July 19, 2006

Elements

Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business in great waters;

24 These see Yahweh's works, and his wonders in the deep.

25 For he commands, and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up its waves.

26 They mount up to the sky; they go down again to the depths. Their soul melts away because of trouble.

27 They reel back and forth, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits' end.

Psalm 107

I watcjhed Open Water last night. It was a reminder about water, the best since The Perfect Storm. Modern people have I think a deep sense of superiority to ancients: we have tamed the elements. We understand nature. Movies like this, which show how it is to be in the middle of the sea for a long time, remind us that what we have done is to tame the little bit of space around our houses, which is a bit like putting a paper bag over our heads. We have not reduced the awesomeness of anything awesome; we have mostly just made awe less available in our emotional set. It is helpful to access the possibility that whoever wrote Psalm 107 knew something that we have forgotten.

There's a very fine scene in the middle of the movie. A couple has been abandoned on a dive by their tour boat. They are alone on the ocean. Sharks are circling. They begin to discuss whose fault it all is, going back and forth over the chains of causation, trying to find the place to fix blame. "You spent too long with the eel." "You made us plan our vacation at the last minute." "I wanted to go skiing." It is a genuinely funny and horrifying scene, which is to say it gets about as close to the truth of the human condition as any bit of video ever has. Some facts make what we normally think trivial.

Posted by shea0017 at 10:29 AM