Saturday, March 4, 2017

Learning Dispatch - March 3rd, 2017 - Watching Arrival and Collateral Beauty

Why the dispatch? - I want to understand how we can make our learning more social. I love having conversations with friends and colleagues about new things we have learned. So these dispatches are part of an effort to get those conversations started.

In the movie, ‘Collateral Beauty’ (watch the trailer here), the protagonist, Howard Inlet (Will Smith) is a successful advertising executive. The movie starts with this statement by Howard,

‘What is your why? Why did you get out of bed this morning? Why did you eat what you ate? Why did you wear what you wore? Why did you come here?….The big why. We are certainly not here to just sell chit. We are here to connect. Life is about people. Advertising is about illuminating how our products and services will illuminate people’s lives. Now how do we do that? Love, Time, Death. Now these three abstractions connect every single human being on earth. Every thing that we covet. Every thing that we fear not having. Everything that we ultimately end up buying. Because at the end of the day, we long for love, we wish we had more time, and we fear death.’

The scene then shifts to a time period three years in the future. Howard is now divorced and his 6 year old daughter has passed away. He is not able to focus on his work and this leads to lots of problems at his workplace. During this time he writes letters to the abstract ideas of Love, Time and Death. His partners at the agency are worried. They hire three actors and a private investigator to prove his instability with regards to his mental health. These actors meet him as Human Representations of Love, Time and Death. The private investigator plans to record his interactions with these actors to document instances of his mental instability.

In the movie, ‘Arrival’ (watch the trailer here), 12 alien spaceships decide to pay planet earth a visit. They park themselves at 12 different points around the planet. Each country where the spaceship has landed launches an independent investigation into tackling these visitors.