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4/30/09

Life Out of Balance, Koyaanisqatsi, & What The World Has Become

The author of the commentary below had other intentions. Indeed, there is reason to be hopeful in some of what he describes, but when I read the paragraph other perceptions were stirred in me. I was reminded of the beautiful and profoundly troubling movie Koyaanisqatsi, Hopi for "life out of balance," directed by Godfrey Reggio, music by Philip Glass. I have provided a two minute video clip at the bottom. I have broken the long single-paragraph passage into separate paragraphs:

"The lands of hunter-gatherers have been overrun and are managed by states or individuals, much of it turned into farmland worked by machines. An abundance of food has made huge populations possible. In industrialized societies the percentage of people working in agriculture has dropped to between two and three percent.

Progress and science have encouraged a belief in suspended judgment. There are opposing pulls between a desire for change versus adherence to tradition. The belief in magic has declined and political decisions through mysticism have become disreputable.

Commerce requires social order, and with manufacturing, trade and commerce, tolerance is an economic necessity. Integration has been economically beneficial, and it has been chosen over separation and isolation. Big cities are largely a collection of strangers. With more people, land has become more expensive. The enjoyment of space is more restricted. More than centuries before, people identify with the state and less with their local community.

Democracy and the rule of law is the accepted norm. Improved communications and trade have tied the world more closely together. Conquest and domination are discredited, replaced by a widespread belief that people should be free of the authoritarianism of strangers or ethnicities who consider themselves superior." More . . .

Here is Koyaanisqatsi , Hopi for "life out of balance":

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