Friday, March 5, 2010

A New Story

Joyce once described history as "a nightmare from which I am trying to awake". I've been thinking a lot about history lately, partly for my book, and partly - I suspect - because of my age. Accumulating 'personal history' makes you more conscious of a bigger historical narrative. Which is probably also why I find historians so interesting when it comes to understanding the present - and anticipating the future.

Hence my enjoyment of a recent talk by GMU's Stephen Davies on the theme of Why We Are Not Living in Western Civilisation. The money quote for me comes 48 minutes into the talk (my transcription):
What does this mean about the way we see the world? It means that we are experiencing something quite novel. We’re not at the end of a long story, or the culmination of a long story, but rather at the start of something new. And this I think changes the way you view the world quite radically and quite drastically.
I like that idea: there is something intellectually and emotionally invigorating about thinking you are only at the beginning rather than at the end. Same goes for countries as well as civilisations I suspect.

And for something a little lighter - one hell of an example of 'something new' come to think of it - check out this amazing video. I've been wowed before by attempts to digitally create reality, but making reality look digitally created is something else. New York as a giant child's sandpit. By Sam O'Hare. Awesome.

The Sandpit from Sam O'Hare on Vimeo.

Be sure to watch it in HD.

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