Monday, July 23, 2007

Outside In

I stumbled across a new IMAX film in development today that I though was rather interesting. It's called Outside In as is a film about Saturn. What about Saturn, I don't know, but what I've found really impressive is that the entire project is being done using only still photographs to create flyby effects. All together, it's pretty cool.

I'm a bit leery at the attempt to "bridge science and spirituality" though. It sounds like it could pseudoscientific gibberish. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

4 comments:

Michael said...

Hopefully they mean they're going to take the cold, hard scientific facts and try to present them in a way that appeals to a layperson's sense of wonder and amazement.

Comparing the "spiritual" feelings from being a hard-core churchie to the feelings of awe from standing on the edge of a canyon carved and shaped by millions of years of tedious, time-consuming processes, I find that they are very similar. Except that gazing into the heavens and trying to contemplate its vastness is more awe-inspiring than God could ever be.

And though I've seen many canyons, I have yet to visit the Grand Canyon. I live in Arizona, but it's at the other end, and I just haven't taken the time. Now I want to go see it, because I hear it's amazing.

Jon Voisey said...

That's what I'm hoping for too. Most scientists I know of have a sort of reverence for nature, but there's nothing really "spiritual" or supernatural about it.

Michael said...

To me, spirit has always been the same thing, it's just been shown in recent history to be part of the brain's function, rather than a supernatural part of people. To have spirit is to be alive, or to engage the part of you that knows you're alive. Likewise, I would use the word "spiritual" to describe the state of having spirit, but I guess that's not as common.

Since it's commonly used as a religious term, it may be best to avoid using it in a secular context, but then it might also be useful to muddle the difference, since ultimately religious spirituality is no different than secular spirituality; not in terms of the physical processes, at least.

Stephen said...

Jon:

Thanks so much for mentioning my film - very nice of you. I know the word "spirituality" makes the the scientific community a little nervous and the word "science" makes the religious nervous as well.

But it's always more interesting and challenging to build a bridge across a large chasm...

"Spirituality" in this film refers to both the emotional experience of awe and humility in presence of wonder, majesty and experiences that move us primarily emotionally instead of intellectually.

The question the film poses is "why explore space?" (which I think NASA, science, government has done a poor job of answering to most people).

My hope is it provide a bridge-building answer from a fresh perspective that both sides of the divide might find meaningful.

Finally, the film is dedicated to the JPL/ESA/SSI team and is in memory of Carl Sagan and Stanley Kubrick, if that helps.