So today I was home-ridden with a slight cold and cough which has, as of this morning, congested my nasal passages so much that I can probably pull off a great impression of Kermit the Frog if I wanted to. But with the help of some over the counter antihistamines, and a bowl of warm broccoli soup it is beginning to subside and I predict I’ll be in working order again by tomorrow.
Anyhow, in my drugged out, couch potato state I’ve powered through a heap of junk food and an even bigger heap of unwatched movies. The last movie of this heap, which I just finished, is Kevin McDonald’s and Ridley Scott’s ‘Life in a Day.’ Life in a Day is a documentary film in which Scott and McDonald collaborated with Youtube and National Geographic in order to record the sweeping, yet fleeting events that take place during one day on Earth. Basically what they did was ask people around the world to record and send videos which tell the events of their lives on July 24th, 2010. 80,000 people responded with over 4,500 hours of footage from 192 countries–all shot on that exact same, random day.
And after watching this movie, one of the first thoughts that came to my mind were Marcel Proust’s words on the true nature of discovery and knowledge: “The only true voyage of discovery would not be to visit strange lands, but to behold the universe through the eyes of another.” (And, yes, I commit Marcel Proust quotes to memory and usually draw upon them in my day-to-day more times than I would care to mention. The man was a genius and the greatest author of the twentieth century, okay? His words were PURE GOLD. And, I don’t care if I sound obsessed with him, BECAUSE I AM.)
Now, I don’t usually do the whole movie/music/product/restaurant/whatever review thing because, well, this blog isn’t specifically geared towards that end. If I like something or if it gives me an interesting, memorable experience, I’ll mention it, but the majority of what I have to say will be about my own experience as opposed to a full on critical examination of the movie/music/product/restaurant/whatever. So if you’re looking for a traditional movie review of Life in a Day in which directing techniques are discussed and a star-based evaluation is given in the end, now is the time to look elsewhere. I’m sure there are hundreds of blogs which exist for this very purpose, this just isn’t one of them.
ANYHOW. The reason why I felt so moved by the end of this film was because of the fact that it honestly put the world in perspective for me. It allowed me to see the same exact day through the camera’s eye of the entire world in all its diverse beauty and ugliness, and its meaningful and pointless expanse. It also reminded me of the fact that our realities are actually just a figment which our own eyes conjure up. Our eyes see the image, and our brain imposes and processes the meaning.
Our physical representations and the way we go about living our day-to-day lives is based upon an insane cocktail of our past habits and our traditional prejudices. Everyday, we move forward in our lives with these prejudices and habits serving as the framework for how we should act upon our fantasies and our fears. Life in a Day showed this complex yet beautiful reality of our human experience by using the diverse physical world as a mirror for what it means to each person on this earth to simply live.
In the frenzy and the lull of our daily routine, we don’t realize that at the exact same moment 7 billion other people are perhaps doing the exact same thing in a very different way. Even right now–as each different pair of eyes reads these words, they will be applying to them their own cache of experiences and prejudices which have been ingrained in your head since the moment of your birth and which are different from anyone else’s.
And MY GOD with 7 billion people in this world, does that mean that no one really knows or feels exactly what someone else does at the same exact moment? That thought just GAVE MY BRAIN WHIP-LASH. Monsieur Proust was right (as he always is). The greatest and longest and most meaningful journeys of discovery honestly take place in “behold[ing] the universe in the eyes of another.”
I swear, some things still take my breath away.
All my love!