Uncategorized

Imagine a world with no words

tumblr_mgovl1kmqt1qbjt25o1_500

I often wish that we humans had no words. No ability to speak, or write. For I often think that the world would be a better place, if not for the presence of words.

True enough, words can lift up, bless, and inspire. There is much good that can be said of words. But how often do words deceive. How often do they hurt. How often are they misheard, misperceived, and misunderstood. Does the good outweigh the bad? Or is the bad so repellent, that it might be better just to not have either? To forgo all the good, in order to be rid of all the bad too.

I often wish that we might communicate by telepathy. I wish that, not words, but understandings, could be transmitted — nay, implanted — directly into the mind of our fellow. Clear. Complete. Nothing added. Nothing withheld. Perfect understanding. Perfect knowing.

Some years ago, I worked in the city nearest my home. I became pleasantly accustomed to spending my lunch break sitting on a lonely, grassy hilltop, in a parkland overlooking the Pacific Ocean. At times, serendipitously, others would come, and sit quietly nearby. Eating. Reading. Dozing in the sunshine. Playing with children, or a family pet. Rarely would any words pass between us. Only smiles. And nods of knowing.  

I was inspired by these experiences, and sought to establish a Meetup social group to encourage this. I called it “Alone Together”.

The idea was simply to set a regular time, and picturesque place, where attendees could come and sit, silently. Alone, and yet, Together. For as long, or as little, as each one wished. The only rule: no words. No communication, spoken, or written. Alas, I lost enthusiasm for this idea — perhaps, in hindsight, somewhat precipitately — when initial inquirers quickly proved to be motivated only by the most superficial — that is to say, physically romantic — of intentions.

A week or three ago, I met a lovely older lady at my present favourite lakeside haven of solitude and tranquillity. As I sat quietly on the grass watching the Whistling Kites nesting above, I heard the sound of a vehicle approaching over the field behind. Through the passenger side window, “Helen” began speaking with me about our feathered companions. Evidently she had observed that I was photographing them. Joy in this activity is a pleasure we share in common. I imagine this explains why a little old lady would approach a strange leathered man, in an isolated rural location, when his ape-hangered iron steed scowling darkly nearby might otherwise suggest a risk of his being a “bad ass biker”.

Although I did enjoy meeting and conversing with Helen, an observation has since occurred to me. The “conversing” part was entirely unnecessary. Superfluous. And in a sense, detrimental. Indeed, I can imagine an alternative first encounter — a Take 2 — that would seem to me to be far more pleasurable, and enriching.

In a world without words, our meeting might instead have resembled my Alone Together social vision. Helen might have driven up and, instead of speaking to me, simply done what she came to do. Watch the birds. Silently. Alone, as it were. Perhaps inevitably, our eyes would meet. Smiles would be exchanged. Understanding — knowing — would be shared. Just the essential. The apparent. That we both enjoy observing the birds.

And that would be enough. More than enough.

What is more, the not knowing any more than this, would make for an added pleasure. That of mystery. Of quiet anticipation. That some day, we two strangers might meet there again. And again share, silently, our mutual pleasure.

Sadly, I must confess that because many words passed between us, I have little wish to meet again. I now know too much. To join Helen’s formal birdwatching club — though I do appreciate the invitation — holds little attraction. To meet again in my — our — private place by the lakeside, will mean an intrusion. A slightly unwelcome, and certainly an unnecessary intrusion — the intrusion of words — on the very activity, the essential reason why I — we — travel to that beautiful place in the first place. 

I know this to be true. Because it has already happened.

I would much prefer that we could simply be alone … together … in a world with no words.

Advertisements
Standard

“Enter Pyongyang” is another stunning collaboration between city-­branding pioneer JT Singh and flow-motion videographer Rob Whitworth. Blending time-lapse photography, acceleration and slow motion, HD and digital animation, they have produced a cutting‐edge panorama of a city hardly known, but one emerging on the visitor’s landscape as North Korea’s opening unfolds.

North Korea was the last country seemingly immune to change—but no longer. Recent years have witnessed mobile phone penetration, a surge in tourists, and even a marathon. Numerous special economic zones have been launched in cooperation with China, Russia, and South Korea, with railways planned linking all countries in the region. “Enter Pyongyang” captures not just the city, but this dynamism and sense of potential.

This video is the single most significant multi-­media contribution to transcending clichés about North Korea as a society defined by reclusiveness and destitution. To travel there is to witness a proud civilization, though one caught in a Cold War time-warp. Korean cultural traditions are meticulously preserved and displayed in authentic richness. Anyone who has witnessed the awe-inspiring Mass Games knows that, with great sacrifice, North Koreans can pull off a performance unparalleled in its precision.

“Enter Pyongyang” captures the reality of North Korean citizens as earnest and humane, not automatons. The infamous traffic ladies and subway guards stand stiff and sentinel—but today they share a smile too. The more North Koreans one meets, the more one sees an organic society that wants to be a normal country. If you travel there not to judge but to appreciate, you will come away with a better understanding of how challenging national transformation can be.

"Enter Pyongyang" is above all an invitation to explore. Few places in the world have been as hermetically sealed as North Korea, but Koryo Tours has made it possible not just to see North Korea but to engage with it in ways that were impossible until very recently. This is a window of opportunity not to be missed. If Pyongyang is no longer off limits, no place is.

–Foreword by Dr. Parag Khanna, Director, Hybrid Reality

Koryo Group: The Koryo team brought a wealth of valuable knowledge and expertise to this project. Thanks to their extensive experience in running tourism and cultural engagement projects in North Korea since 1993, we were able to get unprecedented access in Pyongyang. We are thankful to the Koryo team and their Korean partners for an unforgettable experience.

FAQs

-How were you guys allowed to film in Pyongyang?

This project was produced in conjunction with Koryo Tours, the leading North Korea travel specialist. Vicky Mohieddeen of Koryo Tours was with us throughout the shoot.

-Were there restrictions on what was allowed to be filmed?

We were closely assisted by two guides from the National Tourism Administration, who helped us gain special access to locations and made sure that we followed all the rules. As is standard for all foreign visitors to the country, we were not allowed to shoot any construction sites, undeveloped locations or military personnel. Other than that we were given relatively free reign.

-Isn’t this all fake? You don’t see the real North Korea.

The average visitor to Pyongyang is likely to be surprised by the scenes they encounter and are especially surprised about how clean and orderly the city actually is. Indeed, people living in Pyongyang and other major cities enjoy a higher quality of life than those in other parts of the county.

-Are people allowed to travel to North Korea?

Yes, despite what the majority of people think, it is possible to visit North Korea as a tourist. North Korea does not release official data on the number of Western tourists it receives, but estimates range from 4,000 to 6,000 per year. Most of the foreign tourists are from Mainland China, estimated in the tens of thousands annually.

-Were you paid to make this film?

We volunteered for this project with no pay at all. All other travel expenses for the 6 day trip were covered by Koryo Tours.

-Does this film support the DPRK government?

"Enter Pyongyang" is an observational film. At no point did Koryo Tours or we have to pretend to be supporters of the DPRK Government or their philosophy in order to be granted permission to shoot this film. Amazingly, we were given complete editorial control in the making of this piece.

Tom Day (Music)
Website: http://www.tomday.me
Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/tomday

JT Singh
Website: http://www.jtsingh.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/jtssingh
Twitter: twitter.com/jtssingh

Rob Whitworth
Website: http://www.robwhitworth.co.uk/
Facebook: facebook.com/RobWhitworthPhotography
Twitter: twitter.com/kwhi02

Koryo Tours
Website: http://www.koryogroup.com
Facebook: facebook.com/koryotours
Twitter: twitter.com/koryotours

CIMG2554

CIMG2555

CIMG2543

CIMG2540

Whistling-Kite-psalmistice_CIMG2560

Whistling-Kite-psalmistice_CIMG2562

Whistling-Kite-psalmistice_CIMG2563

Whistling-Kite-psalmistice_CIMG2564

CIMG2546

harley-davidson-softail-springer-1995-bad-boy-FXSTSB-evolution-1340-carlini-evil-apehangers-joker-machine-mirrors-psalmistice_CIMG2537

Visit Psalmistice on Flickr for more photos.
 

Uncategorized

Reflections

Image

CIMG2499

Depart from evil, and do good;
Seek peace, and pursue it.

— Psalm 34:14

 
Over the past 24 hours, the world commemorated the outbreak of “The War To End All Wars”.

I observed a holyday. In the quiet company of nature’s family.

To enjoy all the sacred sounds, you may wish to crank up the volume —

harley-davidson-softail-springer-1995-bad-boy-FXSTSB-evolution-1340-carlini-evil-apehangers-joker-machine-mirrors-Bell-Bullitt-psalmistice_CIMG2472

Uncategorized

The heart of Lucy

Lucy-2014-Movie-Poster-Wallpaper

Yesterday I went out for dinner and a movie, with an old friend who is lonely.

He is a father. And a divorcee. His own father passed recently.

The movie was called Lucy.

I found it thought provoking. And on further reflection, disturbing.

In a penultimate scene, Lucy has just disappeared, at the very instant of reaching “100%”, and, just as the bad guy protagonist empties a pistol into her head. A policeman asks, “Where is she?”

A text message immediately appears on his mobile phone.

“I AM EVERYWHERE”.

This movie presents a message.

An aspiration.

An ideal.

That if only we could access 20%, 30%, 40%, or 100% of the capacity of our brains, we could become as gods.

All knowledgeable.

All powerful.

Immortal.

But in becoming as gods*, we lose our humanity.

When I consider the violence, oppression, pain, suffering, destruction, torment, devastation, deceit, and mass murder we have wrought in the world over the past century — throughout our much-lauded, Panglossian age of scientific discovery, of technology, of Information, and of ever-growing Knowledge … but not, it seems, of Wisdom — I wonder.

Why do we not make movies that present a very different message.

Imagine a world where we all would access 100% of the capacity of our hearts.

 

* Johansson’s character becomes cold, violent, murderous, inconsiderate, demanding, manipulative, self-obsessed. Heartless. One wonders what kind of “god” it is the film writers are presenting as an aspirational ideal.

Standard