Blog Archives

13 Minutes in the Abyss

Incredible. Terrifying. Breathtaking.

Allow yourself to escape for just 13 minutes to watch freediver Guillaume Néry escape underwater into parts of various oceans most of us consider to be unknown territory in his short film ‘One Breath Around the World.’ If for nothing else, witness what fearful serenity looks like in this brand new project in concert with National Geographic that, once again, affirms its reputation of visually capturing the limits of what’s possible in new and daring ways.

In some circles, the belief is that perception can be more real than reality. A valid point. Does ‘One Breath Around the World’ challenge that notion?

If Guillaume Néry’s adventurous freediving into the various depths of the world’s oceans doesn’t get your heart racing with adrenaline and imagination for how you can apply his underwater explorations to your life, then I don’t know what will.

One thing I do know is that Mr. Néry may soon be receiving an offer to join Jason Momoa in the ‘Aquaman’ sequel.

We All Have an Ocean View

Information is addicting. Plain and simple. Those NBC commercials titled, “The More You Know” always spark an internal curiosity in me. Watching those brief messages on the weekend from NBC personalities is like taking a swig of Knowledgeade. 

I’m ready to go Mr. Lauer!

Aside from these brief, uplifting messages are a myriad of other outlets before us that present nearly unlimited opportunities for discovery and insight. The access to information on a daily basis is astonishing in the 21st century. It’s even borderline mesmerizing considering the world once existed and functioned well before a printing press was invented, let alone the pre-Internet era. Consider this: a phone is actually a computer first, with its calling capabilities down to probably third or fourth on the priority list of preferred functionality.

We all know it’s true. And if you think that’s an exaggeration, perhaps you are forgetting about the camera, your wide array of cool apps and your digital music player. Plus, don’t neglect the GPS (seriously, don’t neglect it).

Even the term “iCloud” has altered our perspective of the sky above us. No longer do we glance up into the open sky and blankly ponder the open space with imaginative daydreams. Instead, we look up and visualize data points and infinite transfers of structured and random information moving from Point A to Point B with a diagonal cut to Point S.

Is this a good evolutionary trait?

There are some nights when I look forward to relaxing and taking a break from writing papers and participating in the daily grind. Laying comfortably on a couch with a favorite show playing on the television in front of me, the urge becomes too overwhelming. I instantly (while simultaneously regretting it) open up my MacBook Pro that was closed and start searching for witty articles by a specific author or funny interview clips from a talk show.

On the one hand, it’s good that we are a people that is anxious and excited to seek and find new bits of information. Expanding our horizons should be viewed as a positive characteristic.

Still though, is it really positive that we’ve developed a never-ending quest for knowledge (traditional and non-traditional alike) that prevents us from taking necessary mental breaks?

On the knowledge front, we’ve all moved to the beach with a beautiful ocean view. Everyday, we look out into the vast blue, shimmering openness with the ambition to learn something new, knowing full well that complete knowledge is impossible. We take the dive regardless. On Wednesday, it’s waves hitting a bunch of rocks we see far to the right that stirs our inquisitiveness. On Thursday morning, we see surfers, which makes us want to learn about the history of surfing. Friday evening shows us fun being enjoyed on the boardwalk. Something clicks in our minds that we find too irresistible not to explore.

The rocks, surfers and people on a boardwalk represents something different to each of us. Regardless, these are topics we now find ourselves searching about…virtually nonstop.

While we may be exhausted, we are still seeing things we may never be able to or think to see again.

It’s a classic dilemma.

Speaking of classic…

I Have a Question…Actually, I Have More Than One

Why do we watch? Despite the fact it’s become a cultural phenomenon to millions of people, why do we, individually, sit on a couch and decidedly press the buttons on the controller that take us to The Discovery Channel for “Shark Week?” To discover something new I suppose.

“Shark Week,” in the literal sense, is a week of documentaries and informative stories about sharks, their habits, dangerously incredible close-ups, new revelations and so forth. In the metaphorical sense, it’s an opportunity over several days to revert back to our instincts of elementary school. What does this mean exactly? Reflecting on our experiences from kindergarten through the fifth grade, one of the constants was our insistence to learn as much about something that peeked our interest as possible. Whether it was sharks, bears, insects, adventures in books, sports, math, Sega Genesis, Nintendo, science, etc., we were hooked. We were not just thirsty for Capri Sun, but also for knowledge.

The amount of information we wanted to absorb was boundless. Do you think I’m wrong? If you have any nephews, nieces, sons or daughters around the preschool to elementary school age, try to compute just how many questions they ask you about anything and everything on a daily basis. Why? Why? Why!?

It’s their nature. It’s instinctive. Nobody tells them at a young age to ask a limitless amount of questions. They just do. Then, during the teenage years of our lives, we transition to a phase when we don’t seek as many answers to questions that are academically related. At some point though, we cycle back around to find the glow of knowledge from our younger days that rejuvenates an inner spark and desire to want to learn about what surrounds us and how everything works.

Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?

Some of you may be wondering why there were so many questions asked throughout this post? Because if nobody asks questions, how do we discover anything new? How do learn where we come from? How do we know where we are going? Where do great white sharks mate? Do sharks really mistake humans for seals? How do painters dream up their masterpieces? Do aliens exist? Will somebody ever invent a teleportation device? How has there not been a new “Bill & Ted’s” adventure made in more than twenty years?

This week, it’s sharks. What will it be tomorrow? The day after that? Next week?

Good question.

Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking?

“Shark Week” conjures up feelings ranging between amazement and paralyzing fear. Truly a cultural spectacle. As it has been mentioned in a previous post (The Two Scariest Words: Dun-Dun), all of mankind (and womankind) can collectively thank the legendary Steven Spielberg for permanently planting the unforgettable soundtrack and classic scenes into our psyche regarding blockbuster entertainment coupled with beach safety.

Actually, given the number of great white sharks near coastlines at popular destinations around the world, a thank you really is in order. Thank you!

One of the annual traditions with “Shark Week” is watching crews for The Discovery Channel push new boundaries, like exploring the present-day existence of Megalodon or the “Rookin'” down in Louisiana. What will be next?

I’m glad you asked.

What fascinates me is not so much what we think of sharks, but what sharks think of us. Within the technological revolution that is currently booted up for generations to come, is there a neuroscientist somewhere who is dreaming up a water-proof device that could be tagged onto a great white shark that somehow measures and sends back its brain activity?

Think about that. More importantly, imagine that.

Before you begin calling mental institutions to reserve me a room (with an ocean view please), watch the clip below and tell me this diver was not interested in a similar endeavor. It’s only unbelievable until you do it.

If we are going to explore a seemingly infinite environment, we must have an equally infinite imagination.