Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Seeing the Big Picture Part 3

Michel Fournier had to postpone his record-breaking freefall parachute drop again today because of a problem that developed with his oxygen supply. A newswire story is here.

In my blog entry Your Fifth-Dimensional Self, I talked about one of the recurring themes from this project:

...we all are attracted to the occasional story of someone who has overcome seemingly insurmountable odds: and that's true whether we're talking about achievements through hard work and determination, or lucky lottery winners, or the indomitable spirit of a person who has made the best of a difficult situation.
In a blog entry about one of the 26 songs attached to this project ("Senseless Violence"), I quoted the following from my book:
Everyone remembers what they were doing the moment they saw the World Trade Center towers collapse. Everyone remembers the day they won a big prize or the day they saw a loved one die. And even with perfect strangers, we are drawn to the moments we recognize as being important cusps in that person’s life. This is why it is human nature to want to drive slowly by the car accident, trying to catch a glimpse of what happened, or why we all will look at the newspaper picture of the latest lottery winner. No matter whether the event was good or bad, fortunate or unfortunate, we all have a tendency to think “what if that had been me?”
And, in a blog entry about The End of the World, I talked about how this way of visualizing reality first started to be formed in my mind:
...as a child, I was trying to explain to myself why some moments in our lives seem so heavily significant, so deeply ingrained in our memories, while other moments quickly fade. I came to the conclusion that it was because those moments were when important “cusps” occurred: moments when our possible future paths diverged significantly.

Coincidentally, the idea of "cusps" has turned out to be a recurring theme for the blog entries I've created this month: Everyone Has a Story, Anime, Gaming and Cusps, Collective Intelligence, Cognitive Surplus, Chaos... all have dealt with that concept from slightly different angles.

Where am I going with this? That's what I love about the Michel Fournier story: here is a man who, regardless of the outcome, has created a new and important cusp for his life, and for our consensual reality, by attempting to do something no one else in the world has done before.

I hope that he is enjoying the journey.

Rob Bryanton

A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ydru-VYfybU

UPDATE: Unbelievably, Michel's attempt came to an end a few hours later when the helium balloon came loose from its tethers and ascended skyward without him. What a disappointment! A news story with a video clip embedded is here.

This is a continuation from Seeing the Big Picture, and Seeing the Big Picture Part 2.
Coming up next: Disorders of the Mind

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