John Archer on “The Truth in These Stories”

But this attempt of mine to connect up historical details is just minor left-brain stuff.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

When you hear people from the East Coast of Aotearoa proclaim…

“Ko Paikea te tipuna taniwha tangata.”

…they are proudly acknowledging, in vivid symbolic format, that…

“…our Polynesian ancestors lived life to the very edge by venturing far across the deep and distant waters,


…they succeeded in their ventures because they strove to become at one with the great animals of the deep ocean,


…and these ancestors are still there in front of us, calling us to follow their example, until we also achieve one-ness with other creatures.”

— John Archer in his article “Paikea: 1870s” (New Zealand: New Zealand Folk Song, August 2007). Originally published (New Zealand: New Zealand Folk Song, November 5, 2003). Field recording by John Knapp, Jr. excerpted from “Caribbean Humpback Whale” on the album “Rapture of the Deep: Humpback Whale Singing” (Bridgeport, Connecticut: Compass Recordings, 2001).

Related Media: Explosion sequence during the conclusion of the film Zabriskie Point (Los Angeles, California: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., 1970)

John Archer Posted on behalf of John Archer on Saturday, October 16th, 2010 under Quotations.

One comment so far

  1. ~
    The shifting meaning of these signifiers.
    Once written a thing cannot mean the same thing
     because the meaning of the word as generally understood by everyone has subtly shifted.
    Anyone who will subsequently witness one’s recorded expression will be perceiving something different.
    Perhaps not differently than intended (which is perhaps a field of quality which art explores)
     but differently than likely perceived.
    ~
    It is difficult to go back in time, to enter into the feel of the 1960’s, for example.
    The one film I have recently valued for its concresence and anchorage in time
     is Michaelangelo Antonioni’s “Zabriskie Point” (1970).
    “Zabriskie Point” opens with a sequence rooted in my contemporary imagination about “the radical 60’s,”
     what it must have felt like to be in the dangerous ferment of ideas and actions,
     beholden by that vast shining light of Potential First Glimpsed, an exit, an escape.
    Are we brave enough to stand up and take that step,
     to fight for a better world,
     the difference between right and wrong surely not as clear as it is to us,
     here now watching,
     seeing what we want to see, seeing what you tell us.
    ~
    Seeing what you told us.
    You told us that it was not that easy.
    You told us that even with the world on our side, the mass of people unseen,
     still in the darkness unknown to our attention, creening ever forward for surely they have felt your presence,
     crained from your stinks, watched the world changing that you don’t see, so obsessed with your mirrored towers.
    You reminded us that the world doesn’t really care about your< ->our self-obsession.
    The world doesn’t really understand your full confession.
    The world simply observes what is happening,
     and has been forced to smack some sense into you because you aren’t sensing the danger.
    ~
    The danger is that the world will cook you. You will become food for worms.
    The world doesn’t really mind the cooking,
     perhaps because the world may not have a “mind” like we like to think about them.
    We like to think that the world has a univocular mind, a big ego of some sort or another
     provided->providing a point of contact which may be held onto
     amidst this big infinite sea of infinite carrying capacity infinite nuance and infinite beauty, called Mind.
    ~
    While in the body, we seem to be able to accrete a collection of Mind
     onto this univocular singular point of contact with the physical world called our bodies.
    That may be tautological for a reason. Or not.
    My point being:
    ~
    There are other ways.
    ~

Leave a Reply

You can embed videos and photos in your comments just by including the URL. Here's a list of supported websites and instructions.

You can use these HTML tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>