Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Communication & Arrival

“Language is the dress of thought” wrote Samuel Johnson in 18th century England. Languages, national, international, ancient, modern, written, spoken, technical, speciality, and even slang, how they evolved, how they are written, how so much diversity exists - all of this presents a constant source of wonder. Accents, side-kicks of language, add an extra layer of fascination.

In astrology, these matters are ruled by planet Mercury, planet of communication. Astrology has its own language, with a vocabulary capable of confusing "outsiders", as well as the occasional "insider". The computer, internet and social networks have their own special vocabularies too.

More important than language itself, or accents, is nuance of understanding or misunderstanding arising between people, even when using the same language in the same accent.

Here's where astrology, as well as life-experience, can play a part, with particular emphasis on Mercury's natal position. As Anais Nin wrote:We don't see things as they are. We see them as we are. I'd paraphrase that and say that we don't always perceive words, phrases and concepts as they are commonly defined, but as we are, via our uncommon natal charts.

The above paragraphs, edited from a 2010 post of mine, came to mind after we'd visited our local cinema to see the new movie Arrival, which did, after all arrive there. I'd been expecting we were going to miss it, at least until DVD or Netflix release.

The movie Arrival has its main focus on a new language conundrum, when visitors from another planet and civilisation land in 12 locations on our planet Earth. How to communicate? Dr. Louise Banks, a linguist played by Amy Adams, is recruited by the US government for her translation skills.

Vox has a review of the movie HERE
From the beginning of that review:
Science fiction is never really about the future; it’s always about us. And Arrival, set in the barely distant future, feels like a movie tailor-made for 2016, dropping into theaters mere days after the most explosive election in most of the American electorate’s memory.
But the story Arrival is based on — the award-winning novella Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang — was published in 1998, almost two decades ago, which indicates its central themes were brewing long before this year. Arrival is much more concerned with deep truths about language, imagination, and human relationships than any one political moment...........

We thought the movie interesting, glad to have seen it, but I wouldn't go along with the level of praise most reviewers are according the film. It's a tad unbalanced, in that too much time is spent hovering on screens filled with nothing much, in the early part of the story, time which could have been much better used later in the film. The closing scenes felt too rushed for the average audience member to fully catch up. There's a "twist", though part of it it wasn't too hard to guess, another twisty part can temporarily tangle the brain.

There are a number of reviews, and even a video, with "spoilers" around the net for anyone curious and unlikely to see the movie. The concept revealed by the ending is one quite familiar to sci-fi fans, but maybe not to the average viewer.

The movie is well worth seeing but, all in all, I much preferred Interstellar.



mike said...

I'll have to wait until "Arrival" is on Netflix. I'm not one to easily learn a foreign language, though I took one semester of Spanish and an intensive session of beginning Chinese. I'm having enough trouble keeping English fluent in my ageing brain. My one trip to Europe introduced me to a large group of multilingualed persons willing to provide me with assistance, some knowing five, six, or seven different languages. I don't know how they do it.

Vimeo, available on Roku, has a series of short-films, each made within 48 hours and titled "48 Hours". Some are very good. Here's one of my favs:


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Twilight said...

mike ~ Yes, it's difficult to imagine being fluent in multiple languages. I can, just about imagine, with years of training, being able to translate several languages, on paper (as it were) but not conversationally -that'd be a bridge too far! French and Latin were my favourite schoolday subjects, along with English, of course. It was said that if one has the kind of brain that finds language learning easy, then one is likely to find mathematics difficult - that certainly applied to me.

I watched "Ghostfish" - clever idea and cleverly executed - but weird with it! :-)

mike (again) said...

"Ghostfish" is definitely weird, but creative and appealed to my Scorpio-Sun: sex, death, murder, ghosts, suspense...LOL. All of these shorts were crafted within 48 hours, which wouldn't be easy to come-up with an idea, write the script, then film. Sleep deprivation for two days. We have a similar contest here in my city, which has become quite an event. All interested videographers show-up at the appointed hour and place, and they're given instructions to include specific items in the filming (to prevent prerecording). They have five days to complete the project.

“(Time) Travel Centre” was the winner and it's probably more to your Aquarian-Sun sensibility...time travel and all:

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Oh yes! Loved the "(Time)Travel Centre" short. Great idea for expansion into a movie - probably would need to be a (dark) comedy! The Aussie accents were a little hard to catch in places, but may be due to my computer sound system.

LB said...

Twilight ~ There's also the *symbolic* (and 'universal') language of the unconscious, which communicates with us through dreams, intuition, synchronicity.

My husband and I didn't love "Arrival" either. Its message seemed corrupted to me, could've been a much deeper, beautiful movie about those mysterious *inner* forces which hold the potential to unite, rather than divide us, offer us choices. Forces which only seem 'alien' to us because we fail to recognize their value.

Something else bugged me about the movie and its message, left me feeling uneasy.

Maybe I missed it, but the focus seemed to be on the military and governments. There was nothing about humanity's shared relationship to the environment and indigenous life, nothing about the dangers of capitalism and expansion, nothing about the oppression and exploitation of the poor and vulnerable for power and profit . . . only about the dangers of war between nations and the benefits of those governments/nations working together ~ but to what end?

Contrary to the movie's suggested happy ending, I don't believe earth's inhabitants are likely to be peacefully united by joined, external *governmental* forces, *NOT* if the real goal is globalization and expansion, more unregulated, unrestrained capitalism, more free-trade agreements (like NAFTA and TPP) serving corporate powers.

Apparently in the original story upon which the movie was based, "there is no military tension, no setting up of China or Russia as aggressors . . ."

Did Hollywood turn take the original story and intentionally turn it into a propaganda piece? Dunno. It seems to me the story's original message is more subtle, more personal.

Maybe the savior we're all looking for is within each of us.

Twilight said...

LB ~ I too investigated the short story and agree that it seemed the movie had included quite a bit of added material - and material aimed at promoting a "one world" -New World Order?

There was the question, also, of whether our fates are mapped out for us, or whether we do have choices - whether the couple should have a child, knowing what they knew, etc.

I suspect, like you, that there was a wee bit of background propaganda there, perhaps not intentional, perhaps just making the story fit current issues....don't know. Messages were mixed and muddled. Whenever the film becomes available, DVD/Netflix I'll watch again, knowing what I now know.

LB said...

Twilight ~ Agree, maybe not intentional at all. It could go either way.

After I left my comment I read two different interviews with the story's author, Ted Chiang. It's clear the message you and I wondered about (globalization/NWO) wasn't his intention. I think the story's message might be too deep (or paradoxical?) to translate well. Or maybe I'm just not scientific enough and projected my own 'mystical' leanings in interpreting it.:)