Frankenstein’s Message Towards Scientific Research
When man started to manipulate nature two centuries ago, Mary Shelley produced a story of the horrifying implications. In this story, Shelley created terrifying consequences together with creating life and playing God by a young scientist. The scientist, Frankenstein, made the monster, only to remain haunted for his whole life. “It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn” (Shelley 23). It can be seen from this quote that this novel provided the thought grounds for curious minds to work for scientific research. Artificial intelligence was a philosophical idea only.
The invention of the first computer was a technological boom, and further inventions reshaped the lives of the community (Cohen). It was the first science fiction novel. Additionally, it had also indicated the genetic engineering and cloning realities of modern science. By this novel, Frankenstein urges the people for discovery and technological advancement as it is done in most of the science fiction novels. Shelley viewed science as a powerful entity but also recognized the dangers if uncontrolled.
The novel was written when science was exploring very slowly, but the novel is relevant to today’s circumstances. Though it is a work of fiction, the novel, talk to us in a way that no theory of science can. “To examine the causes of life, we must first have recourse to death” (Shelley 37). It is understood from this quote that Frankenstein has started to observe the causes of life by studying the causes of death. Frankenstein was obsessed with the life sciences and brought further knowledge to humanity. Frankenstein reminded the community that the humanities are the road map for the sciences. The humanities told us of our morals, to question, to stay humble and to think, and not only to set fire to everything around us (Ball).
The research in science was at a peak in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Robert Walton wrote in a fictitious letter that “One man’s life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of the knowledge which I sought.” It can be seen from the chapter three that unfortunately, Frankenstein almost agreed with Walton’s thoughts and he declared, “I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation.” Ultimately, Frankenstein’s gruesome fate proved that the quest for knowledge derives with risks. When Frankenstein created that monster, he considered it as an achievement, but it rapidly turned into his demise because of the murder of his brother, William. Moreover, genetically modified vegetables and fruits are known to be ‘Frankenstein foods’ by anti-GMO. They think that alteration in the biochemical formulation of food can decrease the nutritive rate of food, and it has side effects on consumers. In this novel, Shelley also warned scientists and researches about the harmful consequences of scientific advancement (Baker). Today, it is a more exciting time for innovation and science than past because of the availability of more grounds for research in biogenetics and artificial intelligence also breaking down barriers and pushing frontiers. Artificial intelligence is such a science through which robots can think and work, but they can also take decisions to disobey humankind. “The different accidents of life are not as changeable as the feelings of human nature” (Shelley 42). In this quote, Frankenstein is telling how creating his own Creation causes him to change his point of view about human nature. This type of artificial intelligence can cause destruction; therefore, it should have limitations. Scientists always be careful about not to create something that can backfire.
Frankenstein highlighted the human desire to get more and more and to go further. People do not want to die and never wanted to get older. The scientific discoveries are also dangerous as there are many examples in the past about science and technology. For example, cloning is a science in which scientists can make exact copies of a person by using their cells and DNA. Cloning can give another life to an individual even after death through an alternate body that has all features of the real one. Another example is the discovery of an atom that lead to the formation of nuclear weapons; the rise to technology dehumanized the everyday life of human. “I collected the instruments of life around me that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet” (Shelley 43). This quote shows that knowledge should have limits and scientists should know when to stop what they have made. However, of course, it is an oversimplification. Science is also so much beneficial that even it is for granted now, for example, the latest iPhone, heating, organ transplants, and the roof over our heads. Science has benefited us our good years, filled with safety, food, comfort, and shelter (Lepore).
According to Frankenstein, “I might in the process of time, renew life where death had devoted the body to corruption.” Perhaps these warnings are not relevant to today. No one can leave technologies and turn their lives into old times when the rocks are used for shelter. Nowadays, the use of nature to bring life back can be found in any hospital in the world. The usage of nature to renew life what Frankenstein discussed can be seen by a device “defibrillator,” which is used to bring back the rhythm of the heartbeat. There are so many devices to bring people back from the dead and technologies to introduce life. This could be the answer to Frankenstein’s question, which he was finding. “Natural philosophy is the genius that has regulated my fate” (Shelley 38). Frankenstein is the light that shines onto pathways of future knowledge and motivated other researchers to discover new cures and collecting new treatment along the way. Science always has advantages and disadvantages, but it will always provide knowledge of the world. It would be better to stop that progress which has no return and the end is dangerous. It needs to keep the actions pure from greed and selfishness. Finally, the murder of Frankenstein by his own creation (monster) is a lesson and warning to everyone.
Therefore, no one should move on the way where there is no way to return (Ziolkowski). The scientists are searching more profoundly and more in-depth the way to transform the organs that gives life to different creations and the cells that create them. The man should remember the power in their hands should not forget that the ever-human desires of selfishness and greed could take out them from their missions.
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