Saturday, 20 February 2010


'A Space Odyssey' Screening

'A Space Odyssey' by the magnificent Stanley Kubrick was made up of two main stages: monkeys evolving into homosapians and humans evolving into superhumans.

The opening shows the monkeys co-existing with other species; this is at the point when their brains are very small, they are not aware that they need protein for their bones, brain, development etc.

The monkey's lack of knowledge is emphasized by their encounter with the obelisk. Later, the human's lack of knowledge (relative to superhumans) is exposed.

The obelisk would only be a phenomena to humans. The strange place on the moon would only be a phenomena to the Übermensch. These things are a phenomena when we can perceive them. Meanwhile, they are 'noumenal' if we cannot perceive them (e.g - music) according to philosopher's such as Immanuel Kant and Arthur Schopenhauer.

Then comes the chief ape Moon-Watcher's discovery/theory, the blissful moment when he hits another animal with his bone accompanied by joyous classical music. This enables him to have a higher social ranking and be the leader - he has essentially discovered war.

We see Moon-Watcher's dominance over the other monkeys in a 'speech.' His troop then go to war with another. The noises made in the speech and the battle are the first ever examples of speech. The noises frighten, warn off and encourage/discourage etc; George Orwell said this was the primary purpose of language rather than to merely communicate.

Now its the turn of the humans. They're living in space trying to get to Jupiter, they can't do it as they are not adapted to it (e.g. - no gravity, unable to eat, deficate etc).

All human thought is stored on the space craft in the form of computer 'Hal' as they try to get to Jupiter. 'Hal' was actually holding them back as human thought was not adapted for this mission in space.

Dave (human version of Moon-Watcher) realised 'Hal' had to be defeated, in order to bring about the next stage of development - the Übermensch. 'Hal' is representative of the human race and the fact that they are limited to life on Earth; Nietzsche said: "humanity must be overcome."

Moon-Watcher's discovery of war and protein to develop the brain (the bone scene) and Dave's dismantlement of 'Hal' were parallel and both necessary for the evolution of their respective species (the final scene). This was highlighted by the use of the same music, Strauss's 'Also Sprack Zarathustra', in both scenes.

Key Points

- We don't know what superhumans will be like any more than the apes knew what humans would be like.

- The obelisk was as noumenal to the apes as strange place on the moon was to the humans.

- The monkey's evolved into homo sapiens, enabling human activity (more or less) as we know it.

- Dave was 'the last man,' making way for the 'superhuman'.

- Moon-Watcher's discovery of the concept of war (that brought hierarchy/domination) was just as momentus as Dave's shutting down of the human race to make way for the Übermensch.

- Kubrick's use of (scaled down) real-time in the film shows how things have evolved/developed quicker and quicker as time passes.

No comments:

Post a Comment