Have any of you seen 2001: A Space Odyssey? I saw it ages ago, and I don’t know why I’m suddenly thinking of it, but it basically sums up everything I think that’s wrong with the human race. I do think it’s an amazing film. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. I’ll be saying some mild spoilers below (I’ll warn first).
Ok, so the movie tells the story of humankind’s evolution from ape days to the colonization of space. It’s practically a documentary on evolution but focusing on the fictional future and with cool space ships and stuff.
The recurring theme is how humans survive through the use of tools, and more disturbingly, using tools to kill their enemies. The nifty thing is that the film takes an objective, non-moralizing perspective. So you can see it as either an inspiring story of survival, or like me, a depressing story of kill-or-be-killed.
Next 2 paragraphs contain a mild spoiler.
So the movie first shows how our ape ancestors survived by using tools to kill & eat animals as well as kill enemy apes. Then we fast forward a million years to “civilized society”. Obviously it’s less savage, very clean, polite and awesome looking. But then a problem develops. The artificially intelligent computer develops a slight bug. The humans decide to disconnect (kill) the computer, and the plot shifts to how they can accomplish this difficult feat. So really it’s the same fighting ape story all over again.
In my heart I know that this is how humans will ALWAYS be. We may live in a polite, clean, progressive new world, but if anything poses a threat, we will revert to our ape like behavior and want to kill it, no questions asked. The movie ends on an “inspiring” note, and for years I would’ve told you it’s the most inspiring movie ever made. But suddenly I see it as horribly depressing. Maybe my perspective is screwed up. I don’t know what Kubrick intended the message to be. But it’s funny how something can seem so “right” until one day you see everything as “wrong”.
I used to believe in the progress of humans. I used to admire the pioneers who built the foundation of human survival. I used to think we were “the good guys”. But now the very same thoughts fill me with disgust. And the sad part is that humans at large will never see it. They’ll just keep on living, and killing, and having more babies who will learn to live and kill.
Can anyone convince me I’m wrong? I won’t argue (in fact I wish I were wrong about this), but I don’t think anything can make me believe in the human race ever again.