Last night I watched the reboot of Cosmos.
Suffice it to say I was giddy with excitement. Not just at how entertaining it was for me personally, but at the fact of its existence, flawless quality and massive distribution; all which would ensure that it touches the maximum number of minds on the planet. Something that is of essential value right now.
At the end it spoke of the show's origins with Carl Segan and his influence on the world at large and on Neil Degrasse Tyson personally.
It was also a story, of course, of the origin of time and space, showing exactly how small we are in the grand cosmic scheme of things.
But what surprised me and delighted me is that it also showed a different kind of origin story. One involving Giordano Bruno.
On the surface, this part of the show seemed like a straight forward history lesson with built in (and necessary) slams on the religious oppression of new ideas.
But I think there was something far more interesting being told here - both through the spoken and visual narrative.
They were equating Bruno with Jesus.
Each step along the way they seemed to take great pains to draw parallels between Giordano Bruno and Jesus. Let me try to recount just some of them.
- The persecution from Authorities for having a new idea
- The scene where his jail cell falls away and he floats off into space arms extend like Jesus on the cross
- The refusal to recant in the face of certain death
- The passive/peaceful resistance (and almost forgiveness)
- The 'Crucifixion' (Neil calls it a Martyrdom) on his 'cross' (specifically it was being burned at the stake (if you notice Jesus on the Cross is pushed into his face as the fire is being lit)
- On and on...
This kind of narrative resonates deeply - likely on a subconscious level - with those raised on the Bible or, in fact, most other religious traditions where there's a human who is in communion with a larger idea who is ultimately killed for his beliefs.
I think it's clear here that Cosmos wasn't just telling its own origin story, or the origin of the universe, but they were also giving us a human, bible-esque origin story that would resonate with those who need that sort of thing.
Everything about this show, and it's execution so far, has been breathtaking. We collectively need it to succeed.
Get your friends to watch it.