Interstellar: A Cinematic Roadmap to Post-Humanity

[WARNING: Spoilers Ahead!]

In a plot that would surely rocket off one’s imagination into the cosmos, one could argue that Interstellar became a cinematic roadmap to post-humanity for our species.

Interstellar, directed by Christopher Nolan, and starring a large cast of veteran actors and actresses, takes place in a unknown dated Earth (relatively near-future, one can assume) that is falling apart due to rapidly spreading blight. As a result, food has become a scarcity, depleting Earth’s resources, and equally its population to a bare minimum who have all but given up on life.

What was given up by the majority population, unfortunately, was the will to act on their innate drive to explore and wander. So much so that even the school systems had abandoned all historical recognition that our species once traveled the cosmos, believing that the successful Apollo Moon mission was a hoax. Cooper (starring Matthew McConaughey) remained one of the few people, however, who maintained that drive to explore and reach the stars. The problem, though, was that his Earthly role in life forced him and his family to becoming mere farmers, rather than the engineer and pilot he spent his life training to be.

Fortunate for him that his daughter, Murphy (then starring Mackenzie Foy), stumbled upon what was eventually realized to be a gravitational anomaly in their own house, resulting in books falling off the bookshelf. This was enough to peak Cooper’s interest and set out to determine what was causing it. Instead he came across coordinates to a secret facility, which was occupied by what was left of NASA.

Coming to the collective conclusion that the gravitational anomaly was actually a message from an unknown source, NASA had already devised a plan for humans to finally leave Earth for good in search of a new home. Without giving away too much, what was also left behind by the unknown source was a wormhole near Saturn, which would launch anyone passing through it into a different galaxy altogether. This was humanity’s last, best hope to ensure that our species had a future, and so Cooper made the hardest decision he could ever make and left Earth with his team in search of a hospitable planet as his family stayed behind, waiting (hoping) for his safe return.

While the idea that we’d ever let our planet fall apart so easily is hard to contend with, today’s Transhumanist movement is enveloped in the prospect that our species will eventually venture out into the cosmos and never look back. Even more so, whether we’re on Earth or some other planet lightyears away, our species would use advanced science and technology to transcend our biological limitations and embrace what can only be described as post-humanity. Such a prospect is actually incorporated near Interstellar’s final-act, but I won’t go into detail (why spoil the fun for those who haven’t seen it yet?).

But the plot of Interstellar remains true as a literal facet of Transhumanism – to use science and technology to help our species get off this rock and explore the universe. Indeed, the dialogue of Interstellar practically embraced the Transhuman ideal of both fighting death and to become a spacefaring species. More than once throughout the film were the infamous words of Dylan Thomas’ poem, “Do not go gentle into that good night,” spoken as valid reasoning to leave a dying Earth for good and discover a new home.

“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

Interstellar was, hands down, the best sci-fi film that I’d ever seen thus far. The storyline was brilliant, the acting was perfect, and the cinematography was absolutely incredible. Christopher Nolan truly developed a masterpiece! Not just because of the reasons listed above, but also due to the fact that the film did what every great sci-fi film of the past was known for: the ability to challenge our perceptions of what is possible; to force us to philosophically (and scientifically) think about our future and what it may hold for us.

So whether or not the Earth eventually reaches a point where it can no longer safely host our species, the idea of leaving it shouldn’t be negated. Quite the contrary, it should be embraced as a necessity! Cooper said it best in the film, arguing that, despite our species being born on this rock, we weren’t meant to die on it.

Interstellar is an absolute must-see film! Our very future livelihoods may, in fact, depend on its important message: “Do not go gentle into that good night…rage, rage against the dying of the light!”

About B.J. Murphy

B.J. Murphy is Editor in Chief for Cyberlife, a Writer for the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, and the Editor/Social Media Manager of SeriousWonder.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *