Posts Tagged ‘communication’

The film Arrival asks: If you could see your whole life from start to finish, would you change things?

March 12, 2017

The main question posed in the 2016 sci fi film Arrival is, If you could see your whole life from start to finish, would you change things?

Arrival (2106)

When mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) recruits Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams), a renowned linguist, and Dr. Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), a theoretical physicist, to try and communicate with the Aliens and find out why they have landed on Earth. Dr. Banks races against time to decipher their intent. As tensions mount between fearful governments, she discovers the Aliens’ true purpose and, to avert global war, takes a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity. This mesmerizing masterpiece has a mind-blowing ending that will leave you wondering what happened and how.

That’s the external story, but the essential message of this movie is more internal. It’s about love, determinism and choice.

Based on the award-winning science fiction novella, Story of Your Life, by Ted Chiang, it was convincingly transformed into a screenplay by Eric Heisserrer. Having read the book and been moved by it, director Denis Villeneuve wondered how it could be turned into a science fiction film, a genre he had been thinking about for years. When he received the script he decided he finally had to make this film, but with Amy Adams in the lead as Dr. Louise Banks. Even though she was taking a break from filmmaking, after reading the script, she was in. Everyone involved with making the film read the book and loved the story.

In the opening scenes we learn that Professor Louise Banks is losing her daughter Hannah to a rare disease. As a child, Hannah asks her mother how she chose her name. Louise tells her she has a special name, because it is a palindrome. It’s spelled and read the same way, forwards and backwards.

This is a clue that may help you make sense of certain events in the film that appear as flashbacks. Or are they flashforwards? Yet, in retrospect, it’s not the beginnings and endings that are important to Louise, but how she lived her life, the choice she made to love, regardless of the outcome.

Watching this movie was a right-brain experience; it’s non-linear. Dr. Banks goes through changes as she learns the Alien language. Their images communicate ideas in circles without reference to tense or time. Comprehending their language transforms Louise’s brain. She begins to experience the events in her life from a less sequential, more holistic perspective.

This is reality parsed and put together from a female perspective. She is the only one who can save the situation when she finally understands why the Aliens are here. The other challenge now is communicating it to a male-dominated world intent on destroying itself. This Chinese quote is another important clue: “In war there are now winners, only widows.”

Towards the end of the film, having collaborated with and seen how brilliant, brave, and compassionate Louise has been throughout their encounter with the Aliens, and the Army, Ian realizes he’s fallen in love with her. As much as he was amazed by his encounters with the Aliens, his “greatest surprise” he tells her, “is you.”

To love is human. It takes us out of our time, because Love Is Eternal. It always Is. We participate in It. If we are lucky enough. I wrote this as a comment to my son who purchased the film and sent me the link. I couldn’t help turning it into a tanka.

After watching “Arrival” (2016)

To love is human
It takes us out of our time
Love Is Eternal

We participate in It
If we are lucky enough

© Ken Chawkin
Mon Apr 6, 2017
Fairfield, Iowa

You should see this film twice to better understand and appreciate it. Below is the trailer, followed by the Featurette on the DVD Extras.

This DVD Featurette gives you a perspective of what went into the making of the film: Arrival (2016) | Behind the Scenes | Understanding Arrival | Full Extras | Full HD.

Better to see the film first before seeing these explanations. Nick Statt wrote a great article for The Verge on living with the power of choice: How the short story that inspired Arrival helps us interpret the film’s major twist. ScreenPrism offers an intelligent explanation of the ending of this film. And ChewingSand shares good insights in this video: Why ARRIVAL is Great Sci-Fi. There are more explanations on YouTube.

See a fun, informative post-screening SAG-AFTRA Foundation interview: Conversations with Amy Adams and Denis Villeneuve of ARRIVAL.

Links to the beautiful Arrival Soundtrack – On The Nature Of Daylight by Max Richter and Jóhann Jóhannsson – Heptapod B [From “Arrival” Soundtrack / Pseudo Video].

Wikipedia gives a comprehensive review/explanation of the film, which might include some spoilers if you haven’t already seen it yet.

Also see these favorite romantic films of mine. They reveal the transformational power of love over time.

Advertisements

Two innovative creative videos remind us how social media can destroy not build relationships

October 16, 2014

Love in the Digital Age

Love in the Digital Age

Our current obsession with social media and mobile devices seems to have improved our connectivity with each other, but it is also changing it for the worse. Here are two innovative creative videos that remind us how social media can destroy, not build, relationships.

Lee Ross’s creatively produced vignette brilliantly demonstrates the breakdown in human interaction; while Prince Ea intelligently raps about the problem, ironically pointing out what we’re missing. They both beg the question: Are we really living life, communicating and developing meaningful relationships?

1. From a comedic perspective 4gLove by LEE ROSS is a funny but sadly true depiction of cellphone addiction destroying relationships. This 5-minute film is available on Vimeo and YouTube.

2. We are so consumed by our phones and social networks, we sometimes forget how to live. Prince Ea says the obvious in this video: Why I Refuse to Let Technology Control Me: You need not delete your social networks or destroy your cell phones, the message is simple, be balanced, be mindful, be present, be here. 🙂 If you like his message you can download the digital audio Can We Auto-Correct Humanity?

Rick Hotton’s Holy Mole´ cartoon amusingly makes the same point. There are other videos out there on this topic. Here are two poems about the problem, Look Up by Gary Turk, and a counter argument, Look Down (‘Look Up’ Parody) by Spencer & Alex. Clever, both of them, with charming British accents.

I cropped and titled the top image taken by British photographer Adam Gray.

See the brilliant depiction of the grip of modern technology over our brains by British cartoonist and animator Steve Cutts in these cartoons: OWNED, and this unusual selfie: SENT FROM MY IBRAIN.

Here is a brilliant solution to this problem I found two years after this posting: NoPhone Air: the Latest iPhone Aimed at Cellphone Addicts. Watch this brilliant TEDxUtrecht Talk Ben Langeveld & Ingmar Larsen gave: How a piece of plastic can change the world.

The Intelligent Optimist’s Consciousness Issue Features Maharishi’s Approach to World Peace

March 24, 2013

The new Intelligent Optimist is out with The Consciousness Issue

Features articles on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s approach to world peace.

Optimist Jan-Feb 2013 The Intelligent Optimist, formerly OdeWire, is a magazine that pays attention to what’s good in the world. The new Consciousness Issue shows people meditating, connected to everyone else, with the words: The revenge of the spirit: A new consciousness is coming—and it will change everything. The Jan/Feb 2013 issue will be posted on their website. The editor-in-chief, Jurriaan Kamp, is inviting readers to receive The Consciousness Issue in digital format in their e-mailbox, for free.

There are two major articles on Maharishi’s approach to world peace: When monks rule: Rigorous research shows that group meditation reduces conflict and violence in society (pages 44–48), and Levitating for a better world: Selling his telecom company made Paul Gelderloos rich. Now he plans to spend millions reducing world poverty—through meditation (pages 50–53). You can also download PDFs of the articles: When monks rule and Levitating for a better world.

Optimist-When monks ruleThe Dutch-American publisher, Jurriaan Kamp, has written a most intelligent article. It’s actually one of the most enlightened pieces I’ve ever read about our approach to collectively transform society from within through the ongoing global world peace project. I especially loved his piece on Paul Gelderloos, our “Flying Dutchman!” 🙂 You’ll know what I mean when you see the photo they put together. I believe it was Paul who encouraged Jurriaan to write about Maharishi’s World Peace Project and the means to transform society. He did a brilliant job! You’ll enjoy it.

Of interest are Jurriaan Kamp’s Letter from the Editor: Your attention, please (page 5), and his editorial article (pages 36–40): The revenge of the spirit: Humanity stands at the threshold of a new era: the era of consciousness. After conquering the external world, human beings will discover their inner selves.

Here is an invitation from the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The Intelligent Optimist, Jurriaan Kamp. (more…)

Words—a poem on the nature of words and mind

February 19, 2012

Ever looked at a legal document and wondered what the heck you just read? Depending on the way we use language, communication can obfuscate or elucidate, confuse or clarify.

Words can mean different things to different people. The English language uses different words to mean the same thing, and different things use similar sounding words. It can get confusing, especially if English is not your first language. Apparently only Sanskrit has a direct one-to-one relationship between a word and its meaning, between name and form, nama-rupa.

One way to use words to create clarity of mind is in meditation, where the mind, if allowed, can refer to its own essential nature. In the case of Transcendental Meditation, a technique that automatically transcends its own activity, a different kind of word, or thought, is employed—a mantra—a suitable harmonious meaningless sound. With the appropriate mantra, and instructions how to use it properly, the mind can effortlessly transcend words, thinking, its own activity, and arrive at the source of mind, a state of pure awareness, the meditator’s inner Self.

Hope this introduction helps you to better understand this abstract poem I wrote in the late 1980’s. For lack of a better title, I just called it, Words.

Words

the mind is of two minds
one listens to the sounds of words
the other follows their meanings
words help the mind to know things

names are the words for things
things are the forms of names
sounds and meanings of names and forms
things are contained within words

when words become things in themselves
then words get contained within words
sounds and meanings within names and forms
names and forms within sounds and meanings

layers of communication get built up create complex structures
and break down under the weight of their own words
too many words hinder the mind’s ability to know things
the mind cannot know its own mind

. . . . .

when words use themselves
to lose themselves
they allow the mind
to experience itself

experiencing itself
losing itself
to the Self
left to its Self

alone
the silent home
where things and words are one
all one

© Ken Chawkin


%d bloggers like this: