You have not known what you are.
You have slumbered upon yourself all your life.
Your eyes have been as much as closed most of the time.
What you have done is already in mockeries.

The mockeries are not you.
Underneath them
And within them,
I see you lurk...

-Walt Whitman


impurities of the circle

Alejandro Amenabar’s Agora takes us back to a younger world where people still believed that the earth is flat, a chunk of rock floating as the center of the cosmos. The story revolves around Hipatia, an Egyptian mathematician and philosopher in Alexandria, and her exploits for scientific wisdom to answer the most basic questions that eluded mankind for centuries; a tragic struggle to find the truth about the order of the universe in a chaotic world torn apart by political and religious feuds.

The film tackles conflicts that came way back from the ancient times and are still relevant till today like how differences in religion and spiritual beliefs can divide people or the dilemma in reconciling certain sociological issues with Biblical teachings such as the supposed role of women in the society; that women should not have authority to lead or that men should be superior to women. I think this is still evident today but I’d say very much improved compared to the ancient times. It also touches the clash of science and religion (highlighted in Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons), particularly with regards to the belief that the Earth as the center of the universe versus the Heliocentric Model put forth by Aristarchus, Galileo, and Copernicus.

The movie also cleverly paints a picture of the concept of faith—how it could affect the choices of an individual or his freewill. It raises questions like: What if the religion you chose doesn’t feel right? Is faith a question of choice or time? It makes me wonder. I think it’s in the nature of people to have a spiritual need. I mean we need to believe that we are created for a reason and that there is a Higher Power governing our lives. But let’s say for instance you don’t have a religion or a belief system. And because you have spiritual needs, you have to make a choice as to what would you want to believe. Out of so many religions all over the world, what would you want to be a part of? But of course, if you’d want a wise choice, the best way would be to immerse yourself to every belief system there is, right? But is there such a thing as a right choice when it comes to faith? I think I’m gonna leave it at that because obviously, this should be tackled on a separate post.

Back to the movie (on a lighter note) :D Another thing I liked about it is how it brought out the geek in me. Somehow, watching it was like a refresher course in Astronomy and Analytic Geometry. Questions like, If the Earth moves at blinding speeds in space, why can’t we feel it? Why does the sun appear smaller at times? What are principles behind the conic shapes? I racked by brains and tried to answer these questions in my head as technical as possible. It’s pretty incredible really if you look at it from this perspective, where the answers to these questions now seem very simple and insignificant. But to people back then, such question was so puzzling that it strikes them whenever they gaze up the sky.

I really applaud those philosophers who were able separate themselves to the ignorant world to find the right answers. I think it was very hard for them to shed old beliefs to find new facts. Philosophers back then believed that the earth moves around the sun in a circle, because it was revered as a pure and perfect shape, and this belief blinded them to see how the Earth moves in space. Even Hipatia was torn apart between bliss and sadness when she found out that the earth revolves around the sun in an ellipse, and not in a circle like she hoped it did. I guess the truth is not always what we expect it to be, but at least it sets us free, which is far more important.

I highly recommend this movie. It is history laced with fiction. Great photography by Xavi Gimenez and soundtrack by Dario Marianelli. The art direction was great and the costumes too. But I warn you— It’s a tragedy… so I’m digging it. Hehe! But if you’re happy, stay happy. Don’t watch it! Haha!

I wonder if there’s still a surviving scroll from that Library in Alexandria. Hmm. It would be really cool to read from one. It would be like finding a lost Van Gogh.


pusang kalye said...

this is what I like about you, your good taste when it comes to films, you surely know the sensible ones....I will look for this one.....

....and if I come to think about it, I guess I can't bear living in that period as even the simple things were so complicated that time......

Mac Callister said...

i saw that movie,so sad about the ending though...

and may ganun na pala sila kahit nun unang panahon pa,reminds me how smart people way way before...