::: Adam Dobson
The search for an answer makes a monkey of us all. ::: Click here to read the full text.
"This reviewer, while literate, has no real understanding of science"
...I feel I must defend myself against this accusation! I am a Medical Physicist by profession!!!!!!!!!!
"Science is a given - whatever it means. It is as intrinsic to us as hair"
...I'm not entering a tirade against science, I am simply reading the film in terms of the Sublime and the post-modern. I am certainly not alone adopting this approach; Heidegger, Sartre, Slavoj Zizek, Volosinov, all spring to mind - all being, in one way or another, concerned with the opposition between phenomena and noumena, perception and reality, knowing and the unknowable.
The limit of the meta-narrative is one of postmodernism's great obsessions. "Science" is grand narrative like any other, though I concede that I have used the term here to encompass the idea of 'understanding' also. I donít think Iíve made too much a jump, however. Would you say that religion, or philosophy, were as intrinsic to us as hair? Quite possibly, itís human nature to explain our surroundings, to explain the meaning of it all. One thing I cannot agree with is the primacy Ėthe absolutismĖ of science; Iím too much of a relativist for that - and a Romantic, in the literary sense of the word.
I look forward to your essay - though I must say I wonder how science can be said to win through in this film; it seems, to me, to be utterly overwhelmed! Indeed, I think that most films - when dealing with the victory of science (lets say, rationality, civilisation) over a frontierland (nature, or the physical world) - are full of compunction and regret; think King Kong. Man reduced to reason alone is a cold, utilitarian robot (think Terminator, and the world of The Matrix); Man governed by passion is instinctive and anarchic (you could argue that these elements are projected onto animals in films such as Jaws, and disowned). Itís certainly an interesting spectrum.
This reviewer, while literate, has no real understanding of science. Science is a given - whatever it means. It is as intrinsic to us as hair. I will produce a competing essay from the point of view of a someone who can talk about science from the inside.
the comparison of "2001" to modern/post-modern art is interesting. Perhaps the film itself is comparable to the monilith we see throughout the film. In both cases it is in stark contrast to it's environment, confusing and inspiring it's witnesses to summon what tools they have in hope of understanding it. A form with definite dimensions and a sort of mathmatical integrity, yet historically, culturaly, and in terms of purpose: dimensionless. The monilith itself, like the movie is the post-modern/ nihilistic art which eludes either meaning or purpose, and presents itself on its own terms.
"... and Beyond"
I think that summarizes pretty well. I think Kubrick himself said "no matter how dark is the universe, we must impose our own light". I truly believe nihilism is a important theme in 2001, and matches many conclusions similar with "Lost In Translation", though Coppola's film (I refuse to use the grand name "Coppola" to that old washed out nowadays) is more about a nihilism imposed by the environment that cannnot bring us anything but a distrust against symbols and meanings.
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