More than atoms

By | Featured, Science

In 1997, a genius called Andrew Niccol crafted a film called ‘Gattaca‘ and it changed my world. I spent an entire year in 2006 immersed in the script. I memorised all the dialogues and carefully analysed all the shots that he poured his heart and soul into. I’m sure there are many others who were just as obssessed.

Out of the entire the script, the line below at the end of the film deeply resonated with me:

INT. SPACECRAFT. NIGHT.

We focus on JEROME’s face – seeing little if any of the craft. Jerome’s eyes are closed. His head is still – alarmingly still. Could the launch itself have been too much for him? He hear the thoughts in his head.

JEROME(VO)

For someone who was never meant for this world, I must confess I’m suddenly having a hard time leaving it. Of course, they say every atom in our bodies was once part of a star. Maybe I’m not leaving... maybe I’m going home.

Jerome’s eyes blink open. He holds the letter from Eugene in his hand. It contains no words, merely a lock of EUGENE’S hair – for once preserved solely for its sentimental value. The hair, weightless, floats off the page.

We focus on a porthole looking out upon a starscape.

I used to spend quite a bit of time thinking about an alternate universe. Whether a multiverse exists. What would the world look like in an alternate universe? Would time travel lead us there? If decisions were made differently, how would my life or yours be any different, would we exist?

The greatest curiosity is to discover more about the world that we barely know. There are so many unknown unknowns. Yet, we have come a very long, long way in the past few centuries thanks to countless of scientists, philosophers and failed alchemists.

Human conciousness is a powerful force. Our conciousness helps us to learn how to think, and thinking makes us learn faster. When we learn faster, we ‘level up’ and think in a more deliberate, purposeful way. We start to question our past and wonder about our future, sometimes even deliberately determine it, that’s when breakthrough happens.

We also have a powerful imagination. It can bring out the best or worst in us. We can live to fulfil our dreams or live with our fears. The biggest fear is tomorrow, what would it look like? As much as we try to predict, uncertainty is our mysterious best friend, always around but refuse to show itself.

Then, I am reminded that no matter what happens, we are just atoms that were once part of a star. And for all of our brilliance, when we die, we are no different to the plants, animals or dinosaurs that came before us. Until we crack death and port our conciousness into a morphing object.

What makes us unique isn’t so much who we are but how we think and what we do with the output of that thinking. Everything that we have achieved collectively over thounsands of years is to continue to pursue this great curiosity. By acquiring more knowledge about the world around us, we can advance humanity to ensure the survivial of our kind.

Our consciousness and our imagination are nature’s creative gifts to the human race. Deep inside, we know that we are much more than atoms and home is more than planet Earth, we just need to validate both hypotheses by conquering the next paradigm of uncertainty and fear.

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More than atoms

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