Monday, May 25, 2015

My Thirty-Seven Minute Struggle

My Thirty-Seven Minute Struggle with Interstellar.



I love sci-fi. One of my brothers' and my favorite memories is of our dad taking us to science-fiction movies. Those are the only ones he ever took us to. He knew all about them ever before he saw the movies because he read the books. That's how he raised us and the apple ne pas falls far away from the arbre.

I decided to watch, ahem, "Contact sans Jodi Foster" last night. I could only make it 37 minutes through before needing a break. It probably won't be a permanent break, but I needed a good 24 hour break from foolishness.

Why so foolish?

1) Contact sans Jodi Foster. Admirable sciencey father figure, talented sciencey daughter. Communicating with aliens somehow gives life meaning.

2) A blight progressively destroys all the food on earth, ending with corn. Because the earth has decided that it is no longer going to support human beings or some such foolishness. How many scientific problems with this? There are no blights that can destroy all vegetation. Even if there were, vegetation would adapt to be immune to this. Do you have any idea how hostile to life the planet was originally, 4-billion years ago, and yet somehow life dealt with that. A blight cannot end all vegetative species. Stupid.

3) Sci-fi ponders the meaning of life by definition. It does so by rearranging life as we know it, especially via technological advances, to see what implications that has for our presuppositions. But you cannot violate science per se in doing so. That would be the genre known as fantasy. As I've indicated above, the blight thing does that. Further, talk of the earth no longer wanting people on it, or whatever, is stupid new-age nonsense. The idea that aliens are trying to help human beings save themselves is fine, but the whole earth no longer wanting people thing is just dumb.

4) Six billion people have died and yet somehow human culture looks pretty much the same. Did I tell you that there are no longer any militaries anywhere? Yes, 80% of humanity dies and yet now people live without the need for armies. Strange that. Did I mention that those six billion people starved to death? And still no need for armies, eh?

5) Two solutions to the extinction problem are proposed: (i) find a new planet for people to go to, that is, the people who are actually living now, (ii) have a bunch of fertilized frozen eggs put on a space ship in case they can't get their big space ship going. (i) is a reasonable solution. (ii) is kind of dumb. Why? Transplanting fertilized eggs is not transporting human culture, the thing that makes us what we are, but merely our DNA. Even seen that other Jodi Foster movie, Nell? That's what you get when you don't bring along human culture. Would these babies even survive for 15 minutes, let alone found a new civilization? What I am objecting to here is the idea that it is in any way sufficient to merely prolong the existence of human DNA. That's no solution. If I was there I would have no interest in merely transplanting human DNA from one planet to the next. That's like transplanting crocodiles. Who cares!?

Anyway, the first 37 minutes is a weak start to a movie, the theme of which for some reason seems to greatly appeal to people today. The religion of man surviving forever. The religion of mother earth being a sentient being. The need to self-castigate about how we have abused the earth. I don't feel any guilt about how I treat the earth. Pagans do, I guess, because, not recognizing their identity as children of God whom they can offend, they need to feel guilty about something. The earth will do. And yet religion is all about second-chances. What better than a second-chance made possible by a hunky scientist with a gifted daughter? But why is it always Matthew McConaughey? Wasn't Contact enough?

The way I see it is, if you are ashamed of the way you live, stop living that way. You are going to die eventually. If human life is meaningless, which it is if there is no God, then just let man die. If man is meaningless, Mother Earth is meaningless. To hell with her then. I am sure the universe is full of life, the tragedy of the all-conquering blight strikes me as hardly a tragedy at all if there is no God, just Mother Earth and some aliens who can manipulate gravity. Matt, just enjoy your last few years on earth with your family and then let life end.

Anyway, we will see if I can endure another 37 minutes tonight or some day soon.

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