Shining Star: or What the Movie “Watchmen” Taught Me about Myself


I was watching the movie, Watchmen the other night and one scene touched me. It’s towards the end of the movie when the main female protagonist Laurie, Silk Spector II, tries to talk her maybe at that point ex lover, Dr. Manhattan, the most powerful being in the known universe, into using his powers to save the world. Dr. Manhattan has a ton of superpowers, but the relevant ones here are his ability to see the past, present, and future simultaneously, and that he can see and control matter on a subatomic level. These abilities give him a perspective that we don’t have.

After revealing major plot points that bring Laurie to despair, believing that she is worthless, Dr. Manhattan tries to comfort her. This is the exchange:

Doctor Manhattan
“Thermodynamic miracles… events with odds against so astronomical they’re effectively impossible, like oxygen spontaneously becoming gold. I long to observe such a thing. And yet, in each human coupling, a thousand million sperm vie for a single egg. Multiply those odds by countless generations, against the odds of your ancestors being alive; meeting; siring this precise son; that exact daughter… Until your mother loves a man she has every reason to hate, and of that union, of the thousand million children competing for fertilization, it was you, only you, that emerged. To distill so specific a form from that chaos of improbability, like turning air to gold… that is the crowning unlikelihood. The thermodynamic miracle.”
Laurie Juspeczyk
But… if me, my birth, if that’s a thermodynamic miracle… I mean, you could say that about anybody in the world!”
Dr. Manhattan
“Yes. Anybody in the world… But the world is so full of people, so crowded with these miracles that they become commonplace and we forget… I forget. We gaze continually at the world and it grows dull in our perceptions. Yet seen from another’s vantage point, as if new, it may still take our breath away. Come… dry your eyes. For you are life, rarer than a quark and unpredictable beyond the dreams of Heisenberg; the clay in which the forces that shape all things leave their fingerprints most clearly. Dry your eyes… and let’s go home.”

I found this small bit of dialogue extremely powerful. With the knowledge of the entire universe, Dr. Manhattan explains how special Laurie truly is, by using the laws of which we are already aware of, but often don’t consider. This powerful thought, which doesn’t even mention all of the things that had to happen with the creation of the universe, the sun, the solar system, the planet earth, the creation of life, evolution, you get the point, tells Laurie that her mere existence is a miracle.

I think we often forget how special we are, especially in times of pain and despair, and we need reminders. While we don’t have big blue naked guys with superpowers to remind us, we do have each other. So many things had to happen for us to come into existence and the odds of us existing are so low that they can’t be measured and we need to see that in ourselves and our fellow man.

In the original version of the series Cosmos, Carl Sagan famously stated that, “We are a way for the universe to know itself. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return. And we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We’re made of star stuff.”

That’s right, my friend, you and I are literally made of stars. The greatest known fake scientist and the greatest known real scientist have said that you are special. That’s because you are. So look in the mirror. See all those wrinkles, lines, scars, bags, pimples, whatever, and love them because you are a miracle. You are a fucking star.

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