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2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

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Old Oct 20, 2002, 10:40 AM   #1
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2001 and questions about God

You could, of course, decide to read God into anything. But in this context why limit your couriosity. Taking information and making it fit a belief system isnít interpretation, itís religion. Or more to the point, itís what religion teaches. The movie was about evolution and the monolith was, in this movie, a monitor/signaling device. You could say the light show was God or the gaseous forms were God (they were aliens). In one sense all of that is true but those questions obscure what the movie was about.

God can discussed in broader terms after viewing this movie because it raises questions that generally are not brought up as result of our day to day experiences.

Like, "If we encounter life on another planet, would we recognize it with our limited senses and technology as life? What are we not recognizing right now, right here? If we could recognize it and it had all the powers that we attribute to God how would we behave? And how will our present perception of God change as a result?

Our perception that the evolution of man some how is measured by our growth in technology is shot to pieces by this movie. The Beings that Dave Bowman encounters on his journey can obviously create what they need by just thinking about it. It's not technology or physical properties that display our evolutionary state. It's our level of consciousness. Knowledge is structured in consciousness and it determines our present state of understanding and capability. Including our understanding of God and our ability to deal with new information (read Arthur Clarke's last book in the Odyssey series).

Another great movie that will stir questions about God is "The Incredible Shrinking Man" from the fifties. What happens when he becomes smaller than matter? Where does he go when he leaves the manifest world we know on such a gross level and enters the subtle world of the un-manifest?
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Old Jan 12, 2003, 08:43 AM   #2
Autechre
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Re: 2001 and questions about God

Ive heard loads of people talking about the different "search for God" allegory's, there all fine, i can understand that..but i prefer to think of it as the first film to show that we really know nothing, we don't understand anything - until we're ready. Sort of like what Sartre said - "No matter how right you think you are, you'll alway's be wrong" - which apply's to everything.
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Old Jan 12, 2003, 01:29 PM   #3
Phlub
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Re: 2001 and questions about God

I think Unregistered has a good point.

If the other life forms we discovered sported powers similar to god, would we worship them? Fear them? Think they are the devil?

I would go with "Fear them" for reasons unknown.
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Old Jan 13, 2003, 04:39 AM   #4
Jove
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Re: 2001 and questions about God

I agree - good points from Unregistered.

But what about all the Atheists out there - those that believe in the non-existence of God?
They will surely take the aliens from 2001 to be just that - highly technologically advanced aliens with an understanding of science that we humans can not yet comprehend.

A religious person will probably, as you suggest, take new information and make it fit with their belief system.
In your example of an alien race that has all the attributes of what many currently believe of their God it is not as simple as what they can do on a physical level.

For example - one aspect of many people's religion is their subconcious belief that they will NEVER face God while alive but only in death. They are not taught this but most believe this. Therefore anything that can be physically touched can be dismissed as God and merely as an alien. This fits in with their religion.

But when confronted with a such an alien there will be people ready to believe that this alien is God.
When they meet two this will conflict - are there 2 Gods? Is there a race of Gods? The easiest thing to believe, that fits both the religion and with Occam's Razor (the simplest explanation is the one that holds) is that this alien race is merely an alien race.

This topic is similar to people in stories believing in "magic" when it is purely something technical that they don't understand. But that's another story

Would we recognise things as life?
Yes. Because we have defined what life is.
Would/do we miss things? Sure. But until we are ready to classify things as "life" they are not. We have determined what "life" is. We have begun to realise that it may not have to be carbon-based but also silicon based. We will soon begin to realise that it could take on many other forms.

The additional point about "The Incredible Shrinking Man" I actually consider to be an invalid one - it is an impossibility. Whereas 2001/10 is not (just highly unlikely) it does not require us to change the laws of physics. You can not change the size of molecules, of atoms etc. When you reach a certain size the blood cells will be too large in comparison to the body. Air molecules will be too large to be breathed. You can not exist below a certain size. You will die of suffocation and/or blood flow problems (I am not a biologist/doctor so can't tell you the details - just the basics).
But maybe I am missing the point and arguing semantics
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Old Jan 17, 2003, 10:58 PM   #5
Phlub
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Re: 2001 and questions about God

Again Jove and I agree.

I would post some more, but I feel that this thread has already been exhausted, and the point been proven and agreed on.

I won't echo post.

Echo Post: Repeating basically the same thing that other members have said.
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Old Jan 28, 2003, 06:18 PM   #6
Autechre
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Re: 2001 and questions about God

Quote:
Originally posted by Jove
But what about all the Atheists out there - those that believe in the non-existence of God?
They will surely take the aliens from 2001 to be just that - highly technologically advanced aliens with an understanding of science that we humans can not yet comprehend.
What about the Neitzchean allegory?, after all, besides the obvious similarity's, 2001 even uses a piece of music based on his book "Thus Spoke Zarathustra"..
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Old Feb 1, 2008, 11:20 AM   #7
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Re: 2001 and questions about God

http://www.applelinks.com/mooresviews/2001.shtml

Quote:
For me, who recoils from the hubris and vainglorious arrogance of humanist philosophy, I find much to concur with in Kubrick's vision. First, he rejects the neo-Darwinist notion that our human qualities developed through the process of natural selection and evolution of our animal intellect. Moonwatcher's being conferred with human intelligence and self-consciousness through the metaphor of touching the monolith is much more consonant, although not entirely so of course, with the Biblical account of God breathing a living soul into Adam, the first man. It is fascinating to compare the imagery of God touching Adam's extended finger in's famous fresco on the roof of the Sistine Chapel, with Kubrick's repeated motif in 2001.

Kubrick also rejects the self-congratulatory humanist construct that "man is inherently good" by nature, by making his proto-man, Moonwatcher, a murderer almost from the very beginning of his human consciousness. Man becomes a murderer early on in the Bible too, when Adam's son, Cain, slays his brother, Abel. Moonwatcher's metamorphosis from being an animal reacting to his surroundings and circumstances purely by instinct, to being a thinking man, hostile to his fellow creatures and contriving to control and dominate his environment, is consonant with the Biblical concept of original sin -- not Darwin's humanist evolution.
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Old Feb 10, 2008, 12:53 PM   #8
steve12553
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Re: 2001 and questions about God

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexus
Wonderful article. Very observant and thought out. I don't visit this forum often enough, but this made it quite worth my while. I've seen 2001 at least a dozen times over the years. I've owned it on videotape and DVD and I've read the book at least three times. ..........I still have a lot to learn.
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