest day of the summer, and the heat was not helping my mood. It was only 9 a.m., and I was already convinced something had changed in our constellation, and the sun was about to barbeque the Earth.
But my dogs, Frieda, Geppetto and Lola, were oblivious to anything going on outside Fresh Pond. They trotted happily to the doggie pond awaiting them less than a mile away, stopping only to sniff around and greet other dogs.
At the pond, they refreshed themselves in the water, not minding that the water gets dirtier as the summer wears on. They love that stinky pond, from the day the ice starts cracking and we can finally see our reflections in the moving water, to the beginning of winter when the water turns into ice again.
We completed our lap and approached my car, parked in front of a huge grassy area, where dogs are not allowed. One
of the landscaping employees was testing the park’s brand new lawn sprinklers. He turned them on and watched as half a dozen sprinklers soaked the grass.
Geppetto ran toward the spinning sprinklers, ignoring leash laws, of course. He was dying for a sip. The water flowed so strong that Geppetto had to close his eyes when trying to get the spray into his mouth again and again.
Frieda and Lola followed him, first exploring the artificial rain until they felt comfortable enough to play beneath it. Soon they were romping under the sun without feeling the effects of the boiling heat.
I watched the beauty of that canine dance with envy. My dogs were free, living the moment, unfettered of any concern. Then I asked myself why we humans don’t act more like them, especially in situations like this, in which no harm would be done.
First, I went into one of the sprinklers, wetting my hair and face. Then another sprinkler surprised me, showering me head to toe with a refreshing jet. I raised my arms to let the water reach the rest of my body.
Park regulars watched their dogs and me from careful distance, not wanting to get wet. I didn’t care any more. I felt whole.
Whole like a dog.
By Daniela Caride
A modern Greek tragedy – that could have been foreseen.
As I tried to point out in a recent Learning From Dogs post, foreign policy is an extremely complicated thing. This sounds self-evident, but it’s amazing the extent to which certain officials think they can control events occurring around the world.
I like to characterize US foreign policy in the Middle East as throwing rocks at a hornet’s nest, and then expecting to be
able to control the hornets when they emerge. The consequences of intervention are so many, so widespread, so complicated, and so unforeseen that no one can hope to be able to manage them, without inevitably intervening even more and thus fueling even more unintended consequences. (You can see a strong parallel between the overconfidence of government officials in the area of foreign policy and their attitude in areas of attempted economic control. But, that’s a separate discussion.)
Thanks to the wonderful (in my opinion) people at WikiLeaks, we have been able to see a much more realistic picture of the war in Afghanistan than has so far been available. CNN reports on one element of these reports that is none other than one of these most unintended of consequences — some of the most advanced military technology in our country’s arsenal falling into the hands of…well we’re not really sure who. CNN reports:
When unmanned aircraft crash in Afghanistan, scavenger hunters frequently aren’t far behind, U.S. military incident reports published by WikiLeaks suggest.
On several occasions, military units sent to recover the aircraft — known as tactical unmanned aerial vehicles — have arrived to find the aircraft stripped of valuable parts.
In April 2007, a parachute deployed on one that had maintenance issues, one report says. Troops sent to recover the aircraft couldn’t reach it until the next day, when they discovered it was missing some of its electronic components and its payload.
Is this a surprise? For me, no!
For those who oversimplify foreign policy to international powers moving on a chess board, yes. Government officials often forget that at the end of the day we are not dealing simply with “the Taliban” or “Al Qaeda” — we are dealing with individual human beings.
And while the Taliban and Al Qaeda as groups may seem predictable, individual human beings are essentially the most advanced supercomputers ever to exist on this planet. To think that one can predict the actions of human beings on the other side of the world, especially human beings whose culture and background one hardly understandings, is nothing but the highest form of hubris.
And, just like in Greek tragedy, the hubris comes just before the fall, when it turns out that the prideful character did not have everything under control, and in fact is the victim of consequences that he was too prideful to foresee or even consider as a possibility.
By Elliot Engstrom
Let’s be real about Realism.
Usually when I talk with supporters of America’s current wars in the Middle East, those who discover that I am vehemently opposed to an American presence in the region find me to be naïve. In their minds, I just do not understand realism or how power politics actually functions. My anti-war sentiments are the idealistic notions of an inexperienced youth who thinks that everyone should just get along.
The great irony here is that when followed to its logical end, the realist school of internationalist relations which so
many use to justify the American presence all over the world is in fact one of the greatest arguments against our current foreign policy. I do not argue against America’s wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan because I think that we would all just get along if these wars ceased to happen. I argue against these wars because I come from a perspective that sees the people we are fighting as human beings with the same base motivations as myself, and when these people see their livelihood threatened, they take the best course of action that they can find, which unfortunately often involves siding with whatever group holds the most regional power.
The great mistake in logic made by many advocates of an interventionist foreign policy is to merely think of the world in terms of the international stage. Such people look at the world in terms of what Iran, Al Qaeda, Russia, China, OPEC, or other entities have done or might do, rather than considering actions based on their effects on individuals, and what these individuals are likely to do in response.
The film was mentioned in a Post here.
If you only had one hour what would you ask?
This is how an excellent film by Rick Ray on the Dalai Lama is introduced. We watched the DVD a few evenings ago and it was heart-stirring and full of the extraordinary wisdom from one of the leading spiritual leaders alive today.
Do watch it if you can. Here’s the official trailer from YouTube:
Finally, I see that part of the film, where Rick Ray is having an audience with His Holiness, is available on YouTube. I’ll post links to the four videos over the next two days.
By Paul Handover
“Fear paralyzes; curiosity empowers. Be more interested than afraid.” — Patricia Alexander, American educational psychologist.
This dropped into my email in-box the other day so I grabbed it to set this Post off on the right theme.
There is much around that can generate fear, touched on in my Post a couple of days ago where I quoted Richard Branson.
For an example of fear, many will have listened to the recent interview of Professor James Lovelock on the BBC Today programme and wondered just where we are all heading. ( The interview may be listened to here. – it’s 7 minutes long but listen to it!)
Here’s a YouTube video of Lovelock being interviewed in 2009. (Also worthy of watching for the full 13 minutes and note the connection between Lovelock and Branson.)
So if you listened and watched these two interviews then one could argue that there is more than enough to be fearful of our future.
Now go back to the opening quotation: “Fear paralyzes; curiosity empowers. Be more interested than afraid.”
Being fearful is not the answer – even if no alternative appears to be a rational way of mentally processing something.
Here’s a piece from Wayne Dyer’s book, There’s a Spiritual Solution to every Problem.
We are subjected to many illusions in our daily life. The greatest one is the one that keeps us trapped in giving our energy to what always has been.
The past is behind us. Predicting the future accurately, even by eminent scientists such as James Lovelock, is very, very unreliable. Thus all we have is today. So do not be afraid, be curious.
By Paul Handover