Poignant Beauty

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I wanted to post about an anime series I have only recently encountered through Netflix’s streaming.  This series has become one of my favorites because of its simple poignant beauty in style and story.  Unlike most anime movies or series, there is no overall plot goal and the stories can be taken almost independent of each other.  What ties them together is the interaction between humans and the creatures known as Mushi, which exist outside our reality yet interact with it in profound ways.

The series does not dwell on whether the Mushi are good or evil, but on the results of the interactions between humans and Mushi as we do with nature.  While there are very sad consequences to these encounters, they do not denote a conscious effort on the part of the Mushi to achieve them.  They just do what they do like a wolf put among a flock of sheep.  The episodes don’t always end with a happy outcome just like the reality in which we live, but the feelings invoked for the individuals being affected are deep and loving.

One of my favorite episodes deals with a son chasing after rainbows because it was the way he chose to deal with the fact that this is what his father did.  During the episode we learn that the son’s father had been influenced by a Mushi that took on the form of a rainbow that drove him to continue to seek out the Mushi, going mad every time it rained.  The story showed the suffering of the family and their fight to cope with the father’s problem.  The father was never saved; however, the son was able to find a measure of peace.

What I liked most about the series, besides the soft watercolor style of animation, was the character driven stories.  The struggles of individuals in an indifferent and yet wondrous world and all the baggage we bury ourselves with.

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I Believe in Astrology

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Hang on, wait a minute, have I gone completely off my rocker?  No not really, I just need to qualify this statement.  Actually, I believe in the underlying principle of astrology with respect to stars, planets, and other heavenly bodies having an effect on human beings.  What I do not believe; however, is that any human being could understand enough about the extremely subtle effects the billions and billions of stars could have upon the human body to predict someones actions.

I do believe that even the remotest stars within our universe play a role in the reactions we have to the world around us.  One of the fascinating ideas that bounces around my pulpy noodle comes from some astronomy show I had watched about the effect the core of our milky way has on the outer most stars in our galaxy.  Astronomers were amazed  to see that the speed of the stars at the edge of galaxy had a direct relationship to the size of the black hole at the center our galaxy.  To them, the distance of these stars from the center meant that the effects of the center’s gravity on them was negligible.  This idea stuck in my head.

To me, I was not surprised by the connection.  While the effects were negligible, they were still there, causing the stars to move faster in their orbits.  From that I moved on to the effects of the Moon on the earth.  The moon pulls on our oceans and drives the cycles of some sea creatures, including us in ways that we may not even notice.  I believe that the gravitational pull of even the most distant star contributes minutely to the make up of our personalities and actions.  We come from the earth and we ; therefore, are subject to the same forces that shaped it.  The forces that are still shaping it.  We are effected by the magnetic field of the earth, pull of the moon, radiation from deep space, and weather patterns, which are all influenced by the universe we sail through.  Scientists don’t even understand all the complex mechanisms certain animals use to migrate or mate, let alone the mechanics of the human brain, and all of these are affected by the universe around us.

I feel that, while the effects distant stars have on us are small, they are still there.  Considering that some forces can be categorized by wavelengths and that some wavelength forces can either negate or add to each others effect; hence, even minute forces at a distance can still have a profound influence upon the human body.  Thus, stars, black holes, and planets, are effecting our actions through an intricately woven dance of forces that we have no way of truly interpreting.  We can make some general assumptions about large nearby objects, but the tiny, layered forces from deep in the universe will be forever beyond us.  The vast distances involved, along with our limited field of reference, i.e. human senses and intellects, make it impossible to make any meaningful predictions.  We have the same problem with our ability to accurately predict weather patterns.  Weather patterns can only be predicted to a certain point because of our inability to collect and analyze the vast amounts of minuscule data that could affect the prediction.  Does this mean that the flap of a butterflies wings could not be part of the creation of a storm miles away?  No, it just means that we can not measure and/or predict the butterfly’s effect.

Are the stars effecting our actions?  Yes, the gravitational pull of the moon causes the ebb and flow of water across the planet and the human body is 75% (I think) water, so human bodies must have tides within them, so why can’t the stars play a part?  Some forces and effects are probably very subtle, yet they are there.  Can we predict their outcomes?  No.  Does astrology mean anything?  Yes, if only in the sense that it highlights our place in the universe, but as a means of accurately predicting actions, no.