Petrus Spronk

For the introduction to this story I have divided the world into two groups. Lets call them group ‘A’ and group ‘B’. The people in Group A don’t travel or read books and everything is familiar in their day and they are therefore never challenged. As a result they think they know everything they meet up with, but in actual fact know very little. Whereas the people in group B who travel and read and as a consequence think they know very little, in fact know a lot more.

This is this month’s story and could be titled: “The riches of the few are always closely related to the misery of the many.”

It all started with a window.

I have in my house many windows through which I can look from the inside at the outside and see a tiny bit of the world. Then it recently occured to me that I have another set of windows through which I can virtually see the whole of the world. Plus I can chose which part of the world I wish to see and when. Those windows are part of the electrical devices which we now find in almost every Australian home – the mobile phone, the computer and the television.

Then recently I became aware of yet another object which fits in the window concept. This one has been looking back at me since I was a child, yet I have never used it as a window. But while I am presently considering all things “window”, I had to look at it with the idea of a window in mind. So what do we see when looking into, or out of, this particular window?

This window is a mirror and in this mirror it is ourselves we see.

Now for the reason of this story.

The other evening, I found myself, as a result of a suggestion from a friend, looking at an unusual movie titled HUMAN, the movie, a film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand which you find in, or is it on, YouTube, and which I highly recommend to you. In fact I think everyone in privileged Australia should see it and I hope it will become a part of the school English curriculum . Why do I think that?

Basically, the movie is a random set of extraordinary portraits of ordinary people who, one after the other, while intensely looking at you are making very personal statements. They are not unlike a close up of a person looking at you through a window into your lounge room. A bit weird – because although I know it is only television, because of the contents I found it somewhat unnerving, emotional and very, very moving….

When I look at it as if my TV was a mirror, I would see myself in the many different guises the movie presents. Different age, different skin, different sexual orientation, different everything. But in the end just ordinary people. Here they were, one after the other, looking at me. Looking me, strait in the eye. Each talking head had a strong story too tell. A small but potent part of their very personal stories. Designed in such a way that each person touched you in one way or another. Touched you deeply.

They show us different experiences of ordinary life – stories interspersed with imagery of truly amazing landscapes.

Please have a look for yourself and then show your family, friends, and your neighbours. Do I have teachers, and or students, amongst my readers? Check the movie out and tell others. Then bring it to school. If at school, suggest maybe a lunchtime viewing or one during an English lesson. Go and visit the library and ask them to get it on their shelves.

We, the privileged of the world, should have an occasional look at how other people live. But not only that, we could also see it as the ordinary stories which you could find in your own street. Ordinary stories told in a way that only the true story teller can. Devoid of their ego, they give you the naked truth. Raw story telling. Give it a listen.

Petrus Spronk is a local author and artist who contributes a monthly column to The Wombat Post.