contact

Wow. Just finished rewatching the movie Contact. It has been my experience that movies in most cases evoke one of two possible feelings: 1) happiness/appreciation, at the fact that the lives of those just witnessed are not our own; and 2) excitement, at having been reintroduced to the world. More on the latter, movies can show us not only foreign places and settings, but lives interacting within these settings.

I saw the Grand Canyon, aging and still the most magnificant brown. I saw forestry in Puerto Rico with villages of people interspersed. Where am I? I am watching these things on a cathode ray screen– twelve floors above street level– in a building on Columbia campus– in the City of New York– on a beautiful Saturday night– in the middle of ever-vanishing youth! Again, I find myself asking, what the hell am I doing?

I am currently filled with sensations of opportunity and wonderment. But come morning, they will disappear, I assure you. So what am I to do? I have a hunch that life is… uncapitalized by me. And I am frustrated.

“Then go out and do something!” cries the impatient reader. Good idea.

Imagine you are placed in the middle of a forest. No indicators of geographic direction. No sun directions, no mold on trees. No knowledge of where you were before. No beaten paths, no sign posts. What is your first step? Do you walk forward, assuming that behind your back are your previous steps? Do you turn slightly and walk in a random direction? Do you walk towards that tree to your right because it has an interesting bug on it? What’s the matter, traveler? Do you need to know where you had come from? Do you now need a direction from which to guide you?

That is a inaccurate story. People know where they’ve been. People have a feeling for where they want to go. If not these two, then people at least know that they like an insect enough to walk towards it on a sunny day in the forest.

Lost or distracted?

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