Thursday, June 29, 2006

Once Upon A Time

"It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves,
and it is not possible to find it elsewhere."

I listened to a critic of the movie "The Da Vinci Code" recently, and whilst he was clearly threatened by an alternative view of history the movie suggests, he did come up with the term "exploiting illusions", which I found fascinating. There is always another side to every story, and this one, which has had more pages written about it in the last couple of months than I care to think about, is simply another one. Jesus, Mary Magdalene and Leonardo Da Vinci are all without doubt huge historical figures worth understanding and celebrating. However, institutions that evolve primarily to protect certain stories will always arouse my suspicion. What is an illusion, after all? None of us were there, and so as a result, we seek to understand the truth through others who have written down what they perceived to be true. The book does a good job of stirring up undercurrents of discord concerning the "official" version of history, that the movie fails to produce in my opinion. I am not a big conspiracy theorist, as there are far too many to count, but I will always strive to understand more than what is simply served up. Intent can often be underrated as a tool of interpretation.

That may be just the influence of the kind of social values tribe I reside in, as so articulately described in a recent dabble with an online survey here. I have done these before, but this one from a Canadian company, takes only 10 min and is more cultural and demographic than political or personality driven. My "Connected Enthusiast", with a touch of "Autonomous Rebel", did give some pause for reflection. Apparently my main motivations are self exploration and experience seeking, and key values are community and experimentation, with a bit of hedonism thrown in for laughs. Alrighty then, good food for thought. Give it a whirl.

Whatever my driving force, and I belive there are many, the story of two of the richest men in the world collaborating on a new philanthropic model is heartening to me. although some could see it as a way of consolidating World Domination, I am optimistic on this one. Even the wealthiest governments in the world do not seem to have the political will or scrotal fortitude to tackle seriously the primary issues of health and education in developing countries. Politicians have to make their decisions based on getting re-elected. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have no such problems. Friends for awhile it would seem, this excellent synopsis of the latest turn in their relationship, shows some fascinating insights into the world of capitalism's premier class. Mostly outspoken Buffet, who made his fortune in the stock market, doesn't see capitalism working for the poor. Really? Still, anyone who stands back and gifts $30 billion to a friend and says dispense how you see fit as long as it addresses the problems of disease and education, must be getting some clear messages from somewhere.

The World Cup gets to the business end this weekend, with quarter finals tasty enough for anyone to get excited about, as long as they are a football fan. There are a few of those around, apparently... The time difference here means that the legions of England supporters will be up and down to the pub or wherever to watch the game at, er, 3 a.m! I had to pass on an offer, but will see the game if not live, then shortly thereafter, most likely from under the duvet!

At the other end of town, the cultural capital built up over the last few years by The Auckland Film Festival means I have the schedule bookmarked and can rest assured to have some mind boggling visual entertainment and information coming my way through the big screen. There can surely be better ways to spend a grotty winter eve, but I haven't found too many yet...


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