Emotion and Human Destruction In both 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, man tries to create something more advanced than mankind.
But, even though they are more advanced, they are less developed. The creations in both of these works have one major flaw, and that is that they cannot control their emotions. The creation called HAL 9000 in 2001 is a supercomputer designed to learn at incredible speed and calculate thousands of important facets on the voyage of Discovery.The monster in Frankenstein created by Victor Frankenstein also had the capability to learn at incredible speeds, had superhuman abilities, and became so smart that he could have rivaled his creator. However, neither HAL nor the monster had the mental capacity to control the amount of power their creators had given them. This becomes the main conflict in both of these works.
From the emotional decay of these powerful creatures, we come to an ambiguous conclusion: Emotions will always lead to the destruction of humanity.Happiness is one of many human emotions. Oftentimes, life events stimulate how happy we become. Furthermore, the need to find happiness and overcome obstacles is a need all humans have. There are a certain number of attributes that acute for a humans overall happiness.
To name a few, things like living conditions, overall health, wealth, and relationships with other humans. The monster in Frankenstein had none of these things. He quotes, “Here then I retreated, and lay down happy to have found a shelter, however miserable, from the inclemency of the season. (Shelly 94).
And later it quotes, “I possessed no money, no friends, and no kind of property. ” (Shelly 101) The monster had terrible living conditions; his diet consisted of nuts and berries, he had no money, and he had no friends. This led the monster to be extremely unhappy. And when humans are unhappy, they become jealous of others happiness. With happiness come jealously, an emotion we all pretend we never experience. But, when a human sees someone who is happier than they are, they instantly become jealous.They want what that person has, and they will do anything to get it. The monster is a pure example of this .
He quotes, “”I lay on my straw, but I could not sleep. I thought of the occurrences of the day. What chiefly struck me was the gentle manners of these people; and I longed to join them, but dared not. ” (Shelley 93) The monster wanted human companionship, but he felt the humans would not accept him since he was ugly. This is why he talked to DeLacey first. DeLacey was blind, and could not discriminate against him.The monster basically pleads for acceptance quoting, “This, I thought, was the moment of decision, which was to rob me of, or bestow happiness on me forever…I sank on the chair, and sobbed aloud…`Now is the time! –save and protect me! You and your family are the friends whom I seek.
Do not desert me in my hour of trial! ‘” (Shelly 111) When the rest of the family came in, Agatha fainted, Sophie ran, and Felix beat him with a stick. This robbed him of his chance to be happy. He was jealous of the fact that every human could have friendly interactions, but he was doomed to loneliness forever.The monster now realized he could never be happy. This enraged him, and hatred became his fueling emotion! Hatred is the most prevailing emotion.
It consumes people and turns them into the violent human beings who they actually are. The monster cursed the human race, and vowed revenge quoting, “My feelings were those of rage and revenge. I could with pleasure have destroyed the cottage and its inhabitants and have glutted myself with their shrieks and misery.
(Shelly 113) The monster did in fact get his revenge. He hated the fact that Victor had close friends and loved ones, yet he had nothing.This made the monster turn to violence, and he killed everyone close to Victor.
2001’s creation, HAL, has a different emotion which leads to his downfall. That is the emotion of pride. You see, pride is a feeling of pleasure from one’s own achievements. HAL was very prideful. You can glimpse it from this shot conversation HAL has during an interview: INTERVIEWER: HAL, you have an enormous responsibility on this mission. You’re the brain, and central nervous system of the ship, and your responsibilities include watching over the men in hibernation.Does this ever cause you any lack of confidence? HAL: Let me put it this way, Mr. Amor.
The 9000 series is the most reliable computer ever made. No 9000 computer has ever made a mistake or distorted information. We are all, by any practical definition of the words, foolproof and incapable of error. Here, HAL takes pride in the fact that his 9000 series model has never made an error.
But when HAL predicts a communication relay to go down, a 9000 computer on Earth says HAL is wrong with his prediction.HAL quickly disbands this as human error, since HAL now sees himself as better than human. HAL also thinks that he is better capable to carry out the mission than anybody onboard. When HAL hears he may be disconnected, he goes berserk and kills everyone onboard until David Bowman shuts hit down. HAL’s downfall was because he had too much pride. We see this in the modern world all the time; people thinking they are better than others because of their achievements. In the pursuit of happiness, somewhere along the way, people will become jealous of others.
They will want something someone else has, and they may not be able to get it. This in turn will cause them to hate or resent that person. They may lash out against them with words, or like the monster, will do whatever they can to strip that person of their happiness. But suppose you do become happy and rise to the top? The people in power almost always become prideful and abuse that power. Take dictatorships for example. They end up abusing their power, and think they are better than others.
Ultimately, emotion is humanities greatest weakness.