Samantha and I had the pleasure of spending a cold, rainy, Thursday, November night tucked warmly next to each other in a comfortable movie theater with popcorn and a plethora of other snacks. We went to the theater to see the well-reviewed “Interstellar”. We found ourselves chuckling, cringing, wondering, and pondering as we were amazed by the visuals and gripped by the plot. The music of the film was powerfully used to bring the audience to the state of mind desired by the creators. We left the theater very happy we came and quite pleased with our choice of movie.
As I mentioned, the movie created quite a good amount of pondering on our parts and we were able to express our ponderings on the ride home. I always enjoy a movie that makes me think hard, especially if the kind of thinking is of the philosophical variety.
To give you fair warning, I am going to be detailing important parts of “Interstellar”, so if you wish to see the movie and have not yet, then you probably should not read on (but come back later).
“Interstellar” *seemed to indirectly address the topic of divine assistance versus self-preservation or existence. In this case, the divine assistance would be represented by the unseen, but often referenced “they”. “They” are who seemingly help the humans of Earth find a way off the dying planet. However, as the movie progresses, we find out that there is no “they” but only “us”.
I will not attempt to explain all the cosmology presented in the movie, mainly because there is no way I could explain it all. I have to admit that it was very difficult following the science behind the movie, but that is not too disappointing because obviously even the best cosmologists in the world could not solve the equations and conundrums that were on display in the film. However, I can tackle the philosophical ideas and even some of the cosmology.
Somehow Matthew McConaughey’s character was led to NASA by odd occurrences, because of these odd occurrences captained a vessel to the far reaches of space, eventually fell into a black hole, and was able to travel through time and cause the odd occurrences that led to him being led to NASA. If that sentence was confusing, then good. I would love to hear from a cosmologist who could explain to me how someone because of certain influences in his past could travel to the future and influence his own past when the person in the future influencing his own past is only in a position to do so because of the influences that happened in the past. (So how many times did you reread that?) By influencing his own past, McConaughey’s character dismissed the idea that “they” existed and affirmed that only “we” exist.
Following the “they” versus “us” idea presented in the movie, it seems as if the movie was trying to say that there is no divine help, only ourselves. There is no “they”, or “God”. There is only us. This conclusion leads to a bewildering kind of thinking as detailed above. I believe that so long as we remove God from our possibilities, then we will only be able to come up with bewildering and contradicting conclusions as to our origin and future.
We humans can do great things without a god. But there is a limit to our greatness. By trying to expand the limits of our greatness we only confuse ourselves and create a beautiful but fragile figure of ourselves that is destined to crack and break when reality sets in. We have been masterfully designing and erecting this doomed figure for quite some time. Indeed, we humans have erected many such figures over the years and they have all collapsed. (I think we have been creating the latest version since some time briefly after the end of World War II.)
However, if we were to realize that we were created by God, that He is the One from whom we need to receive our guidance, then the figure of ourselves may be less glamorous, but strong, supported by a Foundation that is immovable, and designed for far greater things than temporal beauty. When the figure of ourselves includes God (meaning Yahweh), we can study ourselves better and come to a fuller understanding of who we are.
*I would like the readers to notice that I said “seemed” and “indirectly”. Nolan and his crew may have never thought about his plot leading to the philosophical conclusion that we do not need a god to help us. I simply found this philosophical thought through my own pondering of the movie.