Critical Dharma for Thinking Minds
I’ve decided to write a sci-fi thriller flick called ‘The Void’. It’s a spoof of Buddhist debates on emptiness, featuring a bunch of clueless Buddhist astronauts on an orphaned spaceship that’s literally ‘Lost in Space’ (one of my favourite 60s family sitcoms), going nowhere. It will be loosely based on the book by that name written by Frank Close on the science of emptiness, which is a great essay on the topic but makes way too much sense—as most Buddhist debates on emptiness don’t make any sense at all.
Chief Science Officer Nagarjuna and star of the film will be none other than Jeff Goldblum, our favourite nerd-cum-mad-scientist who could make a bunch of blather on emptiness actually seem interesting. He tries to explain the science of emptiness but no one listens. Nagarjuna is the observer and ‘narrative voice’ of the film. Captain Joan Halifax (played by Tilda Swinton) has command of the dead ship. Her expertise is human-robotic neuroscience which is virtually useless in the situation (or is it?). Chief Tactical Officer Funi Soo referees the debates while troubleshooting various ship breakdowns. Chief Security Officer, Jack Van Das (resembling Kamalanandi), kicks ass when they feel it’s necessary, like when the discussion gets too heated or really boring. First Officer Jayarava (resembling Slavoy Zizek), leads a team of crew members who are the main antagonists against notions of emptiness. The Buddhist Geeks, led by Engineering Officer Jokan (resembling Vincent Horn) make up the bulk of the crew with varous protagonist positions. The Ensign, Officer Wallis Glenn, leads a team of antagonist crew members called The Nons, who fight both sides. Dr. Korda, the ship’s Medical Officer and psychiatrist (resembling B. Allan Wallace) watches as members of the ship’s crew go insane and decides the situation is utterly hopeless. It turns out he’s the instigator of the conflict who infected the crew with a weaponized app called ‘shunyata’ (consisting of 108 ‘complex’ zeros). Chief Intelligence Officer David Loy tries to crack the code of shunyata to stop the program. He succeeds only in bugging the ship’s computer. The ship’s Cook is played by Noah, a punk skateboarder who serves up spicy Thai food with hardcore as ‘dinner music’, which provokes food fights. Officer Jokan slips ayahuasca into the ship’s tea one night, causing psychedelic mayhem. The Communications Officer is played by BLiP Fawkes, a half-Jewish Black lesbian who tries to get people to focus on getting rescued by the Interstellar Space Federation before they all die, to no avail.
It will be produced and directed by the Wachowskis. When the crew isn’t debating emptiness, drinking tea or meditating in the Holodeck shrine, they undergo a mysterious gender change and have weird sex with aliens who sneak onboard the ship dressed in latex fetish gear.
There is no real plot to the film because there’s ‘nowhere to go, nothing to achieve’, so not much happens, except by the end of the film, the crew have all died or killed each other by various means over their disagreements on emptiness. During the death spree, they send out distress signals to the International Space Station called ‘Godot’, but no one answers their call or comes to their rescue.
End of film.
Below: the ship’s Holodeck shrine, and theme music: