Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Numinous

I have seen god. I realize that is a bold statement, but it is true. Not only did I see the numinous, but it drove me to tears today. Hubble Space Telescope released a new deep field image today (http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2009/31/). It is the deepest probe into the depths of the universe yet. It is a look at the darkest sliver of space. And though this piece of the sky only 2.4 arcminutes wide (about than a 1/12th of the full moon), it is saturated with galaxies, some of the youngest ever observed.

I look at this image, which could easily be surpassed by images of nebulae and supernova remnants since they are more colorful, and see the majesty of it. Each galaxy in the image is home to billions of stars. It makes me feel so small, and yet so warm. I am the product of a grand plan older than I can image, created by something/someone/some-unnamable. This universe is beautiful, it expands farther than human imagination and varies more than we can guess. I look at the deep field and I see the numinous, the powers-that-be, God.

All I can do is look at it, smile and cry.

J.R. West

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ark Angels: A twist on the Bible Story

Originally Posted at Dante's Heart (http://dantesheart.blogspot.com/) on October 18, 2008.

Last week while browsing the library I stumbled upon a three volume manhwa (Korean comic) called "Ark Angels" by Sang-sun Park. The author was new to me, but the cover was cute enough. So I figured, eh why not.
The main character is Japheth, who was always my favorite in the ark story. In this case Japheth (which of the two is spelt wrong) is a girl joined by her sisters Shem and Hamu, and they are the daughters of Noah. Instead of building an ark as ordered by God, Noah and his girls (well really, just his girls) are part of a collective of semi-divine creatures. The council must decide the fate of humans on Earth and are divided. The two sides want to save an anthropomorphized Earth from human pollution, but they differ in method. While that idea is used often (i.e Bruce Coville's My Teacher is an Alien series and Clamp's X/1999), our heroines, following the biblical story, must save the Earth one endangered species at a time taking them into an extra-dimensional ark. While the overall premise is not terribly original, the creator keeps the story interesting.

Even though this story is a bit elementary, it is cute with "scary parts" and "dating." The plot is a collection of stories related to the animals (which to them look like humans). Each animal has their own history and story that are believable and very human. The girls are childish, but fun, and Japheth has the same energy as Hikaru of Clamps' Magic Knight Rayearth. Nonetheless, Japheth is the real focus, as she looks at humans with untainted optimism and believes that they can be better. It can be a bit preachy about conservation, but no worse than Captain Planet (is our hero, is going to take pollution down to zero).

Peace for now!
J.R. West the Raccoon