I just finished watching the movie “Arrival,” and what can I say? I have a lot to say. I want to say how emotional I felt during that movie and why, and how this movie brings everything into perspective not only for me but for the whole human community. There is so much I want to say, but sometimes I feel that I talk way too much, when there is no need for that. I always had this ongoing struggle in me of whether I should say something or not, whether it is worthy wasting my time and energy explaining things that others should be able to understand, and I should not live in fear of being misunderstood by them. I always felt that the right person will understand you even if you say nothing at all. The right person will understand you even if you use the wrong words. I have proof for that. My dad and I had this easy silent communication going on between us for all our life. My dad would ask for something and even though he could not find the right word I knew what he wanted. The same went for me, I needed to say nothing at all for my dad always knew how I felt and tried to make my life easier in any way that he could. My mom often made fun of such silent communication between me and my dad always said, “Look at these two mutes, how they understand one another just by moving their hands.” I was indeed surprised that she was not able to understand us. Even though me and my dad always struggled finding the right words, I thought that things were obvious based on the activity we were doing or the context. Even my children know this much. Yes, sure we laugh when I tell them to put plates in the garbage can while I mean put them on the sink; or I say to my kids to throw their dirty laundry away when I really mean that they must put their clothes away, in the laundry basket; or I ask for a fork when I in fact need a spoon. Even when I keep saying, “I need that, that, that…” my son delivers me the pen or the TV remote, or anything I really need, before I am able to find the right word. Yeah, I believe that where is the will, there is understanding.
This unwillingness to explain myself, when others misunderstood what I wanted to say has been an ongoing struggle for all my life. However, lately I learned that in some places and in some circumstances you truly must explain yourself as if you are in front of a judge, because some people can take advantage of you, and misinterpret your words. But, there is a reason why I always felt that there was no need for me to explain myself that much. I believe that if someone misunderstands my words this could happen for any of the two reasons, 1) the person heard exactly what the person needed to hear, despite my original intention and message, or 2)the person deliberately misinterpret my words, hence there is no need to waste my energy in convincing them to do otherwise. From this movie “Arrival” I got a firm confirmation that what I always believed to be true is indeed the truth, that communication through language is not a sign of intelligence, or a sign of our superiority above other animals and species on earth.Communication through feelings is in fact an indication of superiority. Not our looks or the speech, not the music or mathematics and formulas we use, not the weapons or the tools we produce,can in any way measure or seal our superiority as human race above other species. Instead, the way we communicate with one another without words, the way we understand one another’s feelings, that is what makes us superior. Therefore, from this new perspective, the superiority of human race above the other animals, which are capable of living in communities where they cooperate and protect one another by forming this way solid communities better than humans can, becomes now questionable.
I want to ask now, the same question I asked my children years ago when they were learning about dinosaurs, and how they went extinct. How do we know that dinosaurs were not in fact intelligent species that communicated with one another telepathically? The answers you would say is based on the fact that from the many fossils findings and by restructuring their skeletons we can tell whether they used vocal cords to form sophisticated words and sounds like we humans do. And because these findings indicate otherwise we can conclude that dinosaurs’ intellect was inferior to humans. In other words, we entitle ourselves to superiority because we use words and sophisticated languages, while in fact this can be far from truth. The fact that we need a bunch of words to communicate our thoughts before someone can misinterpret them or misunderstands our words, is not an indication of superiority. In contrary, it’s an indication of underdevelopment for such reasonable beings like us.
What about bees? Can anyone prove that humans are more intelligent than bees? Bees are capable of building perfect geometric structures without needing to build other tools to build other structures. Bees are also capable of detecting many different frequencies of light, while we humans are restricted in detecting only a small fraction from the wide spectrum of light, and we call that small fraction visible light. Bees also have a hierarchy of dividing their duties without the need of signing papers and following written protocols in order to understand what their tasks are or that they have to protect their queen with their own lives. And on top of all these superior features that their community exhibits compared to humans communities, they also don’t go around fighting and killing other working bees. But we do. We fight one another, we fight our own specie, we even torture our own specie. We divide spheres of influence and natural resources by fighting wars among ourselves. We feel the need to invade other countries and control other nations that are the same species as we are, humans. We use weapons and laws, and even religion to control the masses. Bees don’t need to use any of these things to cooperate and work for their queen. Indeed bees are equipped with weapons which they prefer not to use unless necessary to protect their community and their existence, while we build weapons and prefer to use them to destroy our human communities and our own existence. So think about that, are humans more intelligent than bees?
I had a very strange experience one day at the park. As I was standing on a bridge, leaning on the wooden rail, enjoying looking at ducks swimming on that little pond in the park, I felt this gentle push under my thumb. I thought that was very strange, but I decided to ignore that sensation. However, when that gentle pushing sensation did not stop, I decided to look under my thumb. I was surprised to see that it was a hole in the wooden rail that my thumb had covered, and inside that hole was a bee. I felt terrible for blocking not only the entrance of the bee, but also preventing the sunlight getting into the hole and possibly cutting the air supply for that bee. I was surprised that in such threatening circumstances that bee choose not attack me.I really do not know much about bees, therefore they may not even need air like we do to survive. Therefore, my thumb may not have been a big threat for cutting of the air supply, however, not depending on air supply would make bees even more superior than us, humans, don’t you think? Anyhow, none of this really matters, because what matters the most is the fact that the bee was perfectly capable of delivering its message, and I was perfectly capable of understanding it.
I asked my dad the other day about what he remembers about me as a child, what was specific about me and my nature that distinguished me from my brother Andis? My dad said that what he remembers about my brother was that Andis (we called him Andi for short, hahaha… Only a letter makes a big difference apparently) was full of life and joy, and curious nature, rebellious even, always laughing, as if for him everything was a joke. Andi was a good combination of my mom’s personality, loud and seemingly joyful but in fact always dramatic, and my dad’s personality, quiet most of the time but angry when interrupted from doing his own thing. Well, what was this “own thing” I am talking about? My dad loved putting pieces of old radios together that had stopped working for some time, and creating new radios with them. People were surprised as how he could do that, since he never used or followed a specific model, because these pieces came from different radios of different makes and brands. This was his hobby, and that’s why he could do it, but my mom called him childish and selfish, because he occupied a table in the living room with those pieces from old radios and we had to walk around that table very carefully so we would not break anything and ruin any of dad’s creation.
Despite my mom’s never ending criticism, I learned from my dad that hobbies keep you busy and happy. Hobbies can stop the negative moods of other people affecting you. I loved the fact that my dad made new radios from the old ones, because indeed I was the only person who would benefit and enjoy his creations. My dad did not make those radios to sell, make profit or to brag about what he was capable of doing. He made those radios simply because he enjoyed doing that. My dad often worked for hours and hours in total silence. It was never easy to create new radios from old ones. He had to take the pieces from old radios apart without breaking them, so he used a special tool that had a hot tip and smoke came out of it every time he used it. Then he had to measure all these pieces one by one, with some other special tools that would tell him how much current intensity those pieces could handle if current electricity would flow through them. I noticed everything my dad was doing without bothering him or asking him anything. I was quiet and observant my dad says, but my brother Andi was different from me. As my dad remembers Andi, he was curious and went around and around that table watching my dad and trying to speak to my dad in his own baby language. We guessed he was asking questions in a language that no one seemed to understand. Well, obviously no one can understand what a one year old child is trying to say exactly. For all we know, Andi could have been communicating new ideas on how to make radios, who knows? Well, we are incapable of understanding our own babies, our own creatures, go figure. I wonder if bees have the same problem as we do. Anyhow, my dad tried to explain to Andi that he must not to touch anything on that table, because some of that stuff was dangerous and could harm him. I really do not know how successful my dad was at delivering that message to Andi, because Andi did not seem to get it. Andi never gave up. For him everything was a joke. When my dad wasn’t looking Andi would stick his little finger into every single piece on that table, by quickly tagging everything and then running away laughing out loud. Being such a bundle of joy it was hard for anyone to yell at Andi, but my dad said that he worried that Andi could have burned his finger on that hot tool my dad used all the time, so my dad yelled at him once. He only yelled at Andi once, because he was unable to deliver the message successfully to his son. That’s human tragedy, because Andi died a month later and my dad never forgave himself for yelling at Andi to protect him from harm. I on the other hand, did not need my dad to tell me in any forceful ways that touching things on that table was not OK. I understood, just by observing that it was a serious matter going on in that working table, and the smoke, and that hot tip, and little noises the radios made while dad worked on them, and the sound of things melting under the heat of that tip, were strong enough to convey the message that beautiful but also dangerous things were going on, of which only my dad understood how they worked and only him was in charge. I was a bit older than my brother, yes, because I was four, but that was not a new hobby for my dad. I had watched him worked on that table when I was as young as Andi too, but I was quiet and observant in nature, while Andi was loud, and sneaky, and joyful.
My mom said that they often forgot that I was in the room, because I had this habit of finding ways to entertain myself while others did not pay any attention to me. I never asked or demanded anything, but always assumed that there must be a reason why I am not provided with what I needed. I learned during my life, in a hard way that I was wrong assuming that others would always do the right thing and will treat you the right way. Hence, if anything went wrong in my life, I assumed that either was my fault and I had to work on finding and fixing what was wrong, or that others had a good reason for mistreating me. I went on to finding that good reason, and I realized that most of the time I was making up those reasons and I was making excuses for others’ behaviors because it did not make any sense to me that other reasonable beings like myself had no use for their reasoning. I wanted to understand everything and when I did not know things I asked. I always asked when in doubts, and not assumed the answers. One day I asked my mom what mother-in-law meant. My mom then realized that I must have heard that from the conversation she had the other day with one of her friends while drinking coffee in our living room and totally forgetting about my presence in the room. My mom often said that being quiet was my secret weapon, while my dad thought differently. He said that I was quiet and observant, but my secret weapon was that I questioned everything, and that I was curious and wanted to know everything.
In contrary to my parents I grew up thinking I had no secret weapons, or special talents or gifts of any kind. I could not give myself permission to think so highly about myself, because something in me, in my consciousness prevented me from feeling fully satisfied with my achievements. I did not think that I ever did anything more than what it was expected from me in my intellectual human capacity and knowledge level of my group age. However, if there is anything that I would dedicate my success to, for fulfilling almost every goal I set my mind to, is that thing we call reasoning and that we humans underestimate its power. Reasoning was my secret weapon, and we all have that weapon built in us. We must not be afraid to use it, because this is a gift that was given to us, so that we would understand and support one another; so that we communicate through feelings and reason about these feelings using our emotional intelligence that makes us superior beyond the need of using words to express what we feel or have in mind.
So this is why the movie “Arrival” had such a great impact in me. Indeed, it conveys a deep message for all humanity. The message is to start questioning and search for the answer of what makes us reasonable beings? Why do we think that we have the right to exist and not go extinct at some point? Aren’t we doing this to ourselves? Aren’t we already fighting one another, using weapons that cause harm to other humans physically, emotionally, mentally, and psychologically? Are we superior or inferior species destined to destroy ourselves through judgments, feelings of guilt, and manipulations that would lead to fear and anger, and then obviously will lead to the need of using weapons to control our spheres of influences? Isn’t the fact that we need to control others, or use weapons to control others an indication of a low and very inferior reasonable being? If we can use reason then why do we use force to convey our messages? We Albanians have an old expression that seems to fit this topic perfectly at this point. This expression says, “Ku mbaron llogika, fillon dajaku,” which means, “Where the reasoning ends, the violence begins.” Therefore, it is time to ask ourselves, are we all reasonable beings as we thought we were? Does the way we look, our skin, our gender, our education, our political view, or religion, or how much money we have at the bank, or even the eloquence in communicating with others be the right way to define a reasonable being? Aren’t all the above criteria reasons for the separations among us, which then leads to violence, hence an indication of the lack of reasoning?