Thursday, December 25, 2014
Theory of Everything Film Can Inspire Authors
I just saw Theory of Everything, the new movie about the internationally loved scientist, Stephen Hawking, famous for his book, A Brief History of Time. I enjoyed it on a number of levels – how this brilliant man overcame his life-threatening but disabling neurological disorder; how his wife was so strong to persevere through decades of marriage to a man that burdened but amazed her; and how all of life could possibly be explained by a scientific theory. The movie is worth seeing, but it could have used less PG and more R. Maybe I am so used to gratuitous violence of Showtime and HBO that I am getting conditioned not to appreciate a story unless it has someone naked cursing and beating the crap out of another.
For authors, many can relate to a single-minded quest to uncover the truth behind the world we live in. Many writers spend their lives thinking, postulating, exploring, researching, analyzing and theorizing on how we should live life and how to understand what its meaning is. I am on such a journey.
Authors look at life and put a microscope to it, looking to find a way to solve its puzzle. We make the mistake of thinking life is solvable and explainable. Maybe it is not. Maybe there is no formula to explain it all. Would we even know when we discovered the ultimate truth – and would we accept it? Do we have the capacity to find and embrace a complete truth of who we are, why we are here, and where we are heading?
Different industries and areas of study approach the topic form their perspective – physicists see the world through their prism; theologians another; artists another; and so on. There may at times be an overlap in how different groups see the world, and at times they express completely polar opposite viewpoints from each other.
Are words even adequate to uncover and express some ultimate, big-picture truth? Maybe we don’t have the right tools to measure what we need to understand in order to draw any meaningful conclusions. This has been the case throughout history. Every generation gets smarter though the advances and experiences and technological breakthroughs of prior generations. We think we are so evolved from the Middle Ages, let alone the days of cave men, but imagine life in a hundred, a thousand or in ten thousand years, after so many more discoveries and experiences take place. Whatever truth we even think we unravel now will likely pale in comparison to the truth that will present itself in the future.
But while we wait to think through things and come up with a singular truth to explain our existence, it will be helpful to spend a few hours digesting Theory of Everything, for at the very least, it’s a theory of something, and sometimes that can be good enough to sustain each of us who are on a journey.
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