Tuesday, January 29, 2013

At last, I join in the reflection!

Now that I have at last gotten a minor e-mail snafu sorted out, I can begin to post. I'm pretty excited about this; I've never been on a blog before, which is surprising how wordy I have been known to be. The natural world is something I feel strongly about, so hopefully I'll have a lot to say and meaningful discussion to contribute.

A brief introduction to me: I'm a senior psychology major here at Thomas More, on my last semester of classes.  I have plans to go on to grad school at University of Louisville back in my hometown, even though that regretfully means moving back in with my parents. I'm hoping to study Forensic Psychology or Criminology, so I can learn to hunt the human monsters that haunt our cities. Like Batman, but less illegal.

So that's me, a typical struggling college student with aspirations, taking an Aesthetics class to fill my final psychology requirement. It was nice to discover this particular course, being as much of a nature lover as I am, so that I'm taking a class that relates to my interests.

In the first part of this class, we've been watching a film called "Koyaanisqatsi", which explores the impact of human life and technologyon the Earth. Personally, I feel the film took a bit of an alarmist perspective, seeming to imply that there is no hope for a re-unification of humans and their technology to the natural world, and that life should be dashed out and started afresh. The movie's creator Godfrey Reggio did say that there was no intended message for the film, however, and that what a person takes away as an experience gives meaning to the plot. Maybe it is my disdain for crazy environmentalists who are quicker to bemoan humanity and technology than to come up with a definite plan to harmonize technology, humans, and the environment to the benefit of all that is coloring my experience with the film.

The part of Koyaanisqatsi that resonated most strongly to me is the aesthetic of the film, and I am not saying that because I am in an Aesthetics class. I have traveled a lot out west, and when the film lead in with some images of the prairie, steppes, and natural stone monuments from the American West I was immediately connected to the film emotionally. I will never forget taking the sunset shift driving through South Dakota. The environment was so alien, so different, and so much bigger than the wooded areas and gentle rolling knobs of Kentucky. There were mountains, plains, unfamiliar colors to the rocks and the Earth, and I had the eerie skin-crawling sensation of being in another world. Though that was the Northwest and the images from Koyaanisqatsi was from the Southwest, the same kind of emotions were triggered for me.

Something else that resonated with me was the presentation of the cityscapes as aesthetic too.  As much as I love escaping into nature, I love the energy and aesthetic of the city streets as well.  The comparison of the views from above to the intricate beauty of computer microchips resonated deeply with me.  I found it quite beautiful, and appreciated it as much as the beauty of the natural world.

To close, I'd like to share a picture I took of of the skyline of Chicago. It really strikes home for me the beauty that can be found in the city, as well as the natural world.

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