Like an astronomer who wants distance from his significant other, I need my space. Withoutiteverythingwouldbetouching. Space is at the forefront of tsunamis of metaphysical discussion factoring into discussions of time, faith, religion, life after death and keyboards. There are more stars than we care to count in the universe, some shine brighter and are more famous than other stars. And no I am not referring to the Sheen/Estevez family. Though, indubitably there are certain stars in that family that outshine the others. Well they did. In este vez, the Estevez family has the star power of a white dwarf (if you don’t know what a white dwarf is, picture Gimli in outer space, the axe representing planetary orbit, the orc enemies representing meteors/space debris). And like a white dwarf, the Estevez’z are stuck to basic cable or running pre-pubescent hockey teams. Simply put, in the scope of outer space, this family is a speck of dust on a speck of dust on a direct-to-dvd copy of their last great film Mighty Ducks 5: Duck Cheney.
This film coincidentally is a prime example of the philosophically shallow thinking prevalent in our society. While the true story plot of this “inspiring and courageous” (Grunson 12) movie about ducks fits the bill, the team leader’s comeback after getting slapshot in the neck by Duck Cheney being particularly inspiring, the movie was not particularly profound. It was more amateur lost. And though the final scene where the hockey captain and his team keep accidentally killing the members of the other team was both hilarious and heartwarming, it was not philosophical. Though there were great moments, like when they yelled “duck!” twenty times but the other team still didn’t know to get out of the way of those throwing knives. Or when one of them forgot his hockey stick so he had to use a chainsaw, oh boy and then the puck got replaced by a live grenade. The film is most definitely a classic of cinema. But it is not a classic of philosophy.
So back to what I’m really interested in: something black and seemingly absent of intelligence, no not a Tyler Perry film, but space. Space and time and what happens after we die. Some people argue for the idea of life after death. But what about life after life? Two board games later I am still not sure of this idea. A law of thermodynamics states that “energy can be neither created nor destroyed, but can change form” (Einstein 23. Or possibly Newton 23, not sure). I like to think that when someone dies the essence of who they are isn’t lost, it merely changes. Life, after all, is energy, the sum output of our body’s chemical reactions. A person can’t be destroyed or created, except for Frankenstein’s monster, which as most philosophers know, is the exception to much of our philosophical (and psychological) theories (how can he have sex with his mother, Freud, if he doesn’t have one?). Yet, when someone besides Frankenstein dies, who they are becomes something else. They aren’t destroyed or created, they are changed. They become something else, someone else. How are we sure this change in being remains a person, you may ask? How do we measure what makes a person a person? 500 years ago Rene Descartes wrote “I think, therefore I Am”, well, I think. I am fairly certain it was either him or that villain from the cosmic masterpiece The Mummy (aka the mummy). But enough about tombs and corpses and Brendan Fraser, let’s get back on topic.
So The Mummy, what makes this film so important philosophically? Side bar: to be clear I’m talking about the original (and by original I mean the ‘technically a remake’ version. The mummy/villain in the “original” one turned out to be a sentient Hubble Space Telescope, and Brendan Fraser’s character was played by a NASA space shuttle*). The Mummy film is important for the way it deals with complex philosophical concepts. The mummy exemplifies the idea of life after life, the idea that a being doesn’t die, he is merely changed. The movie raises many complicated questions such as what is the meaning of life, what are the inalienable aspects of being human, and what’s Brendan Frasier been doing since these films ended (seriously he’s basically been in nothing)?
Like I said earlier, The Mummy provides an interesting answer to what happens after we die. However, answers in and of themselves raise more questions. Answers after all, are simply questions in reverse. Every answer is a question to a different problem. As the Mummy explains, reincarnation exists. Some of us will be asshole mummies, others a guy named Benny who gets eaten by scarabs, and for some lucky scamps they will become a lovable B+ movie actor akin to Brendan “Set Frasers to Stun” Fraser. Yet this explanation is also a question, and the question is why?
The duality of questions and answers shows they are one and the same. Outer space is both the question and the answer. Life and death are each the final frontier and the starting point. Similar to how the Mighty Ducks ended where it began, back at their home turd to finish their ethnic cleansing of those illegal flying-north-of-the-border-for-the-winter geese (or is it gooses?). The ducks had no problem dealing with that morbidly ogeese flock. The universe, like the Mighty Ducks and even more so like the Mummy, should be thought of as little as possible (Newton 23). When one stops to consider what it all means, then they will see how little of it makes sense: how a mummy turned into sand and went through a key hole, how the same mummy understood Hebrew and modern day English, and most importantly how no one truly withers away, we just change into something so different, so unrecognizable that we are born again without ever dying.
*I may have been watching a space launch, not the original Mummy. Though this still wouldn’t explain why Brendan Fraser’s was listed in the credits.