An essay response to Minority Report by Philip K Dick: Can we trust?

Essay by bekkybHigh School, 12th gradeA, September 2008

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In some point of life, everybody has been faced with the question whether to trust or not to trust. What is trust? Trust is defined by Webster as a firm reliance on integrity, ability, or character in someone or something. Throughout the book, by Philip Dick, and the movie, "Minority Report", trust is a key element that plays a major role. In comparing the book to the movie, trust in technology, trust in people, and trust in fate are a few aspects that show that trust is only a word with no meaning until it is supported by truth.

Trust in technology is portrayed both negatively and positively in both the book and the movie. People often debate over the pros and cons of technology. A number of people believe that technology can only do harm to society because of the uncertainty of it's ability, while many others strongly defend technology because it has made their life more enriching.

The pre-crime system in the movie showed that murder has not happened for a very long time. The system has done a commendable job in keeping the murder rates down, almost obsolete. That is the positive attribute to the system, but there are also negative effects. In the movie, Anderson trusted in the pre-crime system; a system in which futuristic crimes are predicted and stopped before it actually occurs. The heart of this system is the three procogs, which are the ones that predict the future murders. With the future prediction of the precogs, the pre-crime police arrests and "halos" the pre-determined murderer. How much trust can be entrusted in the precogs? According to the movie, Agatha was the dominant precog and without her, the other two precog could not produce a vision. The precogs were not supposed to be able to feel or be able to interact with the living world. Agatha proved that fact to be wrong. She interacted with Anderson and produced visions that she wanted him to see. This shows the system to be flawed and not entirely trustworthy. The precogs were also human beings, even though they were not portrayed to be. They, too, can make mistakes and disregarding this fact, makes society vulnerable to upcoming turmoil. For society to place their entire trust in the precogs is a mere act of ignorance on their part. Could they really trust three "special" human beings to determine their fate? The precogs were depicted as a part of technology not human beings.

Another aspect to the trust in technology is the minority report. Precogs could have a minority report, which is another possible outcome for the destined murderer. How often or how accurate are these reports? Can too much trust be placed on the precogs? Anderson was the only one out of the hundreds who were convicted but was able to question the precog if there was a minority report. The system never reveals how many minority reports actually occur or it never really takes it into consideration. In the movie, the minority report is hidden from Anderton and the whole society. The hundreds of others could have had a minority report without knowing it. If people knew about the minority report the once reliable system would be destroyed. Therefore, trust in this system already showed a flaw. The most significant component that proves trust in technology is inadequate happens at the end of the movie. Pre-crime was diminished and the convicted were released. Too much dependence and comfort with technology overshadows the hidden flaws and exploitations.

In the book, trust in technology was similar. The pre-crime system also depended on three precogs to predict the future. The difference from the movie was that all three precogs were equal; one didn't prevail over the other. The technology was not as high tech as the movie. Instead of balls rolling out containing all the visions, just a mere sheet of paper came out. Each precog produced their own vision and it was sent to three different papers. If two visions were similar then it was the majority report and that was used to determine the crime, but the other vision that was not similar was the minority report that was disregarded. The dependence of the visions still stands as the questionable entity of the whole system. Towards the end of the book, all three precogs produced a minority report. Their visions did not match each other. The last vision produced was considered the most accurate and was used by the pre-crime system. This vision showed that the military was apt to destroy the pre-crime system. Comparing this to the movie, the vision in the movie showed that the creator of the system committed murder himself and used the system to cover it up. Anderton used the vision to stop the injustice created by his mentor and got rid of the pre-crime system. On the other hand, in the book, Anderton commits murder by killing Landen to keep the pre-crime system existing. The system therefore is still functioning, but it is corrupt. Trust in the system is no longer trustworthy. The pre-crime system prevails by flaws, deceit, and injustice. How accurate and how dependable would the system be?Trust in people is another element. In the movie for example, we can see that Anderton trusted his mentor. Every human being have friends and family members whom we rely on. Whenever we get depress we always run to somehow for comfort, in our mind thinking that they are someone who we can really trust, it's just natural. In the movie, Anderton trusted his mentor. His mentor was not just his boss, but to Anderton he's someone whom he can always talk to. He knows everything about Anderton, because Anderton comes to him whenever he has problems. For instance, Anderton's depression over his son or when Anderton found out that he was going to kill someone, his mentor was the one whom he contacts seeking for helps first. He did not even question his faith in this person until the very end when his wife notice him of it, where he finds out that the one who is behind all the troubles was his mentor, which makes the movie more interesting because of the relationship between him and his mentor. It causes us to feels a little pity for Anderton because of the fact that he was betrayed by what we could say, his best friend.

In the book however, Anderton did not have a mentor. His wife seemingly takes on the role of his mentor. Differently however, instead of trusting as he did for his mentor in the movie, Anderton was suspicious of his wife early on in the story. He thought that his wife took some part in framing him. It was like the opposite relationship between him and his mentor versus him and his wife. First, he trusted his mentor but he was left with only betrayal at the end. With his wife, however, he was suspicious of her at first but then later finds out that she has been on his side all along. Seemingly, in movies and story the villain is like someone whom the character knows and trusts.

Trust in fate, a power thought to control all events and impossible to resist a person's destiny, is the most significant factor in the book and movie. Fate has an overwhelming power over the mind. This thing called fate is able to control a person and that person has no ability to change it. It is a power that settles ahead of time how things happen. Fate is unavoidable no matter what anyone tries, no matter what anyone does, no matter what anyone believes they have accomplished, they have no control over fate. In the book and movie, fate was taken out of the natural cycle of life. People thought they could control one's fate by determining ahead of time their actions. The pre-crime system thought that they could prevent world destruction by predicting who the murderers were. They never believed nor allowed the natural essence of choice to be given. Everybody has a choice that determines his or her fate. Anderson figures this out by the help of Agatha. She tells him that he still has a choice, which totally destroys the whole pre-crime system. He makes his choice not to shoot the guy that supposedly killed his son, which gives him another alternative to live. His mentor also had a fate, which he chose. At the end he had a choice to shoot Anderson to prove that the pre-crime system prevails and get hallowed for it, but he chose his own fate and killed himself. There would be no future if everything could be predicted. The future would seize to exist.

The true meaning of trust can only be found when individuals willingly enter a state of mind that will allow trust to mature. Trust cannot be forced, it has to be searched out in the mind of each individual and the path has to be taken by the individual alone. Someone who has been there can help with the journey but it is still a journey that must be taken alone. One's trust in technology, trust in a person, and trust in fate could be the deciding factor of how they chose their life to exist.

Works CitedDick, Phillip K. The Minority Report. 1956.

The Minority Report. Dir. Steven Spielberg. Perf. Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, Perter Stormare, and Max Von Sydow. 20th Century Fox, 2002.