Respect, Responsibility, and the Rape of the Natural World

My favourite scene in this movie is a dead heat tie between two scenes. The first might be obvious. It’s the T-Rex scene. He does show up a few times in the movie, but anyone who’s watched Jurassic Park knows exactly which segment I’m referring to. The other is when the main characters are sitting with the park’s creator discussing their thoughts about the place. Ian Malcolm’s (Jeff Goldblum) words of caution are impassioned, grim, and excellently articulated:

Genetic power is the most awesome force the planet’s ever seen, but you wield it like a kid that’s found his dad’s gun… the problem with the scientific power you’re using here, it didn’t require any discipline to attain it… your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.

Recently a learned that this effect was made with a guitar string being plucked just underneath the cup of water. But I still like to believe it’s the T-Rex.

It’s no secret that this is a problem we humans have had for as long as we’ve existed. Manipulating and/or exploiting nature (including even our fellow human beings) has caused us more heartache and heartbreak than perhaps any natural disasters ever have. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the discovery and the use of nature is a thing to be avoided. Training a horse to carry a person and therefore be used as transportation is something we can all appreciate, not to mention wind surfing, indoor plumbing, petting zoos, and solar energy. But the questions Dr. Malcolm’s raises ought to be constantly on our minds with every interaction we have with each other and our surroundings. Even Dr. Malcolm admits in his challenge that he doesn’t even know what could go wrong. He just knows what happens when respect and responsibility are not in their proper place, which is standing between the discoverer and the discovered.

My siblings and I have a rich assortment of aunts and uncles. One particularly wise one is our beloved Uncle Bob. My brother tells a childhood story where the two of them saw a motorcycle go by. My uncle said to him, “I had one of those.”

“Really?” Jamie says.
“Yup. When I bought it, I was scared to death of it.”
There’s a pause and then he continues.
“Know how I knew it was time to sell it?”
“When?” answered
“When I wasn’t afraid of it anymore.”

Anything with power must be respected. I was just telling my daughter yesterday how amazing it is that we could never live without water, yet even a tablespoon of it can kill a person. Many issues come naturally to mind regarding this subject. Everything from cloning, environmental concerns, medical experiments, etc. But really it’s in our everyday lives that need to submit ourselves to this kind of thinking. How I raise my kids, treat a customer, communicate with my wife, do my business: all of it must be flavoured with respect and responsibility for all living things around me. Not for a desired outcome, but because it’s right.

Congratulations Jurassic Park. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to:

And in case I don’t see ya: good afternoon, good evening and good night.

Best Actress:
I would definitely go with Laura Linney here. She’s so talented all around, though my favourites are her work in this movie and Mystic River.

Best Actor: Jim Carrey. One of a kind, and one of the very best.

Best Quote: “Hold on to your butts.” — Samuel L. Jackson as Ray Arnold in Jurassic Park.

Looking very much forward to seeing Jurassic World this year. I for one like to get scared in a movie. Not so much the overly bloody kind of scary, but the man vs nature and the eerie unknown—love it. It’s especially scary when Wayne Knight is involved. NEWMAN!


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