Art has always offered warnings to humankind outlining the many ways in which we will inevitably destroy each other. One discerning vehicle it has employed that has found an extremely large audience is the literature and film genre known as science fiction. In the last hundred years writers and filmmakers have commented on man’s unprecedented leap forward with foreboding scenarios both realistic and fantastic. George Orwell has shown us the peril of totalitarian states. James Cameron has hinted at man’s folly bringing us to the brink of nuclear annihilation. Ray Bradbury presented us with a true dystopia while Cormack McCarthy has erased all notion of our concept of civilization. Stanley Kubrick has illustrated Arthur C. Clarke’s vision of the merging of technological innovation with military ambition. And these are just a few examples.
This month one of the most visionary and thought provoking directors of our time, Christopher Nolan, brings us a tale of man’s endeavor to find salvation in the stars, and the global quandary which has brought forth this necessity. What I find troubling is how the fictional man versus nature theme of the movie is so intimately intertwined with our planet’s current state of affairs. I’m really hoping that this film speaks to those who otherwise might not yet realize what is truly happening out there. It’s important for me to know that people are going to leave the theater knowing that change needed to happen yesterday.
A wise man once told me that I needed to get my own affairs in order before I could take on the problems of the world. This was sound advice for a person who felt he had little control over his life. However, even when I try to keep my head down I still find stark reminders of the danger we’re in everywhere I look, be it blights on nature, rampant consumerism, or the alarming rise of the global human population. It occurs to me that no one can continue on ignoring the fact that we are facing a very real threat to our very existence.
In his latest article for Across the Margin, “Against the Dying of the Light,” author and co-founder Michael Shields touches upon Nolan’s latest film to bridge the gap between fantasy and reality. And the reality Shields lays out for us is sobering: we are destroying our own planet. We’ve heard it for years now, and we’ve made some changes, but not nearly enough has been done, and it certainly hasn’t been done fast enough. As the window of opportunity to reverse the damage we’ve done to our home is rapidly drawing to a close, we can once again turn to the arts, hoping that Interstellar will shake us out of our apathy, because the reporting of scientific fact alone doesn’t seem to be getting the job done. Please follow the link below to an article that is a pessimistic premonition while at the same time a faint but shining ray of hope. And please share with others. The clock is ticking.