Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Essay

In today’s political, social, and economic climate, “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” seems like less of a satire, and more of a serious documentation of the future our world can actually face. The characters, both human and alien in the novel are nasty and cold-hearted (and, in a sense of comedic irony, inhabit a ship nicknamed “The Heart of Gold”). The planet Earth (along with it’s entire galaxy, the Milky Way) is thought of as an insignificant little blue dot with people of inferior intellects according to these otherworldly beings. However, as the reader continues on, they will see that, indeed, this is true. The Big Bang, the theory of evolution, the entire course of human history – all are simply programmed by these hyper-intelligent mice creatures, as we find out in the end. While it is all played up for laughs, and is generally comedic in nature, it really poses a deadly serious question about our place in the universe.

            Really, Douglas Adams presents a rather nihilistic and dark universe. The whole point of his work is to show that, while humans may consider themselves rational and intelligent beings, we may very well be just a simulation or a cheap form of entertainment for some other smarter race. In this way, “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” is a quite bleak and dark comedy by showing us the truth about ourselves. The message behind it is humorously ironic – the more that the human race advances towards another technological revolution, the more we find out that we are simply primitive and simplistic beings.

            With all the future prospects of going off to Mars, major advance in artificial intelligence, etc. that are going on, it seems that maybe the reality we find out is more farfetched than any kind of science fiction. What we find out might not be as crazy or insane as what Douglas Adams attempts to convey – perhaps what he proposes would simply be an understatement more than anything else.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Questions about the future

1.         How do you see your future 10 years from now, in 2027?
I see myself with an already established professional presence in the art world, working in an environment conducive to creativity and free expression of thoughts and ideas. I am planning to tread forward with determination, working for a company or a business of my own where I derive pleasure and satisfaction. While I do not have any clear idea or definite prospects of what I would do exactly, I am confident that my future job will be connected with my computer animation, my current major. Future carries so much uncertainty it is quite like science fiction in real life, however, I believe this unknown aspect motivates people to do things, makes the world go around.... 
“Like traveling a road not yet seen,
“two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that made all the difference.
(Robert Frost)

2.     What will things be like for you in 2050?

    Before all, I hope that our world will evolve into an enlightened and peaceful place, where people of all races, religions, and nationalities will find a way to resolve their discrepancies and create an environment stimulating creativity and intellect. I hope humans realize that our most precious resources – intelligence and time – must be used wisely, with great consideration and no waste! I have a great confidence in our common sense and I do not envision the year of 2050 on Earth to be a time of some dystopian social structure created by us.

    I hope things will be more leveled and stabilized in all areas of human endeavor, including the field of the computer animation, my area of study at present. In the best case scenario, I envision a rapid growth of new technological developments, more venues and expressive tools made available to the professionals working in this field. I can not say with certainty what things will be for me in 2050, as may be my surroundings and circumstances at this time are not invented yet, the jobs I would perform do not even exist today.  Wherever and however the world goes, I promise to remain true to who I am at heart.
3.      What will things be like for you in the year 3000?
The reality of year 3000 is even more difficult to envision and speculate about than year 2050. Would people then be able to reach 1,000 years of age, as I will be that old, if I am to witness it? What would be the human population count then? Are we still going to be firmly grounded on our planet or we would've explored outer worlds? If yes – how far our mission would be taken us in our universe? Or even beyond the boundaries of this universe?

It would be hard to imagine myself at my 1,000th birthday as well. Would I have friends and family to keep me company? I definitely do not want to be the only one from the early 21st century there!

However, all things considered, I think I will still continue to try to be an ambitious and virtuous person as much as I can be at any age. I will try to encourage my children, grandchildren, and all issue present and accounted for, to pursue their dreams and their passions relentlessly. If one is looking at a millennium of a lifespan, certainly more ambitious plans could be made!

I wish I could live a full and hearty life, complete with achievements to be proud of, and also to carry experiences that I would be proud to tell to the younger generation, under such circumstances. And, again, being a firm believer in the positive in people, I am looking forward to be in a good and harmonious world in the year 3,000.

A Clockwork Orange Essay

“A Clockwork Orange” is a book that takes place in a dystopian future in England. Many elements of the story carry a heavy science fiction influence. A primary example includes the aforementioned future with a corrupted government and intriguing architectural style as well as an invented language (known as Nadsat) consisting of Cockney English and Russian slang. However, even with these genre signifiers and tropes, at it’s core, the novel is an interesting tale of morality almost akin to “Aesop’s Fables”, only much more depraved and dark. This writing is predominantly focused on the narrative and story as opposed to the atmosphere or genre, stressing on the most basic human right – the right of free will and choice. This theme affects the tone and the coloration of the entire novel.

            The plot line is infused with symbolisms and allegories. There is an equal amount of criticism and disapproval veiled for both the Soviet Union and the democratic western societies (primarily the United States and the United Kingdom, where the author, Anthony Burgess, resided). As eluded in the story, these social structures are not that different in their fundaments!

            The anti-hero protagonist, Alex DeLarge, while speaking in a futuristic, almost alien language, delivers an effective critique on the youth of western civilizations. He is a depraved hedonist – he has become desensitized to view violence and self-indulgence not only as a natural part of life, but also essential for happiness.  The whole story is centered around his attitudes and behavior, and he himself serves as a symbol for the overall moral decay of the adolescent. His parents are very much unconcerned with what he does, and they are almost a non-entity in his life. Meanwhile, the hospital doctors’ attempts to “normalize” him symbolize the haphazard and dangerous ways society as a whole attempt to deal with criminals. The novel portrays to the viewer a tale of the two extremities in a modern civilization – fading of the traditional patriarchal role of the family versus the increasingly aggressive and brutal intervention of the institutions. The parental presence is bland, inactive, void of any free will. 

            The messages relayed by Anthony Burgess are quite profound and ask very important moral questions as far as dealing with criminality and living is concerned. While the main plot is woven over a science fiction weft, the ultimate humane issues and their relationship with the State, as a proxy of the social order and authority. Persons asserting their basic human right of choice, even if it leads towards self-destruction, are being sanctioned by the State, with brutality and lack of consideration. Only meek and yielding to manipulation human material is acceptable to the authority and can survive. Where is the balance of this power struggle – individual versus the whole? What checks and balances must be placed to ensure harmonious existence of all societal members?