Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Frankenstein's Monster

Frankenstein, you should know, was not a monster. He was the brilliant scientist that created the monster that tormented him for the rest of his days.

But what made Frankenstein's monster a monster? The scientist, successful in his experiment of creating life, was shocked at the ugly thing that he had created. He called it a monster, but practically speaking, it was a new born baby.

Yet, he abandoned this child, all because he looked different, scary. And because this child was left to fend for itself, unloved and unwanted, always feared and never appreciated, he threw tantrums. Sure they were colossal tantrums compared to what you and I did as children. But that is all they were. He didn't really know any better.

Have you heard of the Socratic theory that if a person knows what is right, he couldn't be happy doing what he knows is wrong. And because no one wants to be unhappy, the only reason for doing wrong is ignorance.

I think that's fascinating. And I think that that was the problem with Frankenstein.

Frankenstein did create a monster; the monster was created not when it was born, but when it was abandoned when still ignorant. He hadn't been taught what was right, or how to deal with people, with problems, and with life. And that was Frankenstein's real error. Not in trying to be god or in messing with nature; but in not taking responsibility for that which he had created.

So perhaps Frankenstein was the monster after all.

And the same is true of technology. In speaking of the Frankenstein complex, we speak of creating technology or discovering a science that could end humanity or, at the very least, bring about some noticeable destruction. Creating new technology shouldn't be our fear, just as creating life wasn't Frankenstein's mistake. We should be more concerned with "raising" it right: in adding safeguards and creating rules and laws on its usage.

It isn't the pursuit of science that is evil, but the ignorance of man.

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