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Science Fiction Genre - Religion vs Scientific Origins, and the Nature of Self Destruction

philosophygirl78

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I was talking to a friend the other day, who said to me he didn't much care for science fiction.... This got me to thinking about the intense popularity that Science Fiction has taken over the last few decades, and subsequently, the origin of it.

It is interesting that there are two schools of thought. One, attributes the origin to the Epic of Gilgamesh and religious rhetoric, while the other associates the origin with the Scientific revolution of the late 17th - 19th century...

If we look at some variations in the Golden Era, you have The Thing, The Blob, Godzilla etc, all merging with the birth of the silver screen...

Comics, such as Marvel and DC, also enter into the pic and have evolved into mainstream culture.

Here's the OP:

Regardless of which school of thought you adhere to, science fiction has taken a definite ingrained role in not only the entertainment aspect of society, but also in the very real consumerist evolution of product, and into the global economy and military's. It seems more and more that what was once fantasy is now reality.... (A pretty solid trend can be drawn out). Which is concerning because lately (meaning last couple of decades) most science fiction has taken an Orwellian twist in all angles.

Could we, as humans have an inevitable nature towards self destruction? And are we unknowingly (or knowingly) using science fiction as the imaginative tool to keep us enslaved toward this future?
 
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There's way too much going on in your highly intelligent post for my small brain to unwind, but I am pretty comfortable that Lizzie will be in agreement with this part of it:

...Could we, as humans have an inevitable nature towards self destruction? And are we unknowingly (or knowingly) ...

I'm not particularly negative or positive on the future of humanity. I don't believe we have a collective death wish or an inevitable species survival right. Mankind will just take each pitch as it comes and keep swinging until the game is over.
 

LizzieMaine

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Science fiction has a very fatalistic edge among all the futuristic optimism -- no matter what we do, or think we've done, eventually the sun's going to go supernova and the earth will be cooked to a cinder. We're just one good asteroid hit away from going the same route as the dinosaurs. And so on. "The end of the world" is one of the most common science-fiction tropes there is.

That said, it's also, especially nowadays, an outlet for the adolescent power fantasies most people pretend they've outgrown, but secretly havent. Inside just about every science-fiction author there's a thirteen year old nerd with a bloody nose saying SOMEDAY YOU'LL ALL BE SORRY.
 

Inkstainedwretch

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I've been involved in the sf field for more than forty years and I've seen it change drastically. It's well known that any era's science fiction is about that era, not about the future. Sf of the 20s-40s was all gosh-wow, space opera and problems being solved by smart, brave people. In the post WWII era, darker themes emerged just as film noir subverted cheerful, Depression-era films. With the Cold War and the McCarthy witch hunt era, the alien menace became prevalent. In the late 50s we began to see fragmented narrative structures, influenced by the Beat writers and poets. The 60s saw the reintrouction of fantasy, comparatively rare until then and quickly outdoing classical sf in sales. The early 80s brought cyberpunk, the lowlife-meets-high-tech genre in which fringe characters scuffle for a living, usually through computer hacking, the wealthy live in incredible luxury separated from the rest of humanity, and corporations have pretty much replaced government. In the 21st century, we hear the saying, "Cyberpunk is now!" Or, as one of its creators, William Gibson, has said, "The future is here, it's just not evenly distributed.""
 

philosophygirl78

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Science fiction has a very fatalistic edge among all the futuristic optimism -- no matter what we do, or think we've done, eventually the sun's going to go supernova and the earth will be cooked to a cinder. We're just one good asteroid hit away from going the same route as the dinosaurs. And so on. "The end of the world" is one of the most common science-fiction tropes there is.

That said, it's also, especially nowadays, an outlet for the adolescent power fantasies most people pretend they've outgrown, but secretly havent. Inside just about every science-fiction author there's a thirteen year old nerd with a bloody nose saying SOMEDAY YOU'LL ALL BE SORRY.

I agree with all you have said there. I will add that its a step further than that, and that is what is truly concerning. The 13 year old nerd will always be the 13 year old nerd, but it seems like in the latest Marvel Avenger movies for instance, the 'fantastical' has become a tool to boost consumerism but also to shape social constructs. And when it gets tot he point of affecting social order or beliefs within those constructs, I would like to think that calmer minds would set in and analyze if all the choices we are making as a society (daily, and long term) are truly for the betterment of humanity.
 

LizzieMaine

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The history of Superman, the character, is instructive. He started out as a prototypical 1930s radical -- a dangerous radical with the squinty-eyed face of an Eastern European steelworker -- who enjoyed beating up corrupt senators and greedy businessmen. He didn't even much care for cops. He was the friend of the oppressed, no matter who they were, and the sworn enemy of the Establishment.

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Within a few short years he was thoroughly corporatized, the Chairman of the Board in blue tights, always fighting on the side of the Establishment -- to "set a good example for the kids," so to speak. "Truth, Justice, and the American Way" -- and nothing that might threaten any reader's worldview. By 1942, the Man of Steel had been gelded, and the reasons aren't hard to figure. Superman made his owners several million dollars a year from comics, movie cartoons, radio shows, and licensed merchandise during the 1940s, and Super-conformist was a much easier commercial sell than Super-pinko.
 

Stearmen

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Science fiction has a very fatalistic edge among all the futuristic optimism -- no matter what we do, or think we've done, eventually the sun's going to go supernova and the earth will be cooked to a cinder. We're just one good asteroid hit away from going the same route as the dinosaurs. And so on. "The end of the world" is one of the most common science-fiction tropes there is.

T
Then what? The one concept that neither science or religion can truly rectify, is the concept of forever! How long was the nothingness before here? What is beyond our universe, and how far does it go on? And so forth, in other words forever!
 
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Then what? The one concept that neither science or religion can truly rectify, is the concept of forever! How long was the nothingness before here? What is beyond our universe, and how far does it go on? And so forth, in other words forever!

This^^^is what tells me there is something - a concept, a view, a framework, a dimension, a power, a something or some ripple - way beyond our understanding or, so far, imagination out there that explains what to me is our universe's, so far, unexplainable existence.
 
Could we, as humans have an inevitable nature towards self destruction? And are we unknowingly (or knowingly) using science fiction as the imaginative tool to keep us enslaved toward this future?

When it comes to science fiction, I prefer the questions "what does it mean to be human?", "what does it mean to be non-human?", "what are we?", and "how would we know the difference?"

I know that doesn't answer your questions.
 

Inkstainedwretch

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When it comes to science fiction, I prefer the questions "what does it mean to be human?", "what does it mean to be non-human?", "what are we?", and "how would we know the difference?"

I know that doesn't answer your questions.

HH, those questions compose almost the entire body of Philip K. Dick's work.
 
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HH, those questions compose almost the entire body of Philip K. Dick's work.

I only know Phillip K. Dick from Amazon's recent incredibly outstanding miniseries based on his "Man in the High Castle," which I now want to read. Should I start there or would you recommend a better introduction to his novels? Thank you.
 

Inkstainedwretch

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Probably his most famous novel was "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" and that's a good place to start. It was the source material for "Blade Runner"and the whole thing was about the nature of humanity and identity, that you could be a replicant and not know it yourself. Another is a short story, "We Can Remember it for You Wholesale," source for the movie "Total Recall," where the question is, "how can I be sure that I am who I think I am?" especially when confronted with strong evidence that you are someone else entirely. Uncomfortable thoughts.
 

Harp

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Could we, as humans have an inevitable nature towards self destruction? And are we unknowingly (or knowingly) using science fiction as the imaginative tool to keep us enslaved toward this future?

Chapman proved himself last nite as the Cubs ace closer-deliberate, methodical, and threw heat at over 100mph. Reality strikes terror at the plate.:D
 
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