I watched the movie Contact based on Carl Sagan’s 1985 novel of the same name, AGAIN, a couple of weekends ago with the family.
For those not familiar, Carl Sagan was an American astronomer, astrophysicist and author who passed away in 1996. He was a Pulitzer Prize winner and author of many bestsellers, including Cosmos, which became the bestselling science book ever published in English.
The accompanying Emmy and Peabody award-winning PBS television series has been seen by a billion people in sixty countries. His ability to capture the imagination of billions and to explain difficult concepts in understandable terms was and continues to be a magnificent achievement.
Last year, as I was watching Contact I wrote about the movie and the “a-ha” moment it created for me, and, I have, in part, quoted some of that below. This time around it was just as powerful a moment when I watched it again this year especially in light of the upcoming release of “Chords of Strength.”
It was near the end of the movie that I was jolted into one of those super aware moments .… you know the kind where time stands still and your senses are on high alert, where you say “A-Ha” because you have just had a blinding flash of clarity.
What jolted me was the point in the movie when an explanation of an experience that had no concrete evidence that it occurred was made by the protagonist, Eleanor (Ellie) Arroway. She says at a Congressional hearing:
I was given something wonderful, something that changed me forever. A vision of the universe that tells us undeniably…how rare and precious we are. A vision that tells us we belong to something that is greater than ourselves, that we are not, that none of us are alone.
I had an experience. I can’t prove it. I can’t even explain it. But everything I know as a human being, that I am, tells me that it was real.
I wish I could share that. I wish that everyone, if even for one moment, could feel that awe…and hope. That continues to be my wish.
Ellie’s explanation of her non-empirical experience fleshes out metaphorically in a relatively few sentences the experience of this David fan journey.
And, as Ellie leaves the Congressional hearing she sees supporters with handmade signs. Signs that say: “Open Our Minds, Open Our Universe.” A-Ha…Open Our Minds, Open Our Universe—simple truth.
So, too, when I listen to the pure and beautiful voice of David Archuleta. David the-master-artist. That voice brimming with the subtleties of what it is to be alive. That voice that catapults one instantaneously to plumb the depths of so many emotions, so many vistas and landscapes that one didn’t expect to experience in a song. That voice that relentlessly draws one’s aesthetic sensibilities to the sublime.
Artists give and the art appreciator takes. So, we take, we take. We take away an awe, a heightened awareness of connection and of the joy of the human experience and of the universe, of being a part of something rare and precious.
And to meet fellow fans in that universe that we cannot prove empirically, that universe of connection, is an unexpected joy. The conduit is, of course, the music and the voice of David Archuleta.
And, now, I anticipate another jolt of super awareness, of connection, of a non-empirical, metaphysical experience, with the upcoming release of “Chords of Strength.” The excitement in the cyber fan community is palpable.
Imagine: “It’s just you and me.”