Wednesday, July 8, 2009

dream and nightmare

I don't know if I've ever mentioned how much I love the films made by anime director Hayao Miyazaki who made Spirited Away, Castle in the Sky, Kiki's Delivery Service and Howl's Moving Castle among others. There's something about his vision of the world as it almost is, as it never quite was, as it could possibly be, that catches my heart.

It's probably no more than the glimmerings of things seen and understood from a pre-verbal childhood, one that happened for me before the advent of television. I was born in England quite a long time ago when remnants of magic still existed especially in the countryside. My parents, who had survived the horrors of WWII, pointed out fairy paths to amuse me when we picnicked in verdant green fields dotted with tiny white daisies, clover and myriad buttercups. Eventually, we left for Canada but the memories of magic went with me.

Today I read that James Lovelock, the now 90 year old English scientist who first propounded the Gaia Theory has written another book called 'The Vanishing Face of Gaia'. He feels we've missed the tiny window of opportunity that still existed until a few years ago to curtail the habits of ours that are leading to global climate change and there are many scientists who now agree with him. It was Lovelock 'who established that the various components of the biosphere - plants, animals, minerals, gases, the sun's heat - interact in such a way as to create and maintain a climate amenable to life'. The icecaps and glaciers are rapidly shrinking, carbon consuming algae in the seas are dying and methane release from melted permafrost will only hasten the heating trend currently underway.

He believes that with luck we'll avoid global resource wars but even so the earth's carrying capacity could be markedly reduced in the coming century. We all know what he means by that and it makes me feel more sad than words can say to think of it at all. But I'm an escape artist and Lovelock has also offered an escape - into a future world where we've learned our lessons about war and greed. I hope he's right about that part even as I hope there's still time for the children we love to grow up and make the decision to have fewer children themselves. Meanwhile I'll take comfort when and where it's offered which for me sometimes includes Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli.

My Neighbour Totoro :-)


Spadoman said...

What a double edged sword. Living in the land of plenty, but knowing we have ruined and damned the future for our Grandchildren. Hard not to worry about it, about those that will have to deal with what we've left them.

It has been time for a long while to make changes and get out of certain comfort zones in our lives, not only to conserve and get used to changes, but to teach the young ones that it won't always be like this.

I'm not familiar with Hayao Miyazaki or his films. I'll put them on my list for "things to consider" when other activities wane as weather gets cooler and daylight time shorter.


La Belette Rouge said...

We have even more in common. I had a Jungian sand play therapist Totoro after seeing one of my sand trays. She was so right. I loved it. Also, He-weasel and I watch Howl's Moving Castle over and over just to see Calcifer.

I am so hoping that Lovelock is wrong. I have to say that in my gut I believe that even if things swing to a dark and destructive side then they will swing back. Life and death and life and death are the pattern. Life always comes out of death. Perhaps it was all my years with Jungian theory that made me think that or maybe I am just in denial.

Randal Graves said...

into a future world where we've learned our lessons about war and greed.

Bwah. Betcha a barrel of oil and a gallon of fresh water that we learn jack.

I haven't seen as much anime as I'd like, I'll have to check these out.

Liberality said...

I am afraid he is right. I don't like agreeing with him though. People I love, people I don't even know, people I wish would STFU, people from the future will be hurt and my heart grieves...

susan said...

spadoman - The thing that's really annoying is people being propagandized that the way we live as individuals is the problem. Although it's certainly true that we westerners use more resources than do people in poor countries the fact is we don't have much choice about our lifestyles. For example, houses are cheap away from the city so we buy a decent place in the country and have to drive to work and shop. That goes for much of the rest of what we require but the problem - the really big problem - is industrialization and theft by major players. If we all took two minute showers it wouldn't change the fact that 90% of the world's water is used (and much wasted) by mining, industry, oil production (check out the figures for water used in Alberta for extracting oil from the tar shale) and agro-business farming. Ticks me off.

On the other subject, I think your grandchildren would love the Miyazaki movies. In this country they're Disney properties and are all available to rent but expensive to buy.

belette - My personal favorite is Spirited Away but I'm absolutely delighted to know you and He-weasel share our love for these movies. There'll be a new one in the summer - Ponyu.

I hope Lovelock is wrong too but it sure would help if we could find a way to make corporations responsible. Unfortunately, the biggest players are trans-global and answer to nobody - unless of course, those that are based here could have their charters revoked by state attorneys general. There are laws that are just not enforced.

randal - Maybe in a thousand years if we evolve a bit more, eh?

liberality - I'm afraid too. He's been absolutely correct about so much.

Seraphine said...

cute anime.
with any luck, we'll soon have an erupting volcano spew enough dust into the air to cool the world for a few years.
it'd be preferable to a nuclear winter.

okjimm said...

Graves, you Swine!


..... ooops, wrong blog.


Nancy said...

I feel such a sadness for my little grandson, so sweet and innocent, to inherit such a mess. And to think there are still people who do not believe in climate change. A legislator, in a meeting about mining in Arizona, stated the world was 6,000 years old and "hasn't been done away with yet", so they needed to mine, make money and live happily ever after. The idiocy that governs parts of our country is unbelievable!

Steve Emery said...

My Neighbor Totoro is one of my favorite movies - period. I could watch them waiting at the bus stop over and over again. And the scenery when Satsuki goes in search of Mai is absolutely breathtaking. I don't think I have ever seen more beautiful clouds anywhere in art or reality.

And the magic just under the surface, the frivolity, the glee in the Ghibli movies is JUST what I wanted the world to REALLY be like when I was a child. And I still do.

And there plenty of sassy characters in their films, too. I love the cat in Kiki's Delivery Service.

If you haven't seen Whisper of hte Heart yet, you should.

And I have Castle in the Sky on DVD and have not watched it yet. Our Youngest teases me about it - but I love to hoard treasures like that. Someday I will take it out and... But I want to watch Spirited Away again, first, and I've been sort-of hoarding that, too.

Steve Emery said...

Just like me right now to get into the escape of the films, and say nothing about the serious issues... So much serious stuff in my life at the moment.

susan said...

sera - It's true and there's not a whole lot we can do about any of it, is there? Between earthquakes that could cause California to fall into the sea or the Yellowstone Super Volcano all we can do is live our lives day by day.

okjimm - Right blog :-)

nancy - If reincarnation is real it would be nice to know one has a place to come home to. People would likely behave better if that were the common understanding.

steve - Spirited Away is indeed perfect but My Neighbor Totoro stole my heart too. I know you'll love Castle in the Sky when you see it and get to meet the pirates. The best of the Japanese video games pull off much the same feeling but you don't have to make any effort when sitting back to watch his films. Howl's Moving Castle is darker than the others but once again the artwork is superb and the story uplifting as well as fun. Sometimes it's hard to choose a favorite - guess it depends on mood and it's not like there are dozens. The good news is a new one will be released here in August - Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea. It looks pretty neat but the brief trailers I've seen don't show any really memorable characters.

Pagan Sphinx said...

I'm with Spadoman: Miyazaki is going on my list as well.

I'm deeply saddened by the way we're slowly poisoning our Mother; sometimes to the point of tears. How have we come to this? Greed. And more greed. I suppose it goes without saying.

But your posts always offer a glimpse of hope, which makes wish I could hug you.

A lovingly written post, as always. Lots of things I can relate to regarding the lack of TV and the magic I often created for myself without it.

My older girl does not want children, ever. My younger would never consider more than one or two children, unless they were in nee of adoption. I want to be a grandmother but I'm good with that.

I don't know about elsewhere but in the surrounding, slightly more affluent communities than the one I live in, there seems to be a growing trend toward larger families among the current parenting generation. Three seems to be the number, although I know at least six families in my school district, for example, who have four children. And a couple of have five and six. I don't get it.

laughingwolf said...

wish i was as optimistic as lovelock, i don't believe the masses have the balls to effect the changes needed... now... not next week :(

but i agree with you on miyazaki :)

susan said...

pagan sphinx - Thanks so much for your very kind remarks. I really do hope you'll watch some of the Miyazaki movies I mentioned because I think they'd bring you the same kind of peace they have for me. We wouldn't be into escapism if there weren't something to escape from and for me that's all the aspects of greed and sheer idiocy I see.

I know accidents happen but I've never understood people deliberately having more than two children. I don't get it either.

:D wolf - He does seem to have a rather naive attitude about who the survivors would be :-(

gfid said...

so, being an Alberta resident, of course, the comment about the amt of water required to produce oil shone bright.... and it's so awfully true.... they try to gloss it over with stats about re-using produced salt water that came out of the oilbearing strata in the first place, but there's not even mention of the aquifers between here and there that are at risk when they start injecting steam to loosen the heavy oil enough to pump it out. and don't even get me started on the attitude the poor little oil companies have about the royalty issue (which our charming premier is changing BACK, because the oil gods didn't like it) and how poor Alberta is disadvantaged because what hasn't yet been sucked out of the ground is now more expensive to produce.... rant, rant, rant.

gfid said...

i'm so out of the loop that i don't understand these animated films very well, but i do love the art.

laughingwolf said...

you'll love rima's site:

susan said...

gfid - I understand your anger and frustration all too well. It's simply wrong that those whose only interest is manipulating money get to determine exactly how much damage to enact on the land that only belongs to them on purely imaginary terms.

Miyazaki's movies are even more enjoyable than my stories and are easy enough to rent. Does WayNorth have netflix?

:D wolf - Thanks, I needed that more than you know :-)

marja-leena said...

Somber stuff indeed from Lovelock - Gaia will eventually recover in a new form but humans likely not. I don't even like to think about it for it seems hopeless for the coming generations. Instead those magical memories of childhood in the country that are also evoked by the delightful Miyazaki films seem to offer some comfort and relief, maybe hope. The top image made me think of my childhood books of Nordic trolls and that makes me happy. Maybe that's why we need the old folk tales and art in our lives.

Seraphine said...

i remember volcanic ash from the eruption of mount st. helens. we woke for school, and an inch-thick coat of ash was everywhere, like it had snowed overnight. the ashfall lasted for days. we were told to stay inside.
the clicker: mount st. helens is in washington, at least 1,000 miles away from where we lived in Idaho.

susan said...

marja-leena - Yes, I'm afraid you're correct about the grim outlook for humans. A book I enjoyed a couple of years ago that gives an interesting perspective is called 'The World Without Us' by Alan Weisman. You might enjoy it too.

sera - I'd only been in the US a few years when it happened and was still on the east coast. People I've talked to out here have told me they only got an inch or two of ash because most of it blew east. The most interesting description was in a book by one of my favorite travel-adventure writers, Tim Cahill called 'Jaguars Ripped My Flesh'.

linda said...

oh my it's late for me to address the catastrophe we are handing to our's a horrible mess, one which I have no answer to other than the piddling little I do around here but there is so much more....another day when the brain is not for the little film that everyone seems to know about but me, you have found me a new love! I loved the fantasy about them, the innocent play and the totally outlandish way in which it is all depicted with no attempt at anything more than what it is....somehow very refreshing in comparison of the harry potter's we have today , well our kids and grandkids have, to titillate their imaginations....these little things are so much more than those mega-buck block busters...if has been so long since I went to see a movie in an actual theatre as they are so boring and predictable and this little minute and a half clip had me enthralled! now that's saying something!

susan said...

linda - I think I've said more than enough about catastrophe for the time being but remember there's always surprising possibilities around the next corner. No need to despair in this neighborhood.

I think you really would love some of the Miyazaki movies and if you have access to dvd's nearby or through netflix they're easily found - in English too since they're distributed by Disney. He only allows about 10% CGI (computer generated graphics) so they're almost completely hand done. A very rare thing, as you know. Disney never did original stories and eventually decided to get rid of most of their art staff with predictably sad results. Our favorite Miyazaki movies are: My Neighbour Totoro, Castle in The Sky, Kiki's Delivery Service, Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle. That should offer you a few sweet evenings :-)

Anonymous said...

Ponyo is a very good movie...similiar to My Neighbour Totoro....and the main character Ponyo is very cute...

I did get to see the Japanese will not be disappointed....

susan said...

axw11 - You make it sound better than I'd already imagined. Cool you got to see the Japanese version.