A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

My Photo
Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Enduring Love

Last night I watched a rather disturbing movie, Enduring Love, starring Daniel Craig. A writer/professor, while picnicking in a field with his girlfriend, sees a hot air balloon almost taking off with only a child inside. He, along with three other men, grabs ahold of the balloon to try to prevent it from lifting. It rises anyway, and he lets go in time to save himself. One by one the others drop, except for one man, who hangs on till the balloon is very high, then falls to his death. Ironically, it's later learned that the balloon eventually landed without any harm coming to the child; i.e., the man died in vain.

The professor had been about to propose marriage to his girlfriend. Because of the disturbing incident, he never gets the chance. In fact, it so takes over his thoughts that their relationship ends up suffering.

What interested me most about this movie was the professor's take on his own role in the story. He relates the incident over and over to the poor girlfriend and to many others. He researches wind currents; draws pictures and diagrams of the balloon. But he never articulates his own initiative in letting go.

Instead, he says things like, "I wonder who let go first?" or ""We all must have let go at the same time, except for the poor doctor." The psychlogical realism of his manner is arresting.

It's commonly assumed that we tell stories to communicate with other people. In fact, our primary audience is ourselves. From nearly infinite bits of data we pick and choose, fashioning a reality. Each time we retell a story, we're shaping it into a version which we can live with and which helps us process the events. We call that version "the truth."

Labels: , ,