InterstellarFinally, a movie that supports technological progress! (As opposed to condemning it, like every other movie.)

This is just a great movie to exist right now. Granted, some of the messages, as critics have pointed out, are not very deep, but at least it has such messages that no other feature film dares to voice. Messages like nurturing a long-long-term solution, i.e. going into space, rather than plowing through the next harvest. Or messages about scientific tools being more valuable than the next dollar bill, as in the following dialogue:

Cooper: You don’t believe we went to the Moon?
Ms. Kelly: I believe it was a brilliant piece of propaganda, that the Soviets bankrupted themselves pouring resources into rockets and other useless machines…
Cooper: Useless machines?
Ms. Kelly: And if we don’t want to repeat of the excess and wastefulness of the 20th Century then we need to teach our kids about this Planet, not tales of leaving it.
Cooper: You know, one of those useless machines they used to make was called an MRI. If we had any of them left the doctors might have been able to find the cyst in my wife’s brain before she died, rather than afterwards. And then my kids could have been raised by two parents….

And then, of course, you have the more obvious ones: “We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars, now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.” There is something simple yet infinitely dramatic to these lines.

Interstellar can be viewed in many ways, including as a space- and time-bending love story or as a “negative productivity shock hits the global economy.” I see it, perhaps over-optimistically, as a statement about what humanity can and will accomplish. More strongly, it is about what we must do if we wish to thrive as a species, let alone survive.

One thought on “Interstellar

  1. But there’s a problem, you see. You can’t be a technological optimist without quickly realizing that low-g/low-IQ people are not equipped to play in a high tech, high complexity society.

    By low-IQ I mean people at one standard deviation or more below the mean. Our society incentivizes their proliferation…then taxes the productive to keep them from inevitable failure.

    In my view this is part of the larger system of hating the best and brightest. Genomics increasingly shows that intelligence is largely heritable and not subject to outside influences. Psychometrics has the largest, most coherent, most robust data set of any of the social studies…and yet it is dismissed precisely because, for the past 100 years, it has shown the same thing over and over again: stupid people, living stupidly, are best adapted for lives of stupidity. Not everybody gets to be smart.

    However smart people have, for that same century, and more, been willing to share the fruits of their intelligence and altruism with EVERYONE. To a fault, I’d say. This is how morons and sociopaths get more school programs and dollars than very bright kids with all kinds of promise.

    Of course given that g/IQ is heritable, and related to success, it’s also the case that smart kids tend to be born more often to smart parents, and smart parents tend to be more successful. But that amounts to saying that nature is unfair, racist, sexist, etc. (Which is true.) The clamor of the unproductive to get everything the productive create for themselves and others, for free, is so well entrenched in our society, thanks to the past 50 years of postmodern social engineering.

    It needs to be overturned, and fast. There is no future for a species that domesticates itself into a numb state of just barely keeping the most feral in line (with occasional outbursts ranging from civil disorder to mass beheadings).


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