Author Archives: Jacob

Earth, Cage or Source

Yesterday when we were talking about The Lord of the Rings I got to thinking about how earth tends to be used in movies. More specifically when we were talking about the birthing of the orcs from the mud and earth, there seemed to be a hesitance in the room. It seemed that no one wanted to say, “The earth is a source of evil!”

Clearly there is a problem with saying the the earth is evil. It gives us food, water, not constant earthquakes, and a place to lie. In general we seem to all agree that it is a good place.

The main discussion that I am trying to get to is that in a lot of the stories and films in the world there is some evil under the surface. There are orcs and other beasts growing under the surface, but there is also the demons caged underneath the surface. The description of the earth, using these scenerios, is endless. The earth could be an evil thing that is trying to get ride of us, it could have an evil center, or it could be sacrificing itself to hold these beasts. I like to think that if there is some evil demon thing under the surface of the earth it would be caged there and the earth would really be taking one for the team.

Is the earth a cage or a source?

Advertisements

Black Heart Inertia

Though this music video doesnt have a lot to do with nature, there is one interesting line.  There is a repeated line, “You’re a mountain that I’d like to climb, not to conquer but to share in the view”. I feel that this is an interesting idea. So often we talk about climbing a mountain as conquering and mastering nature. But, never that we just climb to share the world with it. Just some food for thought.

The Enlightned Worker

Awhile ago we were talking about ants. I forget the context but they did come up. That got me thinking about drones. As drones the worker bees and ants do nothing but work. There seem to be two ways to look at this situation; either their life is terrible because they are always working or they are enlightened because they never think of themselves.

This idea brings up the question of whether the working insects of the world are enlightened. Is their continuous work and lack of self the goal we all should shoot for?

If that is the goal, we are way behind.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox

I recently saw the new movie Fantastic Mr. Fox (trailer if you don’t know what I am talking about). In this film there is, like in many, an idea behind the plot. The plot is a fairly simple one, the foxes and other animals are fighting against the three ruthless local farmers. In the story the initial reason why they do this is unclear, but there are reasons to continue. For example the nephew of Mr. Fox is kidnapped, that is a reason to continue. But the real reason why this was all started is far more complex.

Throughout the movie Mr. Fox and the other foxes try to be polite and human, but more so they try to deny that they are animals. This is most evident when Mr. Fox explains to Mrs. Fox why after twelve years (fox-years) he breaks his promise to not steal from the farmers. His reasoning is that he stole from the farmers because he is an animal. when the chance arose he ran in and stole what he could from the farmers. he explains that he had no choice in the matter; it goes against his instincts to pass up a chance to steal.

I found this to have an interesting commentary on animals subduing their animal side. Usually we talk about humans squishing their animal sides and animals amping up their human side, but never animals trying to suppress their animal side to make room for there preexisting human characteristics.

Dæmon

Have you read His Dark Materials? In this fantasy trilogy there are several worlds and in one of them, the world that the main character comes from, there is an odd phenomenon. Every person has a life long companion called a dæmon, which is an animal representation of the person’s soul.

These animals reflect the person’s personality. For example those who are prone to guarding and serving tend to have dogs. Whereas those who have the stereotypical traits of a lizard have a lizard for a dæmon. I find this all very interesting because these dæmons are animals with human personalities.

Philip Pullman, the author makes an interesting point with this invention. It seems to me that he points out that it’s not animals that have qualities of humans but humans who still have animal qualities. So far we have spent a lot of our time talking about how society perceive animals as human but never the other way around. This truly is a new way to view the animal in all of us. And it is cool to try to think of what your dæmon would be. Actually, if you read this feel free comment with the animal your dæmon would be.

Afraid of the Dark?

Something that I have been thinking about is the relationship between humans and light. Now, before I start please stretch your definition of nature to include nearly everything but the creations of humans. So, this was all triggered by the film Paranormal Activity. In this film a lot of creepy stuff happens at night but during the day the couple who are being haunted just calm down. Why is this? What is it about the light that calms us? But, more importantly what is it about the night that scares us?

Now this is a very simple question. I feel most people just answer that back in the day when we were living in the wild we had to be careful at night because that was when we were being hunted. Now that is a perfectly sound answer, if we were living in the stone age but, alas, we aren’t. Right now we are at the top of our game, the only predators that really hunt us are other humans. Every other attack from a predator stands out because it is such a rarity that a human is killed by anything but another human. So, why are we still afraid of the dark even though we are the top predators in the world?

Many will agree with me that there are a diversity of reasons. To Doctor Who fans the answer is simply Vashta Nerada, but the most common reason is that when we were all little some cruel older sibling thought it would be funny to tell us that there were creatures in the darkness that wanted to eat us. But all of these reasons are unrealistic, we all know there are no monsters, no ghosts, and no ghouls (or are there?). So why are we still afraid? My favorite explanation is that we are afraid of the unknown, the uncertain, and the unseen. We are creatures that have become reliant on sight and light. In comparison to other animals we are the ones that most depend on sight. We really have become spoiled by light and always knowing what is in front of us.

Animal Vigilantes?

A couple days ago I felt the need to dork out for a little bit. My instincts pushed me in the way of a comic book collection that I have acquired from friends, elder brothers, and my own exploits. Grabbing one of my favorites I flipped open the Batman miniseries Knightfall. Five minutes into it I was hit over the head with an idea, Batman, Bat…man.

“Why? Why do we invent these superheroes with animals in there names?” As we all know the list is huge. For starters there’s Wolverine, Spiderman, Batman, Catwoman, and The Penguin. Diving even further there’s Animalman, Black Canary, Blue Beetle, and of course Hawkman. What is it about animals that trigger this fascination?

I know each character has a certain connection with the animal he or she named themselves after. Spiderman had the whole spider bite thing. Batman has a minor fear of bats. Wolverine acts like a giant weasel. The Penguin bares a remarkable resemblance to the creature. Catwoman is indeed bona-fide a catlady. But to just restate, why are we interested? Why do writers make these characters?

I see there are multiple reasons, and here I list, so that future generations don’t need to dig through fat, heavy, and beautifully written paragraphs… :

1. We all have an animal inside, and it’s pretty cool to see humans that act like ones

2. We like looking at people dressed as animals (usually in too much spandex)

3. We feel it is a way for us to connect back to nature

4. We like to be clever with references to old Mythology

Choose your favorite and I’m sure you’ll find someone who agrees. But all in all I just think it is interesting that we started up these characters with animals linked to them. The great part is that there are so many reasons to explain why.