The Martian and our Better Nature

Our family enjoyed the book The Martian by Andy Weir when we read it this summer.  Great storytelling. And SCIENCE! Yay.

What’s not to love?

So we saw the movie opening night. It did not disappoint. Yes, they inevitably made some changes to adapt it to screen (read this article to watch a funny video that didn’t make the movie). And I thought I recognized the landscape that stood in for Mars. I did. The exterior shots were filmed at Wadi Rum in Jordan. It’s a movie that stands alone without having read the book, I think. And it won’t disappoint fans of the books.


Toward the end of the movie, though, I found myself in tears. Without spoiling it for those of you who don’t know the story, I think what triggered in me was the idea of people from around the world coming together to do something good and noble. It seems that in my life time, people have come together only to mourn or attack. 9/11 was a defining moment of collective grief, but what came from our grief and loss? Nothing good I can think of.

Politically, our leaders are more likely to complain about problems than they are to pose solutions. And we keep electing them, so we can’t even blame them.

The other day, 9 people were killed and many more were injured in the 142nd school shooting since we said it would never happen again after Sandy Hook.  The truest reporting of the massacre seemed to come from the Onion, who only had to change location and names as they reprinted a story they run each time there is another murder. And the owner of the gun store in Roseburg, OR (where the shooting happened) said she had just ordered more assault rifles because demand always spikes after a massacre.

The gun lobby made their usual statements about going back to the gun range. And the rest of us declared we’ve had enough. Yet a way forward is not clear. I’m grateful for the President’s remarks and hope they will help lead us toward

The Martian reminded me we don’t have to be the way we’ve been. It reminded me what we can do when we come together to solve a problem.

I’m weary of divisive politics. I’m weary of only seeking consensus when we want to wage war.

Surely we can come together. If we can do it to save Matt Damon, we can do it to save our own children, our own communities, our own collective soul.

4 thoughts on “The Martian and our Better Nature

  1. Pingback: » The Martian and our Better Nature

  2. You’d think. I just don’t know how 30 years of consistent political and cultural messages about how it’s best to behave and think as an individual can be overcome.

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