Friday, August 22, 2008

The REAL simple life


Quotes from Akira Kurosawa’s movie, Dreams, in the segment called “Village of the Watermills”

A tourist with a camera is visiting the village, which is beautiful, adorned with blooming flowers and a series of watermill wheels spinning in a fast-rushing braided shallow streams. Narrow footbridges cross the streams, connecting to narrow islands with craggy trees claiming footholds. An old man works on a wheel. He is wearing a straw hat and his white beard is scraggly. A young man, a tourist, approaches…

Tourist: There’s no electricity here?

Old man: Don’t need it. People get too used to convenience. They think convenience is better. They throw out what’s truly good.

Tourist: But what about lights?

Old man: We’ve got candles and linseed oil.

Tourist: But night’s so dark.

Old man: Yes. That’s what night is supposed to be. Why should night be as bright as day? I wouldn’t like nights so bright you couldn’t see the stars.

Tourist: You have paddies. But no tractors to cultivate them?

Old man: Don’t need them. We’ve got cows, and horses.

Tourist: What do you use for fuel?

Old man: Firewood mostly. We don’t feel right, chopping down trees, but enough fall down by themselves. We cut them up and use them as firewood. And if you make charcoal from the wood, just a few trees can give you as much heat as a whole forest. Yes, and cow dung make good fuel, too.

Tourist looks over to see mill turning. Looks up to see tall tree branches swaying in the wind.

Old man: We try to live the way man used to. That’s the natural way of life. People today have forgotten they’re really just a part of nature. Yet, they destroy the nature on which our lives depend. They always think they can make something better. Especially scientists. They may be smart, but most don’t understand the heart of nature. They only invent things that in the end make people unhappy. Yet they’re so proud of their inventions. What’s worse, most people are, too. They view them as if they were miracles. They worship them. They don’t know it, but they’re losing nature. They don’t see that they’re going to perish. The most important things for human beings are clean air and clean water, and the trees and grass that produce them. Everything is being dirtied, polluted forever. Dirty air, dirty water, dirtying the hearts of men.

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