Netflix has released the movie of the year in the last week of 2021. For four consecutive days Don’t look up, has been trending topic on Twitter, unleashing a real social fury due to his harsh criticism of contemporary society. A dystopian allegory with Leo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Mery Streep, Cate Banchet and Ariana Grande as a pop dessert that is currently the most viewed on the platform worldwide. It is comforting to see that, contrary to the requirement of the title, the audience demands by a majority height of view. Personally, I can’t resist analyzing it. Notice therefore of spoilers about meaning. The plot does not allow them: it is about a comet that crashes into the world and the end.
What is innovative about this dystopia is that nobody does anything to remedy the catastrophe. Because the political class is more focused on its own benefit than on the common good. Because in Adam McKay’s film the interests of the powerful have definitely become true passions, medieval and ungovernable as honor or revenge could be. Our political model has so far been based on the confidence that there is a “reasonable interest”, a positive selfishness. That is, in which interests travel tied to reason. Well, that time has passed according to the tape. Those who rule the world care more about a meme about their person than the end of the world. They rule dominated by a single passion: their own ego.
“Do you know why they want you to look up? Because they love you with fear, ”shouts the president at one of their rallies. I’m referring to Meryl Streep, don’t be confused with Díaz Ayuso. The philosopher Ptolemy had a very similar motto almost two thousand years ago, only it said just the opposite. “Look up,” he wrote in his description of the Universe as a call to knowledge. Looking up has been the motto of astronomers from ancient times until today, a way of being in the world and relating to it: observing it to try to understand it. Instead, there is something in this new century that seems hell-bent on breaking this way of relating and governing ourselves forever. “Don´t look upMeryl Streep yells. Live passionately and frivolously, cry out. It is the best. Do not complicate yourself, have a beer at the end of the job. Overall, we are all going to die. The point is that such a policy would need millions of citizens on the other side willing to turn their backs on knowledge. They will say that it is difficult to convince humanity to stop looking at the stars, at the spheres with their music. They will even argue that such a renunciation would imply a twist on the very sense of the human. But there is a trick. Because humanity will not stop looking at the sky to look at the ground, nobody is that stupid. What is going to happen is that we will stop looking up to look at the mobile. And there, on that small screen, interests will boil like a huge shake of gastric juices. The result is terrifying, I know, that’s why a sense of humor is so important. Thus, in virtual life even the saddest thing will be super funny. And if a comet is coming to crush us or there is a climate crisis or a terrible pandemic or millions of people sleeping in refugee camps well, I don’t know, it is much more digestible with a good TikTok joke. Who needs the reality having Internet?
Luckily we have the media. It is impossible for a consolidated democracy not to report freely and responsibly on the end of the world. But it will not be. Because this fiction presents great opinion leaders as blinded as politicians by their own ego, only much more frivolous. As if they didn’t care about the end of the world or their own death. Can you imagine a world where the powerful could not imagine their own end? In such a world, politics would never stop climate change or any other disaster. For egomaniacs (journalists, politicians, footballers or singers), driven by passion for themselves, would believe themselves to be eternal, while the planet would age a little every day. As if power lives in a permanent orgasm where death cannot exist. And if he did, it would not affect the powerful or he would not care, because in the moment of ecstasy death always loses.
Ah good. At least we’ll keep having orgasms, optimists will think. Even at the end of the world we can fall in love, just as astronomer Leonardo DiCaprio and journalist Cate Blanchett try to do in the movie. Make no mistake, corrects the director. In a world that looks down there is room for gushing sex and romance, but love is lost. And here comes one of my favorite moments, which is when Ariana Grande —who cynically plays a pop diva— appears singing a youth hit full of words as huge as they are hollow. “There is no place to hide, true love does not die,” he sings to his flustered and anesthetized audience. Pathetic and absolutely cool.
But let’s see. Isn’t anyone going to do anything? The savior, how could it be otherwise, is a childish, extremely intelligent and extremely rich technological guru who does not have a single thought for the whole in his head. Throw the worst of Steve Jobs, Marc Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos into one character and you’ve got the guru of Don’t look up. He comes to remind us that technology only knows how to look at the ground while the true scientists, the wise men, the astronomers and the ancients are exiled, they do not have a penny and they are autonomous. “You are an entrepreneur, not a scientist,” Leonardo DiCaprio finally explains to the guru. And that is precisely our problem, the most serious of all. It is not the politicians, not the internet, not the rock divas, or the egos of journalists. The worst thing is that scientists have stopped looking at the sky, they have forgotten poetry, Ptolemy and who they are. We have exchanged scientists for technologists and the passion for knowledge for that of business plan. And that will mean the end of the world. The good news is, it was all a joke. No kite is coming our way! The bad news is that the rest is true. Happy New Year.
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