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Science Fiction and the Human Condition…

September 27, 2011

Hello blog fans!

I have always believed that science fiction provides a unique perspective for examining the human condition. The speculative nature of science fiction allows authors to explore a variety of psycho-social reactions to strange and unfathomable stimuli.

This is a unique nitch that only fantasy comes close to matching. Many genres explore the human condition and reactions to known stimuli, and do that well. But with technology and science bringing new capabilities to the world, it is important that we explore how humanity will use and react to these new capabilities, good or bad.

Asimov was the master of examining the human condition in science fiction. The Foundation Trilogy captured mankind’s inability to maintain institutions over time in a way that mimicked actual historical record for various empires and dynasties. His robot novels asked fundamental questions about what it means to be human that we may be asking for real as computers gain on us in reasoning power.

In my current project, I am examining the social implications of forced human evolution and its effect on society.

Thoughts?

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4 Comments
  1. Great thoughts. I am a huge Asimov fan and have always loved the depth in humanity that his stories held. Science Fiction, by its nature, has the ability to remove many of the boundaries that other genres are not capable of. This gives it a unique advantage in isolating psychological and social questions from other issues that could cloud the insights revealed. Can’t wait to read your project!

    I dabble in sci-fi from time to time. I would love any thoughts on my story “The Hallway” if you feel like sharing.

  2. No one likes force, unless they are the enforcers. I think forced human evolution would be met with resistence from many people, and excitement from others.

    I suppose the best way to go about such a thing, would be to do it without public knowledge–which is in violation of human rights. Of course, one can argue, that much of what we do is against human rights–such as creating huge national debts and placing the responsibility on citizens, institutionalizing wrongs like classism and racism, manipulating people to fight wars, etc.

    Although physical institutions always fall (governments, religions, even civilizations), institutionalism is a constant within the human race. We as humans seek normative behavior and we want everyone to conform, to create and maintain a society where most people are in agreement–whether it is moral and responsible or not.

    So long as we aren’t a cyborg race, we will never be able to please every body. No matter what is proposed, there will always be some resistence, and we can base implications of forced evolution on what has happened in the past. Example: In the U.S., slavery was forced. Slaves revolted. Women were (and arguably still are) second class citizens. What did freed slaves and women do? They started the civil rights movement. What happened when the North tried to abolish slavery nationwide because industrialization was so successful? The South wanted to leave the United States.

    So you see, no matter what issue is being forced, there will be resistence and there will be long-term consequences.

    It is always best, that a person evolves when they are ready to. You can take someone with an addiction and tell them they need treatment, but if they aren’t ready to let go and move on, even the best therapist and treatment program in the world won’t change their mind or give them the help they need.

    Last point to make: Our morals have not kept up with our technological progress. I think we need to slow down until we can all come to the conclusion that exploitation is wrong and forcing people to do things is wrong. People do have intuition and the ability to reason, it is just dulled through time from having answers spoonfed to us and having media and social expectations thrown at us every waking second.

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