The Field Museum: Part Deux!


With our CityPass booklets, one of the attractions you get admission to is the Field Museum. Which was great because, despite spending an entire Thursday there last week, we still had more we wanted to see! I'll list off in order the exhibits that we caught the second time around!

1. Tibet

Tibet is one of those places that has always fascinated me. I learned in a world religions class a couple semesters ago that it's the only place where the most mystical, esoteric form of Buddhism (Mahayana) is practiced. Who wouldn't be intrigued by that? :) And then there's the whole political junkie in me that's interested in the Tibet-China conflict. So I really wanted to go to this exhibit so see if I could figure out where I stood on that.

After reading through everything, I have to say that I agree 100% with the Dalai Lama. Despite being a spiritual giant, the Dalai Lama is an extremely intelligent man. He also has a warm sense of humor! Cross President Hinckley with Elder Talmage, and you've got it about right. Anyway, he doesn't espouse the whole "Free Tibet!" movement. And a lot of people kind of think of him as a sell-out for not doing so. But he's not a sell-out, he's smart. He realizes that Tibet needs China. It's a tiny, tiny region that could never survive any sort of attack all on its own. It needs China for protection. And China needs Tibet for its vast natural resources. The problem is: where do you draw the line between capitalizing on natural resources (to the benefit of both parties) and exploiting them at the expense of one?

I highly, highly encourage any of you interested in this issue to visit the following website: click here. It lists speeches that the Dalai Lama has given on this issue and a variety of other ones, including world peace, religious harmony, compassion and the environment. He truly is an inspired man and I have no doubt that he will one day accept the gospel. If there is one person I admire most outside of the Church, it's him.

On a sidenote, after visiting this exhibit I am officially boycotting Chinese products. No, seriously. If you knew about the egregious human rights violations they've committed in Tibet, you would too. I will not support the economy of a country who has such little respect for human dignity. "Made in China?" Then it's not made for me.

2. Evolving Planet

Wow, where to start on this exhibit! Basically, it took us on a journey through Earth history. Day 1 till now. (Yeah, it's kind of hard to summarize!) We walked through Precambrian period where life on Earth was limited to single-celled prokaryotes, passed a few mass extinctions, on to the dinosaurs, another mass extinction or two, and then arrived at present day! What I took away from this exhibit was that there is no. possible. way. that the Supreme Creator was not involved our planet's development. It was extremely complicated, and too many things fell too perfectly into place. God truly is a genius.

3. Underground Adventure

This was a special exhibit that our CityPass gave us admission to. We "shrunk" to the size of an ant and went inside the world of soil! We walked through the land of tree roots, worms, and wolf spiders...all the while being less than an inch tall! :) Haha once again, this exhibit was kind of for little kids. It was still pretty cool though! We learned about how important soil is to our everyday life. It totally gets taken for granted! For example: no soil? No cereal. (How will the grains grow that your cereal is made with?) No soil? No jeans. (Cotton has to grow somewhere!)

It really is one of those pervasive elements that affects your life in ways you don't even think about. Without it, life truly wouldn't be possible. Another testament to God's genius :)

4. The Road to Freedom

This was my favorite exhibit of the day. It was a collection of black-and-white photographs of the Civil Rights Movement. And it was powerful. I sometimes can't believe how much I forget history. Not in the literal I-can't-remember-it sense, but in the I-don't-appreciate-it sense. On Monday I got hit over the head with this realization as I walked through the moon exhibit in the planetarium. And now on Tuesday it was deja vu, except this time with the Civil Rights Movement.

The photographs we saw so perfectly captured the essence of what Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and thousands of others fought for. Through the lens of a camera we saw their passion, their pain, their determination and their spirit. It was such a dark time in our nation's history. There were two pictures in particular that haunted me.

One was of a car. An abandoned car on the side of the highway. You wouldn't think much to look at it, but the plaque beside it told the story of a black woman who had been driving back from a peaceful protest she'd been a part of in Montgomery, Alabama. On the way home, she was shot to death and dragged out of her car. Now you look at the photograph closer. You can see a shattered window, bloodstains all over the driver's seat, and even a pair of deserted shoes left near the pedals.

The human capacity to love is one of the most defining, admirable characteristics of our species. But I suppose there is an opposite to everything. Our capacity for hatred chills me.

The second photograph was of a young, black boy riding in a car. His father had just been murdered. The car the boy was riding in was on its way to his funeral. The look on his face that the photographer caught truly is indescribable, but I'll do my best. The boy was looking directly at the camera. His expression pierced through the lens and into your soul, almost pleading for help. In them, you could see all the hurt, anguish, and sorrow of his people. There was even a hint of rage. Yet through all these emotions, you could see resilience. In his eyes there were thousands of people screaming for justice, willing to fight for it no matter the consequences.

I saw the entire Civil Rights Movement through the face of one boy.

I came out of that exhibit with a completely different perspective on American 20th century history. My appreciation for Martin Luther King Jr. was magnified a hundredfold, and I couldn't help but feel a tinge of bitter remorse for the hateful acts that my fellow countrymen perpetrated on their brothers. Americans can be so hypocritical sometimes. We always look back on the Nazis with such disdain for their ill-targeted aggression towards the Jews and indiscriminate violence. Yet a mere ten years later we were doing the same thing during the Civil Rights Movement. Granted, it was on a much smaller scale and--with the exception of a few crazies--we weren't on genocidal tirade to destroy the black race. But still: isn't it the feeling that counts?

A hotel owner, upon seeing black people in his swimming pool, doused the pool with harmful chemicals while they were still swimming in it. He ordered them all out, drained the pool of their "impurities," and then raised a Confederate flag over the freshly-refilled pool.

That type of hatred is what fueled Nazi Germany to shuttle Jews into concentration camps. Thankfully, our country wasn't so far gone that we could justify killing innocent people, as the Nazis did. But the hate was still there. That seething, tar-like hate that burned through reason and drove men over the edge of humanity.

After walking through this exhibit, I got to thinking about all the gay men and women out there who are comparing their battle over the marriage issue to the Civil Rights Movement. It makes me really, really mad. Like, beyond mad. How could any gay person who has any sense of what the Civil Rights Movement was all about, and any sense of respect for it, even dare to compare their "plight" to it? I won't get into this issue too much because doing so would draw negative energy into my body that I just don't want or need. But let me just say that if any pro-gay-marriage person ever comes at me with the argument of "it's the new Civil Rights Movement": I. WILL. LOSE. IT.

Overall, I'm really glad that we got a second day at the Field Museum. The stuff we saw there today broadened our minds, made us think, and enriched our lives. It would have been a shame to miss it!


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