'Where would we be if nobody bothered to look beyond?'
- Dr. Frankenstein
Is science necessary to our future? In today's society this is an unasked question lurking in the corners of cottages and winter getaways where food is cooked over a wood stove and the information highway is just a dirt road. In the novel Frankenstein we find that 'looking beyond' only leads to pain and suffering in the cases of Dr. Frankenstein and the monster.
In today's society 'looking beyond' usually means trying to cure the suffering that was caused by trying to better our own lives. In Frankenstein the cottagers' life is proof that science is not necessary to our lives. Science is not necessary to our future and will ultimately be the catalyst for the destruction of the human race.
Dr. Frankenstein was a scientific genius and ambitious in his studies. When he tried to use his genius to prolong life, he found he had the power to create life.
The doctor's scientific success in creating the monster was ultimately a failure for morality. Frankenstein, upon completion of his monster, realized the immorality of his work and rejected it and disassociated himself from it and science. The result of Frankenstein's immorality was death for just about everyone he loved and utter despair for himself. The monster was not necessary for our future and neither were the methods of his creation. Because of the doctor's irresponsibility, he lost everything including his life.
The monster, spawned by the immoral science of Frankenstein, was witness to another way of life other than the one of Dr. Frankenstein. The monster, over a period of several months, witnessed a family of cottagers.
'They did not appear rich, but they were contented and happy; their feelings were serine and peaceful'
The family lived in a cabin and knew nothing of their observer or the sciences that created him. Their heat came from a wood stove and their leisure hours were spent listening to stories or music, played by the old man. The monster's loneliness enticed him to seek acceptance with these happy people, but upon viewing his scarred face they fled and never returned to their home.
Society sees a lack of science as a lack of knowledge, but for many people, a lack of science comes from the knowledge of what science has done in the last few decades. Our science created the hydrogen bomb that killed millions; our science created plastics that will last for over a hundred years. Even now our 'modern science' is coming very close to doing what Dr. Frankenstein did, by altering DNA structures to create superior species. It's only a matter of time before scientists tell us we can decide what our children will look like before they are even born. This science frightens many people because the possible misuse of this technology can lead to what many science fiction writers have suggested - a genetically mutated humanoid life form spawned in a test tube to fight wars for us.
Science was never really necessary for our future; only we are necessary for our future. Frankenstein's search for immortality brought death to him and his family. Even though society tends to believe that science holds all the answers, so many of the questions are caused by science itself.
'The economic and technological triumphs of the past few years have not solved as many problems as we thought they would, and, in fact, have brought us new problems we didn't foresee.'
- Henry Ford II
So what would the world be like if nobody bothered to look beyond? Just look at the simple and happy life of the cottagers and ask yourself if you would rather be there or in our confused and disoriented world of computers, guns, bombs, and test tube babies. I know where I would rather be.