Monday, I’ve got Friday in the year 2525

“We Are As Gods” explores the ramifications of future thought and how that impacts the extinction of humans on Earth.

A heady dialectic that ultimately focuses on the sometimes contentious conversation between de-extinction ideology and advocates against all forms of genetic engineering unfolds even as visionary ideas are dropped like shiny pebbles on a path of enlightenment.

The central figure, Stewart Brand created the Whole Earth Catalog in the late-60s. He campaigned with buttons mailed to politicians and scientists asking why a “whole photo of the Earth,” captured on that era’s fleet of space flights and satellites, had not been released to the public.

“We Are As Gods” traces Brand’s career path. The Whole Earth Catalog was the late-60s publication version of internet search engine. Original copies of the first edition (1968) are fetching ducats on the now ubiquitous internet.

Opening on a sequence that depicts a cold storage unit that houses wooly mammoth remains “We Are Gods” spends time examining Brand’s youthful activism including escadapes with Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters.

It was a counter culture movement divided by diverse events as LSD and the moon landing. Happenings were an everyday way of life.

There’s a sharp contrast of old and new as the film progresses. For instance, we see Brand as a handsome young man conquering the world while his talking head is a wise sage stripped of his hipster good looks and smooth countenance.

There’s a similar contrast with other film participants like actor Peter Coyote, who was a part of the San Francisco psychedelic scene, and Brian Eno, who in addition to providing a stand-alone soundtrack adds to the narrative theme of generation shift.

Eno was a glam rocker yet when he appears in “We Are As Gods” he’s has the appearance of a balding elderly financial advisor.

The mammoth remains are part of a scientific experiment the ultimate goal of which would start a reversal of climate change. Using mammoth DNA mixed with modern Asian elephants would result in wooly mammoths being reintroduced into the modern world.

There’s an actual initiative called Pleistocene Park, located in Northern Siberia whose purpose is to “restore the mammoth steppe ecosystem.”

The latter part of the Pleistocene era, roughtly 2.5-million years to Twelve-thousand years ago, was when mammoths thrived.

This part of the documentary is seamless and even occasionally edge-of-the-seat compelling. Different points of view show conflict strictly from scientific points-of-view rather than random doctrines and creeds.

While some things can be in the moment, like creating a journal of references like The Whole Earth Catalog, terraforming an Arctic landscape to grassland is another matter. Introducing wooly mammoths requires companion animals like horses, moose, reindeer, yak and many more. The whole process easily works out to multiple generations.

Such elements lower the ground temperature over a period of years.

There’s a shift of momentum where the film goes into Brand’s marriages, only to rebound with a third act that covers a new scientific endeavor – The Clock of the Long Now.

A 10,000 year clock is a real thing, a timepiece constructed with materials, like titanium, that will last multiple centuries and gear in accordance with that extended time frame.

The actual clock is housed in the land north of Van Horn, Texas, land incidentally owned by Jeff Bezos.

“We Are As Gods” asks if the human race can go from thinking about what will happen next week to what will happen in 10,000 years.

“We Are As Gods” is currently available on streaming platforms.

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