August 06, 2005

Role models

I just got back from seeing March of the Penguins, which I thought was an amazing and beautiful film. These penguins endure so much hardship to make sure their chicks are born and survive long enough to return to the sea that we humans can't help but respect them. These filmmakers obviously respect their subjects, and probably love them a little, too.

Vast numbers of penguins seem swallowed up by the hugeness of the harsh antarctic environment, but they're persistent and they stick together so that they can survive. Human behavior is usually more varied than penguin behavior, but when humans are at their best, they can sometimes act just like penguins do. Maybe that's why I shouldn't be surprised that so many scenes in this film reminded me of a Ted Nasmith painting of Fingolfin leading the elves across the frozen wastes of the Helcaraxë:


We humans can choose to act nobly or venally, but it's easier to be noble if we have role models, like Tolkien's elves. Or emperor penguins.

Posted by Carey at August 6, 2005 12:17 AM
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