Saturday, March 1, 2008

Day of Rest

This has been a very busy week. I haven't spent an evening at home since Monday, making me feel like a neglectful cat owner. (Not that the cat seems to mind. She's lying here next to me, grooming away, apparently oblivious.)

The white spot in the photo above, by the way, is not the moon. It's a spotlight inside the glass building. But it looks very lunar, doesn't it? That's the spire of the Empire State Building directly below the light, peeking through the sections of the large building in front.

Thursday's Tibet event got me thinking about nationalism. I've never understood why China is so persistent in clinging to Tibet, a harsh country where - to hear the panelists tell it on Thursday - the Chinese can't even live because they're not adapted to the altitude. I've never understood Serbia's insistence on maintaining control over Kosovo, either.

It seems to me that if a majority of people in a given area chafe against the government and want to secede, and it's an area of modest material value to the national economy, little would be lost by letting it go. Why shouldn't Kosovo and Tibet be independent nations? Or Chechnya for that matter? You'd think the central governments of China, Serbia and Russia would be happy to be rid of them.

This probably reflects stunning naivete on my part - and I'm aware of complicating factors, such as intermingled ethnic groups, not to mention our own Civil War history - but overall I just don't get it.

I saw "No Country for Old Men" last night. An excellent movie! Bloody, but it kept me riveted throughout. Javier Bardem is great, and so are Josh Brolin and Tommy Lee Jones. The movie ends rather abruptly, I thought, but I guess that's part of the mystique.

Anyway, I am looking forward to today. I plan to go to the gym, relax and read, and clean my apartment. Tonight I'm off to the theater again, but at least I'll be well-rested!

(Photo: Herald Square, Feb. 2008)


Anonymous said...

Love the pic! I would never have noticed the Empire State Bldg. if you hadn't pointed it out. THANK YOU!!

I think it's racist to say that the Chinese can not adapt to the altitude in Tibet, don't you? Clearly there is a lot of bad blood between the Tibetans and the Chinese, going back for so many hundreds (thousands?) of years that we western folks will never understand it.

Too bad that most human interactions have absolutely nothing to do with thinking rationally. I think all these national disputes about who is entitled to which chunk of the landscape come directly from the brain stem part of the human brain, the part that deals exclusively with survival issues and instinctual behavior. The clinging we do is like a reflex, not so much like a carefully thought out reaction.

My goodness. What a long comment. Anyway thanks as usual for making me think.

Anonymous said...

The Chinese can't really adapt to high altitudes because they differ physically from the Mountain people. It a lung and heart thing.

Some people go up on a mountain and become very ill--and stay ill because their lungs and hearts cannot adapt. they are what they are. They have trouble breathing.

I am glad for some time off and glad for some beautiful snow. --I'm on my way out to photograph the beautiful snow.

Anonymous said...

Reya: Squirrel is right -- or at least that's what panelists at the event said. Apparently Tibet is so high that the Tibetans have evolved to live in those altitudes, but Chinese newcomers have not. In fact, they have to leave periodically or they become ill.

Anonymous said...

incredible picture.

thanks for the thought provoking post on nationalism - so complex! I must say I to don't get much of it either.

sun's out!!! time to abandon the computer and play and get on with the day!

Anonymous said...

That is a GREAT photo!

I'll never understand nationalism, either - besides the fact that humankind seems to crave power and control (possibly in an effort to deny death). Tibet upsets me a great deal - what the Chinese Government has done to that culture and it's people is horrifying.

Anonymous said...

P.S. - what was said about altitude is spot on. I've climbed quite a few mountains (including in the Himalaya) and some people can adapt and others not so much (at least within a generation or two).

Anonymous said...

Dennis shall not rest until Tibet is free. (Dennis will appear to be resting at times, but that will just be catnapping)