Jump to content

2001: A Space Odyssey


  1. Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
  2. Produced by: Stanley Kubrick
    Victor Lyndon
  3. Written by: Stanley Kubrick
    Arthur C. Clarke
  4. Music by:
  5. Cinematography by: Geoffrey Unsworth
  6. Editing by: Ray Lovejoy
  7. Release Date: 1968
  8. Running Time: 149
  9. Language: English

Clips

  1. A&F Discussion Thread
  2. IMDb.com
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Netflix

“The limits of my language are the limits of my world. What can be shown, cannot be said. What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.” –Ludwig Wittgenstein


In his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus the great twentieth century philosophy Ludwig Wittgenstein attempted to define the limits of what science and language could tell us about the world. Likewise, 2001: A Space Odyssey pushes the limits of science fiction to tell the story of humanity and our place in the world. Fittingly for my perhaps strange comparison with Wittgenstein's philosophy, the first dialogue in Kubrick’s film comes at the 25 minute mark, and the film contains only 43 minutes of speaking in its roughly two and a half hour runtime. We pass over Kubrick’s images often in silence, an airless and uncanny journey into the far reaches of our solar system and the heart of humanity.


From its portrayal of the origins of humanity among our primate ancestors to “Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite,” 2001 is grand in its scope. In a kind of inversion of the structure of the number three film on this list—The Tree of Life2001 looks outward rather than inward to illuminate and ponder our origins, our place in the universe, and our destiny as human beings.


2001: A Space Odyssey is notably the highest ranking science fiction film on the 2020 version of the list, moving up two dozen spots from its spot on the 2011 version. Science fiction is not always thought of as a particularly spiritual genre, but the presence of several works of science fiction on this list speaks to the genre’s role in providing a “myth” for the Modern Age.


In this sense of the word, I do not mean myth as something that isn’t “true.” Rather, myth as a story (whether rooted in fiction or factual occurrence — and often hard to discern the difference) that provides an framework or way of understanding the world. What does 2001 tell us about the way that people in the 20th century and even today have understood the world? How does 2001 return a sense of mystery to the expanding understanding of the universe we as human beings seem to have gained in the twentieth century, as we took our first tentative steps beyond our planetary home? Released in 1968, on the eve of the moon landing a year later, 2001 showed that there are things about the universe we don’t or can’t understand even if we have colonized the moon and built conscious artificial intelligences.


The central story of 2001: A Space Odyssey is of the Discovery and its crew of astronauts, Frank Poole and Dave Bowman, on their trip to Jupiter to find the source of a mysterious monolith discovered on the moon. Accompanied by HAL 9000, their super intelligent computer, on their journey, the dangers and psychological pressures of space travel push humanity beyond its limit. HAL represents an attempt to transcend our limites: “No 9000 computer has ever made a mistake or distorted information. We are all, by any practical definition of the words, foolproof and incapable of error.” 


Ultimately, 2001 questions the upholding of reason alone as equivalent to an encounter with the divine. The central tragedy of the film is rooted in the same myths that we tell ourselves that led to the “rational” horrors of the Holocaust or Hiroshima. Like a science fiction version of Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason,” 2001 places mystery at the centre, the uncanny experience of something that seems to clash with the rational, scientific view of the world.


It is for this reason that HAL decides that the journey to Jupiter cannot be left in the hands of fallible humans. The privileging of rationality and technology is a key preoccupation of the modern era, but 2001 shows some of the ways reason sometimes misses the point. The 20th century was full of the nightmarish outcomes of  “technological rationality,” but whose ends does it serve?


  1. Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
  2. Produced by: Stanley Kubrick
    Victor Lyndon
  3. Written by: Stanley Kubrick
    Arthur C. Clarke
  4. Music by:
  5. Cinematography by: Geoffrey Unsworth
  6. Editing by: Ray Lovejoy
  7. Release Date: 1968
  8. Running Time: 149
  9. Language: English

Clips

  1. A&F Discussion Thread
  2. IMDb.com
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Netflix

“The limits of my language are the limits of my world. What can be shown, cannot be said. What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.” –Ludwig Wittgenstein


In his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus the great twentieth century philosophy Ludwig Wittgenstein attempted to define the limits of what science and language could tell us about the world. Likewise, 2001: A Space Odyssey pushes the limits of science fiction to tell the story of humanity and our place in the world. Fittingly for my perhaps strange comparison with Wittgenstein's philosophy, the first dialogue in Kubrick’s film comes at the 25 minute mark, and the film contains only 43 minutes of speaking in its roughly two and a half hour runtime. We pass over Kubrick’s images often in silence, an airless and uncanny journey into the far reaches of our solar system and the heart of humanity.


From its portrayal of the origins of humanity among our primate ancestors to “Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite,” 2001 is grand in its scope. In a kind of inversion of the structure of the number three film on this list—The Tree of Life2001 looks outward rather than inward to illuminate and ponder our origins, our place in the universe, and our destiny as human beings.


2001: A Space Odyssey is notably the highest ranking science fiction film on the 2020 version of the list, moving up two dozen spots from its spot on the 2011 version. Science fiction is not always thought of as a particularly spiritual genre, but the presence of several works of science fiction on this list speaks to the genre’s role in providing a “myth” for the Modern Age.


In this sense of the word, I do not mean myth as something that isn’t “true.” Rather, myth as a story (whether rooted in fiction or factual occurrence — and often hard to discern the difference) that provides an framework or way of understanding the world. What does 2001 tell us about the way that people in the 20th century and even today have understood the world? How does 2001 return a sense of mystery to the expanding understanding of the universe we as human beings seem to have gained in the twentieth century, as we took our first tentative steps beyond our planetary home? Released in 1968, on the eve of the moon landing a year later, 2001 showed that there are things about the universe we don’t or can’t understand even if we have colonized the moon and built conscious artificial intelligences.


The central story of 2001: A Space Odyssey is of the Discovery and its crew of astronauts, Frank Poole and Dave Bowman, on their trip to Jupiter to find the source of a mysterious monolith discovered on the moon. Accompanied by HAL 9000, their super intelligent computer, on their journey, the dangers and psychological pressures of space travel push humanity beyond its limit. HAL represents an attempt to transcend our limites: “No 9000 computer has ever made a mistake or distorted information. We are all, by any practical definition of the words, foolproof and incapable of error.” 


Ultimately, 2001 questions the upholding of reason alone as equivalent to an encounter with the divine. The central tragedy of the film is rooted in the same myths that we tell ourselves that led to the “rational” horrors of the Holocaust or Hiroshima. Like a science fiction version of Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason,” 2001 places mystery at the centre, the uncanny experience of something that seems to clash with the rational, scientific view of the world.


It is for this reason that HAL decides that the journey to Jupiter cannot be left in the hands of fallible humans. The privileging of rationality and technology is a key preoccupation of the modern era, but 2001 shows some of the ways reason sometimes misses the point. The 20th century was full of the nightmarish outcomes of  “technological rationality,” but whose ends does it serve?

“The limits of my language are the limits of my world. What can be shown, cannot be said. What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.” –Ludwig Wittgenstein


In his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus the great twentieth century philosophy Ludwig Wittgenstein attempted to define the limits of what science and language could tell us about the world. Likewise, 2001: A Space Odyssey pushes the limits of science fiction to tell the story of humanity and our place in the world. Fittingly for my perhaps strange comparison with Wittgenstein's philosophy, the first dialogue in Kubrick’s film comes at the 25 minute mark, and the film contains only 43 minutes of speaking in its roughly two and a half hour runtime. We pass over Kubrick’s images often in silence, an airless and uncanny journey into the far reaches of our solar system and the heart of humanity.


From its portrayal of the origins of humanity among our primate ancestors to “Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite,” 2001 is grand in its scope. In a kind of inversion of the structure of the number three film on this list—The Tree of Life2001 looks outward rather than inward to illuminate and ponder our origins, our place in the universe, and our destiny as human beings.


2001: A Space Odyssey is notably the highest ranking science fiction film on the 2020 version of the list, moving up two dozen spots from its spot on the 2011 version. Science fiction is not always thought of as a particularly spiritual genre, but the presence of several works of science fiction on this list speaks to the genre’s role in providing a “myth” for the Modern Age.


In this sense of the word, I do not mean myth as something that isn’t “true.” Rather, myth as a story (whether rooted in fiction or factual occurrence — and often hard to discern the difference) that provides an framework or way of understanding the world. What does 2001 tell us about the way that people in the 20th century and even today have understood the world? How does 2001 return a sense of mystery to the expanding understanding of the universe we as human beings seem to have gained in the twentieth century, as we took our first tentative steps beyond our planetary home? Released in 1968, on the eve of the moon landing a year later, 2001 showed that there are things about the universe we don’t or can’t understand even if we have colonized the moon and built conscious artificial intelligences.


The central story of 2001: A Space Odyssey is of the Discovery and its crew of astronauts, Frank Poole and Dave Bowman, on their trip to Jupiter to find the source of a mysterious monolith discovered on the moon. Accompanied by HAL 9000, their super intelligent computer, on their journey, the dangers and psychological pressures of space travel push humanity beyond its limit. HAL represents an attempt to transcend our limites: “No 9000 computer has ever made a mistake or distorted information. We are all, by any practical definition of the words, foolproof and incapable of error.” 


Ultimately, 2001 questions the upholding of reason alone as equivalent to an encounter with the divine. The central tragedy of the film is rooted in the same myths that we tell ourselves that led to the “rational” horrors of the Holocaust or Hiroshima. Like a science fiction version of Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason,” 2001 places mystery at the centre, the uncanny experience of something that seems to clash with the rational, scientific view of the world.


It is for this reason that HAL decides that the journey to Jupiter cannot be left in the hands of fallible humans. The privileging of rationality and technology is a key preoccupation of the modern era, but 2001 shows some of the ways reason sometimes misses the point. The 20th century was full of the nightmarish outcomes of  “technological rationality,” but whose ends does it serve?


  1. Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
  2. Produced by: Stanley Kubrick
    Victor Lyndon
  3. Written by: Stanley Kubrick
    Arthur C. Clarke
  4. Music by:
  5. Cinematography by: Geoffrey Unsworth
  6. Editing by: Ray Lovejoy
  7. Release Date: 1968
  8. Running Time: 149
  9. Language: English

Clips

  1. A&F Discussion Thread
  2. IMDb.com
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Netflix
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...