first posted on facebook 04FEB16
In the past couple weeks I have seen “the Revenant” and “the Big Short”, but I have to say that “Hadwin’s Judgement” was truly superior. It was visually stunning, emotionally stirring, and had an enrapturing narrative. I didn’t know the slightest about this story. I really encourage everyone to watch it. It just as easily could have been the revenant, honestly, with di caprio and everything (and it wouldn’t have been better), but i am glad it was a superb little NFB Gem.
I think the question it posed for me is: If some reformed version of the society of ours survives, in a hundred years, or in a thousand years, who will be their Oskar Schindlers (or the Chiune Sugiharas) of the anthropocene? Who are the ones who tried in some tangible, perhaps imperfect, but meaningful way? Who opted out, and tried to speak for and save the vulnerable earth and its people? What are their stories? In the (ideal) society totally integrated and in harmony in global ecological systems, my vote is that Grant Hadwin will be on that list. Beyond this point is really dependant on seeing the movie or knowing the story:http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2002/…/04/the-golden-bough
the most stirring quote i overheard when working up in NE BC: ” you people come in here from the big cities and fuck everything up. And then, you call it progress.” It was a little old lady who said this. it had a massive effect on my psyche. perennial theme, if not driver, of canadian history. the periphery vs. the core. perhaps it is time to rethink the incorrigible core?
Now, it is a tragedy for the Haida culture and people that the tree K’iid K’iyass was killed. And obviously one has to take my background and position into account because I am not an aboriginal person let alone a Haida person. So take this with a grain of salt, a perspective from someone who is really interested in the symbolism, information and meaning. (I hope this story can one day be seen as empowering for the Haida in some way, the tree and its story, not necessarily Grant. Tho, Grant was a deep establishment white guy who opted the fuck out.)
It’s so interesting how so many stories and so much information can be wrapped up in these symbols. And, if you’ve ever read Thomas King, “The truth about stories is that’s all we are”. The metaphorical world guides the physical world and vice versa (and I don’t mean this in a pretentious Uber way) The big new idea about symbols I picked up at Waterloo and will carry on is about semantic pointers: http://compneuro.uwaterloo.ca/…/semantic-pointer-architectu… ….. symbols like the cross, like the hammer and sickle, like the peace sign… they carry all this content that can be broken down and that recomposed into this kind of simultaneously overall vague & simple but rich in their constituent parts. these meanings can be reassigned easily, or co-opted etc. Literally, one person’s terrorist is another persons freedom fighter.
So, this is a really interesting look at the power of symbols and how they can be co-opted or narrated by different perspectives.This is the idea of the symbol through Grant’s perspective : “Here’s the single thing global mainstream society finds valuable, kill it for them to finally look at the whole.”
I think this action could be seen by future people, or even used today, as something biblically poetic. Like a literal and metaphorical symbol for the reform of value in service of us all on earth. The Golden Tree as the cross of a future time or something. There is some cognitive dissonance here but what the heck where isn’t there. Also, death always seals the deal. That’s just something about stories for humans. Someone has to die. Two deaths here, and a revelation. Like the strange case of Yukio Mishima. If there wasn’t any death, the meaning wouldn’t be minted.
I mean the horrible reflection on the rest of the world, regarding the Haida, is that the entire culture and people are devastated and their stewarded land raped for a century before one special tree, a huge tourism draw, is killed and THEN everybody pays attention. I mean that’s cosmic comedy.
Perhaps everything is special, in a way we can’t assign the value system of the modern world on… yet? As it says in the dome of the Chicago Museum of Science and industry: “Science discerns the laws of nature; Industry applies them to the needs of man.” The science we have does not yet have the tools to understand a broad set of phenomena, and industry does not yet have the tools to build a set of physical and social tools to harmonize within these phenomena.I think that this is an idea for the world that will become relevant as our global society, but particularly global elite, pull the heads out of the sand further. “Science advances one funeral at a time.” ― Max Planck. Perhaps society the same way.
We can get there, but its sure as hell not the way the california megalomaniacal billionaires are thinking of “owning the future”. It is by looking to these global indigenous cultures “progress” has silenced, whose legacy and “cultural DNA” luckily, for ALL of our sake, have defied all odds and persevered, that we stand a great chance to find this harmony. I hope. And it’s not to say their aren’t great ideas from all around. But there is distilled knowledge that we should listen to that has an understanding of systems of the earth. How does it work? Why? It just does, and that’s all we need for now.
I hope that this century is truly a century of integration of these ideas, and not one of further deviating from each other. Going back to the symbolism, this is currently a story about an ecoterrorist, a murderer, a crazy person. It will always be all of this things, but it can be other things as well.
The movie also strongly affirmed my feeling that most if not all of the prophets & serious game changers in history, now I am talking ALL the big ones, experienced severe mania and/or psychosis. I’m pretty convinced at this point, something about this may be my cogsci grad thesis. Either biological or brought on by social factors.
Some made find that irreverent, but I think it is a positive. The ability to see through the status quo. Not see or try to “OWN THE FUTURE” in this insane modernist/siliconvalleyist way but really transcend and see these kind of universalistic insights & truths in a holistic way. Look, I know it sounds hokey, and I’m pretty relativist myself. But I think this is correct. If you want to understand the current state of affairs, go visit your local psych ward. It’s a big piece of the puzzle. Trust me.
Does anyone know where I can find a scan or transcript of Hadwin’s Judment or letters online? I would really like to read him. This is highly irreverent and really not tailored to facbeook but I don’t have a blog yet. Welcome discussion.