Is Proof Possible?

proof

TNT’s latest summer offering, executive produced by Kyra Sedgwick, has promise, provided that it’s offered the opportunity to grow. The life-after-death topic has not been edgy enough for prime time. In the past, audiences have responded more favorably to soap-opera drama, adult animation, and modern day fairy tales. And this subject often alienates conservative viewers with its less than glorious peek behind the veil. No saints at the gate or winged ushers to guide arrivals to the wizard in that great kingdom in the sky.

Being a realist, I am excited about this show and hope it will portray the real work doctors have done in researching the existence of an afterlife. Having studied the works of Professor Gary E. Schwartz, Ph.D., I know there is a mountain of material to support this theory. I am hopeful that some of the experiments conducted in The Afterlife Experiments and The G.O.D. Experiments will be brought to life on the small screen. Actual tests done with patients who flat-lined for a number of minutes who claimed to see and hear everything that occurred in the room after their heart stopped.

Proof follows a surgeon (Jennifer Beals) who has had her own unexplained life-after-death experiences since losing her teenage son. She remains a skeptic, as do most scientific people. But she is approached by a dying billionaire who promises to fund her disaster relief efforts should she employ her skills to aid his research. What happens to the consciousness after death?  Big money is too sweet a carrot, so she’s in, but unconvinced she’ll find much. Yet, she holds a kernel of belief that her son might not be completely gone. As long as she hangs onto that ounce of reasonable doubt that physical death is not the end, she can be propelled to consider ideas she once thought preposterous.

To my own mind, I don’t believe there is proof. Proof implies tangible, physical evidence. There is no such thing when dealing with the 21 gram “soul” that science has labeled as the weight of individual human consciousness. It is not physical matter.

My fingers are crossed that the producers can do right by the subject matter, and that it finds an audience open enough to give it a chance, at least for the ten episodes it has shot.

How Relevant Are You?

BanksyBl

(Balloon Girl. Probably the most iconic image by British street artist Banksy.)

My apologies for being blog-less for a month. Computer problems had me locked out of my site.

Last week I overheard a conversation about Bruce Jenner’s transition to being female.Now, you have to hear this dialogue in a thick Southern accent.

“You seen Bruce Jenner?”

“Ah, yeah. I don’t know what he was thinking. And as his age?” Shakes head. “He is not a good lookin’ woman.”

“I know that’s right.”

“His daughter’s not doing too well with it. She’s having a hard time.”

“I hear that. My Daddy did something like that? Mmm hmm.”

Jenner had been a public figure since the seventies when he landed in history books as the World’s Greatest Athlete. He was then, and is once again, relevant.

So I asked myself, what gives a person relevance?

Visibility + Message + Right Timing (and a little luck) = Relevance

Let’s face facts. The current topic of the times is the LGBT community. I’m almost embarrassed to be straight in this decade. So the transition of Bruce to Caitlyn is relevant. Who is more visible that a former superstar who married a Kardashian, then decided to live the third act of his life as woman? That’s lightning in a bottle.

If we feel invisible, we feel like we don’t matter. Celebrities, sports stars, and politicians do visibility like the rest of us can’t. It’s part of their job, and very expensive. The public buys whatever they’re selling in product or opinion. Relevance often comes with a stiff price tag.

Take the British street artist known as Banksy.

In 2013, he spent a month planting works around NYC in a scavenger hunt style. Twitter followers ventured to parts of the city that they didn’t frequent (or ever see) for the opportunity to be part of a select group able to gaze upon a piece of statement art. Some pieces were white-washed over by the property owners who didn’t want the attention. Others were chiseled off the wall and carted away to be sold for big money, none of which made it to the artist.

Banksy hired a white-haired gentleman to sell some of canvas pieces on the sidewalk for $60 each. Only a handful sold. No one recognized the similarities in the work, and apparently, they were unsigned by the artist.

The art world appraised those pieces to be worth $250,000 each.

What made this artist relevant? Even though he hid his face, in one month Banksy created unique visibility for his art by using modern technology, and each piece sent a clear message to the public. His visibility on social media communicated, “Find my personal message, but you only have a limited time before it is removed or destroyed.”

Relevance is communication in action that requires good timing to be noticed in grand fashion.We all matter to someone. How relevant we become depends on our ability to show up and communicate ideas that resonate in that moment in time.

In the movie Gladiator, Maximus famously says, “What we do in life echoes in eternity.”

What do you do that will echo in eternity? Do you make yourself or your work visible? Most importantly, do you have something to say?   

I doubt Annie Leibovitz will photograph me any time soon. But if she does, I’d want that reason to be clear and relevant.