(This post is a re-post of a comment I previously posted)
Of the many interpretations of “2001: A Space Odyssey” that have been presented, one that is intriguing to me is the movement of humanoids from being at the mercy of nature to a position of self-determination. At the beginning of the film we see pre-humans simply existing as nature provides. Subsequently, bones are found to be useful as tools and weapons, allowing one group to exert dominance over another. The film then moves into the future where humans have evolved and created machines that aid them in just about every area of life. As we progress through the story line, HAL attempts to block human efforts to continue or alter the prescribed space mission to Jupiter, ultimately failing to stop Dave from Dave’s own personal mission. The end of the film seems to provide the demonstration of the evolution of humans to a post-human existence as the “Space Child” appears, hovering over the planets.
The question I presented in my previous post looks at how pre-humans moved from being nature-driven to self-driven. Humans became active participants in their own development and at least partially determinative of their own destinies and futures. As we move into an era where machines are allowed, as HAL was allowed, to control our lives and be integral in whatever decision we make, at what point do humans move back into the position of being “nature driven” and lose any control over ourselves and our future? At some level this question gives new meaning to the concept of “The Circle of Life.”