Thursday, March 12, 2015


At last, I got around to see the movie that my sustainable development students have been talking about ever since it came out last year in October, Interstellar. And as one of them said, it was a movie I just had to watch. The physics may be a bit unrealistic but I think it is wrong, as some reviewers have, to criticize the plot for inconsistencies. Judged by the standards of its own universe, it was a wonderful tale of parental love, personal death and our long-term future as a species.

Watching it en route to Doha after two weeks of island hopping in South-East Asia just made the picture perfect. The fragile vanishing beauty of this planet, the great hope that is embodied in our scientific and technology capacity (as expressed not the least by this Boeing 777-300ER cruising high above the clouds) and the imperfect political institutions that keep holding humanity back.

Beneath all that, there is of course also the personal side as in our very real mortality and how we are forced to navigate the resulting irreversible space of love, rejection and authenticity. Just as we are faced with absolute existential freedom, so are others, and their choices can sometimes be even more determinative than our own. In the movie, "Murph" as a ten year old does not want her father to leave. The rest of her life is played out in the shadow of his decision to abandon her on Earth. While they are ultimately united just before she dies of old age, she still allows her frustration to shape her entire life in a way that reminds me that outside the movies, love and mauvaise foi may not be that easy to tell apart. 

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