Frankenstein Support (Mock-Persausive Letter Format) Essay, Research Paper
(Author’s Note: This was a semi-creative project. We had to address the issues in a persuasive letter rather than a boring ol’ report, so please become unconfused as far as the format..)
Cal Tech Curriculum Committee:
Scientists are all too ready to lock themselves away with their research, unwilling –
perhaps even incapable – of seeing the consequences of their actions. It is our duty as their
educators to provide them with not only a means to gain knowledge but also insights into
the society into which they will ultimately release their findings. Since none here are
literary or English majors, it may seem difficult at first to integrate such needed
sociological concerns into their current courses of study, so it is our duty to give them
easily-reliable examples which parallel with their own course of study, examples that will
And what better to illustrate and retain attention than a tragedy? I suggest that the
Mary Shelly?s novel Frankenstein be included as a central text in the current Humanities
courses required here. The reason Frankenstein may hold more relevance as part of the
program than say, a classical Greek play, is the subject matter alone. Hopefully, the
literary connections are more likely to be drawn, if we can appeal to the students?
interests as best as we can. Perhaps then they are more likely to believe that the
humanities do ?have something to do with them.?
The specifics it also raises about ethics and responsibilities of science speak more
than enough of the novel?s behalf.Many scientists in the far-reaching fields today may
feel overwhelmed, perhaps even taking on a Gaudi-esque credo to their respective
research. That Spanish architect is quoted as saying that he ?didn?t have time to wonder,?
that he ?had to spend all of [his] time working.? While this is a commendible work ethic,
such a belief can lead scientists to bring the ?curse to mankind? that Einstein warns us
against. While a piece of art may incite violence, certain sciences may uncover
information that can physically provide the means of violence.
Scientists provide the power, they are the vehicles of the force – but it is rarely
they who end up wielding it. Governments, companies, and monetary sponsors are those
that are really calling the shots, and since they only bought out that technology without
acquiring that knowledge themselves, they may prove irresponsible with that power. They
have no responsibilty towards it, so it is up to the scientists themselves to determine if the
rest of the world is ready for thier data.
A common misconception is that the computer industry is out of control – but
what is really growing beyond its rights is the monopolization and marketing of those
computers. Unwitting engineers have explained to the executives how operation systems
work, and now that simplified knowledge in turned against the users. This issue is
addressed well in the Frankenstein novel as well. Had Victor taken in his monster and
walked it into humanity slowly, instead of abandoning it when it needed him, his creation
might just have fit in afterall. ?Could or should? maybe do not even enter the picture.
Science will continue to refine itself and go onward in some form throughout our lives.
Someone will reach the next step or the higher level, and more will build off of it.
However, the best precaution to learning and releasing innovative concepts to the society
at the right time is giving our future scientists a wide range of possible scenarios to
In the novel, Victor understood how to perform his experiments, he had insights
into what had been done in reliable fields before. But based on his seclusion and his
obsession, his blind devotion to only his ideas, he could never predict the outcome of his
experiment. He had no thesis to work towards. Knowing a bit of biology and chemistry
does not qualify one to single-handedly delve into potentially dangerous projects. Why
did he do it? Passion, obsession, the need for individual worth? We cannot allow egos to
interfere with safety.
We also cannot be willing to encourage our students complete withdrawal from
society, with the possible loss of their own self to their science. A self-absorbed mind is
not as likely to make responable conclusions. We should never sacrifice the individual for
the collection of data or the progression of technology, because the progression will never
stop. Thrown into motion such as it is, it will continue forward until we reach either the
status of omnipotence or self-destruction.
I do now think we should limit our imaginations, nor ever give up the (as of now)
unattainable strive for godliness. But we should always keep in mind that we still are
human, and incomplete. The search for knowledge is intoxicating in itself. As most
people would believe that it is ?natural? or ?human nature? to be inquisitive, it might be
just as ?natural? that Nature provide us not just with minds that can dream, but also brains
that can act. Perhaps we were ?meant? in interfere with the natural world in the first
place. But we should still allow ourselves an escape route if we back ourselves into a
corner. The excuse that ?science will think of something? doesn?t always prove viable.
Yes, usually science will think of remedy to any given problem – but usually not in time.
Once we discover the cause and solution to the depletion of the Ozone Layer, we still can
not act on the next-step solution. We know what causes the depletion and have developed
reasonable, inexpensive alternative vehicles in response to it. However, these new
automobiles are not being allowed into the market since so many jobs are tied up in the
current motor industry. So we should not integrate into the society until we understand
and agree upon the more long-lasting effects. Victor spent two years of his life obsessed
with his experiment, showing that he was a man with ultimate goals as a scientist. His
goals were not to create a “monster,” but to help improve conditions of his times.
Science and its applied technology strive to be on the ?cutting edge? – well, we
cannot begin to formulate new intelligent questions with such a narrow view of the world.
We need to incorporate reasonable correlations with the rest of our American society, and
in order to keep the interest level active, we may need to appeal to not simply previously
accepted ?culture,? but also to the pop cultre, the world in which we as Americans can
most relate to. Two colleges have even gone so far to have sociology-based classes with
a Star Trek focus. I believe that similar classes here would prove beneficial as well as
popular among the student body.
We don?t want our future scientists and engineers running away from innovations
because they suddenly feel over their head, nor abandoning their own ?monsters? in the
wild of the American market for the innocent consumer to be attacked, and ultimately
controlled. Irresponsibility and inability to “own up” to the consequences inevitably lead
to more tragedy.
Words hold true power, and scientists seek the ultimate definitions, working
almost on a mystical level, quite like their alchemical predecesors. But does this make
humanity god-like? Unlike alchemy, science is not so much the ?art of knowing? as it is
a method of learning. But it is not necessarily the best option, and definitely not the only
way to explore the world in which we live. So we agree on a term. Is that true
understanding? A student may memorize vocabulary for an exam, but will they retain that
knowledge later on without an emotional attachment or philosophical ideal that tags
alongside it? Even those students enrolled here, gifted with mathematical and logical
intelligences, may not fully appreciate stale, pre-defined text book servings. Do they ever
really understand the real workings of photosynthesis, evolution or mitosis? It is perhaps,
that we?ve just broken down the ?acts of a god? into easier to swallow pieces. Gaudi has
also written that ?humans don?t invent; they can only discover.?
(Autor’s Post-script: Live your life. Draw your gods. Sleep if you have time. Get your papers done – quick.)