The Black Out

Intriguing things can be dangerous. When the crew of the USS Palomino boarded the Cygnus they were intrigued by the beautiful ship but found the ship’s captain seeking ultimate knowledge by sending them all into a twirling, whirling black hole.

Why not says Dr Hans Reinhardt played by Judgement at Nuremberg’s Maximillian Schell in The Black Hole (1979). What on earth have we got ourselves into, says the crew of the USS Palomino – Captain Dan Holland (Robert Forster), Lieutenant Charles Pizer (Joseph Bottoms), Dr Alex Durant (Anthony Perkins), Dr Kate McCrae (Yvette Mimieux) and journo Harry Booth (Ernest Borgnine). Durant is more susceptible to its charms but is heading down the wrong path.

Getting pulled into something intriguing, but there is danger around the bend. In terms of philosophy, it is not just an odd saying for the wise of heart. In terms of experience, it happens.

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State of mind

An article can reveal the state of mind of the writer, if the reader can see through the writer’s lines. States of mind can change — overtime — and the writer may be embarrassed or pleased by what they were thinking in the past. Whatever it was, reflecting on that state of mind can help the writer face it afresh and see whether that philosophy still stands today. It’s an intriguing exercise.

A little clarity

Reading between the lines of an article of mine from 1996 brings clarity on what I believed about movie violence and still do. Back then a sense of “getting a job done” predominated, but now, it’s good to clarify what I believe which can bring more definition to my current work. My philosophy has become fully integrated, with a sense of confidence in it.

The loneliness of being right

Sometimes, it doesn’t feel good to be right, and if I was right all the time, it may be a very, very lonely life. I got a question right, when watching a quiz show. A person next to me said “You’re right.” It sounded like a thud. It feels good to be right, doesn’t it? No, it doesn’t. For that matter, a writer being right sounds anathema. A writer should see the broad picture without having to take a side. Although this was a quiz show, I felt the loneliness of being right although being right or wrong isn’t the point, really, of being a writer, for that matter. For a writer, right and wrong may be redundant for many writers. In terms of writing a story, the story is about character, motivation, trajectory, plot, theme, story. The writer goes with characters through a lucid journey right to the end or even beyond the ‘end’. The writer gets in the head of the character and even vicariously becomes the character on the page or on the screen.

Right and wrong applies to writers who are sensitive to values and write stories that don’t transgress those values. It may be lonely to stick to one’s values, however, except this kind of writer is sticking to their guns, and loneliness can be the sacrifice the writer makes to do this. It’s better to not go along with the crowd, if one doesn’t go along with it.


Ten years ago I was debating with myself if the generally open view to movies was the right one and loosely took on board a consciously moral view. I wanted to be sure I was thinking the right thing, though, so did some sly-handed research, and discovered something, that I’ve taken on board now. In learning this, it’s liberating. In applying it, a pleasure. In the sense that I was discovering, well worth the effort. I am free! I am free in terms of taking on board a new philosophy or mental approach, but my experience of movies can be another thing. The philosophy is good itself, and worthwhile–but I’ll leave it with those who actually will use it. However, understanding it in the affirmative is empowering.