meloni bologna

October 26th, 2010

Frankenstein’s Technology

Posted by meloni in Uncategorized

Victor Frankenstein is one of the most famous inventors in literary history, but why? Perhaps it is because he is the first creator to create actual life – not technologies to make life more convenient, or instruments to assist in daily tasks. In this capacity, I cannot help but equate Frankenstein with the image of God as the clockmaker. If, in some systems of belief, God is seen as the deity that created the universe, wound it up, and let it take its course, then Frankenstein can be equated as the creator of a different type of life – an individual, smaller life than that of an entire universe, but life nonetheless. Similarly, he creates and molds this life: as God would have created the elements of the universe and pieced them together to work in harmony, like a clock, Frankenstein painstakingly creates his monster – compilations of bones, joints, skin, and inner workings, and then, his monster is no longer in his control. Does Frankenstein differ in this Clockmaker equation? Absolutely. For one, he seeks to reign control over his monster, not willingly allowing the free will that God allowed own his universe. In fact, he spends his time seeking his monster, to prevent him from wreaking any havoc. Unlike God as Clockmaker, Frankenstein is unable to grant his creation independence from his will – he seems to claim control and ownership over his monster, unsure of his creation, unwilling to let the life he created take its natural course, whatever that may be.

Frankenstein is then a creator of life, not only of the technology that creates life. The question then becomes whether or not Frankenstein is solely a creator of technology or if life is to be defined as a technology. If that which humans produce can be deemed as technology, and technological advances, why can’t humans themselves be categorized as a form of technology? Genetic engineering – altering human life – is considered technology, so is it really fair to simply consider Frankenstein as a creator of life, and not simply a creator of one of the most complex and phenomenal technologies in existence? Do we disregard ourselves as products of technology – even if its God or evolutions technology – because we as human beings cannot be credited as the original inventors, even though we sustain its continued creation? In other words, is that which can be proven to have been produced solely by human beings the only things that can be considered technology?  Is created life itself to be considered technology also? Are we the byproduct of luck? A higher power’s plot, but never that of technology? In light of Mary Shelley’s novel, I feel that it can be interpreted that life is also a form of technology, and not simply the byproduct of technology.

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