LOOKING FOR PARADISE?
In 1492 a leading Christian philosopher name St. Thomas Aquinas described where Paradise would be found.
“The situation of Paradise is shut from the habitable world by mountains or seas, or by some torrid region, which cannot be crossed; and so people who have written about topography make no mention of it.” My goodness, if Chris Columbus had only listened to St. Thomas Aquinas, we wouldn’t have found Paradise here in the good old U.S.A., would we? I wonder just what mountain there is we haven’t discovered or what uncharted desert!
AIN’T SUPERSTITION SAD?
“At the height of the middle Ages, say in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, there were current two very different concepts of the earth. The more popular was of the earth as flat, like a dish surrounded by and floating upon, a boundless sea, in which there were all kinds of monsters dangerous to man. This was an infinitely old notion going back to the early Bronze Age. It appears in Sumerian cuneiform texts of about 2000 BCE and is the image authorized in the Bible.” (Joseph Campbell in MYTHS TO LIVE BY, p. 2)
May I add an analogy in my own words: In 21st Century America there were two versions of how humankind came to walk the earth. One was called Creationism or Intelligent Design in which it was believed that a grand puppet master had hand shaped a manlike being (or puppet) into which he blew the breath of life. The contrary scientific view was called “evolution”.
As Carl Sagan noted in COSMOS, had the mystics not resisted and silenced the great outbreak of Greek science in the sixth through fourth centuries BCE, we would have been much further along then we are now in our voyages outward to the stars and within to the inner truths of human nature.
Let me see if I can put some light on this idea of film reality as I mean it to be discussed. It’s not difficult.
In the late 40’s and early 50’s people went into movies at any time. We didn’t wait for films to begin—we just went in. This is because films were so formulaic and so few plot lines existed that a hip viewer could pick up the storyline at any point. Good guys and bad guys were easy to identify. WWII movies, for example, since they were basically propaganda films, made it so that you just automatically hated the enemy and loved your American GI. A viewer knew exactly where he was at all times. I think it might even signify a point in the evolution of our consciousness, to have still been aggressive at that time. The trouble is that most people also tended to see real life in that way too—good guys versus bad guys. People and movies were pretty simplistic. Simplistic people still wish to see the world that way: evil and good.
However, the more experience I pick up the less able I am to hold onto such simplistic ideas of reality. Films began to change. Films like “David and Lisa” and “All Quiet on the Western Front” presented more complex psychological realities. Soon, bored by standard fare, I began to look around, and I came across “8 1/2” by Fellini and I was blown away. For he shows us the complex nature of reality. Dreams, waking fantasies, psychological projections, memories, altered states and fictional facts are all blended together just as they are in our conscious realities. He doesn’t even bother to separate them for us with clear distinctions. A viewer couldn’t just walk into the middle of his films and make any sense of them. In fact, I didn’t know what I was seeing for years though I knew I was being fascinated by what was being presented to me. But, as I learned more about consciousness, I began to understand what Fellini was doing. The balance between what he brought to alter my consciousness and what changed consciousness I brought to him shifted.
Now I truly do live in a new reality. My consciousness is permanently altered by my experiences, some of which are filmic, and I’m always looking for films and books that expand my understanding of how humans perceive reality, how their consciousnesses are formed. The search after these truths has been my goal since I became a man. It is disheartening to realize that some people still live in that old reality and can’t or don’t want to escape it. They frighten me too, because the structure of their consciousnesses is actually out of touch with reality; they’re a little crazy but don’t know it, so they feel dangerous to me and scary to be around. And some of my angry comments on other threads in this forum are just naturally defensive, because I can’t always remember and accept that some people aren’t in the 21st Century.
So this thread asks for suggestions, in a way, for films that will give me more data about how humans perceive reality.
“In spite of the cost of living, it’s still popular.” —Kathleen Norris (1880-1966)