We all walk ancientrails. Welcome to the journey.

Daily archives for November 26th, 2017

Coco. See it.

Samain                                                                Bare Aspen Moon

cocoMovie recommendation: Coco. A pixar film. Gabe and I went to see it. I loved this film so much that I’ll certainly buy it when it comes out on DVD and I will go see it again. Something I rarely do.

The story itself is touching. A young boy, Miguel, raised in a family that has banned music, wants to be a musician. He goes searching for a way to play and in the process ends up in the land of the dead over the holiday of Dias de los muertos. He’s searching for his great-great-great grandfather who left his wife to go on the road with his music and never returned. That abandonment is the reason for the family ban on music.

His adventures, accompanied by an engaging Mexican hairless dog, lead him eventually to a surprising revelation about his family history. He is almost trapped in the land of the dead, which he must leave before sunrise on Dias de los muertos or remain there forever. But with the help of his dead family, the very ones pictured on the ofrenda in his home, he makes it back to the land of the living. The end is a hymn to family, to the power of music, to the transformative nature of dreams. I cried.

The cgi in this film is extraordinary, transporting the viewer back and forth between the living and the dead, the past and the present with ease and beauty. The music itself is wonderful, too.

It also reminded me of a deep fascination I have with Mexican culture, its depth and its sense of wonder. Contemporary Mexican culture mixes together indigenous beliefs from such varied backgrounds as the Olmec, the Aztec and the Maya with a Roman Catholic faith transformed by the contact. It layers Spanish culture on top of the various cultures that existed in Mexico. Coco shows all this, not in a heavy handed or obvious way, but doesn’t caricature it, either.

Two small examples. At one point, when it looks as if he will be stuck in the land of dead, Miguel is thrown in what appears to be a hole in the earth with a lake at its bottom. It’s really a cenote of sacrifice, an artifact of Mayan civilization, one I’ve seen at Chichen Itza. Also, in the land of the dead there are colorful winged serpents. Quetzalcoatl is a feathered serpent god in both Aztec and Mayan mythology.

With the growing Latino presence in the U.S. this movie can help us gringos get a sense of their culture well beyond tacos and mariachis. It is a rich, mysterious, wonder-filled culture and Coco is a good ambassador for it.

 

 

Spaced Out

Samain                                                                     Bare Aspen Moon

M31

M31

Not trying to do this, but last night, before I fell asleep the subject was space. The first three kabbalah classes are titled: soul, space, time. The other night I got caught up in the concept of time. I realize my thinking on these matters is probably naive relative to, say, astrophysics, but I’m trying thought experiments to come to my own understanding. I’m trying to read the book of the universe on my own, pursuing what Emerson called original revelation to us.

So here was the thought experiment on space. Imagine space as a large box. Or disc. Or sphere, whatever object. Now. Remove all the objects in it. All the galaxies. All the stars in the galaxies. All the planets. All the debris traveling anywhere. All the black holes. Everything. So now we have a large, empty universe. There is, I think, at this point, nothing but space. No thing.

empty-spaceEmpty. No way to know where you are because there are no reference points. Only empty space. But. This amount of space is contained by the limits of the universe. (I’m pretty sure this experiment violates some way of understanding the universe. An edge to the universe seems difficult to comprehend, but let me have this small-ok, large-conceit.) Now we put back in all the stuff. The things. Right back where they were.

We still have the same amount of space. It was empty and now it’s filled, but the space itself did not increase or decrease. So, then space itself is not a property of the things, it is  sui generis. In other words space itself is not the gap between objects, it has nothing to do with objects, since we had all of it still when the universe was emptied. So when we move objects further apart we are not creating more space, just as when we move objects closer together we are not closing off space. The amount of space is a constant.

einstein-einstein-quotesThis means, I think, that space as we use the term in day to day life is actually about relationship, not stillness and not emptiness. In other words the amount of space remains constant, yet we perceive space as relational, the gap between things. Space is used as a way of understanding relationships, actually, of perceiving other objects, because without space to differentiate objects everything would mush together to a somehow independent observer.

So try this, too. Imagine a square meter of space, imagine it in a place between galaxies. Now try to find it relative to another square meter of space. Nope. Can’t do that. Without objects to create points of reference space itself will not differentiate. That means that though space is vast and changeless, it can only come into conscious awareness when it is filled with objects, things. So no-thing can only be known in relation to some-thing. Space is relational, yet we don’t change it as we move through it. We can only understand, comprehend, perceive space as a gap between things. No-things, then, we might say, no space.

Does this mean that our original thought experiment fails? Does space exist sui generis or is it only about relationships, about perceiving? I’m inclined to say that space is not a thing at all because its most basic definition is undifferentiation, yet it is impossible for us to know space, anything really, if it cannot be differentiated from other things. Therefore space must not be a thing, but a matter of consciousness, some-thing that springs into existence when we see this in relation to that.

Oh, geez. I may have lost myself here. I’m going to post this and leave it for awhile. Come back to this at another point. I’m going to give this whole thought experiment some space.

Chronos

Samain                                                                     Bare Aspen Moon

Found by friend Tom Crane.

Our story

November 2017
M T W T F S S
« Oct   Dec »
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Breadcrumbs

Trails