I was watching a movie the other day and two of the characters were discussing a moral dilemma. One of them said, “Now, we both know my moral compass doesn’t always point due North, but…” and this statement got me thinking. North had me thinking of the Earth element and I figured, “That makes sense. Having a moral compass that points North is an admirable thing as the North is associated with deep thought and introspection, such thought before action is noble and one is less likely to make “bad” choices.” North is also associated with calmness and with wisdom, even experience; what a nice direction for ones moral compass to point toward. North is “good” North is up and up is also good, that is after all, where heaven is right? Where “god” lives? People who are good are nice, UP-standing citizens, up, north, good, right? I suppose, good, but also limiting.
Carl Sagan wrote a book called Contact. The book was made into a movie starring Jodie Foster who did a spectacular job playing a scientist who discovers what she believes to be a signal from outer space indicating proof of intelligent life in the universe. Of course this causes controversy within the religious community as well as the scientific community. Scientists want it explained; the religious community wants it to be God. The signal ultimately ends up being schematics for building a machine that is designed to take a single occupant into space, or wherever, no one is really sure. The world at large decides to build this machine and send someone out in it. Unfortunately a religious zealot commits a suicide bombing to destroy not only the machine but also many of the people involved with its building and take off. Of course there is more than one machine and the best candidate to take the trip is Jodie Foster’s character, Ellie.