Same instrument, different perspectives

This is indeed something very interesting…. I have seen that material things are arranged in such a way at present that one could reach a high degree of perfection of the physical instrument in any field whatever, no matter what may be the degree of inner or psychic development. This was what I thought yesterday evening about the talkies. It is evidently a great progress in the cinematographic art and it can’t be called in itself bad or good. It so happened that I had always seen only talkies of idiotic, vulgar, crude stories, indeed all the stupidities generally shown in cinemas, and this perfection of the instrument had made the crudity yet more crude, the stupidity yet more stupid, and this kind of impression of degradation yet more strong. But yesterday, when we saw that documentary with the beautiful birds singing…. Those who made this film have taken great pains, one can’t imagine how much of effort and work it entails to film birds in their nests without disturbing them, then to record the sound accurately enough to be able to amplify it and make it perceptible to all. It is a very big work they have done there. And it is the same perfecting of the same instrument which permitted the production of the lovely thing we saw yesterday evening and that ignoble thing we saw some time ago…. This makes us reflect deeply on material things.

– 17 April 1951 The Mother, Questions and Answers, 1950–1951