Sunday, July 23, 2006

Pay It Forward

Ok - I wanted to get this "essay" done and out there. So, if it doesn't make much sense I apologize and plead my lack of time for editing.

Anyways, I watched Pay It Forward this weekend. From what people told me, I knew it was a movie I would enjoy. And the "surprise ending" had already been spoiled for me as well. But I still really enjoyed the movie, and it really got me thinking about some things.

First, it confirmed my belief that we have this illusion of control. Mankind seems to be in love with the idea that it can control everything and anything, when in fact we have very little control at all. What we do have is an amazing impact on the world immediately around us.

In the movie, Trevor mistakes his lack of control for a lack of impact. Towards the end of the movie he is very disappointed that the outcomes he was striving for did not come about. But what he didn't realize is that he had had a profound impact. He had really touched the lives of those around him. And while he did not get the exact result he was reaching for, those people went out into the world better for it - and touched the lives of other people in a positive way. A chain-reaction of goodwill that ended up crossing state lines.

This theme of the movie oddly made me think of a completelt unrelated book I'm reading right now, Borrowed Tides. While the book itself is not very good, it does present one idea that intrigues me. At one point in the book, the characters get caught in a "time roll-back" in which time is actually running backwards for all of the inanimate objects around them. However, time for them continues to press forward. The author's (kind of lame) explanation for this is what really caught my attention.

If you've ever studied Physics, you've probably heard the Second Law of Thermodynamics: the entropy of a closed system (the universe) always increases. The author (Paul Levinson) points out that Life bucs this trend. Life is always working to increase order - always fighting against the increasing disorder around it. (And boy does that feel true!!)

So, the natural order of the world is to get stinkier. But what really makes you feel alive is to work against that - to Pay It Forward.

In the end, it reminds me of what you try to do as a parent. You try to pump as much good into a person as possible. But at some point, you have to send him or her into the world. And they will disappoint you at times, but you can only hope they will use the good you've given them - possibly in ways you never thought of.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

New photos online!

Originally uploaded by Mike Knapp.
In case you didn't get my email, I've finally got some pics up on Flickr.