(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 be memorable. And
what better to illustrate and retain attention than a tragedy? I suggest that
the Mary Shellys 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 novels 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 didnt 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.

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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 consider. 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 doesnt 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 dont 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 weve just broken
down the acts of a god into easier to swallow pieces. Gaudi has also
written that humans dont 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.)
English Essays