Sunday, January 4, 2015

PK meets Interstellar: No space for ignorance!

PK meets Interstellar - Kartik Dayanand Boddapati - Mind u Read


What is this Dancing Car?

That was one question my son was repeatedly asking while we were watching the movie ‘PK’. Though old enough to grasp basics of the world around him, the concept of a dancing car in ‘PK’ was alien to him. No wonder, the child’s curiosity kicked in and the above question followed. There was no convincing answer to give him.

Similar is the state of PK, our alien from outer space. His childlike curiosity constantly questioning the world around him; learning answers the hard way – much to his bewilderment and our amusement.

PK questions many aspects of our world, but there is one thing I am particularly keen to explore further - the conclusions he arrives at during his quest to reach god.

God exists, but a medium (religion & rituals) and messenger (god men) to reach god are unnecessary.

Is PK right in saying so?

Maybe…but his childlike innocence can’t be a good enough reason to completely believe him. How can we be certain that he is right? Maybe he didn't meet the right people who could answer him; or maybe it wasn't time for him to know the answers yet, just like the mysteries of the dancing car for my son.

Don’t know what you think, but I believe there should be no space for doubt or ignorance in our minds when it concerns such matters.

There is another movie from the recent past which set me thinking on similar lines - about god, the supernatural and our very own existence. I now realize that most of the answers to PK might lie within that film. As the title of this post suggests, that film is none other than Christopher Nolan’s space epic Interstellar.

No, this isn't a spoof post where PK gets into funny situations when he encounters characters from Interstellar. We are getting into some serious adult territory instead. Don’t say I didn't warn you in advance.

Interstellar

The concepts that Interstellar throws at us are baffling. They warrant repeated viewings and reading innumerable articles about the film to make sense of it all.

Since this post is in context to PK’s questions about religion and god men, I will narrow my focus onto a particular aspect of the film.

The scene I pick from Interstellar is the one in which Cooper (protagonist of the film) finds himself inside a tesseract. From where he communicates with his daughter Murphy as well as his own younger self - a kind of time travelling scenario, where it’s not the physical person but a form of energy that does the travelling. 

This time travel is possible because the tesseract is a dimension far removed from the constructs of time and space; where the past, present and future all seem to be happening at the same moment, like a pre-defined script. We humans however experience this linearly, through the funnel of time where events happen sequentially; like flipping pages of a book, one after the other. To apply the tesseract logic to an age old puzzle:

The chicken and the egg would both exist simultaneously; there is no start or end to time!

I will come back to speak more about this circular concept of time, but let’s first look at what this time travelling energy is made up of.  

Love isn't a waste of time:

Back on earth, Murphy taps into the mysterious energy via a book shelf, and later a wristwatch - tools that act as a bridge between her and her father inside the tesseract. The energy that is sent across is said to be gravity. The film also talks about the concept of love being able to traverse space and time, exerting a pull similar to gravity.

To think about it, love indeed is a mysterious energy that seems to defy logic. Our loved ones exert a great influence on us. The death of a loved one especially has a profound influence on our lives. Could it be possible that this influence isn't just one way traffic - there could be a similar influence exerted from the other side too, from somewhere beyond our reach.   

This is the same kind of energy that is exchanged between the father and daughter in Interstellar; thereby leading to the time travel scenario.

Bookshelf and Wristwatch from Interstellar - acting as time travelling tools
Bookshelf and Wristwatch from Interstellar - acting as time travelling tools

So all this talk about tesseracts and time travelling energy sounds like great science fiction - a figment of Christopher Nolan’s imagination; right?

Wrong!!!

Christopher Nolan is no ordinary filmmaker, he is a thief. The kind of thief that Steve Jobs mentions in this video (Click to View):

Nolan steals heavily from Hindu Philosophy to make his films!

He did that with his Batman films and also with Inception. In fact I wrote a blog post about the same in 2010 called ‘Inception: Myth behind the Myth!’ (Click to Read) where I end my post saying - Inception is a very clever copy of an Indian concept.  

With Interstellar he goes the whole hog, digging deep into Hindu Philosophy, the Vedas - which speak about the tesseract, time-travel, time-dilation among other things ages before any of us could imagine. Nolan also backs his movie with solid science for most part of the movie. A rare combination of science and philosophy that is sure to set people thinking - an obvious and easy choice for me to depend on to highlight my points.

Now consider this:

We subconsciously seek the same kind of energy when praying to god and while seeking blessings of our elders and ancestors. We also talk about a concept of meeting our own higher self via meditation – kind of like Cooper meeting himself via time travel. We could safely assume that religion and its tools – places of worship, symbols, mantras, chants, etc provide us a means and structure to tap into this energy just like the book shelf and wristwatch in Interstellar.

The film also shows that it involves deep levels of concentration to tap into this energy. However all of us don’t have the same levels of intuition or ability to tap into this energy. Sadhus and rishis - holy men are meant to do this throughout history. They were revered figures. Kings employed them for the well being of society and to predict the future.

If time is circular and if everything has already happened as I mentioned a little earlier - isn't it possible for someone with access to this realm easy to predict the future? 

Come to think of it – people in the past seem to have advanced knowledge of flying machines, nuclear weapons, advance medicine, etc. They knew about the Yugas that were to come and could predict the future to a great extent.  

Based on these points, could we also assume that god men still exist today and aren't all just hogwash as PK says.

No!

We are still dealing with a sort of fictional area. What if all those things about our past are lies!!!

Let’s leave aside the sadhus and the rishis for the time being, let’s doubt their abilities to connect to the energy source.

Let’s focus on Murphy again.

Murphy’s Flaw:

Murphy is a freak, maybe even depressed - not coming to terms with the separation from her father for a really, really, long time. But her intuition kicks in eventually and she ends up at her childhood bookshelf and wristwatch, through which she taps into the energy source.

Through this process, Murphy gains crucial knowledge from the future - passed on by her father - which helps her come up with a solution to an issue that helps save mankind. She is hailed as a legend and credited with saving the human race from certain extinction.


A question comes to my mind: Murphy is still a fictional character. Could there be more people like Murphy in the real world?

Let’s see…

The Flawed Geniuses

Let’s focus on the stories of real people, great people who've had a profound impact in changing our world. The great inventors, artists, futurists, thinkers, philosophers, technologists, and more such people; geniuses who stand as flag posts along the map of time.
 
Were they all ordinary people or freaks of nature like Murphy? Could it be possible that they had access to some form of extra-terrestrial energy?

Shockingly, history throws up a pattern that is littered with eccentric geniuses. Right from Pythagoras, Newton, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Van Gogh, Dickens, Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Tesla, Edison, Hemingway, Beethoven, Mahatma Gandhi, Howard Hughes, Einstein, Michael Jackson to Steve Jobs – each of them had a crazy eccentric side to them, they were deeply flawed people. There are many more whose names I haven’t listed here.

Some suffered from depression, bi-polar disorder, OCDs, and had other strange quirks. Some were alcoholics, drug addicts, and some bizarrely mentioning contact or having experiences with extra-terrestrial forces. Most of their works derived from flashes of brilliance, from unexplainable eureka moments. 

Their flaws seem to open a porthole into a realm that is beyond the understanding of ordinary humans!

You could Google each of the names above to check if they were ordinary folks or had some really bizarre habits. I would love to list all their quirks here but I will instead just pick three quotes, mentioned by the eccentric geniuses themselves. You can judge for yourself what I am hinting at.

"Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence - whether much that is glorious - whether all that is profound - does not spring from disease of thought - from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect" Edgar Allan Poe

“Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life. LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important - creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could.” – Steve Jobs

“My brain is only a receiver, in the Universe there is a core from which “We” obtain knowledge, strength and inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but i know it exists.” - Nicholas Tesla

What I have provided is a small sample. Based on this we can be more than certain that these people were no ordinary folks. They seem to have had access to an energy source, an intuition that seems elusive to most of mankind.

We seem to connect to that energy too by consuming their work. They are like the medium between us and a supernatural force - kind of an alternative to religion - via music, drugs, alcohol, art, literature, poetry, sports, technology…etc.   

If these people and their methods can exist and act upon us; can religion and god-men make sense too?

So, is PK right?

Partly yes!

PK is right when he says one should not impose their religious beliefs on others by force. This not just applies to religion but to all other forms of expression that I mentioned above. It should be a personal choice and no one should be able to dictate to us what we want to believe in.  

But PK might be wrong…very wrong when he assumes that there is no need for rituals or middle men between god and us. They are all around us in multiple forms and we don’t know of any other way yet to tap into that mysterious energy which we call as god.

Yes, there are frauds in this business of god, as is the case with every other business but that’s no reason for PK or anyone else to juvenilely dismiss thousands of years of passed on wisdom and beliefs in god and the ways to reach him.

Someday PK will grow up, maybe in the sequel – just as my son would grow up one day to understand the mysteries of the dancing car.

Till then, enjoy the film – think about it, laugh over it, debate about it. What’s the point of banning it if you don’t like it…you could instead share this blog post and eradicate some ignorance. Choice is totally yours!

Cheers!!!

Kartik Dayanand Boddapati