The rest of my birth day went really well. After a quick lunch some of us went bowling (pics to come) and we all had really good games. I was able to beat my 12 year high score of 157 that I got when I was in high school with a 170 in the first game and a 158 in the second. A couple years ago I got 156, almost tying my record. I thought it was wierd that I've gotten 156, 157, and 158. All the other times I've gotten that high have been a lot higher or a lot lower. And the 'competition' today during the games was the best part. It wasn't about beating each other. We all had our own goals and tried to reach them and cheered each other on. Very good.
Suzanne and I had a dinner date. I got one of the best steaks I've had in a while, and Suzanne got what turned out to be almost half a chicken, which'll be good for lunch tomorrow. And we've just come back from seeing The Day After Tomorrow.
I really liked the movie for several reasons. One is that I want movies, like I put in my About Me, to show me the possible and the impossible. What's im/possible in terms of things like human emotions, physical capacities (like in Jackass ;), the way people interact with each other, endurance, whether emotional, physical, or spiritual, and the natural world. I don't know if much of what was portrayed in the movie is realistic in any sense, but that doesn't really matter in some ways. The closest major natural disaster that I can think of that had anything like the global impact shown in the movie was the explosion of Krakatoa in the 1800s. As far as anyone knows it was the loudest recorded sound in the history of civilization. People in England thought they were hearing artillery fire. Islands were created and destroyed. People hundreds of miles away melted. Tidal waves reaching 200 feet slammed into beaches and cities. So some of the stuff in the movie isn't completely out of the realm of imagination or feasibility I guess. One of the things I got from the movie though was just this really interesting global vision that the creators of the movie have. They also did Independence Day, which was about a global crisis. I can't think of too many other movies that deal with global catastrophes and how people react to them. In the past year or so I've been trying to expand my vision (Baha'u'llah says to have a "world-embracing vision"), and movies like this definitely help me do that. They take me out of my own locality and get me to think bigger.
It was also an interesting test of a realization I've had recently. Last week some time I just had this really clear insight into how the way we interact with the world--physically and linguistically are the two main broad forms, and can include the arts, physical gestures and expression like dance, and words, whether verbal or written--is a reflection of the interaction between our spirit and this world. It shows how we perceive our spirit or our self, how we perceive this world, and how we negotiate that interaction. For one, this gave me a whole new perception of what we call 'communication styles'. While things like culture, class, and gender affect how we communicate, at bottom our communication is about our spirit and its relationship to this world. This finally allowed me to understand a little more of why Abdu'l-Baha is the perfect example all Baha'is are instructed to follow. It's because his spirit had the perfect relationship to this world. He was free from ego and loved completely. That, more than anything else I think, made his form of communication universal. What resulted from this was a deeper realization of the power and sacredness not just of communication, but language. All language should make people happier, in that it should lead to a deeper realization of our spiritual realities. This seems to be something common to all religions and philosophical systems. So I'm having to rethink a lot of things, and rethink things I've been rethinking for a while because this finally puts that whole process on a firmer foundation. One is my sense of humor. A while ago I tried to do away with teasing, name-calling (even if in fun), and sarcasm, because for me I don't see how they make people happier. That meant I had to find new ways to make people laugh that are based on building people up, not bringing them down. Second, I've really been trying hard to do away with criticism. I think this has been one of the hardest things because our culture, especially academic culture, thrives on it. I found that it involves a complete change in perception, because you have to look at what was done right, what is good about something, and that has to be the first thing you look for. It's hard to first see what's wrong with something, then turn to the positive. So with things like movies, like the one I saw tonight, I tried to not look at the cheesy moments, at the overly dramatic instances, and try to experience what was being conveyed. I've found that looking at the positive has made me a lot happier. I don't feel good when I tear stuff down, not in any real sense. And the tricky thing with stuff like movies and artistic expressions is that you never know what someone else will take away from it. It's too easy to slam what may be a very meaningful experience for someone. Needless to say this will take a lot of work for me to accomplish, and I want to thank everyone for their patience.