Zenfolio | Phil Lewis | Ideas


February 14, 2017  •  1 Comment


Whether to blog. What to blog.  I have ideas, but are they worth saying out loud?  Over the years, every time I have sat down to take up blogging, I end up writing some wandering mess that stays up for a day or two before I delete it.

Prevailing wisdom is that one should pick a theme and stick to it so one's visitors know what to expect and become followers. Maybe I'll discover a trend over time, but for the moment, I'm thinking about how very much ideas matter.

Leonard Cohen, God, Netflix

If you haven't discovered Leonard Cohen, take the time, it's worth it.  I only discovered Leonard Cohen's poetry after he passed this year, but I've listened to his last album many times.  I'm fascinated, probably because he's so quiet, so intimate in the expression of his heart.  It sounds to me exactly like prayer, like  "letters to God."  What's striking to me is how comprehensively personal, solitary, alone and honest it is.  Cohen seemingly uses what's left of his breath to whisper, to pray these amazing lines of poetry that are clearly important to him.  He only has to utter the first song's bold assertion, "you want it darker," and I am immediately stunned and contemplating the nature of God and creation.  The idea is planted: look at the world, look at me, look what has happened to what you've made - "you want it darker" hurls the origin of our darkness and decline at you. Is "you" the creator? Or is he now talking to a force in the world that wants it darker?  Maybe he's talking to you. You, we, want it darker. It's stunning. You want it darker.  We killed the flame. I may be missing the mark, but I've taken it to be, like a lot of his songs, a conversation with God.  

That brings me to Netflix.  Their Originals - House of Cards, Stranger Things, etc. and remakes like Black Mirror, are captivating and tend to be shocking and dark.  And they're about ideas. They're not just entertainment. 

The two episodes of Black Mirror I watched hit their mark.  In a nutshell: In one generation we have watched our entire society splinter into islands of one, staring at one singular pane, one device, one black mirror - the screen of your cell phone. (or your ipad, or TV if you like).  My simple observation is that Netflix has a nearly universal stage from which to convey ideas. That's a power no longer being enjoyed by ABC, NBC, CBS or Fox as the world turns to new alternatives for their entertainment. 

Ideas matter.  What we teach our children about the world around them matters.  Is it dark? is it Strange? are the politicians murderers, wicked schemers? We are learning to be a jaded, a dark, a cautious civilization in these latter days.  What will the world of our children's children be like?

That's what I'm thinking about this morning.  






Patti Hullum(non-registered)
Dear dear brother. I agree and can expound on your ideas but not right now. Something I have been shown over the past two weeks and this is a witness to what I believe all the world is experiencing. It is not end that so many are screaming. It's a rebirth into a new age...Not a new world order cooked up by Elite's. Another time.
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