Fritz Lang’s film Metropolis provides a good balance between science fiction and social commentary on Weimar Germany. It depicts a futuristic, dystopian city in which the upper and working classes are both literally and symbolically divided. When Freder, the son of the city’s overlord discovers the disconnect between the classes, he realizes his role as a mediator between his father and the workers. He is helped to discover this by his love interest, the prophetic Maria, who preaches for a peaceful solution for the class divide rather than the violent revolution which ends up occurring.… Read the rest here
Following the First World War, a sense of disillusionment fell over Europe, and Germany especially. In his 1920 film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Robert Wiene depicts the bewilderment of the German people after losing the war, as well as a general apprehension about change in the world. On the surface, Wiene’s film may seem like merely a horror movie, but it is, like all art, influenced by the ideas and events of the time, giving us a glimpse of interwar thinking.… Read the rest here
While science has brought about much great advancement in human history, it has also had the potential to be destructive. In his article Icarus, or The Future of Science, Bertrand Russell argues that humanity would use scientific advances for darker purposes, such as to “…facilitate centralization and propaganda,” and as a result, “…groups become more organized, more disciplined, more group-conscious, and more docile to leaders” (Russell). He argues that through technological developments, governments are able to have more control over all aspects of peoples’ lives. … Read the rest here
As scientific advancement became increasingly prevalent in Europe after World War I, the elation and excitement that accompanied these developments was coupled with the fear and apprehension of certain members of that society. One prominent voice to that effect was Bertrand Russell, who argued in Icarus, or, the Future of Science that “science will be used to promote the power of dominant groups, rather than to make men happy.” (Russell) The basis of Russell’s argument lies in his presupposition that people lack the strength of morals necessary to guide them as science allows for a more comfortable and efficient lifestyle. … Read the rest here
In this article, Russell likens the progress of science to the inventions of Daedalus and the inherent selfishness of mankind as Icarus. As the myth goes, Icarus flies too close to the sun, has his wings melted and falls to his death. He predicts a similar fate for humankind if they are given the technology to fly towards the sun.
This article has many metaphors and summaries about technological development, but from reading his introduction and conclusion, one gets the impression that he is using science as an example to debate the human psyche.… Read the rest here