They make the universe look so comfortable in all the science shows; clouds of dust and gas rumple up like celestial drier sheets while awesome music plays in the background. They present a cosmos that you cannot help but want to wrap around yourself, close your eyes, and fall asleep in.
Good show, but I thought S3 took a step back. Or maybe my understanding just took a leap forward.
Thank you Joe!
I haven’t really watched enough of the show to compare the different seasons, but I feel like in this episode the creators are guilty of painting the (entire) universe in a cozy way. When they suggest that the universe is predisposed to carbon-based life, since the most abundant elements are carbon and hydrogen, the universe almost seems fertile!
I conjured up the image of impregnating the universe shortly after watching the show, as in the climax of a drug trip; this could be, literally, the best thing EVER. (I suppose it’s different for females, though.) You know the image of the gigantic baby being nurtured in the womb of deep space, that’s so common in science fiction? That baby had to get there somehow, right? Imagine the act of a mortal man—you, yourself—impregnating the vast folds of the entire universe! I believe that science shows get their viewers’ attention by hinting at this kind of spirituality, suggesting that man has the potential to merge with the infinite, without straying too far from scientific fact.
But I wonder how legitimate this kind of thinking is. Even though we coo at the idea of a big space-baby (awww!), making the whole vast universe suitable for the human body is a really abstract level of thought–it’s so far removed from our direct experience! Unless you have been to space, or were cognizant in the womb, putting a fetus into space is the marriage of two images that we are totally disconnected from. So why is this image so visceral?
I suppose that by asking the question “Is the universe alive?” the whole purpose of the episode was to anthropomorphize the universe, “trying on” different ideas and checking them against the relevant science. Anyway, the image came into my mind, with really nice language, so I thought I’d share!