Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Oh the Belying Majesty

(Please note that the photograph linked to is not the photograph I am speaking of. The correct one is the one of a volcanic eruption which is four pictures to the right in this gallery. I apologize for this inconvenience, but I find it impossible to link to that specific picture so please bear with me.)

During my rifling through of National Geographic's "Visions of Earth," I stumbled upon the most stunning and attention grabbing photograph I have ever laid my eyes upon. At first glance, I immediately thought that this picture had to be faked, for the photo seemed too beautiful, too captivating, and too perfect. However, upon looking for a few more seconds, I realized that the picture was not a fake at all, but simply naturally insanely beautiful, and upon further thought, I realized this event could potentially be very destructive.

When gazing at this image, I cannot help but to think of this as occurring on some other planet, or perhaps in some movie. The lightning streaking from the volcanic dust cloud illuminates the landscape and that half of the dust cloud itself, yet the sky is dark in the background. On the other side, red streaks of perhaps magma or burning materials can be seen throughout the cloud, yet they too resemble lightning. Having never seen “red lightning” I could not help but think, “Huh, what movie is this from?” The answer is the Icelandic Eyjafjallaj√∂kull volcano scene from reality.

Looking about four-tenths of the way up the right side of the dust cloud, two eerie red slits can be noted. To me, these slits resemble the eyes of a serpent, or perhaps a dragon, and cannot help but remind me that this piece, however spellbinding, remains a destructive volcanic eruption. This very eruption stopped so many flights in Europe last April and thus caused quite a bit of frustration and anger from the would-be fliers those days. Even worse, this cloud dropped much debris on surrounding farmlands, making agriculture from farming to ranching next to impossible. Perhaps some people even died if this eruption, which would top the list of this volcano’s worst effects.

This somewhat fake looking photo demonstrates a certain wisdom through nature itself. The eruption’s sheer majesty, coupled with same eruption’s destructive potential seems to show that even beautiful objects and events in this world can potentially have terrible consequences. Some minor in comparison to others and others major, but none quite as severe as loss of life, which unfortunately easily can be realized by such a volcanic eruption.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Regarding the Power of the Rich

In Mark Twain’s “The £1,000,000 Bank Note,” a man by the name of Henry Adams finds himself stranded in London with literally no money to his name. However, by a stroke of luck two eccentric millionaires happen to be bickering about the possibility of a million-dollar bank-note being of any worth. These millionaires decide to give the note to a stranger that appears to be “honest and intelligent…and with no money” and see if he can survive a month in London without starving or being thrown in jail. Henry happens to be this fortunate gentleman. Naturally this saves and changes his life forever. But there seems to be a deeper level to this tale then just the surface plot. This act of giving a stranger one-million dollars which evokes a great change in the man’s life illuminates the power of the rich to do good or evil to less monetarily endowed individuals.

Soon after receiving the note, Henry began using it to his full advantage; first to buy clothes, then food, and so on until he was nearly infamous for his use of the note. Millionaires today sometimes attempt to help others through charity, but may not produce such a drastic change. However, their donations surely accomplish something.

On the other hand, the rich also have the same power not to change people’s lives, and therefore leave them in harm’s way. The fact that these eccentrics used this man to resolve a mere argument must be remembered at all times. Just as easily this could have been another man or perhaps even no man at all, and if either of these were the case I fear that the story would have ended with Henry’s death as opposed to his promised grand life.

Aside from telling an entertaining tale of a man with the power to obtain virtually anything he desired, this story portrays the rich as beings with the power to severely alter the paths of less rich people. That, I’m both glad and sorry to say, is true.