Fighter pilot, Royal Navy 1945, Hydrographer Iraq 1947-52 India 1952-53, Canadian Hydrographic Arctic explorer 1953-1960, Writer-producer Canadian National Film Board 1961-72, Freelance journalist, audio-visual producer 1972-2009, National Press Club of Canada 1961 - 2006

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Puzzling Pointless Pilgrimage?

What could possibly be the meaning of it all?

Monty Python is not the only human entity to repeatedly ponder this puzzling question during all recorded history.
Most people just take the easy way out and drift along zombie-like with unfounded religionist inanities and nebulous prayers.

For myself I ignore the whole business.  As far as I’m concerned it has nothing to do with me.  I had nothing to do with its possible creation and it is obviously a matter about which I was never consciously consulted by any genuine authority.  Therefore I deny all responsibility for any of it, nor feel reason to make comment on it.  Which of course is blatantly untrue in light of this I now write.
Thus, with such pointlessness being far beyond my comprehension or imagination, I find it best for me to disregard it completely.  So I just make the best of it all and play my insignificant part, smoothed along with quiet pints of real ale, some fine pipe tobacco, and enjoying the company of my fellow humans and the other pleasing forms of forms I find around me.

All the above pointless drivel regarding the pointlessness of live is pointless of course.  In fact, so pointless as to wonder why I should consider dwelling on it here in my usually more prosaic writings.
I only bring it up because I cannot forget the wonderful and vivid illustration of its pointlessness that was made into a movie a year or two ago.  When I watched that movie on TV the complete pointlessness of existence was starkly portrayed.  It was etched on my mind as never before.
 The film was ‘The March of the Penguins’.

Probably you have seen this enthralling movie.  It shows how every brutal winter a multitude of thousands of penguins march, in single file and in their awkwardly plodding style, inland from the icy coasts of Antarctica for scores of laborious miles over a desolate frozen wasteland of ice where the females of each pair lay a single egg with their only protection from howling extreme sub-zero winds is the close congregating of their bodies.
With no food available during their lengthy journey away from the coast they take it in turns to repeat their amazingly long treks waddling across the ice to feed in the sea until their final and joint return with their chick many winter months later.  This unchanging ritual of unchanging renewal by penguin populations goes on and on and on, year after year.
This film shows the absolute desolation of the penguins’ environment, and presents a most graphic portrayal of pointless life.   Its recording of such a bizarre phenomenon is a bewildering portrayal of what to the human mind appears to be the pinnacle of pointlessness.
Well, at least, so it does seem to my bewildered and withering intellect.

Brutally arresting, with the reality of the vast lifeless bleakness of the horizon-to-horizon ice sheet as a backdrop, the pathetic gatherings, year after year, of thousands of huddled penguins, starkly emphasises the seeming futility of it all.

I expect Monty Python has seen this movie many times over. 
And is as puzzled as ever before.