Why "a sham"?

It's from a monologue from the 2002 movie Solaris:

We take off into the cosmos, ready for anything - solitude, hardship, exhaustion,
death.  We're proud of ourselves. But when you think about it, our enthusiasm's a sham.
We don't want other worlds; we want mirrors.

It's about how we often search for things in terms of what we already understand.  But by pointing it out, the converse is highlighted; that there are things out there to discover which are completely outside our understanding. And that is the most wonderful promise imaginable.

I'm putting this site up to share my genuine enthusiasm with others.  To document my adventures into the unknown.




How do I contact you?
Email, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn.




That poster art is beautiful!
Yes, isn't it?  I own a framed full size copy, but not an original.  The poster is for the Polish release of the 1972 film directed by Tarkowski.  Polish poster art is its own thing, and I recommend spending a while with Google to see some other examples.

Tell me more about the quote
Soderburgh's Solaris is my favourite movie - it's based on a book written by Lem in trippy metaphysical 1961, and heavily influenced by the 1972 Tarkowski adaptation (also good).  The story is intelligent, high-brow and academic in style, carefully-considered, and clearly the product of some strong psychedelic drugs.

These are qualities I aspire to.

It's the story of a personal encounter with something that might be an intelligent planet.  It raises the question of how to react when faced with something so alien and different that even concepts as basic to us as intelligence, and desire, might not apply - "What does Solaris want from us?" "Why do you think it has to want something?".
















...Is that your real business card at the top?
Yep!  I also have these:








Tell me even more about the quote

The actor who played Gibarian, the dead scientist whose recording we watch, is Ulrich Tukur.  He got the part by sending in a video of his dog listening to him read the monolog.  The video is low-quality hand-held handycam, the dog is just sitting on floor otherwise minding it's own business, but he holds the dog's attention completely as he speaks the lines.

The quote is very directly adapted from the book, which captures the tone and the time very well:

We take off into the cosmos, ready for anything: for solitude, for hardship, for exhaustion, death. Modesty forbids us to say so, but there are times when we think pretty well of ourselves.  And yet, if we examine it more closely, our enthusiasm turns out to be all sham.  We don't want to conquer the cosmos, we simply want to extend the boundaries of Earth to the frontiers of the cosmos....

We are humanitarian and chivalrous; we don't want to enslave other races, we simply want to bequeath them our values and take over their heritage in exchange.  We think of ourselves as the Knights of the Holy Contact.  This is another lie.  We are only seeking Man.  We have no need of other worlds.  We need mirrors.