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Contemplating Frankenstein

October 4, 2007

frankenstein.gif Halloween is fast approaching, and perhaps that was my inspiration today as I considered several social lessons from the classical renditions of the Mary Shelly original.  What follows are a few themes that seem most relevant to me recently.

Man’s power should not exceed his wisdom to wield it.   The story is a cautionary tale in that Victor wields the power of life from death, without regard to the more subtle, but no less important social impacts of his science.  The effects of web 2.0 technologies have instant impact.   That’s power, and many revel in the power of their published word and the effect it has upon others.   The technology is instant and available, but the wisdom for it’s prudent use does not necessarily come as easily.

Reception of the creation –  The ‘monster’ was a benevolent creation, and it tried to do good deeds, but was impaired by it’s appearance.  How are our creations viewed?  Must they be attractive to be positively received?   An attractive design and appearance does not guarantee a positive reception, but an awkward and clunky one makes your creation all but impossible to love.

Men fear and seek to destroy what they do not understand– The vision of villagers gathered at the gates with pitchforks and torches springs to mind and transcends to the modern form of angry commentors laying siege to a corporate, political, or media blog, inflammatory rhetoric supplanting the physical torch flames.  

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