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Clarke and I
An impossible journey

by Lio O. Spiegler 

Posted: 12:00 April 18, 2008

So what will I do with the footage? I'm not sure yet.
But if anyone has any ideas I'm willing to hear them out.

2005-12-11 13:15:13

In the beginning

This blog will try to document an impossible journey to Sir Arthur C. Clarke, half way around the world to Sri Lanka. Why Clarke? Why now? Why impossible? These are all great questions. Stick with me and I promise you'll find many more great questions to baffle your sense and dazzle your mind. Oh, along the way, we might stumble on some answers.

My journey has a simple enough goal: to meet Arthur C. Clarke and interview him about our near future, our immediate destiny. Everybody wants to know what will happen tomorrow and Clarke has done a surprisingly good job at foreseeing some of it. The French invented the French Tickler, the Spanish brought us the Spanish fly, and the British gave birth to the Brain Tickler, Mr. Clarke. Inventor of the satellite and forefather of global communications, Clarke always seemed to me to be the ultimate authority on knowledge. Ever since those first TV days of the Mysterious World of Arthur C. Clarke I was both fascinated and terrified by the rotating crystal skull that heralded the beginning of every episode. Ironically, the show that got me into science was really a show about pseudo-science and unexplained phenomena. Maybe that's why, after all those years I am still deadlocked in a battle between total reasoning and pure, even mystical, curiosity. As if no matter what the explanation at hand is, I will always feel like there's a better or higher truth that we can't see just around the corner... As a kid I always had to challenge the world around me. I felt it was my duty to climb everything, touch everything, question everything, and take things apart. Nothing was accepted at face value; national holidays, annual percentage rates, anthills, public phones, record players, my geography teacher, and the stars, consciousness, Death. As far as I was concerned, if this was the work of a higher power "it" certainly had a lot of explaining to do. I guess Clarke embodies this sense of awe in a reassuring way. A relentless pursuit of insight that may start with an innocent question mark but spreads like ripples to everything around it. Whatever it was, it seemed like a good idea for a journey that may produce a film of some sort.

A few months ago, I had a long discussion with my friend Kiam about space-time, dimensions, the teachings of Ha'Ari, the God concept and the purpose of mankind: a typical, run of the mill, Saturday morning melon-scratcher, somewhere between soccer stats, page 6, and the recent wave of terror attacks in Europe. Kiam is a graduate student of music and Jewish philosophy who is a walking orchestra of questioning and harmony. Naturally, no consensus was reached but an important question came out of that particular debate, "will man's invention of god supersede man's invention of the wheel?" Now the question itself is timeless, but the timing was crucial. Will we even survive the debate long enough to have an answer? The good news is that according to the Future Society, the world is constantly, if agonizingly slowly, advancing toward a better quality of life. That's a fact. Somehow, this constant battle between faith and reason is producing some amazing results. The proverbial lab may occasionally blow up but every once in a while a white-robed scientist with dark scorch marks will come running out waving a cure for another ailment. Metaphorically speaking. The cure will be distributed around the world and help another generation of zealots to reach maturity and inflict its doctrine on the world. A seemingly endless circle. But progress is defined by cycles, or more accurately, our ability to synthesize seemingly opposing ends into a complete concept. But that thought is still two years in the future for me. Clarke was our natural first choice to help us wade through this unsettling truism. Clarke never believed in god but he was always interested in Him. Some of his books solve this issue matter of fact while some put it in the forefront of the plot as a prism designed to offer another sliver of evidence to the existence of a higher being, if not to the existence of a higher set of questions... problem was that Clarke has officially disconnected himself from the internet a year or so ago due to an unbearable influx of information, leaving us unanswered and curious than ever.

The search for an avenue to Clarke revealed many important facts. For example, a google search for Jessica Simpson yielded 3.5 million entries while googling Clarke returned only 1.5 million entries. It occurred to us that many people simply didn't know that the powers of observation and extrapolation were the ones actually respttestonsible for man's meteoric rise from the swamp-not the ability to look good behind a camera. Well now, we aim to combine the two into a lethal blow to common conventions about the purpose of mankind and its destiny among the stars. However, the story is much more complicated than it seems. As Clarke once said, information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, and wisdom is not foresight. But first we will need information.

How come this genius is known by so few outside of the sci-fi community? Why won't his agent let us meet him? Is 'thinking' limited to geeks alone? Can faith and logic co-exist? What does Clarke foresee? How come that all of a sudden everyone we meet turns out to know Clarke or to have met him? Coincidence or fate? No one knows for sure what would Clarke want this film to be about. Many possibilities exist but only at the moment of rendezvous will one emerge triumphantly. Our first mission is to bring back Clarke's final "prophecy". The odds are impossible. It's good enough for us. Confused? Good. we are a little confused as well. Off to the 20-hour flight (with connection) to Sr Lanka. Next entry on December 13.

Click on the 'NEXT' arrow for page 2

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