2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and the Nature of Evolution

Kubrick’s stunning “2001: A Space Odyssey,” made at the tail-end of the 1960s, carries with it a presumption that is often taken for granted: the evolution of human nature is possible to guide, and can be commanded at will. While Kubrick is correct in the assertion that Western culture has had its share of monolithic moments, I can quite clearly imagine a shrieking monolith standing at the gates of the All Saints’ Church, this assertion is inseparably tied to the idea that these moments were architectured by an inherent intellectual superiority and are of unquestionable morality.

When apes find the first Monolith, they gain the ability to use tools; tools build civilizations, however unrefined those civilizations may initially be. Thousands of years later, “2001” sits at the dawn of the space-age and this kind of growth is a thing of beauty. The human race took from their surroundings what was needed and made of it something more. They used whatever means necessary; in this regard, the sum is infinitely greater than cost of the parts.

Progressives misunderstand and exploit what was built before them; they nitpick the methodology. They are deconstructionists, they are destructive; they don’t need to build, they only inherit. The Progressive believes in a fatalist destiny; that the successes of the human race were an inevitability; the more unsightly portions of the former methodology were hateful and unnecessary. The Progressive believes that traditional values existed only to oppress; they were for those living at a time of ignorant superstition and embarrassing naivety; they were uneducated; they are to be pitied.

The Progressive is superior.

Man finds his second Monolith on the Moon; it points to Jupiter. When David Bowman learns the true nature of the Discovery One mission, he is already in Jupiter’s orbit and his fate is inescapable. Bowman is left alone to deal with whatever ramifications the Monolith has put into motion. He wasn’t told about the finding of the Monolith because his knowledge of the Monolith was unnecessary

In relation to Bowman, the Monolith existed somewhere upstream; only its consequence was felt to Bowman. When Bowman encounters the third Monolith floating in Jupiter’s orbit, this occurs only several years after the Monolith was discovered on the Moon. Bowman then takes an incredible, time-bending journey “beyond the infinite,” and ends up in a deliberately esoteric bedroom where he encounters the last Monolith.

Bowman is transformed into a giant fetus floating along side Earth, silently watching with its eyes wide open.

The ending of “2001: A Space Odyssey” is breathtaking and beautiful. The immeasurable potential of the human race commands a reflection on its incredible past; the scope of progress made from the very first ape who picked up a large bone to smash smaller bones with. The question remains, however, what are the parameters of evolution? 

The world has certainly changed over the last five-hundred years. These changes have altered perceptions and expectations; they exist somewhere upstream from modern man. Progressivism as a monolithic entity has engendered irreversible changes to the course of Western civilization, and this monolith had its origins in a place as distant to us as Bowman was to the Moon’s Monolith; it is equal parts omnipotent and invisible; it is forever omnipresent.

Necessary to Progressivism is the omnibenevolent belief in progress. Even if we take unfortunate detours during the course of this evolution, evolution will always continue; it is inevitable. The monoliths that man will encounter, designed by those inaccessible and superior, will push man along this journey; the monolith of Equality, the monolith of Democracy, the monolith of Atheism, the monolith of Feminism, the monolith of unrestrained sexuality, the monolith of abortion, the monolith of legalized marijuana.

These are the steps deemed necessary to guide man; they are as inescapable as Bowman’s fate in the orbit of Jupiter, and for better or worse, they will take man beyond the infinite. 

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  1. Slatethesilverscreen · September 2, 2015

    Really thought provoking read. I’ll have to come back tomorrow to make sure it has all settled in properly!
    Although with a different context I think the quote from Dr Malcolm of Jurassic Park actually has very similar position on human evolution. especially in terms of exploiting what has come before them.

    ” You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now….Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

  2. Pingback: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and the Nature of Evolution | Reaction Times
  3. ashv · September 3, 2015

    Since you bring it up, I’d love to see a post about _Primer_ too. 🙂

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  8. John Rew · January 13, 2016

    To My mind progressives are by and large atheists who can’t drop the religious mind set. There seems to be a belief in a inevitable utopia that binds them. Problem solving is not high on the agenda of a progressive. Indoctrination is the means to an end and they have in common with religion the belief that there is one set of standards that will work in any environment. This leads to the polarizing evil and good attitude that can hinder real problem solving. Progressives are convinced that people of the past did what they did because they were ignorant not because the environment was different. The idea That human nature is infinitely malleable shows an inability to accept the reality of nature.

  9. Pingback: Primer (2004) and Masculine Identity | Kill to Party

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