Cara Giovinazzo- Frankenstein Reading

The reading, “The Frankenstein Myth in Contemporary Cinema,” discussed the downfalls of humans becoming dependent, and ultimately controlled, by technology.  The reading discussed three different dystopian societies, Rocky IV, Blade Runner, and The Terminator in which humans become overpowered by the technology that they created.  This idea comes from the original dystopian story of Frankenstein, where a monster is created but is given no place in society and rebels in response.  This demonstrates the danger of technology for technologies sake and what can happen if technology is not used properly and controlled in society.

The three movies used as examples have similar plots that involve humans creating robots or some form of superhuman that ends up becoming more powerful than humans themselves.  As discussed, in each movie the human characters are at different levels of control and realization as to the destruction of humanity because of their disconnect from nature and their dependence and submission to technology.  In Rocky, Creed is defeated by Drago and even in the end, Rocky does not learn his lesson, in  Blade Runner the humans that do not reconnect with nature and the feminine, as the authors point out, are killed, yet the humans that learn their lesson are spared and are even set free, and in The Terminator, the only movie where some of the humans are aware of the danger from the beginning, is the only plot that involves the humans fighting back against the dangerous technology and surviving.  I found the author’s use of nature and the feminine as a solution to doomed patriarchal and technological societies fascinating, “Those who recognize the shadow side of technological progress seem to do so because they identify their own escalating enslavement by technology with the prolonged historical subjugation of women and feminine values to patriarchal social structures and their technological extensions,” (p. 73).  I personally believe that any technology, whether a cell phone or a robot, can potentially be dangerous if abused and allowed to have more abilities that necessary for society.  It is the idea of excess that creates problems and causes situations that started as convenient to become dangerous.

“The further a device is removed from human control, the more authentically mechanical it seems, and the whole trend in technology has been to devise machines that are less and less under direct human control and more and more seem to have the beginning of a will of their own,” Asimov (p. 64).  Technology began as a tool that humans could use to help complete a task, for example, the wheel or the hammer.  There is no way that a wheel or a hammer can overtake humanity and rule a dystopian society.  The wheel and hammer are useful tools that fit into the needs of society and are still controlled by humans.  However, computers are more complex than wheels and hammers and ultimately do not need to be controlled by humans any longer.   There is no fear of an excess of hammers (the only fear in a hammer is missing the nail and hitting ones finger), but an excess of power in computers could turn into one of the plots of the three previously mentioned movies.

As a society now, I feel that we are on the brink of tipping into the type of society that could allow our technology to overpower humanity.  I agree with the authors that humans need to return and reconnect to nature, “Although most humans in these films are oblivious to their condition in relation to technology, a few people appear cognizant that the patriarchal path is leading toward extinction,” (p. 73).  Agreeing wholeheartedly with this article, I feel that the only aspect of it that could be challenging is using the movies they chose as their argument.  I feel that a much more realistic demise would not be robots overtaking society, but humans becoming so dependent on technology that they merely exist; they are not in competition with anything, not accomplishing anything, or creating things other than more technology to make existence more pointless.  I feel that this clip conveys a much more palpable outcome of the dependence on technology, despite it being animated:

Wall-E

Sorry for the subtitles. I couldn’t find this clip in English without them!

Discussion Questions:

1.  Is society too far gone into the digital age to return to nature? Do people even think there is a disconnect from nature?

2. As in The Terminator when many of the characters are killed because of their use of technology (Ginger listening to her walkman, Sarah getting caught because of her answering machine), are green initiatives doomed because of our desire to fix the problem with more technology?

3. Have we already become like the societies mentioned in the movies and not have realized it yet? Is our obsession with technology just as dangerous as an actual tangible machine?

 

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