2001 A Space Odyssey Film


Technology: Progressive or Regressive? Kubrick’s 2001 and Schaffner’s Planet of the Apes

June 19, 2019 by Essay Writer

“Man is a social animal, distinguished by ‘culture’: by the ability to make tools and communicate ideas. Employment of tools appears to be his chief biological characteristic” (Oakley).

Directors Stanley Kubrick and Franklin J. Schaffner maintain Oakley’s assertion as they insinuate a growing dependence of human nature to technology. Both films, Franklin J. Schaffner’s Planet of the Apes and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, indicate that technology promotes inter and intra-species separation that are exacerbated by the strong dependence. According to Planet of the Apes, apes are the dominant species who has the most advanced technology and killing mechanisms. Kubrick’s places humanity – the evolutionary product of the apes of “The Dawn of Man” – as the dominate species counterpart. These two films thus explore the contradictory and superior relationships that humans and apes hold towards machines; 2001 and Planet of the Apes both suggest that species dependent of technology as a means for advancement places themselves in the dominant societal role.

The opening scene of Planet of the Apes depicts the level of dependence that humankind has always had on technology. The spacecraft, equipped with leather furniture and hibernation spaces, is the hub of life for the four astronauts on the mission. The fact that humans possess the capability to create a spaceship, transportation sustainable even under the conditions of space, speaks to the level of advancement they had reached. At the same time, this advancement means more dependence. The crew members left the direction of the ship in the hands of the computer for nearly 1300 years in Earth time (about a year in ship time) during their hibernation period, which was also maintained by the power of the computer. There are no clear indicators of how or what the astronauts ate or completed other necessities for sustainable life, but, evidently, the technology of the ship provided the means for such actions. Though the audience later finds that the communication was sent to a dead end, the ship allows Taylor to inform the “different breed,” who he perceives as the evolved species of Earth, of his life in space. Upon landing, the crew continues to maintain their communications methods by informing Earth’s inhabitants of their landing on a planet in a different solar system. The advanced nature of the spaceship confirms mankind’s capabilities as well as our dependence of technology. This dependence revolves that exact nature of men that promotes him as the dominant counterpart.

This dependence is applicable but on a lower level to the apes of Planet of the Apes. Though the apes are not advanced enough to have space exploration, they do exert a certain level of technological advancement as well as a dependence on said technology. The mis-en-scene of the ape civilization in Planet of the Apes indicate a rising but stifled technology endorsement; they are advanced enough to be the dominants, but they aren’t yet killing each other. Most of their furniture is crafted out of wood, indicating that they are craftsmen. Therefore, we might assume that they aren’t welders, but the weapons that the ape militia use against the humans says otherwise. Without the weapons, there is less of a chance that they would have been able to capture so many humans who were not equipped with tools or weaponry to fight back. In the lab, Zira doesn’t use any sanitizing methods as confirmed by the lab assistant who complains about contracting a disease from the human bodies. To transplant blood from Taylor to Nova, Zira places the subjects on wooden slabs and uses tools like scissors.

During the Jupiter mission, Kubrick emphasizes how much man came to depend upon technology. From the tossing of the bone cut to “bone-white spacecraft” (Poole 176), the most progressive simians have gotten by with the aid of technology. Human’s cannot survive in space without technology; therefore, for totality of 2001 humans depend of technology to live. The aircraft, controlled by the 9000 computer series, provides the fundamental assets for sustainable life in space: oxygen, food, water, and communication. Essentially, the audience gets the sense that the Discovery One (controlled by HAL 9000) houses a community that eats, sleeps, and lives together. The aircraft pops out trays of liquefied foods for the astronauts on request and provides hibernation chambers that monitor their internal functions. Without the machine, the humans would not be able to survive in space. Even in “Dawn of The Man,” the audience sees the ape become dependent on tools as a means of obtaining food and maintaining property. Before Moon-Watcher had his epiphany, the apes seemed to be malnourished and threatened. One night when the apes sat inside of their cave to avoid predators, they fought over some food that one ape had. The vegetation of the land may not have been enough for both the apes and the tapirs. The villainous leopard unapologetically killed off the apes. The other tribe of apes had also run them away from their only source for water. With the bone, however, they expanded their nutrition options by becoming carnivorous. The bone also provided protection for the apes to secure their water source, and presumably to fight off any predators that make provoke them.

Upon their arrival to Earth, the three crewman Taylor, Dodge, and Landon proved that they could survive with a lesser dependence on technology while simultaneously becoming inferior to the apes. Like HAL, the aircraft computer died as the ship sank in the middle of the ocean. With an inflatable boat, 72 hours-worth of food and water, pistol, 20 rounds ammunition, a camera, a medical kit, a soil testing kit and other miscellaneous tools, the group set out to find life. Instead of hibernating while the computer did the steering, they had to take flight on their own feet. On this journey towards the unknown, the crewmen seem out of place with their all-white suits in such a dusty and dry terrain. Without the protection and isolation of the aircraft, they deal with the possibilities of nature on their own. A tumbling boulder threatens their life as well as a thundering and lightning that produces a stark and windy environment instead of water, and all they could do was run. However, once stripped completely of their tools, the crewmen are defenseless –the apes kill Dodge, lobotomize Landon, and capture Taylor. While the group enjoys the waterfall that they’ve found, the primitive humans steal their modernist clothing along with all the gadgets they carried in their backpacks (including their weaponry). The crewmen then are forced to quickly assimilate to the primitive human culture. They adapt rags as clothes, eat fresh corn and coconut, and run away from the apes as they appear like the other humans. The apes shot and killed Dodge as he attempted to escape from an entrapment net; they captured both Landon and Taylor. The audience is invited to follow Taylor’s experience, but we don’t find out about Landon and his lobotomization until about halfway through the film. Nevertheless, the fact of the matter is that the absence of tools to protect or arm them rendered them the inferior counterpart of the species.

Through the development of simian culture as presented by apes in ancient Africa, 2001 frames tool usage as an exacerbation of competitive human tendencies. In “The Dawn of Man” episode of 2001, the Moon-Watcher (as the lead ape is referred to in the manuscript; Daniel Richter) discovers the advantages of tool wielding as both a means for obtaining food and a weapon. Moon-Watcher violently destroys skeletal remains of a tapir using a bone as a hammer; the scene often cuts to a fallen tapir rolling around on the ground, which suggests the internal thoughts of the ape. At this point in the episode, the simian nature has transformed from herbivorous to carnivorous. The tapirs and apes then will not be able to coexist peacefully, as a scene before the Moon-Watcher’s discover exposed. Rather, this upright-standing ape- man now produces a sentiment like the leopard who viciously attacks a then defenseless animal. According to 2001, tools place a strain on the interspecies relationship by holding the tool-wielding creature as more viable and the others more disposable. 2001 insinuates that the tool-wielding apes are more superior that their fellow specie, implying a human-animal boundary. The ape-men of “Dawn of Man” utilize their new weaponry to murder the leader of the other ape group that challenged them. The Moon-Watcher commences the killing when his tribesmen follow suit. By disposing of another ape as easily as they do, the apes place a boundary between their tribe and the other and assert a level of dominance. This scene uses the apes as “a mode of revealing that produces technological humans from nature” (Wheat). However, it is evident from their first interactions that the two groups could not live in harmony even though they are of the same species. The other ape group initiated this hostile environment towards the beginning of “The Dawn of Man,” as they viciously take over the waterhole. And they did so, successfully, without weaponry or physical violence. Presumably, the groups had fought over the water source repeatedly, but Moon-Watcher’s group put the skirmish to rest by asserting their dominance. The level of inequity makes this claim to superiority possible. Without the bone, the groups would be equals again and, the other age group could have just as easily displaced Moon-Watcher’s group.

Immediately upon their first appearance, the apes of Planet of the Apes imply the dominant role in society as the species with the most advanced technology. They introduce to themselves to the audience with a slew of killing. The apes kill and capture humans without hesitation, chasing them through the cornfields. And they do so delightfully. The very first dialogue from an ape was “Smile” from the ape with the camera taking a photo of several enthusiastic apes as they stood over a pile of human bodies. Zaius defends his civilizations ideology: “Why, man is a nuisance. He eats up his food supply in the forest, then migrates to our green belts and ravages our crops. The sooner he is exterminated, the better.” Zaius refers to the killing of humans as “a question of simian survival,” similar to how Moon-Watcher and his crew ran the other tribe of apes off in order to maintain their waterhole. These tool-wielding superiors impose their dominance violently and without hesitation.

In 2001, Dave reasserts the dominance of humanity when he shuts HAL down “as nonchalantly as one might remove the battery of a malfunctioning smoke alarm” (Leonard). HAL’s reckless killings insinuates that he had created a boundary between himself and the human species. He saw his species as more efficient and the humans as lesser. Throughout the film, the audience is made to understand the intellectual power that HAL and other computers of his nature possess. Apparently, they had not made any errors; in fact, HAL admitted if it ever seemed like there was an error it was at the fault of humans. However, the crew members, especially Dave and Frank, see HAL as lesser. They, as well as humanity doesn’t shy away from using technology—and that’s all we do is use. We see technology as disposable and reactionary, comparable to Zaius and Zira’s initial assumption about Taylor when he’s attempting to speak. Though in reality his healing throat rendered him temporarily mute, the apes assumed that he was only “acting like an ape” and referred to his attempt as a “trick.” Likewise, Dave and Frank underestimated HAL’s intellectual and emotional capability when they conspired to shut off the machine due to potential misinformation. HAL the machine, radiating a sphere of technological subjectivity, sees humans as disposable just as Dave sees HAL –it’s about which species can kill the other first. The underdeveloped humans, executing the role of the inferior and less-advanced counterpart, prove the damnation of mankind without technology in Planet of the Apes.

While Taylor and his crew are at least at an advantage with their intellectual and oratory capabilities, the primitive humans exhibit minimal intellectual capacity, which may be the reason for their lack of discovering tools. Somewhat recalling the role of the invading apes of “The Dawn of Man” who also lacked the capabilities to discover technology, the “dungarees” (as the screenplay refers to them) have become the prey on more than one occasion or perhaps for the totality of their existence. When they hear the distant wail, they immediately know to run. Before Taylor realizes the nature of his situation, he even threatens to treat the other humans as inferior. While watching the humans in their natural habitat, Taylor admits that “if that’s the best there is around here, in six months we’ll be running this planet.” From all vantage points, the species with not as much of an access to technology, especially weaponry, are prey. The difference in how technology affects superiority in the films is evident through intra-species violence; Planet of the Apes does not promote he competitive tendencies exhibited by the apes of “The Dawn of Man.” In Planet of the Apes, there is no explicit indication that the apes ever attempted to kill one another as the humans that lived in The Forbidden Zone. Though there is a level of dominance exerts by the blonde, conservative apes, the apes pose no extraordinarily violent threat to one another. Per Shatnoff, “the only reason they don’t indulge in a real shoot-em-up is because their weapons are small.” With their technological advancement, the presence of this ape/ape boundary will presumably increase – exactly like the humans who they refer to as “the harbinger of death.” However, the lack of technological advancement does not stop the apes in “The Dawn of Man” from killing one another.

However, the films ultimately assert the species who depend on technology do so as a means of survival and competition, placing themselves as dominants and the others as inferior. The apes of “The Dawn of Man” use their bone as a source for food as well as protection of their property and their lives while asserting themselves as superior. Likewise, the astronauts aboard the Discovery One, depend on the ship and the ship for survival. Simultaneously, Dave proclaims his superiority by killing HAL without hesitation. In “Planet of the Apes,” the crewmen represent the inferior species as their technological advances begin disappearing under them. The weapon-bearing apes take delight in slaughtering the technologically underdeveloped humans as well as the now technology-stripped crewmen. It seems that technology makes whoever has it think he is superior to anything or anyone who is not tool wielding.

Works Cited

Planet of the Apes. Dir. Franklin J. Schaffner. Perf. Charleston Heston and Roddy McDowall. APJAC Productions and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., 1968. DVD. 2001: A Space Odyssey. Dir. Stanley Kubrick. Perf. Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood. Metro- Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and Stanley Kubrick Productions, 1968. DVD. Poole, Robert. “2001: A Space Odyssey and ‘The Dawn of Man.” Stanley Kubrick: New Perspectives (2015): 176-97. Print. Wheat, Leonard F. Kubrick’s 2001: A Triple Allegory (2001). Print. Oakley, Kenneth P. Man The Toolmaker, fourth edition (1958): 1-3, 78-88. Print. Leonard, Garry. “Technically Human: Kubrick’s Monolith and Heidegger’s Propriative Event.” Film Criticism 36.1 (2011): 22-67, 100.

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“2001: A Space Odyssey”: Exploring the Boundaries of Human Knowledge

May 10, 2019 by Essay Writer

When Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” was first released to the public, audiences and critics did not know what to make of it. Here was a film with minimal dialogue, long, obscure sequences that seemed to stretch to infinity, and little explanation for the bizarre turning points that unraveled before the viewer. However, it was and is the most ambitious, exhilarating spectacle ever filmed. Its canvas is a dazzling kaleidoscope of visual intrigue, an atmosphere of dream-like images hovering to the sounds of Johann Strauss’s “Blue Danube.” Its purpose is to transport us through the history of time, showing what we have accomplished in the last million years and speculating what the future holds in store for mankind. Its message is that when pushed to the limit, we can surpass the boundaries of what we once deemed possible, pushing ourselves beyond the threshold of our abilities until at last we outdo ourselves and cease to be human. “2001” scales the trajectory of earth’s history, from its infancy to its metamorphosis, in sweeping, graceful strides. The three parts of the movie–the Dawn of Man, the Future, and the Beyond—unfold through a grave symphony, an intergalactic ballet and a laser light show. “2001”’s opening is a masterful exercise in buildup. The movie opens in complete darkness as instruments discordantly lurch into tune. Then the thrilling five notes of Richard Strauss’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra” initiate the Big Bang, giving birth to the universe. The pace of the movie mirrors the burgeoning of life on earth, as stagnant shots of barren landscapes lead to a more rapid succession of shots that populates the land with apes and wildebeests. The prehistoric sequence introduces the seeds of conflict, as outside threats and competition for resources prompt the apes to band off into isolated “cliques.” Higher knowledge descends upon the apes in the form of a monolith, which they tentatively reach out to as an eerie score conveys the transcendent nature of the event. The apes soon discover that bones can be used as weapons. This leads to a segue way where a launched bone morphs into a space shuttle, signifying the power of material objects to propel us into new dimensions. In the euphoric space sequences Kubrick drifts through the interior, contrasting the infinite stretches of space with the intimacy of the shuttle. It’s an aeronautical fun-house with a floating pen, a zero gravity toilet and what appears to be a human-sized replica of a gerbil’s exercise wheel. Scientific advances have enabled men to break free of all limitations, meshing together the concrete and the abstract. By entering the world of the imagination, the men lose touch with the physical world. A conversation between the astronaut Floyd and a life-size digital projection of his daughter reveals how cut off from humanity the men are. Human relationships do not unfold in flesh and blood but are mediated through technology.In a later scene aboard a spaceship, a shirtless young astronaut removes his fluorescent sleeping mask to watch with dazed indifference as his parents sing him a televised Happy Birthday song. Kubrick conveys isolation not through character but through the chilling lack of character. The humans in “2001” do not attempt to stake out at a place for themselves in the universe but disappear into its folds. In both “2001” and Kubrick’s “The Shining,” objects take on human characteristics while humans appear artificial. The extraterrestrial landscapes in “2001,” like the Overlook Hotel, contain an anatomy as real as our own; a palpable force that breathes and cries out for release. When astronauts encounter the monolith on the surface of the moon, the spiritual takes hold of them in the form of a blinding white light and a soundtrack of primordial wails. The monolith stretches the capacity for human knowledge even farther, leading to the invention of the spaceship. When the boundaries between the real and inanimate collapse, only the mind carries any force in the universe. The most advanced mind in “2001” belongs to Hal 9000, a disconcertingly lifelike computer on board the spaceship Discovery’s mission to Jupiter. Shots of the astronauts through Hal’s point of view assert his authority; in the famous lip-reading sequence he rapidly pans between the two men as he deciphers their plan to disobey him. As Hal, Douglas Rain’s suggestive voice lends itself to the creepiest rendition of “Daisy” ever performed.Unlike most sci-fi movies, “2001” does not use detailed expository scenes to explain conflicts. When Floyd’s supervisor warns him that “extremely odd things have been happening at Clavious,” Kubrick creates unease not through the dialogue but through distancing long shots and the flat, emotionally vacant tones of the speakers. Danger is not explained but felt; imbedded in the atmosphere. The surface of the moon is one of the most authentically alien landscapes ever shot on film. While CGI-concocted sci-fi extravaganzas call attention to their virtuosity by cramming the screen with details, “2001” uses its sparseness to create mystery. The shuttle’s landing is accompanied by a soundtrack of ghostly echoes and bathed in a sublime blue light. Kubrick constructs his vision of the unknown with painstaking detail, bringing the landscapes to life. Even after multiple viewings of “2001” we never really familiarize ourselves with these nebulous landscapes because they belong neither to our world or the cinematic world; we have glimpsed them only through the haze of dreams.In the final segment, titled “Jupiter & Beyond,” Kubrick completely leaps outside of the narrative and takes us on a psychedelic roller-coaster ride into the unknown. A dizzying ascent over undulating fields, mountain ranges and bodies of water comes to a halt in a strangely barren room where an old man eats his dinner. “How did we end up here?” you might ask. In the same way, Kubrick uses this moment of calm to contemplate our place in the universe after our journey of discovery. “2001” is the rare movie that not only holds up to but also demands multiple viewings. Like “The Shining,” we can experience the movie differently every time we view it because it does not aim to create a singular effect but inundates our senses and swells with peripheral images that we may not register on the first viewing. We re-watch “2001” not merely to relive memorable moments or to gain a better understanding of the movie but to more deeply immerse ourselves in its world.

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The Fear of Loss in Science Fiction: Thematic Analysis of “The Third Expedition” and 2001: A Space Odyssey

February 21, 2019 by Essay Writer

What if the future of the human race were determined by a black, rectangular block? Though it may sound strange, that is exactly what happens in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). When a monolith is placed on Earth, the line between animal and human becomes blurred. Through the exploration of space and artificial intelligence, the monolith’s effects for the next 4 million years went into new realms of technology and even beyond the universe. Meanwhile, in “The Third Expedition” from Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, astronauts encounter a seemingly harmless town on Mars. But evil takes many forms, and these unknowing Earthlings may face them in a way they would never have guessed. Science fiction can cover a plethora of topics, including a wide amount of human fears. The fear of losing the world as we know it is distinctly seen in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, through space travel and encounters with artificial intelligence, as well as the Bradbury story “The Third Expedition”, when astronauts are faced with their worst nightmares in the form of their most loved ones.

As a film released in 1968, 2001: A Space Odyssey offers a look into the future, and “has something important to say about humankind, and where the human race is heading in terms of our increasing reliance on machines and our unquenchable thirst to discover” (“2001: A Space Odyssey”). Because of its use of distinct details, such as those of space travel and talking computer assistants, 2001 is a movie well ahead of its time. A monolith is placed on the earth 4 million years ago, and each time it is found signifies the next time in human evolution. Through the presentation of three chapters over time, the race to the monolith is shown; first between man and animal, then man and machine, and finally beyond the infinite. In the first chapter called “The Dawn of Man”, the monolith is discovered and after touching it, man-apes discover what a weapon is and how to use it; they are no longer apes, they are now man. 4 million years later, the movie transitions to a space station where the monolith is seen for a second time. In “Jupiter Mission 18 Months Later” and finally “Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite”, the monolith continues to be explored with new technologies, such as the talking computer HAL. The film often relies on blank screens, sound effects, and music to convey emotions such as fear, awe, and mystery, rather than use dialogue. 2001: A Space Odyssey is a look into a world where technology – man’s creation – is superior to man itself.

Throughout 2001: A Space Odyssey, the topics of artificial intelligence and space travel are explored. Artificial intelligence is shown through the character of HAL, who controls the voyage to Jupiter. The film was released nearly 50 years ago, but artificial intelligence was in the works even before than that – since the 1950s. Artificial intelligence is “a subfield of computer science that is concerned with the representation, study, and automation of knowledge and intelligent reasoning” (“Artificial Intelligence”) and includes subjects such as speech recognition, robots, and computer vision, along with many other things. It was most likely created at a conference at Dartmouth College in 1956. The four “fathers” of artificial intelligence had attended – Marvin Minsky, John McCarthy, Herbert Simon, and Allen Newell. Three of them went on to form artificial intelligence labs at universities. These four, along with the other researchers who attended, helped start and make the field of artificial intelligence grow (“Artificial Intelligence”). Alan Turing, a British mathematician, was another researcher who contributed to artificial intelligence. In his 1950 paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence”, he created a test which measures the behavior of artificial intelligence. His test consisted of the machine and a human being interrogated separately, through written questions and answers. If the interrogator cannot distinguish between them, then the machine is considered to be intelligent. Although a computer has yet to pass this test, his test has provided some useful insight into what the word “intelligence” means exactly (“Artificial Intelligence”). Lastly, Computer Assisted Instruction, which is “the use of computers and software applications to teach concepts or skills” (Puthawala), is another form of artificial intelligence, and was seen in large companies around the time of the film’s release. The International Business Machines Corporation, also known as IBM, began making instructional computer systems from minicomputers in the 1960s. They were designed for military and universities and were contained in large trailers which could be hauled around as needed. Clearly, artificial intelligence was a prominent topic at the time 2001: A Space Odyssey was released.

The film also discusses space travel, as characters go to places such as the Moon and Jupiter. Beginning in 1959, the Mercury Program began the period of sending people to space through a series of test flights. It was formed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, better known as NASA. The program signified the United States’ entry into the battle against the former Soviet Union – the space race. In 1961, the first piloted space flight was made by a Soviet astronaut. President John F. Kennedy then “vowed that not only would the United States match the Soviet accomplishment, but that by the end of the decade the United States would put a man on the Moon” (“Mercury Program”). The Mercury Program quickly began to assemble a space capsule, which could only fit one astronaut at a time. The program began with test flights; then, a chimpanzee was sent and returned unharmed. After this, humans were ready to go into space. The first piloted flight was in May 1961 and flights continued through the program until 1963 (“Mercury Program”). Finally, in 1969, the Apollo 8 reached the Moon and images of Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin were sent back to Earth. With the Moon landing, “The dream of the slain President Kennedy is achieved” (Baughman et al.), as the United States had gotten a man onto the Moon before the end of the decade; however Kennedy was not alive to witness it. Overall, space travel was another active topic during the time of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The movie 2001: A Space Odyssey is a movie which “consists of 3 main parts: pre history, the future and technology, and back to earth” (“2001: A Space Odyssey”). It explores evolution, first with the relationship between man and animal, then later between man and technology. It addresses the fear of losing the world as we know it, with the usage of characterization and shifting points of view. The movie begins with a dark screen and eerie music, filled with highs and lows, setting the tone for the movie. It eventually fades into the sun shining over the Earth, with the Moon in front of it. It then goes into the first section “The Dawn of Man”, which is set 4 million years ago. Again, there is a distinct lack of audio; only the wind is audible. A species which are not quite apes, nor humans, need to survive in the harsh environment. They stumble across a monolith the next day – a sharp rectangular block. At first it is forgotten, but then one ape discovers that it can break bones which can be used hurt others; he has found a new weapon. The ape then goes on to kill another ape, realizing the magnitude of power the bone-club brings. This scene encompasses the fear of losing the world as we know it, as the man-apes discover new ways of life that were not previously there.

As the camera pans up, a man-made satellite in space is shown, showing the evolution of the bone-club. Next, a space station is shown. Dr. Floyd is there for a layover on his way to Clavius (on the Moon). It is interesting to note that, at the time of the movie release, traveling to the Moon was a far-off dream, yet in the movie it is seen as ordinary; even boring and in general, “technology is treated as irrelevant to the quest–literally serving as mere vehicles for the human crew” (“2001: A Space Odyssey”). Aboard the station, he is greeted by a computer voice print identification system and later video chats with his daughter, who is on Earth. The use of these technologies show the clear advancements in technology since the last chapter of the movie. He is questioned by a Russian astronaut about the purpose of his trip, but will not reveal any information. This could be conveying the fears seen in the Cold War. Later, aboard the Aries spacecraft on the way to the Moon, it is revealed that the true reason of the mission was to investigate something found by the American scientists. As haunting music plays in the background, the astronauts travel to the Moon. They discover that the item is a monolith which is exactly like the one shown at the beginning of the movie. After an astronaut touches it, a high-pitched noise begins to sound which hurts the astronauts’ ears. The monolith had previously aided the apes into becoming human. This time, it is unsure what the purpose of it was; but no matter what, it is again conveying the fear of losing the world as we know it. This section does not have a separate title, suggesting that everything up until now has been “the dawn of man” and humans are now ready for the next step.

Next is “Jupiter Mission 18 Months Later”. Two men, Dr. Poole and Dr. Bowman, are aboard the Discovery One, along with three men in hibernation, and a computer called H.A.L. 9000 who controls everything on the ship. The music gives a feeling of isolation, likely because of the lack of humans onboard – showing how everything has changed since the rediscovery of the monolith. The astronauts barely notice that HAL is a computer; Bowman says “he is just like a sixth member of the crew. You very quickly get adjusted to the idea that he talks and you think of him really just as another person” (2001: A Space Odyssey). A bit later, Poole is playing chess against HAL, but not very well. This scene is the first part where HAL’s point of view is used. HAL points out that a checkmate would be the next move, and Poole resigns. The way HAL predicts what is going to happen shows how technology has advanced even more – he may be even more advanced than man. After all, man would not be able to estimate future actions. This scene also may be an indicator of HAL’s early plans to kill Poole later on. In an interview with HAL, Poole, and Bowman, an interviewer calls HAL “the brain and central nervous system of the ship” (2001: A Space Odyssey), indicating his intelligence and importance to the mission; the crew is extremely dependent on him, especially because no one knows the true purpose of the mission but him. During a discussion with HAL, Bowman finds out that there is a faulty AE-35 unit on the spacecraft, which he replaces immediately. Later on, Bowman becomes a bit suspicious of HAL and privately discusses it with Poole. Although they are sitting in a pod where HAL cannot hear them, he reads their lips and realizes the astronauts may get rid of him. As another scene which uses HAL’s point of view, the audience sees how HAL is most likely plotting to get rid of anyone who stands in his way of achieving the true mission, which no one has any idea about. Poole is then sent to replace the second AE-35 unit but while he is out, HAL controls his pod and he is thrown into space, his air supply gone. Bowman rushes to retrieve his body and while he is out, HAL kills the other three in hibernation. It is clear at this point that HAL has just been gaining the astronauts’ trust but has not been honest the whole time. When Bowman returns, HAL refuses to let him in, and seeing as he forgot his helmet, it is likely he will die. He goes from the outside of the ship and goes to disconnect HAL. As HAL is “dying” he displays anger, fear, and sadness and goes back to his earliest memory – singing a song – until Bowman finally disconnects him. This scene indicates the remarkable parallels between the humans and HAL because of his emotions and memory; it also demonstrates technological advances. The final chapter, “Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite” brings the third appearance of the monolith. The first sparked the use of tools; the second led a mission to Jupiter; and as Bowman touches this one, the human race is led on a new course, across the universe. This one proved that humans could overcome their own creations. Throughout the film, the monolith symbolizes the next step for the human race, and shows the fear of losing the world as we know it with distinct characterization details, such as those of HAL, and shifting points of view.

The fear of losing the world as we know it can come in many forms. In “The Third Expedition”, astronauts are falsely manipulated into a sense of comfort when Martians take the form of their loved ones who have passed on. They use their telepathy to make the Earthlings believe they are back in their childhood homes. When the astronauts land on Mars, they are in disbelief. Then a few warm up to the idea; one even said it filled him “with such feelings that I don’t know whether to laugh or cry” (45). It looked like their hometowns – for Hinkston, he saw Iowa, while Black saw Illinois. Bradbury uses setting details to convey the fear of losing the world as we know it; he shows how the Earthlings are slowly being lulled into a false sense of a security, by seeing the scenery and hearing the music they have grown up with.

Even though Black was the most skeptical of the group, even he “felt a great peace come over him … the buzzing of spring bees on the air lulled and quieted him, and the fresh look of things was a balm to the soul” (48). The astronauts eventually run into their loved ones, after Lustig meets his grandparents. While everyone is busy reminiscing, “the rocket lay empty and abandoned” (54). The astronauts have now forgotten their original purpose for coming to Mars and have put all of their trust into these seemingly innocent people. They do not question the logic behind it – even though everyone there is supposed to be dead. Even Black can not help himself when he sees his brother and parents. However, later on as he is lying in bed, he considers that these loved ones are perhaps not who they claim to be. Their weapons of choice weren’t visible, but “telepathy, hypnosis, memory, and imagination” (60). These methods were subtle but clearly effective, as the Earthlings put all of their trust into them unknowingly and were eventually killed. Through the use of characterization, Bradbury shows how Black realizes that he was trapped. He and his fellow astronauts had lost the world as they knew it, in “The Third Expedition”.

As works that resonate with each other, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Bradbury’s “The Third Expedition” cover the fear of losing the world as we know it. 2001: A Space Odyssey uses the monolith to symbolize this fear, as it symbolizes the next step for the human race each time it is touched. The film also explores the topics of space travel (through various trips to the Moon and Jupiter) and artificial intelligence (as seen with HAL). “The Third Expedition” shows the fear of losing the world as we know it in an unlikely way – through the ones we trust and love the most. Overall, science fiction in both film and literature have distinct topics and fears which are explored and are influenced by the outside world.

Works Cited

“Artificial Intelligence.” World of Computer Science. N.p.: Gale, 2007. N. pag. Science in Context. Web. 27 Apr. 2016.

Bradbury, Ray. “The Third Expedition.” The Martian Chronicles. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2012. 41-63. Print.

“Mercury Program.” Astronomy & Space: From the Big Bang to the Big Crunch. N.p.: Gale, 2011. N. pag. Science in Context. Web. 27 Apr. 2016.

Puthawala, Mary McIver. “Computer Assisted Instruction.” Computer Sciences. Ed. K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner. 2nd ed. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2013. N. pag. Science in Context. Web. 27 Apr. 2016.

“Science and Technology: Important Events of the 1960s.” American Decades. Ed. Judith S. Baughman, Victor Bondi, Richard Layman, Tandy McConnell, and Vincent Tompkins. Vol. 7: 1960-1969. Detroit: Gale, 2001. N. pag. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 27 Apr. 2016.

2001: A Space Odyssey. Dir. Stanley Kubrick. Perf. Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, and William Sylvester. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1968. Netflix. Netflix, Inc. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.

“2001: A Space Odyssey.” IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 04 May 2016.

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In Traces: The Human and Posthuman in 2001: A Space Odyssey

February 6, 2019 by Essay Writer

In itself, the term “posthuman” publicly pays its respects to that which it moves past – the human. As is implied, the posthuman will often hold valuably many qualities of the human that precedes it. Stanley Kubrick’s multiple visions of the posthuman in his landmark 1968 science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey do just this. In all of the film’s masterful ambiguity, we are still provided with clear presentations of the story’s higher beings and posthuman entities, including their more traditional human qualities that have carried over with them in their respective extensions of the human. In closely observing the film’s story and presentation of the posthuman along side a number of established writers and their original essays, namely Friedrich Nietzsche, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattarri, and Katherine Hayles, we gain insight toward just what exactly Stanley Kubrick was theorizing in 2001. Each form of higher consciousness and the posthuman in 2001: A Space Odyssey is individually haunted by traces of the human in which it has apparently moved past; this makes the statement that there is no form of the posthuman that can exist without possessing qualities of the principal human from which it stems from.

Kubrick’s film begins with an approximately 20 minute-long sequence in which a troop of apes is led toward human evolution by the external aid of our first entity of higher consciousness, the supposedly extraterrestrial monolith. The monoliths play a central role in all 3 sections of the film, and we are introduced to the concept of them in a God-like manner. Upon awakening to find a monolith firmly planted in the ground in front of them, this troop of apes is drawn to the black figure as the members slowly dare to touch it. Soon after, we see one of the apes realizing the potential and benefits of using bones as weapons, using one from a carcass in the form of a club. The group catches on, and the troop hunts with their newly discovered tools, enjoying carnivorous meals and even fighting away another troop who previously took possession of their watering hole. What is immediately interesting in all of this when watching the film is the way in which the monolith is presented. In this, we see our first trace of the human revealing itself in an entity of higher, more-than-human consciousness. The audio that pairs with the presence of the monoliths, specifically when they are “operating” and in the company of human beings, comes in the form of eerie, high-pitched human voices singing in an operatic manner. The sound that these voices produce when brought together seems to evoke a form of dread and human discomfort, and yet what the monolith is effectively doing is furthering human evolution. Kubrick, a perfectionist, undoubtedly put much time and deliberation into how he wanted his monolithic beings to sound. The choice to pair their appearances and operations with natural, human voices suggests the notion that there are no higher beings, extraterrestrial or not, that exist without ties to the human. Visually, we see the monoliths presented in a brilliant manner, with an early shot that sees the monolith superimposed above the viewer (as well as the apes), looking down upon them while pointing up toward the heavens, specifically to our Moon in which the next monolith is discovered. In this view, the monolith appears as a God-like figure. Further in the film, humans have trouble deciphering what the monolith is and what it does/means – the apes here do not stand a chance in understanding what they have been presented with. And yet, they do not need to; they still reap its rewards, benefitting from its presence.

In aiding the species towards evolution, it is important to understand that the monolith drives the human into a state of becoming. In this regard, we can turn to Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s text “A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia” to better grasp what this means. Together, they suggest that when things are viewed from an expanding middle, rather than from a beginning or end, they become incomprehensible. The human, thanks to the monolith in this case, has been launched into an expanding middle. It has been ever so slowly evolving, and this entity of higher consciousness has launched this process forward with great momentum. Deleuze and Guattari write, “It’s not easy to see things in the middle, rather than looking down on them from above or up at them from below, or from left to right or right to left…” (1380). The monolith essentially sends these beings into a middle – into a state of becoming. This is the case in the Dawn of Man, where our ancestral apes discover the use of tools and weapons to aid them, in part, toward civilization and the human race. The same is done in the end of 2001 in a manner that cannot be so easily explained, though it operates on the same basis. This will be further addressed when examining later sections of the film. What is important, again, is the audio in which Kubrick presents this monolith’s power with. It is as if a higher form of a human voice compels these apes toward their evolutionary future. We later see this recur on the Moon when the monolith sends its message towards Jupiter. Deleuze and Guattari’s take on this state of becoming into which these animals are thrown says that they become difficult to know. When a consciousness is in the process of becoming, it cannot be pinned down. They elaborate on this idea in their conclusion where they advise the reader to “Run lines, never plot a point! Speed turns the point into a line! Be quick, even when standing still!” (1382). Assuredly, even when standing still, the characters in the film are being quick. They are constantly moving and evolving toward what comes next, and what 2001 does is lay out, in a step by step process, the images of what these next forms of being are. Whenever the entities that bring this about are presented, traces of the human are on display as well.

What is also important to mention when observing the first section of the film (Dawn of Man) is that there is no dialogue at any point of this introductory sequence. At first glance this may seem inconsequential, as the apes are obviously unable to form any complex verbal language. Though when thinking of this from a directorial standpoint, it again becomes Kubrick’s strategic decision not to provide us with any narration or upfront explanation as to what is going on in these early scenes. What he could be implying here is the notion that language itself is something unnecessary, something false. When reading Friedrich Nietzsche’s essay “On Truth and Lying in a Non-Moral Sense” we are presented with a similar view – that our common use of language is actually a false metaphor. He writes, “…the contrast between truth and lying comes into existence here for the first time: the liar uses the valid tokens of designation – words – to make the unreal appear to be real” (754). Nietzsche’s description of language as something that turns us all into “liars” can imply that those who do not yet use it, the troop of apes for example, are the ones that are truthful. And if the apes are ones that do not yet use language, then the monoliths are entities that have already used it – and moved past it. They no longer require language as such, as it does not benefit them. The monoliths are the supposed masters of evolution, voluntarily aiding other species toward it, and they themselves have evolved past the common use of words. The only form that we have resembling language here is the sound of the monolith, the overwhelming chorus. Perhaps Kubrick shared Nietzsche’s opinions on the topic and chose to apply them in this first section of the film. It cannot be fully escaped though, as the human voice haunts the monolith’s actions when commanding the apes. The Dawn of Man brilliantly introduces us to the themes of the film, dealing with our Earthly beings’ relationships with and use of technology. Just as the monolith does, it points and carries us toward what is to come in “Jupiter Mission”, where we meet our next higher being, a cyborgian form of the posthuman.

In the second section of the film, Jupiter Mission, Kubrick jumps thousands of years into the future where we meet the astronauts who carry out the title mission with the aid of HAL 9000, short for Heuristically Programmed Algorithmic Computer. The match cut shot that the director uses to transition into this new section puts the early apes’ bone weapons on a parallel with our advanced human spacecrafts, reminding us that we come from them, and similarly suggesting that we’re more alike with them than we might think. HAL 9000 is a supercomputer programmed with the voice of a male human. HAL states that he is incapable of error, having a “perfect operational record”, and the fact that he is heuristic in nature means that he is capable of discovering and learning things for himself. In being incapable of error, it can be said that HAL possesses knowledge of all objective facts known by humans. The computer has full control of all of the Discovery One spacecraft’s systems, and is thus given ultimate power in the crew’s outer space environment. The film is moved forward when HAL proves faulty and in error of his diagnosis of a satellite failure that requires replacing. In turn, the human crew becomes skeptical of HAL, and discusses the idea of disconnecting him in order to prevent any hostile behavior that would jeopardize the mission as well as their safety. It is through HAL’s learning of this that he chooses to abuse his power, rationalizing it by telling the crew that their disconnecting of him would itself jeopardize the mission. In Katherine Hayle’s essay, “How We Became Posthuman”, she details her idealistic vision of what the posthuman could be, and we learn more about HAL in the many ways that he differs from her description. She writes: My Dream is a version of the posthuman that embraces the possibilities of information technologies without being seduced by fantasies of unlimited power and disembodied immortality, that recognizes and celebrates finitude as a condition of human being, and that understands human life is embedded in a material world of great complexity, one on which we depend for our continued survival (5). At this point in the film, HAL becomes fearful of his own demise, and turns to this unlimited power and use of information in an attempt to gain the disembodied immortality that Hayles mentions. He kills the humans aboard the ship who are suspended in hibernation, and locks out astronaut Dave who has ventured out to retrieve the body of his crewmember whose necessary life support was severed by HAL.

It is when Dave succeeds over HAL in manually re-entering the spaceship that we see the supercomputer become humanized, revealing the human traces within the posthuman. Kubrick brilliantly stages the physical mind of HAL in which Dave enters with the purpose of disconnecting him, effectively “killing” HAL and putting an end to his consciousness. HAL becomes desperate and begins pleading with Dave to let him live, and for the first time expresses fear. What is important here is the turn in expected emotion that the audience is presented with. Dave is unflinching, serious and sure of what he is doing. HAL, in contrast, is fearful, rambling, and ultimately more human in the scene than Dave. Kubrick plays on our expectations to reveal the humanity in the posthuman figure. Author Joseph Auner speaks of this in his article “‘Sing it for Me’: Posthuman Ventriloquism in Recent Popular Music”. He explains that “…strikingly it is the broken and dying machine that is expressive, not the astronaut, who remains mostly silent, encapsulated in a reflective plastic shell, floating in the blood-red organic space within HAL’s brain” (98). If we view HAL as an extension of the human, as a posthuman, we see that he was actually unable to move past that which he stems from. Even in all of his unlimited access to information and power, he becomes desperate and fearful when that power is taken away. HAL pleads, “Stop, Dave. Will you stop, Dave… I’m afraid, I’m afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going, I can feel it, I can feel it, my mind is going, there is no question about it” (Kubrick, Clarke). Dave disconnects HAL’s function and memory units one by one, as the computer begs for mercy in a manner that proves his desire for continued consciousness. Kubrick’s decision to portray the computer with heavier emotion than the human confirms the stance that this posthuman is not only able to experience human emotion, but that it must experience these emotions and display human tendencies. HAL is defenseless here and so he pleads for mercy, just as the regular human would.

Another human tendency of HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey is displayed through his relationship with truth. Specifically, his relationship with truths that are unpleasant and harmful in their nature. Referring back to Nietzsche’s essay, we see him assert the idea that humans only acknowledge and value truths that benefit them. HAL’s relationship with truth in the film proves to be just the same. Of humans, Nietzsche writes, “They desire the pleasant, life-preserving consequences of truth; they are indifferent to pure knowledge if it has no consequences, but they are actually hostile towards truths which may be harmful and destructive” (754). This notion is wholly applicable to HAL when he is told that he has made an error. In the faulty diagnosis of a satellite failure, mission control lets the Discovery One crew know that their twin 9000 computer proves the fault in HAL’s reading. This truth, as HAL is aware, has dire consequences for him. If unable to be trusted with the control of the spaceship’s status and functions, then it would be inevitable that HAL would be disconnected. This, for the computer, means the end. Just like a human, he does not desire this truth, it proves harmful and destructive to him, and so he refuses to acknowledge it. HAL persists that this must have come as a result of human error. When this does not cut it for the crew, he becomes hostile. In his response to this truth of error we can say with certainty that HAL responded in a way similar to human nature, just as Nietzsche would predict. These human tendencies were not programmed to be part of the HAL 9000 computer, and yet in his heuristic posthuman form, HAL learned them and then exhibited them.

Hal’s demise signals the end of the second section of the movie, and the end of human language in the film as well. Being the only section of the film’s 3 that includes dialogue, Jupiter Mission proves valuable in its portrayal of both human and machine’s relationships with language. Christopher Rowe points this out in his journal article “The Romantic Model of 2001: A Space Odyssey”, he writes: Seen as the apotheosis of rational, logical thought, or of language itself, the HAL 9000’s verbal regression to a state of infancy and eventual silence signals the film’s departure from logocentrism itself; indeed, apart from the prerecorded message from Floyd, the computer’s words are the last spoken in the film (46). As HAL’s pleads are the last words in 2001, they come with a sting of finality. This end of logocentrism that Rowe points out pairs with the death of HAL, and reaffirms to us the idea that the monoliths have moved past language. The monolithic entities possess something more than our language, than our logocentrism. They stand above humans here, as they do throughout the film. Thus, there is no longer the need for language as such, and HAL’s passionate robotic death carries us into Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite.

The film’s third and final section, Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite, is the most abstract and ambiguous of 2001: A Space Odyssey. That being said, it is still in this part of the film where we find some finality, and are provided with the story’s ultimate image of the posthuman. After leaving Discovery One to explore a monolith that’s orbiting Jupiter, astronaut Dr. Dave Bowman is pulled into and across vast distances of space inside what has been deemed the Stargate. Bowman experiences bizarre visuals that culminate in distorted and discoloured landscapes that appear uncanny to the viewer in that they resemble Earth’s natural landscapes, yet they are strange and different. Kubrick presents us with these visuals without description or language – the visual shots themselves are all the viewer receives. Yet it is an important directorial decision of his to have these strange, otherworldly landscapes resemble Earth. In this way, the monolith is again humanized. We assume that the worlds in which Bowman is being propelled through belong, at least in part, to the monoliths. These entities are the reason that Bowman finds himself in this situation. Their worlds, even if unfathomable distances away, still resemble ours in the film.

At the end of this journey through the stargate, Bowman sits inside his EVA pod in a bedroom that the monoliths have assumedly constructed for him. He encounters older versions of himself in sharp filmic cuts made by Kubrick, then quickly becomes these very versions. All human understanding of time and space appears to fade away inside of this bedroom, implying that it resides inside another world altogether. Spatially, Bowman encounters other living versions of himself, and then ages decades in the span of minutes. His web of concepts as a human is of no value here, as he exists in a dream-like state, unable to comprehend where exactly he is. Once again, referring to Nietzsche’s essay “On Truth and Lying in a Non-Moral Sense” gives us a better understanding of what Bowman is experiencing in this sequence of the film. Nietzsche writes: Actually the waking human being is only clear about the fact that he is awake thanks to the rigid and regular web of concepts, and for that reason he sometimes comes to believe that he is dreaming if once that web of concepts is torn apart by art (760). In Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite, Bowman’s regular web of concepts is completely torn apart. Just as art does to the human, the monolith’s environment and experience of time and space throws the character into a new world altogether, one with separate laws and ideologies. He stands little chance in understanding what he is experiencing, as his web of concepts is no longer applicable. The monolith plays the role of father figure here, providing Bowman with rebirth, as he is transformed into the film’s final figure of the posthuman: the Star Child.

Bowman, now appearing as an elderly man spending the final days of his life lying down inside of the bedroom, reaches out toward the foot of the bed where we find a monolith. He appears to be asking for something, requesting an end and signaling that he is ready for what is next. His wish is fulfilled – after a clear shot of the monolith in the bedroom, the camera turns to face Bowman, appearing as a fetus enveloped inside an orb of light. Kubrick then zooms into the black monolith and transports us, as well as Bowman, back above Earth looking down on the planet in which the film began. In the final shots of 2001, Bowman, now the posthuman figure of the Star Child, gazes at his (once) home planet and then looks the viewer directly in the eye before the screen fades to black. This sequence has many implications, the form of the Star Child itself being one of them. Here, Kubrick presents us with another example of a posthuman figure that cannot fully escape the human. The Star Child closely resembles a human fetus, becoming an emblem of the rebirth of the human species. This comes as a result of the final aiding of the monoliths – they take Bowman in his human form and jump the evolutionary process, moving straight toward the Star Child. With one look at the being, it is clear that though it is supposedly more powerful than the human, it is not that far removed from it visually. Bowman plays the role of the young child of the new world in which the human race will enter. After surviving the epic cosmic journey, he returns to what he once was, reborn as a baby, and one that undeniably resembles a human fetus. Kubrick asserts the idea that the posthuman, then, is not able to exist without traces of the human remaining. As its name implies, the posthuman contains the human within it, even with its abilities that range far beyond those of the typical Homo sapiens.

The human holds consciousness as its great asset, its distinguishing quality being its awareness of its own awareness. Though, the film’s ending suggests that perhaps our pride in our awareness is conceited in nature. Referring back to Hayle’s work, “How We Became Posthuman”, we see that her explanation of the posthuman view sits well with this theory. She writes: …the posthuman view considers consciousness, regarded as the seat of human identity in the Western tradition long before Descartes thought he was a mind thinking, as an epiphenomenon, as an evolutionary upstart trying to claim that it is the whole show when in actuality it is only a minor sideshow (2-3). For the monoliths, and now for Bowman as the Star Child, consciousness may no longer be the seat of identity that humans have long contemplated it as. Hayles explains that from a posthuman viewpoint, consciousness is not as valuable as humans typically hold it to be. This is the case in 2001, as the monoliths have helped Bowman evolve past this point. First there were the apes who were rewarded with self-awareness and tools, eventually leading to our exploration of space, and now there is the Star Child, who will carry humanity into its great next steps.

The monolith, through these actions, becomes an example of Hayles’s previously mentioned ideal posthuman. We can assume that the monolith has brilliant power, and it is apparently not linked to a finite body. If the monoliths possess the ability to evolve species, then they surely possess the power to eliminate species. They refrain from this, though, and act as a guide, as the God-like figure giving new life to species in ways that they have never before known. In his article “Mythic Patterns in 2001: A Space Odyssey”, David Hoch affirms this role that the monoliths assume. “He then sees the monolith and is transformed into a cosmic fetus,” he writes of Bowman, “This is all symbolic of atonement with the monolith as father and of rebirth as the green décor of the bedroom indicates” (964). This idea of rebirth is especially important in the film’s setting for humans, again referring to our concept of time. It is no mistake that the story takes place in the year 2001 – the beginning of a new century, a new millennium, and ultimately a new world. The monoliths, in their generous and empowering rebirth, can then be viewed as benevolent figures in the film. Though we cannot yet know how humans would behave if given this power over other species in the grand universe, we hope that it is on par with the monoliths. And if benevolence can be used as a descriptor of the human race, then we once more see a form of consciousness separate from the human being humanized.

2001: A Space Odyssey has proved to be one of the most influential and important works in cinematic history. As an innovative, lengthy, and image-heavy work, Stanley Kubrick was tasked with keeping the film both believable and engaging. Through intelligent ambiguity and visual mastery, the director succeeded and has kept audiences in conversation about the film for over 50 years. His portrayal of higher beings and entities, specifically the posthuman, brings us toward many truths – arguably the most important being that posthumans are unable to exist without containing traces of the human within themselves. Specific to 2001, this can be seen in the monoliths, HAL 9000, and the Star Child. As technology progresses, Kubrick’s take on our relationships with it proves to be just as important as it was half of a century ago, perhaps even more so. In taking us away from Earth and toward these higher beings he ironically reminds us of what we are – human.

Works Cited

Auner, Joseph. “‘Sing it for Me’: Posthuman Ventriloquism in Recent Popular Music.” Journal of the Royal Musical Association, vol. 128, no. 1, 2003, pp. 98-122. JSTOR.

Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. “A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia.” The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, Third Edition, edited by Vincent B. Leitch, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2018, pp. 1374-1382.

Hayles, Katherine. “How We Became Posthuman.” Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago & London, 1999, pp. 1-21.

Hoch, David. “Mythic Patterns in 2001: A Space Odyssey.” The Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 4, pp. 961-965. Research Gate.

Kubrick, Stanley, and Arthur C. Clarke. 2001: A Space Odyssey. United States: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp, 1968.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. “On Truth and Lying in a Non-Moral Sense.” The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, Third Edition, edited by Vincent B. Leitch, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2018, pp. 752-762.

Rowe, Christopher. “The Romantic Model of 2001: A Space Odyssey.” Canadian Journal of Film Studies, vol. 22, no. 2, 2013, pp. 41-63. JSTOR.

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