Redshift19 September 2016
I’ve not had anything to say for weeks now, nothing at least that isn’t either political or ultimately objectionable, so I’ve kept quiet awaiting the reawakening of my muse. And here we are…
After the discreditation (too strong?) of the Steady State Theory it is now is generally accepted that our universe is in a state of expansion following The Big Bang. No matter where scientists look in space things are moving away from us; everything in space is moving away from everything else. This bit I understand.
The bit I do not understand is simply voiced: there is no point within our universe that can be identified as a centre. Look, I understand how everything can be moving away from everything else, but there’s something fundamental I’m missing out on.
Space is big. No, bigger than that. Bigger by orders of magnitude too vast for my simple brain to comprehend. I’m used to thinking about the journey to work, to the shops, even the distances between my home and the seaside. The size of space though, it defeats me. And I have no problem with that, none whatsoever; some things are indeed meant to just be.
Despite the size of space, knowing that space is expanding and everything is moving away from everything else, my personal grasp of basic physics infers that somewhere in our sky there must be bodies adopting a course approximately parallel to our planet or solar system. No, our galaxy.
Our galaxy is massive and we are an almost-insignificant almost-nothingness at a near-meaningless point within it, of that I’ve absolutely no doubt. But science must be able to find an edge, a boundary, beyond which other large conglomerations of stars, dust, black holes and star stuff are moving en-masse, in a direction measurable relative to ours.
I find it unreasonable to suppose, yet at the same time completely plausible to think, that our tiny mote of a world is indeed at the centre of our universe. Leaving aside broad philosophical arguments centred around the nature of self and being, if there’s nothing keeping pace with us it flies in the face of everything I know about probabilities, chance, randomness.
But no, that last bit is wrong. Flip a coin. It is either the side you chose or it isn’t; I’m being capricious to prove a point.
If everything on the Internet was subject to review, to critique and ultimately approval after ‘publication’ we might advance towards a multitude of enlightenments as a collection of individual groups but generally as global society. But who can we trust to review the myriad of words written daily, even in our mother tongues? Partisanship, religion, simple spite, an inability to differentiate between humour, satire, sarcastic commentary - the need to preserve the intent of those who would make our lives more interesting - all count against what would quickly become censorship.
To make the assertion that something is a fact but without any supporting evidence is as easy as breathing. To provide the foundation on which a statement rests? Yeah, somewhat more complex. Ultimately the assertion will be received by the uncritical without incident, by the remainder with a sceptical eye. But even this fails to take into account all the nuances of humanity’s approach to our interactions when faced with external stimuli at or beyond our limits of comprehension, or past the point of our willingness to engage.
When I started composing this (a few weeks ago!) I’d just eaten my first quesadillas, bought from a supermarket. I’d asked The Internet with what I should eat them, and a man who knows about such things responded with a suggestion of beans or rice, dipping them in salsa. Sounds good. I ultimately chose my own path: an unseasoned (at least not additionally) beef ravioli accompanied my Mexican food. Tasty! I’ll be getting more, and definitely taking the advice given. And modifying it; a character flaw.
On the Saturday evening just gone I stayed home and watched a film from my ‘list’, a film with almost universally bad reviews, a film that makes more sense if one’s read and enjoyed the book. As I have, twice. AND some of the followup series!
IT’S a film older than both my daughters’ ages added together, so why HAVE I not watched it before the weekend past? But first, what is it?
I reckon it’s L. Ron Hubbard’s master work (ignoring, that is, the other stuff he’s a little more famous for.) The book is.
The film? The film’s hero isn’t cast well, the acting is over the top in places, wooden as a spoon hewn from an immobile wooden thing rooted to an immobile earth in others, but as a hopeful, swords-and-sorcery epic it’ll do for me. Not that I, a dyed-in-the-wool sci-fi enthusiast, can get into the genre easily. Unless Arnie’s in it. Conan The Barbarian, oh yes.
But Arnie’s not in THIS one. John (occasional massive hits) Travolta is though, as is Forest (solid body of work) Whitaker. Not Mr Whitaker’s finest work, it must be said, nor is it Mr Travolta’s. It’s no Armageddon (Bruce Willis), that’s for sure.
But it’s mindless fun, everything’s nicely telegraphed well in advance. Undemanding.
But; yes, a but. I didn’t cry. I cry at everything I watch these days, especially kids movies at the cinema. It’s probably not a coincidence that I choose films designed to evoke something primal in kids and their slaves.
But does it get Baz’s Seal of Approval?
Yeah, why not‽
Does this mean I’ll watch ANYTHING with a Rottentomatoes.com score of 3% with a preceding book?
Hell no, and neither should you.
A question: I read the book of another film years ago and loved it, absolutely loved it. So should I watch ‘Hawk The Slayer’?
And will I take your advice if you give it? If there’s only me reading will I take even my own?
What’s the worst that’ll happen? Mass extinctions, the end of humanity? Heh, no! Time wasting? Not that either.
Mind expanding? Yeah, why not.
Incidentally, I still haven’t bought that bloody diet and exercise book either, another recommendation I’m, er… working on!