On very rare occasions an idea or fact is unveiled that causes such an upset of the pre-existing status quo that it continues to have tongues wagging long after its originator has passed on. One such example is Charles Darwin’s On The Origin Of The Species. It’s celebrating its 150 year publication anniversary. It was 200 years ago this year that Darwin himself was born.
There are lots of things Darwin in the news at the moment. Channel 4 is running a series celebrating the genius of Charles Darwin. There seems to be a comment on the great man’s works in many notable media publications: the Guardian, a blog about a new book celebrating the anniversary, an Irish site on the topic, and coverage from the prestigious Scientific American.
The one that really caught my attention, however, is on the silver screen. The interestingly-titled Creation tells of the personal struggle Darwin had in the run up to the writing of the famous book. We are so used to hearing about the theories, but we hear little about the person. This movie changes all that. We see the person behind the work. We see the human who battled with his own religious upbringing and his wife’s more entrenched religiosity. But more than that, it captured Darwin the parent, Darwin the father.
His bond with his beloved daughter Annie was to prove instrumental in his decision to write the book. Despite her tender years and pre-mature death (she died aged only 10 years), she understood what her father’s work was about. She was able to reflect it back to him with the clarity and simplicity of a child’s thinking. In one particular scene, Darwin took his (at the time) 4 children out into nature, to observe a fox catching rabbit dinner. One daughter is upset at this barbaric side of nature, but Annie intervenes with a comment that it has to happen like that, it keeps the balance. Astounding.
Creation is a beautifully filmed piece of work. The cinematography is stunning. The beautiful way we hear about the life and demise of Jenny-the-Orangutang who died prematurely in conjunction with Annie is …. I defy anyone to watch that and not shed a tear.
Equally impressive is the website. It’s on my list of “sites whose design reflect their content” examples for my e-business students. It’s also my new home page, popping up on my screen each time I load Firefox. I’m a country gal who is now living in the city. Like many such people, I miss the sound effect of the countryside. If I close my eyes I might just kid myself into thinking I’m back in good old rural Ireland again.