"'My God, it's full of stars': Metaphor and Mythology in Kubrick's 2001"
Kubrick's epic is the latest work of fiction to speculate on the purpose of the Pandorica, drawing on ancient legends that claim that opening it will cause the 'stars' to return. Perhaps wisely, Kubrick has chosen not to show the stars, only the transformative effect they have on humanity…
The oddest thing about the stars, Rory thought, was how his mind insisted on telling him both that they'd only just gone missing and that they'd always been gone. If he'd still been human it might well have driven him insane, but plastic brains apparently didn't work that way.
Human brains, however, did.
"And this painting, while technically considered one of van Gogh's masterpieces, is rarely shown in public because of the effect it often has on viewers. Here we see his delusional insistence on the existence of 'stars' taken to a frightening extreme…"
Some people didn't seem affected. They'd probably never noticed the stars before they'd gone. (Rory was a bit uncertain whether "before" was quite the right word, but centuries of exposure to other languages never gave him a better one.)
She repeated, in a softer and deeper voice, "There are no stars." After a pause, and a struggle in their minds, all four of them said together. "You are right. There are no stars." It was such a relief to give in and say it.
A very few remembered the stars as if they'd only just vanished. They turned up at the Pandorica on a regular basis; whatever it was about them that let them see just how the world was wrong also told them that the Pandorica shouldn't be there at all. Rory felt sorry for them - just so long as they weren't trying to open the Pandorica.
The Pandorica has always attracted more than its usual share of star cultists. Some theories attempt to connect the star cults to the Lone Centurion, even claiming him as their source. Those theories fail to take into account the popularity of star cults in times and places where the Pandorica was completely unknown…
But the majority seemed to only have a vague sense of loss. They tried to deny it, taking out their fears on the people who refused to accept that nothing was wrong.
"It's a lovely painting, Amelia. But what are all these?"