Friday, June 27, 2014
GROUND CONTROL TO...
It's a divisive time in Australia. The class war has finally arrived here.
And so, as one of the opinionated, you may be expecting me to break into a long political diatribe.
'Save the arts! Don't cut Screen Australia's funding!'
'Stop badgering SBS and the ABC!'
'Leave the lower and middle class alone!'
I'm tempted, I won't lie. But I have become strangely zen about the whole thing.
Don't go accusing me of apathy. I care. I believe the comeuppance of those who would harm the poor and vulnerable, will be delivered by an enraged karma.
But I just can't get flustered about politics anymore. To be infuriated about the systemic vicissitudes of politics is to become a slave to the belief that this is as good as it gets.
The more you buy into the system, the more that system becomes entrenched.
But everything is temporal. Even the fluctuations of political will.
And while it is easy to become incensed by what we see from our 'leaders', there is an easy tonic for any exasperation. Simply, watch this:
It's the live feed from the HD camera mounted on the International Space Station (ISS).
Yes, it's our home. Surrounded by an endless expanse of silent darkness.
Watch it. Study it. Bathe in this remarkable moment where video technology can take you instantly to the true perspective of our petty grievances.
I did. And I realised a few things.
First, stop worrying about 'time'. Time is a construct.
See that black edge above the Earth? That's what it is like in space, constantly. The only reason we think of 'wasting days', losing time', 'not keeping to our timed-out life plans', is because of a concept derived from the rotation of parts of the Earth away from the sun.
But in space, you don't 'waste days'. You can either see the sun, or you can't.
And yet, we burden ourselves with this micro version of time, focussing on the smallest version of the concept, so that we can feel we are getting 'the most from every day'. Is it any wonder our leaders reflect our short term view of the world?
Second, the silence in space is somewhat terrifying. There is no atmosphere to carry sound, so instead there is...nothing. If that huge vacuum of nothing doesn't make you appreciate what we have, even slightly more, you lack imagination.
And finally, nothing is permanent. Not us. Not our family. Not our friends. Not even our legacies, more than likely.
You can be disillusioned by this impermanence. I can understand that impulse. Or, you can realise that our ephemeral nature behooves you to respect the things that are most important to you: family, friends, art, smoking, money, drinking, a good cup of coffee, whatever.
Watch the Earth spin. It was doing that long before you or I were here, and it will be doing it long after. Nothing else lasts.
Not the elder experts who seem to want to stay camped in the top echelons, and keep you from your goal forever.
Not the narrow minded film decision makers who keep producing the same Hollywood tripe, instead of aiming for better.
Not the film executive luddites who resist better experiences for audiences so that they can keep extracting as much money, from an evaporating business model, as possible.
And certainly not a few small thinking, mean-spirited politicians who are resistant to the growing wave of positive social and economic inclusion that is spreading throughout the world.
You will have your day to shine, eventually. Then you too will be gone.
In the mean time, you can get mad and frustrated at the ebb and flow of micro-level happenings if you want to.
Or you can take a long-term view of things. Make the most of your experience.
While you can.
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