Victoria NeuroNotes

Into the Gray

Imagination: To Worlds That Never Were


The night before last I was in a theta brain wave state—on the edge of sleep when, for no reason, scenes from the movie Contact started streaming through the creases of my gray matter. It was of my favorite scene (clips below).  Although I am not a big TV fan, I was in the mood for watching a flick yesterday afternoon and started scanning.

There it was—Contact.

Goosebumps paid an expected visit.  It was the very scene I had vividly visualized while drifting off to la la land.

Talk about serendipity!   ➡ Clicky  😀

I relish the thought of traveling through a wormhole (first clip), and ending up in such a mesmerizing place (second clip).


I thought it would be fun to post a few of my favorite quotes from the movie, along with some images I downloaded a few years back from while making creative-type (decompression) videos.   The movie is one of my all-time favorites.  For those who have never seen Contact, here’s a little background extracted from Wikipedia.

Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan (his partner and co-writer of Cosmos) began working on the film in 1979. Together, they wrote a 100+ page film treatment.  When the project to make the film became mired in development hell, Sagan published Contact as a novel in 1985 and the film adaptation was rejuvenated in 1989.  The filming for Contact lasted from September 1996 to February 1997.


Encouraged to explore as a child by her late father, Dr. Eleanor “Ellie” Arroway (played by Jodi Foster) works for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) program at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. She listens to radio transmissions hoping to find signals sent by extraterrestrial life.


Arroway gains backing from secretive billionaire industrialist S. R. Hadden, who has followed her career and allows her to continue her studies at the Very Large Array (VLA) in Socorro County, New Mexico. Four years later, with David Drumlin (Science Advisor to the President) seeking to close SETI, Arroway finds a signal repeating a sequence of prime numbers, apparently sent from the star Vega.


The project is put under tight security and its progress followed worldwide. Arroway learns that the signal contains more than 60,000 “pages” of what appear to be technical drawings. Hadden secretly meets with Arroway to provide the means to decode the pages, found when they are arranged in three dimensions. The pages reveal a complex machine allowing for one human occupant inside a pod to be dropped into three spinning rings.


The nations of the world fund the construction of the machine in Cape Canaveral at the Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39.  An international panel is assembled to choose a candidate to travel in the machine.


Although Arroway is one of the top selections, Christian philosopher Palmer Joss, a panel member whom Arroway met in Puerto Rico and with whom she had a brief romantic encounter, brings attention to her lack of religious faith. As this differentiates her from most humans, the panel selects Drumlin as more representative. On the day the machine is tested, a religious fanatic destroys the machine in a suicide bombing, killing Drumlin and many others.


Hadden reveals to Arroway that a second machine is hidden in Hokkaido, Japan, and that Arroway will be its pilot. Arroway, outfitted with several recording devices, is locked into the pod of the Japanese machine, dropped into the spinning rings, and disappears. When the pod apparently travels through a series of wormhole, she experiences displacement and can observe the outside environment, including a radio array-like structure at Vega and signs of an advanced civilization on an unknown planet.


My two favorite scenes:

Ellie Arroway: [Witnessing a celestial light show up close] Some celestial event. No – no words. No words to describe it. Poetry! They should’ve sent a poet. So beautiful. So beautiful… I had no idea.

In the second clip, Arroway finds herself in a surreal beachfront landscape similar to a childhood picture she drew of Pensacola, Florida, and a blurry figure approaches that becomes her deceased father. Arroway recognizes him as an alien taking her father’s form and attempts to ask questions. The alien deflects her inquiries, explaining that this journey was just humanity’s first step to joining other spacefaring species.


Favorite quotes from the movie:

David Drumlin: I know you must think this is all very unfair. Maybe that’s an understatement. What you don’t know is I agree. I wish the world was a place where fair was the bottom line, where the kind of idealism you showed at the hearing was rewarded, not taken advantage of. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world.

Ellie Arroway: Funny, I’ve always believed that the world is what we make of it.


Ellie Arroway: You know, there are four hundred billion stars out there, just in our galaxy alone. If only one out of a million of those had planets, and just of out of a million of those had life, and just one out of a million of those had intelligent life; there would be literally millions of civilizations out there.


Ellie Arroway: You wanna hear something really nutty? I heard of a couple guys who wanna build something called an “airplane,” you know you get people to go in, and fly around like birds, it’s ridiculous, right? And what about breaking the sound barrier, or rockets to the moon, or atomic energy, or a mission to Mars? Science fiction, right?

Look, all I’m asking, is for you to just have the tiniest bit of vision. You know, to just sit back for one minute and look at the big picture. To take a chance on something that just might end up being the most profoundly impactful moment for humanity, for the history… of history.


Alien: You’re an interesting species. An interesting mix. You’re capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you’re not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other.


Ellie Arroway: So what’s more likely? That an all-powerful, mysterious God created the Universe, and decided not to give any proof of his existence? Or, that He simply doesn’t exist at all, and that we created Him, so that we wouldn’t have to feel so small and alone?


.`•.¸.•´ ★
¸.•´.•´¨) ¸.•¨)
(¸.•´(¸.•´ (¸.•¨¯`* ♥


carl sagan quote

 Dedicated to the Memory of Carl



Author: NeuroNotes

Victoria predominately blogs about religion, the psychological techniques used to indoctrinate, and the brain's role in religious-type experiences and attachment.

53 thoughts on “Imagination: To Worlds That Never Were

  1. This is something I read and think about quite a lot. The more I read, the more convinced I am of other civilizations that are probably more advanced than us. If I’m not mistaken, our galaxy is one of the youngest. I imagine intelligent life in faraway places as being very similar to our own and much less likely to be green monsters or the stereotypical aliens we see in the movies. I will make a point of watching the movie.


    • I agree Cat. Considering the vastness of the universe, intelligent life in other galaxies (possibly in our galaxy) would be more likely than not. I think you will like the movie. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I just rented the movie from Utube. Feet up tonight and I will definitely enjoy!


          • I watched and enjoyed! First movie in years. I might have preferred a little more imagination around the journey and eventual arrival on the planet. Also, the Dad appearing did kinda confuse me…. I must have missed something!

            Liked by 1 person

            • Hi Cat, I’m so glad you liked the movie. One thing that movie did for me was to leave a lot up to my imagination, which I loved. For example, we’ll never really know if Ellie had this experience or if it was illusions/delusions caused by her being knocked unconscious. When she’s floating down to the beach, she’s initially unconscious. The scene on the beach was very similar to what she saw on Pensacola beach when she was a child. The way she touched the atmosphere around her like she was in some sort of mystical bubble — dream world.

              From what I gather, the alien said that it would be better that way (looking like her father). I’m guessing that if he looked like the alien, she may have been fearful and not as receptive to him and/or the message. Just a guess. Also keep in mind — Hadden, the billionaire, knew a lot about her personal life and supposedly decoded the technical drawings, discovering they were arranged in three dimensions. Was it all an elaborate hoax by Hadden, or did Ellie really have that experience? Then there was the 18 hours of recorded static. 😉

              Thanks so much for taking the time to watch and share your thoughts here.

              Liked by 1 person

              • RE: “One thing that movie did for me was to leave a lot up to my imagination, which I loved.

                Totally unrelated to Contact, I saw an episode of the TV show, Law & Order, that did that for me. The show took place in a courtroom, where a man had been accused with murder, and as questions are asked and testimony given, the story was told in the form of flashbacks. There are scenes that convince you that he MUST be guilty, followed by scenes that imply he couldn’t have been. At the end, the Foreperson of the Jury is asked if she has reached a verdict – “We have, your Honor,” she says, “We find the defendant…” (FADE TO BLACK)

                The REALLY well-written script left one feeling the rollercoaster ride that an actual jury member must surely feel.


              • Yer, the 18hrs static was a great ending

                Liked by 1 person

              • …..Oh and one more thing about Contact that stayed with me is when the religious man says, “95% of the (world?) population believes in a superior being….” Is that really true?


  2. Stunning pictures, exciting clips, Contact is now on my watch list. Now, at the risk of setting myself up for ridicule, I contend that the search for ET need go no further than our own planet, although it can certainly go beyond—the truth sometimes is right before our eyes. I’ve recently prepared a treatise on the matter—that, religion, slavery, and oppression, perhaps I’ll post it someday soon.


  3. For any who may not know what “development hell” means, it’s the effort to pull the money together – at least first-round financing – to make a movie. Been there, done that, and slunk away with my tailfeathers drooping.


    • Thank Arch. It’s explains further in the Wikipedia link that it’s like a development limbo — a state during which a film or other project remains in development without progressing to production.”

      Seems there were quite a few snags involved while making this film besides financing, such as one director dropping out and another getting fired by Warner Bros. I’m so glad this film made it out of limbo.


  4. Great post (again), and Contact is one of my favorite films. Carl Sagan is also one of my favorite human beings, too.


  5. I hope it didn’t go unnoticed, that Ann Druyan wrote and produced the new COSMOS offering.


  6. Perhaps my favorite post of yours Victoria! I absolutely loved this movie when it came out. It was in the theaters 2 years after I had dispensed with the Christian worldview and it was a great dramatization of a lot of the thoughts and ideas that were going on in my head at that time.

    I love those quotes as well. Here are some others that hit me:

    After Ellie had been grilled and questioned by a panel about her unique experience:
    News reporters:Reverend Joss, what do you believe?
    Palmer JossAs a person of faith I’m bound by a different covenant than Doctor Arroway. But our goal is one and the same: the pursuit of Truth. I for one believe her.

    Very final scene of the movie where Ellie is showing a group of kids her dish antennas:
    Young childAre there other people out there in the universe?
    Ellie ArrowayThat’s a good question. What do you think?
    Young childI don’t know
    Ellie ArrowayThat’s a good answer. A skeptic, huh? The most important thing is that you all keep searching for your own answers.

    A lot of Sagan’s stuff really resonates with me. A great respect for science and critical thinking while retaining a bit of the awe and wonder of the mystery of it all.


    • Howie, loved your comments. There’s so much that can be discussed about this movie. At the time this came out, I was still a devout Christian, and was advised by “men of God” to not watch this movie, as Sagan was doing the devil’s work. I was also working for Christian radio at the time and there was a commercial produced asking Christians to boycott the movie. I was advised (not just in one denomination but several) that the original COSMOS was satanic in nature again — a tool of the devil. I had no idea at the time what an incredible humanitarian and human being Carl Sagan was. I initially bought into the bullshit lies.

      I’ve often thought that there is a good possibility that there are other civilizations out there but don’t make themselves knows to us because we have not evolved enough. Like the scene in Contact where the soldiers come into SETI’s headquarters fully armed and ready to blow the aliens to smithereens. When you think about it, we have a difficult time getting along as a species, so I’m thinking that it’s highly likely that the majority of people would fear aliens who visited. Robert Sapolsky wrote in his article “Peace Among Primates” that we may be hard-wired to get edgy around the Other, but who falls into that category is decidedly malleable. We are still primarily functioning from the primitive parts of our brain — considering the fact that stimuli from our environment reaches our older parts of the brain twice as fast as it does our new parts ( frontal lobes).

      I like the quotes you shared. Both scenes were awesome and inspiring. I respected both Sagan and Druyan’s open-mindedness in this movie.

      Btw, speaking of aliens, have you seen these? 😈

      Clicky 1

      Clicky 2

      And John Z shared this one with me not long ago — hilarious. 😀

      Clicky 3

      I greatly resonate with what Carl stated about science and spirituality:

      “Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual.


      • Never seen those links – in fact not sure I’ve ever seen alien comedy – hilarious! 😀


      • When Dan Brown’s book, and later movie, “The Davinci Code” came out, my Christian daughter – the white sheep of the family – was advised not to read it or watch the movie. My grandson was terrified when he learned that I had a copy of the book.


        • Terrified?? UFB. That is pathetic but not surprising. I remember when the book series Harry Potter (then later the movies) came out — conservative Christian “adults” were in an uproar and wouldn’t allow their children to read/watch. To this day it remains a hot potato, polarizing Christians left and right because of three words: wizards, witches, and magic. Deuteronomy 18:10-11

          Here’s what one website states:

          “J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, is a witch and in league with Lucifer himself. She is a lunatic and freak straight out of the pits of Hell, and should be in prison for crimes against the innocent and child abuse! For every child that reads one of her filthy books, is just another abuse victim! She may as well be loading a gun, and placing it in the child’s hand, and asking them to put it in their mouth and pull the trigger.

          Harry Potter is a Trojan horse – a clever vehicle able to implant a sort of satanic receptor in the human soul – making youngsters vulnerable to demonic activity and possible demon infestation / possession.

          Harry Potter books – packaged as harmless fantasy – are actually the genuinely dangerous.”


  7. I’m sure I’ve seen that. I’m a Foster fan anyway. I wouldn’t have thought about it on a deep level, more, oh this is interesting, nice to see a strong female character etc. if the world is what we make of it, so are films. Books probably leave a more lasting impression on me than films, although I did enjoy Apocalypse Now, but equally I enjoyed Heart of Darkness.


    • The music in Apocalypse Now was awesome. Do you know that after watching that movie I gained a fascination with helicopters and dreamed of them often? LOL

      I agree, it was nice to see a strong female character in Contact. The part where Ellie (Foster) is going up to give her speech to the world and then finds out that she was replaced by Drumlin (who was wanting to take the credit when she had done all the work, which he was initially trying to shut down) was so spot on. I’ve experience my fair share of that behavior in my own career. I guess Drumlin paid his dues in the end. 😉


  8. Am not sure I have watched the movie, I am a Foster fan. I will look for this movie.
    I like the quotes you have shared.
    Great post


  9. “The night before last I was in a theta brain wave state”–V, this is why I like you. I can say categorically that I have no other friends who begin sentences in such awesome fashion.

    And now I’ve got to watch that movie again… :0)


  10. I semi-enjoyed it the movie. (watched it 3 or 4 times). But any Sci Fi that has a ‘reality tag’ seems to always end with unresolved issues.
    In fact the way it was structured seemed similar to the way the religious hoaxes are often portrayed.
    I thought Matthew Mcconaughey was a prize piece of work in the movie.
    Although the killer punch was those few lines of dialogue about the missing minutes, seconds? ( been a while)

    And talking of prize pieces of work.
    Here’s a challenge for you Dear Victoria!

    A real God-Botherer par excellence.
    If you fancy wading in with your brainy brain stuff ….
    His name is Marshallart, and he ”Talks to God”


    • “In fact the way it was structured seemed similar to the way the religious hoaxes are often portrayed.”

      Hmmm, an interesting perspective from you. Sagan made no qualms about it being science fiction, unlike those of a religious nature. The ending puts the movie into perspective. This is the final scene. Children are on a field trip and ask Ellie:

      Young child: Are there other people out there in the universe?

      Ellie Arroway: That’s a good question. What do you think?

      Young child: I don’t know

      Ellie Arroway: That’s a good answer. A skeptic, huh? The most important thing is that you all keep searching for your own answers.


      About the missing minutes — 18 hours to be exact. 😉


      I’ll check out the link.


  11. Loved that movie and Sagan is one of my favourites. I do believe what Ellie said : ‘He simply doesn’t exist at all, and that we created Him, so that we wouldn’t have to feel so small and alone?’

    Great post Victoria. 😀 ♥ Hugs ♥


  12. “Imagination is more important than knowledge…”
    Albert Einstein


    • One of my favorite quotes. Some people get imagination and superstition mixed up. Same with intuition.

      “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” ~ Albert Einstein


  13. Beautiful capture of a great movie I need to see again. “No words, no words”…indeed!
    I also really loved watching Carl Sagan when I was growing up. We only got three channels plus public TV…seems like I could find him any time I wanted to escape to another world.
    Thank you for some great memories, Victoria (and for defining theta brain waves…I just called it foggy-right-before-sleep-brain!) xo


    • Thank you, Michelle. That scene was awesome. “They should have sent a poet”.

      Btw, did you know that Albert Einstein came of with some of his greatest insights while in a theta brainwave state? 😉

      Hope you have a great Labor Day weekend. *hug*


  14. Tset (test spelled backward!)


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