Thursday, February 2, 2017

Seeing in Technicolor and 3D...

Intrigo (Intrigue Oriented Introductory Video) for Module 1 of the FEW Nexus

Isn't it funny how many people see things as black and white? "You're either with us or against us" they will say, You are either on the left or on the right... liberal or conservative, democrat or republican... and this is to say nothing about the problems we face in  race relations.  People increasingly talk as if the world truly were in black and white.  Some folks, seeking to be more compromising, talk about "shades of gray".  They will show a strip of gray scale and point out that not everything neatly falls into the easy categories, but can sometimes take a position somewhere in between in that nebulous "gray area".
  Does anybody remember "technicolor"?  I mean, seriously, from the way the world is going you would think we were rushing headlong into the 1930s.  And by then we actually hadtechnicolor -- the process, applied to the way we looked at the world through film recordings,  was invented as far back as 1916, and major films were introducing it two decades later --  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs by Disney in 1937, Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz in 1939... the age of black and white films was coming to an end just as World War II was beginning. The Wizard of Oz in particular was subliminally telling Americans that amidst the turmoil of twisters and coming disasters we could still turn our dreary Kansas lives around and enter a magical world if we opened the door and looked out with new eyes.   Even everyday television was moving into color by the early 1960s -- I remember being in nursery school in 1966 and going to a wealthier friend's house to watch a vibrantly colorful episode of Batman and Robin on their big color TV in the living room.

So what is it about people, almost none of whom are color blind, continuing to see the world in black and white and shades of grey?  Have you seen the movies Pleasantville, from 1989, set in a faux-nostalgic black and white stylized conservative 1950s landscape where two teens fall in love and gradually bring color into their dreary and oppressive world?  Or how about the 2014 dystopian film "The Giver" where youth in a post-disaster world devoid of color need to reclaim their memories of a golden age where even gold was just another one of the magnificent diversity of  emotional colors that made life worth living. Why do we humans who live already, and always have,  in a diverse and colorful world, act as though things are so black and white?

And all this is to say nothing about what makes so many people continue to see the world in only two dimensions, with world views that are so shallow, so lacking in perspective and depth.  We can't blame the movies or TV for this.   I mean, 3D film making is everywhere these days, and it has actually been around since 1922 when audiences in Los Angeles flocked to see the feature film "The Power of Love" using the red-and-green anaglyph (Links to an external site.) 3D system.  3D Stereoscopy for looking at still images had been around and popular since the 1860s.  And for crying out loud, people naturally see the world in 3D, in color, because we are primates with binocular color vision from eyes filled with rods and cones.  And now we have immersive 360 degree virtual reality goggles, like the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR and all that, which simply make entertainment look more like the real life we've been immersed in for millions of years.  So what makes people continue to see the world as though we were staring at an old black and white TV?

I know what you are thinking now. You are thinking "what on earth does this have to do with Food, Energy and Water"?  Well my friends, in this module I'm going to seek to convince you that NEXUS thinking, the thinking that allows us to see the hidden connections between these three dominant sectors crucial to  sustainability, and helps us survive in our post-modern world, DEMANDS that you are able to see in more dimensions and with more degrees of freedom, and in living color, fully using the brain and sensory systems our ancestors evolved precisely to solve food, energy an water problems millions of years ago.  If we still see things as black and white and in two dimensions, like many reptiles,  we certainly won't be able to see the Nexus that connects us and that can keep us from the fate of the dinosaurs.  So... let's get started... before its too late!

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