If you haven’t seen the movie Interstellar, then we highly recommend you check it out. If you have, then great – you’ll probably be more able to understand what we’re talking about in this article.
Either way, diving into the fascinating, multidimensional world that director Christopher Nolan created, is definitely worth exploring. This is doubly so if you’re into dreams, time travel, other universes, the nature of the mind and the like.
Like many great films and works of literature, Interstellar is filled with metaphors and symbolism. Whether you’ve seen the movie or not, you’re probably aware that it touches on some pretty complex topics related to space, physics and relativity. In fact, Interstellar went so deep into the intricacies of astrophysics, and their CGI simulations of black holes turned out to be so accurate, that new scientific discoveries were made just as a result of film process.
The undertones of psychology and dreams
There’s no doubt that the plot line and the accuracy with which the film was made is extremely impressive and on point. This is definitely one of those films that keeps you on the edge of your seat and opens up a floodgate of curiosity and fascination within your mind. Aside from the surface story line, characters, and scientific aspects, there is another parallel narrative taking place.
This one is filled with symbolism and represents the human nature – more specifically, that of personal and collective consciousness. This, in turn sheds light on our understanding of dreams and their purpose. How does all of this work? How do dreams come about and where does the mind create them?
The famed 20th century psychoanalyst Carl Jung had a few theories that explain this pretty well, and Interstellar seems to draw upon his ides pretty heavily. Jung believed that aside from each of us having our own conscious and subconscious selves, all humans are all somehow connected in one universal and collective unconscious.
The collective unconscious: The most incredible theory ever
This collective unconscious is what gives us similar imagery in our dreams, and even ideas for myths, beliefs and folktales around the world. If you think about it, there is something weird about the fact that nearly every culture in the world, no matter how distant and off the grid, seems to have fire-breathing dragons, for example.
Don’t believe us, check for yourself! Aside from dragons, witchcraft and hybrid animals, cultures across the globe have very distinctive “hero’s journey” stories, along with many other archetypal tales and beliefs, that somehow all seem to share similar points in the plot line.
One of the main ways in which Jung suggested that humans connect to the collective unconscious is through dreams. There are a number of examples in the movie that seem to relate to this idea. First off, the whole concept of Cooper is inside the 5th dimension and she experiences something that exists beyond mere time and space.
She somehow makes contact with other beings during this experience, who in reality are the people next to her. This maybe points to the idea that somehow, through dreams, we can reach out to other people who are very far away or even gone from this world, since dreams exist in a place that knows no dimensional bounds. Another thing is when she points out love is the only thing that seems to transcend both time and space.
Jung’s ideas about universal consciousness also seem to represented in Murph’s bedroom. You could compare this collective human knowledge to a bookshelf, which is clearly symbolized by the one in Murphs’ room.
Though it’s just a little girl’s bookcase, she seems to somehow know that something bigger is moving them, and even trying to communicate with her.
While Interstellar doesn’t deal or even portray dreams directly, it does seem to do so in a metaphorical way. For example, at both times when the main protagonists are about to switch into another dimension, they are asleep right before it happens. Another part where sleep and the idea of dreams is alluded to is immediately following Cooper’s “interaction” with Murph from inside the black hole.
We’re not really sure what goes on there, but we do know that immediately afterward, he wakes up in a hospital bed. Could he have been asleep during this whole time, making the scene just a dream? We sure get the sense that that could be a possibility.
The director Christopher Nolan himself seems to be pretty interested in the topic of dreaming if you take a look at the previous films he’s made: Memento, Insomnia – both of these have strong allusions to dreams, even lucid dreaming. The whole concept of Einstein’s theory of relativity and the existence of other dimension seems to be closely connected to the multi-layered nature of dreams, in which we travel through various planes of consciousness and reality.
Dreams and philosophy in Interstellar
It’s fascinating to see how a film like Interstellar can connect these two world’s – physics and dream theory, and get us to think about the nature of both.
Perhaps Nolan was inspired by the collective unconscious himself when he made this movie. He definitely seemed to use plenty of symbolism and touched on universal human experience to transform us, the viewers, into a whole new dimension!