Ok, maybe I need a little while to pop my head from my bubble and mold it to understand a different perspective (the cloning thing). I'll be back. As for my "fundamental beliefs"...they are manifest in what I've been writing, if you can't tell. Sorry, that's the best I can do right now without wasting too much effort analyzing what I believe & boxing it into words (ha).
For now back to the original questions, if anybody knows: What is Mr. Bradbury's take on cloning? What about environmental issues?
Annie, I too lost the Q in view of the tangents!
Mr. Bradbury has often written of the good that comes from "family" and community. Dandelion Wine- Goodbye Grandma; The Happiness Machine -it exists in the front room of Leo Auffman's own home. Martian Chronicles - The Million Yr. Picnic gives some hope, even on an alien planet, for a positive new life. The Homecoming brings a wide range of spirits and peculiar ancients together to enjoy their common experiences once again. The Rocket tells of an everyday father trying to do the best for his children (even when he does not have the finances). F451 shows what will be if technology continues to decimate the family structure, as does The Veldt. And on and on...
I have never heard him speak or write against cloning. However, his works seem to make it clear where his preferences might lie.
As for the environment: Martian Chronicles, Sound of Thunder metaphorically, The City, and even the rebirth of Guy Montag into the wilds may be interpreted as Mr. Bradbury's love of what is natural. How about Dandelion Wine - the mysteries of the ravine, the smell of the fresh cut grass, the boys in the apple and peach trees. Just a few simple images maybe, but clearly his appreciation for these gifts is not to be taken lightly!
Any others we might consider?
A few months ago, and interview with Mr. Bradbury appeared on salon.com. In that interview he addressed the issue of cloning.
Here is the question and his response:
Q: The House recently passed the Human Cloning Ban of 2001.
A: Why would you clone people when you can go to bed with them and make a baby? C'mon, it's stupid. Stalin and Mao had a great idea about cloning -- they killed 80 million people and what's left is your clones. If you don't like the way the world is put together you just kill everybody. What you got left is the master race. We have more important things to do than these silly ideas. Let's clone people in kindergarten and teach them how to teach reading and writing.
Here is the URL to the entire interview (I hope it remains valid):
Enjoy - its Ray at his cantankerous best....
Chrisman, good reference to address this topic! Thanks. His "edge" is sharper than ever!
[This message has been edited by fjpalumbo (edited 03-22-2002).]
fjpalumbo: "F451 shows what will be if technology continues to decimate the family structure..."
Admittedly, its been a while since I read it, but I'm not sure that F451 had anything to say about technology, or even about the family structure. None of the tech in F451 seems very advanced beyond the present day. It seems to me that F451 is about freedom, authority, and conformity -- and about the "life of the mind" as opposed to a preoccupation with materialism and day-to-day mundanity. And while its true that Montag has an unhappy marriage, it doesn't strike me as any kind of statement about the breakdown of family structure. Such unhappiness and mismatched spouses has been going on since marriage was invented.
As for Ray's comments about cloning, well, I couldn't make much sense of them. What does killing people have to do with cloning? He seems to be reacting to the popular conception of "clones" as used as negative buzzword in popular culture (as used, it seems to be analogous to 'faceless worker drones' or conformity -- non-individuals), rather than to a literal biotechnical definition of what a clone or cloning is. Having been caught off-guard by the question, my guess is that Ray actually hadn't given the issue a lot of thought prior to the interviewer raising it.
[This message has been edited by positronic (edited 03-22-2002).]
It must have been a long while since you read F-451. As for the technology in the novel not being too 'advanced' by 2002 standards, you seem to be forgetting that the novel was written approx. 50 years ago --and what about the TV walls, the "seashell" radio, the mechanical hound, cars that travel so fast they necessitate billboards hundreds of feet long, hand-held TV's ....
It must have been a long while since you read F-451. As for the technology in the novel not being too 'advanced' by 2002 standards, you seem to be forgetting that the novel was written approx. 50 years ago --and what about the TV walls, the "seashell" radio, the mechanical hound, cars that travel so fast they necessitate billboards hundreds of feet long, hand-held TV's .... The fact that these technological marvels fail to benefit mankind in any meaningful way (and in some cases are directly harmful) would indeed indicate a 'comment' by Bradbury on the place of technology.
Also, your comments on Montag's marriage seem to miss the point somewhat. Whether the type of marriage depicted is commonplace or not, its presence in the story must constitute a comment or statement on some level. Clarisse's family, where there would appear to be a sense of connectedness and grounded values, are considered abnormal in the world of the novel. Is this not a comment on the nature of family and family values?
[This message has been edited by crumley (edited 03-23-2002).]
Sure there are lots of little background bits of technology in f-451. But compared to other science-fiction novels, there is no single technology that seems to have impacted human society in some revolutionary way, rather they are all logical extrapolations of technology extant in the present (even the present of the 1950s). OK, maybe the mechanical hounds are a bit far-fetched, but they're hardly a major part of the book. What I got out of the book was a philosophical statement about a society that sets out to eradicate ideas (and I believe this is something it has in common with Orwell's 1984), because it considers deviation from conformity to be dangerous to society and/or a source of unhappiness to people (nevermind whether people should have the freedom to choose to embrace whatever ideas they want, even if they are unhappy ones). Since books are a major source of ideas - and by extention, thinking (gasp!), the society bans books (rather than just retroactively revising history as in 1984). Here we have a society caught up in superficialities and surface appearances. The epitome of (and I forget who said this) "The unexamined life is not worth living."
Of course I guess you are free to draw completely different meanings from the book. Life would be boring if we all got exactly the same interpretations of books, movies, etc.
[This message has been edited by positronic (edited 03-23-2002).]
Quite true, positronic - life would be tedious without our varied perceptions and interpretations.
The quote you refer to is from Socrates: "A life unexamined is a life not worth living."
My comment of "technology" was based on Mr. Bradbury's vision (50 yrs. ago) of where things might be headed. Histories are revised, personal communication becomes foreign to the masses, and mundane entertainment is everywhere - at all times!
(A Texas HS just "reinstated" physical education as a required course. Where might such eliminations lead our young people? How about an earlier diagnosis of attention problems, say 2 or 3 yrs!? We can fix that with the proper prescriptions though, can't we?)
Beatty said, "It didn't come from the government down. No dictums, declarations, censorships, to start, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minortity pressure carried the trick. Today you can be happy all the time..comics...old confessions...."(Springer-like prime time, reality tv, video games, work cubicles, cell phones, surveillance cams (omnipresent), chat lines, big screens, and 451-ish ongoing wars.
Technology is necessary. It can (and does) improve the direction of a purposeful society. If (when) it becomes the reason for living, it is the power that will relinquish us all to the numbed masses F451 hints of. Surrounded by tv walls, walking around plugged in, drug stupored, inactive, and generally tuned out.
You judge. 50 years ago life was much simpler, I would guess. Technology did not rule at the time. Finally, Mr. Bradbury's unique writing style is not simply "sci-fi" based. If this is a draw back to some, it is his greatest strength for others, myself included.
[This message has been edited by fjpalumbo (edited 03-25-2002).]
Hmmm. I don't know if I can agree that "50 years ago technology did not rule". After all, not only did we have the atom bomb then, by 1952 the hydrogen bomb had even been invented.
As a matter of fact, I'd go so far as to say that technology (even as simple a technology as learning to make and control fire, or attaching a sharpened stone to the end of a long pole to make a spear) is the only thing that's kept humans as a species from going extinct. We are pretty pitiful as far as being physically threatening, compared to the kinds of wild animals for which we were once prey -- it's only by virtue of our superior brainpower that we can create tools and weapons that give us the edge in the battle for survival.
On the other hand, for hundreds of centuries, technology progressed at a snail's pace, so that very little change would accumulate within one person's lifespan (and consider also, that lifespans were much shorter for humans before the study of medicine). It wasn't really until maybe the 19th century that these technological changes began to accumulate fast enough to make people really aware of the way in which change was escalating rapidly. Then, they called it "progress". So, for the past couple of hundred years, we've actually been able to look backwards over the course of our lives and see all the changes that have accumulated. If life 50 years ago was simpler, think how much more simple it was 50 years before that, and 100 years before that, etc. Still, there are two ways to look at what makes life simple (simple in terms of convenience or less effort, or simple in terms less complicated or confusing). It's certainly the case today that one can live life "at arm's length" from people (that is to say, avoiding any real interpersonal communication) to a degree that wasn't possible in the past.
How about going to the sources? Prometheus gave us fire and the first Stone Age Man picked up a shape rock or accidently broke off a piece and understood its significance. Nothing has been the same since. Agreed?
I've always enjoyed watching the opening scene in 2001:Space Odyssey - with the feuding apemen. All is even until that big bone becomes a lethal weapon. What genius!
Yes. "At arms length" - man exists that close to (instantaneous) personal contact vs. complete alienation. Like cloning, the line is fine. Some (something) will be lost over that line as time goes on. Things have indeed sped up tremendously over the past 50-100 years. The faster the vehicle, the less control when a slight navigational error is made or twist in the road comes suddenly upon us!
It took ten thousand years to utilize atomic power/weapons. Today you can "get some" at bargain basement prices. Now that's progress.
[This message has been edited by fjpalumbo (edited 03-26-2002).]
The true genius of that scene is in realizing that:
a) Technology is what originally separated man from the other animals.
b) Technology, from its birth, has the capacity to help as well as harm mankind - the same tool (a simple bone) that allows man to survive and thrive (by avoiding starvation in changing from a vegetarian to a meat-eater), is also a weapon that allows man to murder his fellow man.
Thus, our apish ancestor (unnamed in Kubrick's film, but called "Moonwatcher" in Clarke's book) takes on the role of both the biblical Adam and Cain.
[This message has been edited by positronic (edited 03-27-2002).]
Ironically, after the scene of the apemen battling over the waterhole - the plot flashes instantly forward to the expedition (2001) in deep space. (The basis of our discussion and an interesting parallel.)
Also, didn't Clarke actually finish the book after the movie had been produced?
I'm not sure of the actual dates involved, but at a certain point, Kubrick and Clarke parted, both to continue working on their own versions. Clarke felt certain things needed to be explained in more detail (and he was probably right, for people who hadn't seen the film).
What's not known by many is that in the shot where the apeman throws the bone into the air, and it dissolves into an orbiting spacecraft, that craft was supposed to be a space-based missle-launcher, according to the production designs. The ironic comment by Kubrick seems to be - bone or missle-launcher, while the technology gets more sophisticated, not much has really changed in 2 million years or so.
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