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chasing answers newsletter #35
The simple things, Strange World, Predicting social media
“If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money.” - Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby)
Sometimes the simplest things can make your day or even your week.
I typically work from home in the mornings until my daughter gets up. I then help get her ready for school and get her on the bus.
One morning this week, I had to be at my office for a very early morning meeting. It wrapped up around 6:45 AM, and I immediately rushed home so I could still get my daughter off to school. When I walked in the door, she was ecstatic. She had been worried she would have to go to school without telling me goodbye. For five minutes, she continuously hugged and thanked me for coming home.
It was a great way to start the day for both of us, and it made me feel like a million bucks.
I never envisioned these small but amazing interactions before becoming a dad. I would never have imagined so much joy could arise from something so simple.
It was also a great reminder that we don’t have to move mountains to show our children how much we care about them. And we should never underestimate the impact of the little things we can do.
I spent a lot of time playing games and watching movies with my daughter over the holidays. One movie we stumbled upon was Strange World, the latest animated film from Disney. My daughter got a little bored halfway through, and I thought the movie was just average overall, but about three-quarters into the movie, there was an M. Knight Shyamalan-type twist that I was thrilled to see.
(Warning: Spoiler Alert)
The story revolves around the Clade family from Avalonia and features what is, for the most part, a very predictable plot. It’s the classic father/son who doesn’t get along and is reunited after decades apart, only to find out they have more in common than they thought story.
However, running parallel to this plot is another adventure/exploration story.
Searcher Clade, the son separated from his explorer father Jaeger Clade, is a farmer who discovers a plant called pando. Pando becomes the energy source for all of Avalonia and allows for a remarkable quality of life for all its residents. It provides technological advancements that the citizens of Avalonia had never experienced before Searcher’s discovery.
To support their way of life and all of their technology, they plant more and more pando. But then the problems begin. The pando plants start to die. This begins the hero’s journey. Searcher must go on an expedition in a world that exists below Avalonia to discover what it is that is killing the pando.
During this quest, he meets up with his father, Jaeger, and the typical father/son family dynamics issues play out.
The other story that is unfolding contains the twist mentioned above. Through their journey, they discover that Avalonia exists on the back of a giant living organism, essentially a giant turtle. And the strange world they have been journeying through is inside the organism. The creatures they have been at war with in an attempt to save the pando are actually the organism’s immune system attempting to protect itself.
When they realize that the pando roots are taking over and attacking the heart of the organism, they know that the only way to save Avalonia is to destroy the pando and find another way to provide the resources they need.
The whole thing is a metaphor for our planet and the climate crisis we face thanks to our dependence on fossil fuels.
Ultimately, they help the creatures destroy the pando roots, and in the end, you see a less technological but more harmonious Avalonia thriving more naturally.
After knowing how the story unfolds, I can look back and make the connections, but the film's creators did a great job of not making the outcome obvious. The point where they discover that the pando is the problem was like a Sixth Sense moment for me. It was really well done.
And as someone who is deeply concerned with the climate crisis, I was thrilled to see this topic addressed in a kid’s movie. Tip of the hat to Disney.
Best of Twitter
The internet and social media have expanded our worlds far beyond the borders of our local towns, cities, and even countries. Everything is “local” news today. I struggle as much as anyone with whether this is good or bad.
It allows us endless opportunities, which is great. But as someone who can easily go off the grid and not even realize the connection isn’t there anymore, I sometimes yearn for a simpler time, when the news was whatever your neighbor told you or what you heard at the local restaurant.
Listening to Marshall McLuhan describe what the internet would become decades before the first social media company existed is incredible.
For reference, Marshall McLuhan was a Canadian philosopher who focused much of his work on media theory.
Take a listen.
I hope you all have a great week!
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