We have been the lucky recipients of a lot of “Documentary Channel” fare. Our satellite company gives us a lot of free time on it because we are “long and favored customers.”
It’s turned out to be on of the best channels around. While there is plenty of junk, there are great finds as well, often letting us peek into the lives of people who live far far different lives than we. Often we learn about people we have never heard of, but who have made significant contributions to the communities in which they live. We saw, for instance, a wonderful one on the late Oscar Brown Jr., songwriter and easily the “father of rap.” His song about the slave auctioneer selling women on the block is breathtaking in it’s showing of the real state of human slavery.
We have seen the crazy world of Donkey Kong champions and the egos that drive young men to fight and cheat their way to the top. We’ve see, as we mentioned some months ago, the lives of Mongolians on the Russian steppes and their camels.
Some are lousy of course, as with any genre of entertainment. Others are riveting, such as Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. What is absolutely true is that the title is not the standard by which to judge. We currently have one in the can about a brothel and the owners who are a man and his quadriplegic wife. We haven’t yet sampled that one.
The other night we saw one about the extension of human life. It was idiotically filmed, which was too bad, since the folks who were interviewed had some really important things to say. It was not your typical “state of the art” of life extension at all, but a provocative look at the issues that may arise should we succeed in dramatically extending the span of a human life.
For instance, philosophically, some argue that we are what we are mostly because of our recognition that our lives are finite. In other words, given our short lives, we develop the need to find meaning, and to make some mark upon the earth. If our lives were significantly longer, we might lose this urge. Other’s disclaim such a notion with nary a thought.
Others suggest that we might lose our willingness to take risks, and this has been a driving force in discovery and growth in knowledge. If the only real way to die is through accident, then we might become fearful and paranoid. We might stay home, and remain safe and sound, rather than subject ourselves to the proverbial “getting hit by a truck crossing the street.”
One complaint was unusual. It came from a physicist working at CERN. He said that he, and others like him, were able to think of and plan out experiments they would like to conduct. However, in some cases the lag time before the monies, equipment, and pre-requisite testing had been done, exceeded an individual lifetime. Now that was something I did not think of.
Of course there were the silly folks as well.
One group gathers around the limited scientific evidence that suggests that severe caloric reduction leads to longer life. Some years ago, in an experiment involving some other issue, it was noted that rats fed a restricted diet, lived quite a bit longer than their normal counterparts.
Armed with this finding a scientist or two did similar experiments on other animals and found the results to be similar. From that was born the “Society” of those who decide to restrict their intake of food.
A representative claimed that the results were that “you are really really skinny”, and that you have “lots of energy” but that, on the other hand, you were “hungry all the time” except for members who placed all their calories for the day in one meal. These folks were only hungry 21 hours a day, and not 24.
I guess nobody is old enough yet to know whether their lifestyle has had any effect on longevity.
So you get An Inconvenient Truth, The March of the Penguins, and short vignettes into the lives of interesting and unsung heroes in our world, and you get the quadriplegic and her hubby starting a brothel, or a full-of-himself Sheriff in North Carolina, who calls a middle-aged woman “possibly armed and dangerous” for operating a tiny “video poker” game in her parlor.
You get it all, but frankly, more than most of it is actually quite good. So if you have that option with your cable company, do take a look.
**I have not been paid for this endorsement. :p
- Oscar Brown, Jr.’s Work Song (darkjive.com)
Do you get Current TV? I have a feeling you’d love their investigative reporting series, “Vanguard.”
yes we do Ahab, in fact we watched the 50 documentaries you should see, and they show some great ones. We love current tv.
Michael Hart said:
“I guess nobody is old enough yet to know whether their lifestyle has had any effect on longevity.”
Well, yes and no, Sherry. You see, I want to live forever. So far, so good. 😉
Will that want keep me alive longer? Prevent me from accidentally walking into the path of a bus? No way, José.
But seriously, I think a decision years ago to never again ride a chopper at night— especially under the influence of LSD— has added at least the last 4 decades to my mortal longevity. (I hit a medium-sized German shepherd running across the road that night, but somehow managed not to lose control of the bike as it swung wildly from side to side, and lived to write this email!)
And when it comes to talking real longevity— eternal life, ultimately the only kind of longevity that really matters— my conscious decision to do God’s Will as apposed to mine has, in fact and in truth, ensured my personal eternal salvation.
I know some might argue that is arrogant, or at least presumptuous. But human salvation is real; it is based on two things which just about anybody can grasp and experience: the fact of the fatherhood of God, and its correlated truth, the brotherhood of all mankind.
By taking my salvation for granted, it means my chief concern is no longer a selfish desire for personal salvation, but rather the unselfish urge to love others, and therefore serve them, even as Jesus loved and served us.
And I write all this as we are in the last days of our cable service, which we cancelled last week, having decided to rely on roku and the internet for the time we spend in front of the teevee. Live long and Prosper!
Michael, you are right, so far so good! lol.. And I also agree, that there is no good reason to do really dumb things for thrills. I admit to saying that some poor soul who died doing some crazy stunt? Well, better for the gene pool sometimes.
And I very much agree about our eternal souls. I truly do believe that this is only a temporary physical life and that we are at the beginning of a journey that is filled with wonder and service. I too try as best I can to live my life doing as little harm as I can and helping others where I can.
2 big questions/considerations come to mind on the topic of “eternal physical life” (i.e. the possibility of eternal life of the body as opposed to the soul)…
1. What are the ramifications for the soul if we are all able to live eternally in our physical bodies? I suppose one answer to this could be that, if we literally have the potential to live an infinite number of years, then it is pretty much inevitable that we will all die at some point – can we really expect to live millions and millions of years without having a fatal accident, a fatal disease, etc? In which case, since we are ultimately just putting off the inevitable, then the soul is “safe.” (What are millions of years to God…?)
2. Eternal life will surely mean universal sterilisation – or the very restricted (based on what criteria?) issuing of “fertility permits”… will it not? If not, then the exponentially expanding population will have to expand rapidly into the universe… but what about when we fill the universe?
Okay I’ve just thought of a 3rd question!
3. There is the (highly likely, I reckon) possibility that we will achieve “eternal life” through downloading our brains/minds/bodies into some sort of digital format. What then will happen to the soul? If our body dies, but it and all its contents are downloaded onto some future version of a memory card, will we *feel* that death? Will my original soul *die* (or move onto the afterlife or whatever), then a new soul be formed with the creation of the digital Me?
Yes I do think about this stuff!
I just thought the documentary was excellent in the ideas it brought up although it was a lousy piece of film which had to be overcome in order not to miss the points being made. I think you have touched on some very important questions that would need to be addressed. Would we all be afraid to leave the house?
Some think there are an infinite number of universes. When two “bump” into each other, another big bang is created and voila….we start another one. Makes my head hurt to think too deeply on that stuff I tell ya.
I try not to think about these things too much! 😉
It’s not good to make a practice of it regularly I admit.