Friday, June 11, 2010

"Through the Wormhole" and E. M. Forster

Last night, as I was wracking my brain over writing this post on the writing style of E. M. Forster, my husband put on this program, hosted by Morgan Freeman (click on the link for a short video):

Through the Wormhole: Your Second Life

The program was a commentary about science's ability to determine the presence or absence of a creator. Of course, I ended up staying up long past my bedtime thinking about the theories that were discussed. And somehow, in my crazy mind, I established a connection between this idea of perpetual questioning with E.M Forster's A Room with a View.

The final theory in the program is explained in the above link. A jet propulsion scientist is questioned regarding his idea that, 50 years from now, we will surpass the human brain's thinking capacity. So, are we really becoming the deities, creating a bigger version of our own universe? If so, then who is operating us? And are we just some computer simulation, being programmed to feel a certain way by some master computer programmer somewhere beyond "the window of our own universe"?

Of course, since my own mind is programmed to completely go off track and apply any knowledge that I have attained to something completely unrelated (or not!), and since my mind was trying to get wrapped around the writing of E. M. Forster, I established a connection between this TV program and Forster's novel.

More specifically, I remembered Mr. Emerson's conversation with Lucy Honeychurch over his son George's melancholic disposition. Mr. Emerson talks about how "things won't fit" for George. The universe is all questions, but no answers. Mr. Emerson explains, "We know that we come from the winds, and that we shall return to them; that all life is perhaps a knot, a tangle, a blemish in the eternal smoothness. But why should this make us unhappy? Let's love one another, and work and rejoice. I don't believe in this world sorrow." Miss Honeychurch assented. "Then make my boy think like us. Make him realize by the side of the everlasting Why there is a Yes--a transitory Yes, if you like, but a Yes." I think if we observe science's never-ending search to find answers, we also need to step back and say, "Does it all really matter after all? We are only aware of our present existence from our birth (kind of-we are not really aware because we don't really remember) to our death (and this we may not be aware of either, if we are sick or mentally diseased), so let's just make the best of our time here and find out what is important about our existence in the here and now.

Wow! I just realized why I love writing and books so much. It is this exploration of our existence that I speak of, and why we read novels and watch films and recite poetry and sing songs. So, while I enjoy exploring science and its fascinations, I also understand that it really may not even matter in the whole scope of things. What matters is the here and now, and who we are and how we treat others, work together for a common good, and learning to love.

So to conclude, and to finally comment on Forster's writing style, the reason why E.M. Forster has always been the pinnacle to me of writing is not because of his amazing ability with language (he writes very simply, not as simple as Hemingway, but he doesn't really sway too much from the point), or his wit (which he does have), it is because he attempts to get right to the "quick" of humanity, our source, our reason for being and living. He exhibits a depth of characterization within this emphasis on the resounding "Yes". Who in his novels is willing to really "live", and to live with integrity, not because of societal expectations, or even to purposely rebel against society?

To me, this is the goal of us all. Breaking away from illusion. And for that to happen, I believe, education is the key, specifically a humanities-based education. I give this a resounding Yes, and a Yes, and a Yes!

No comments: