The song A spaceman came traveling by Chris de Burgh sounds like the script for the Arrival – a recently released film still playing here in Dublin where I watched it today. Sadly – it wasn’t me who made the connection but the father of a young man who was in Pádraig’s class in primary school and who I met in the cinema by pure coincidence.
It was he who made me think that the movie was, as crazy as it may sound, about Christmas. About the idea of ‘peace on earth’ and understanding. Even the fact that there were 12 spaceships sounded like an echo.
There are a number of themes in this film which made me think. Our concept of time as being linear with ‘their’ concept of time being ‘out of order’, circular.
In an article exploring the connection between Ted Chiang’s 2002 short story called Story of Your Life and Arrival, Nick Statt wrote that hidden under Arrival’s more palatable themes about overcoming cultural differences and uniting as one species is Chiang’s more direct message about learning how to appreciate life’s moments, to live outside the bounds of time.
The underlying question is: If we could see our lives laid out before us, would we change anything? According to Statt, Story of Your Life — and by extension Arrival — is telling us to live as if the answer is, and always will be, a resolute no.
It’s a really deep and interesting philosophical question – one that most likely has been explored ad nauseam by thinkers around the world and across the centuries.
One that is particularly relevant when life turns difficult, complex, and at times hard to manage.
What do you think?
Pádraig had a great day today – breakfast, walk in the park, a few episodes of the Mentalist, and a visitor.
Would I have taken other decisions in the past had I known years ago that this day would come, one day?