Saturday, December 10, 2011

The importance of context

It's 5:54 on a Saturday morning I should be sleeping. But the storm is howling out side and the thoughts generated by listening to the philospher Esa Saarinen's lecture yesterday is whirling around in my head.

During the lecture I notice Mr Saarinen explicitly mentioned quite a few dead people. In order of apperance:
  • Terry Fox
  • his friends husband
  • his own father
  • a decorated war veteran
  • his uncle Eino
This lead me to the following question:
Do I recognize his need to to process death by mentioning 5 dead persons or,
is it because I have a hidden need to process death that I notice theses mentions?

Hi later ends the lecture with a clip of Shirley Bassey signing
...and now the end is near...

Now this could all be coincidence, after all hi does mention ice-hockey and beer alot more than death. I don't know the guy enough to tell if he really likes hockey and beer this much or is he just good at targeting his lecture according to his crowd. After all, speaking to a general Finnish audience, for a majority ice hockey is a religion and beer is God. But i would be surprised if a speaker of this magnitude would say anything by chance.

During his lecture Saarinen used many film and TV clips, one of which has a clip from the movie Invictus staring Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon as the South African rugby legend François Pienaar. From the scene where  François meets Mr. Mandela for the first time, Saarinen points out a line said by Mr. Mandela to Mrs Brits as she comes in with the afternoon tea, it went something like this:
Ah Mrs Brits, you are the sunshine of my days
Saarinen then goes on by how great it was of Mr. Mandela to great his assistant in such a warm way. [haa  haa, almost made a subconscious slip there by typing "worm" instead of "warm"] Once again I'm not sure, did Saarinen intentionally take this line out of context, a line that had been preceded only a few lines earlier by another line by Mr. Mandela, again freely quoted:
Please sit here François (pointing at the chair, then walking to the sofa with it's back against the windows and continuing) the light hurts my eyes

Taking that Saarinen's lecture evolves around this loosely translated statement of his:
Positivity is not the absence of negativity
but a treasure chest, that the size of which we determine
It is easy to see why he would chose to down play, or miss altogether, the sarcastic link between these two lines, the light hurting Mr. Mandelas eyes and him calling his assistant "sunshine" (or massive amounts of light). This is where Kelso, of That 70's show, would yell out "Burn!!".  The statement itself led me to construct this formula

P = positive willpower or intent or cause
N = negative willpower or intent or cause
R = the  real world out come or effect

this in turn would give
 the size of P (positive force) and N (negative force) is up to each of us to determine for our self and thous "dragging" R toward the larger of these to forces. In order to make the world a more positive place we need to take every action to make the positive as big as we can.

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