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Friday, February 25, 2011


Go here and watch the trailer:


This is real.  Of it I'd love to learn more, and hope to see the movie; but this isn't the point:

O, how reality is so infinitely more 
creative than our imaginations!

The Atacama, by virtue of its simple geography, juxtaposes--generating a reciprocal, implicit allegory between them--the efforts of scientists gazing upward to space to find the origins of life to those searching the sand, digging downward toward their lost family, which task and object become their locus of self-identity.

I challenge you to find a fictional metaphor as poignant and original.


  1. This really is cool. I love the metaphor for the reasons that you said, but also for another. In both cases, we feel compelled to find out "the truth", but sometimes they must have to wonder if they really want to find out. How wondrous the Earth must have been before we spent centuries trying to demystify it and break it down to atoms. I mean, I don't want to sound anti-science (because I'm not at all), but the Big Bang, evolution, if science is right, they may be THE answers, but does knowing this make us any happier as a species? Likewise, do Chileans really want to know how much Pinochet tortured their loved ones--even if it means great psychological trauma? Or is it better just to accept not knowing? I've given a lot of thought to this type of thing lately, so I'd like to know what you think.

  2. I didn't see the extension of the metaphor when I watched it, but I do now. And I've thought a lot about this before, too. Generally, I think, this is the source of all those protective white lies. This movie, obviously, is getting into something much bigger than little white lies, but I think it amounts to the same and just what you're saying: some things it's just better not knowing, or we're just not ready yet to know. I expect there are an awful lot of things the God hasn't revealed to us because we're not ready to know it, and I expect there are things He protects from learning. I see your point about the scientific knowledge a lot like I see technology. Tech doesn't make life easier. Science doesn't make us happier. Tech speeds things up so we can do more, not necessarily do it better; science helps us learn the way things work around us and why but doesn't improve relationships or family stability (or whatever else -- I'm not finding a correlative example).

  3. Yeah, I think that that's right. It's one of the really interesting debates in my Contemporary Political Thought class. Basically, from a purely empirical (or perhaps "material" may be a better word) standpoint the last few centuries have immeasurably improved life. But is that sufficient? If you think about the things that you really value, at least if you agree somewhat with me, it's probably God, family, friends, (ok, maybe reading, so technology has helped disseminate information in that regard). Looking at the trajectory of the last few centuries, have we really improved humanity's over-all standing with those relationships? Maybe in some respects (I mean, it is nice that people can CHOOSE to believe in God rather than be forced, which I think strengthens real faith), but over-all, I think it's at best stagnated.

    And then of course, there's the whole Tolkien argument about what man has done to the natural world through technology.

    So yes, I love being able to get from Gettysburg back to Washington in one day, to read my Nook, and to be able to have this conversation, but I can't help but feel that this mentality that knowledge and new technology are always beneficial logic is somewhat flawed at heart.

  4. Interesting: the joy of reading is just a derivative of 1, learning, and 2, story-telling, both of which have always been available regardless of wide-spread information and mass publishing. And even those forced to worship a certain way maintained a facet of their own faith. Faith is always personal, though freedom to worship might shift. Of the truly important things, I don't see a significant difference between now and the past.

  5. I think I need amend this: education has not always been available as it is now, let alone available at all. In that, at least, I am very grateful for living when I do.


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