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From: "Jamie Webb"
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 1999 17:02:26 -0700 I am so pleased with your essays on the film 2001. The film has changed my life, and you helped me to understand why, and gave me more educated thought out theories than my own to compare with, whereas no one else seemed to understand my point of view. Thank you. A note on the failure on the part of 2010 in the light od 2001: in 2001 the Monolith was respected. The actual name was uttered maybe twice, with reverence and curiosity. In 2010 the name was flung aroun like a football, Every guy in the film spat it out at least seven times each, with no respect or awe whatsoever. This kind of offended me. Also, in 2001 there was a haunting sound effect that seemed to come from the Monolith. It was a combination of singing, laughing, and screaming. It terrified me and awed me at the same time. It was one of the most incredible things I've ever heard, and lent power to the presence of the Monolith on the screen. 2010 did not even attempt to produce such a sound, and the Monolith's effect was compromised. Damn them - have no attention to sound and visuals combined to produce an emotion in the viewer? 2010 was mere mockery of Kubrick's original. God rest Stanley Kubrick. From: "Jamie Webb" Date: Wed, 7 Jul 1999 17:05:08 -0700 I have two theories on the monolith: I like to believe that the monolith is God himself. The appearences of the ebon block could symbolize the appearences of Jesus on earth throughout the course of mankind. The monolith could also be another race so advanced and free of violence that they have transfered their souls into their tools. They become an immortal race dedicated for the pusuit if knowledge and learning, free of hatred. Their kind once mirrored our own, and they have come here, found a species that resembles a past form of themselves, and decide (not to experiment) but to help them. To advance our kind to theit point as well. "and anything beyond that could only be God" Maybe God employed the poeople that are the Monoliths and exalted them to supreme being to help other intelligent species. Are the monoliths lifted bodily to heaven without dying as Moses was? you can put this on your site if you want. From: "Henry, Jason" To: "'firstname.lastname@example.org'" Very interesting account of 2001, enjoyable until the final act (a liked it but here is my interpretation). If you look closely during the Atmosphere's sequence you will notice on screen what is obviously a magnified image of a sperm cell in motion (presumably toward the egg (I can't recall if an egg-like penetration layer is evident, but the sperm cell definitly is). My rendition of this final act is in one observative statement: CONSUMATION! We have reached the ultimate CONTACT with an intelligence different from our own for the first time ever. Now, here might be the hard part, but imagery is imagery. The Light show "propelling the audience" into the spheres is the infinate transport/transformation of conceived life. The sperm traveling infinite evolutionary planes toward its next "event". To me, the 'hotel room' as you call it, represents the womb. Something tangible (I know this may really seem out) but the womb does represent a physical resolution of conceived sperm and egg. To me the aliens presence is, now, irrelevant, they may have even left for we have finally touched the face of eachother and the resulting enlightment of this CONTACT is the new being now ready to take earth man to the next level. Its almost as if saying we are waiting for you to join us. This can be indicative of two possible scenarios. That more advanced life has reached out across the vast distances of the universe creating mans next evolutional phase, or we have made contact with a/our supreme being for same. Any comments? Jason Henry Network Administrator Obagi Medical Products (562) 628-1007 x.6039 email@example.com From: Eldrlaw@aol.com Date: Mon, 9 Aug 1999 16:28:14 EDT I recently watched 2001 Space Odessy for the first time. As most have experienced, I was quite confused yet intellectually aroused by the many messages and symbols presented in the film. I just read your piece, and although merely one opinion in (what I'm sure of) countless theories, It helped me in discovering a basis for my own opinion. My one concern is that you theorize that this movie was centered around a sort of alien control. I would suggest that since there is no evidence of any other beings in the movie, that it is simply the monolith, which represents the unexplained, that is catalyzing these certain events. According to your theory, aliens are THE higher being, which sheds light on another subject that humans no nothing about. Aside from that, the word "Alien" has become so stereotyped and popularized in the media and economy that it is unfair to use that word due to its recognizable human-created characteristics. I am merely suggesting that the monolith is unfathumable, unattainable----aliens on the other hand, or rather the word alien, is unfortunately something that can be defined by humans. Aside from that I enjoyed your essay and admire your opinion, although its probably altered every time you watch the movie. I would also enjoy some feedback or any other information. Thanks Brad Blondes From: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Sat, 07 Aug 1999 06:58:24 -0800 In your essay you asked the question why did HAL go bezerk? Well, my theory is when the ape's find the black monolith they learn to use objects to help thim. Then in space the monolith has the same effect on HAL. He learns to become more humen and kill just the ape's did to the other pack of ape's. But I also like the idea the first e-mail you put on your web site said. I enjoy 2001 because when you first see it you say what the hell did I just see. Then you see more and more of it and you start to think for yourself and figure it out. that's why I enjoy it. Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 13:59:02 -0600 From: Tony Biondo I enjoyed reading your webpage very much. I would like to make an observation/suggestion in the spirit of your explanations regarding the meaning of the movie. In the section 'Jupiter And Beyond The Infinite' you mention the fear "shock" experienced by Dave Bowman as he is being transported by the aliens at hyper-speed . You state : "After all, no human being has ever gone through what Dave is going through now, and his instincts are not conditioned for this." This is perhaps an allusion to the effects the Monolith had on the ape creatures as Kubrick manifests the emotional experience (though different in form) which they experienced. I found the fact that you used the word "instincts" very interesting. I was surprised that you did not draw upon this parallel in your page. Thank for the webpage and all the hard work you surly must have put into it. Sincerely, Anthony M Biondo From: "ABBASS KAMALIZAD" Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 17:42:06 -0800 I'm 15 years old and saw 2001: A Space Odyssey for the first time when I was in the first grade. Nothing in the movie grabbed my attention, (I was to young to understand it) but the image of the ape-man discovering the use of tools stayed in my mind. Since then I have become very interested in movies and directors (especially Steven Spielberg and recently Stanley Kubrick) and hope to become a directer someday. I've recently become interested in classic movies and rent and watch the ones that seem interesting to me. (Citizen Kane, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, etc.) About a year ago I watched 2001 again on tv and really liked it, except I thought the ending was "weird." I didn't understand it at all. A few days ago I decided to watch it again and so I rented it. This time I was blown away! It's one of the best movies I've ever seen even though I'm usually the kind of person who hates movies about space (Star Wars, Star Trek). It's probably because this movie isn't really about space travel, it's about the evolution of humanity and life in the universe. No movie has made me think about it as much as this one has. Contrary to what some people think, the slowness and silence of the film add a lot more to its excitement. (The heavy breathing of Dave and Frank while they were in their space suits made my heart pound and I found myself breathing in sync with them.) I hate it when movies try to get you to think in a certain way with swells of sad and sorrowful music and explosions of joy. This is o.k. for action and adventure movies but not serious ones. 2001, Schindler's List, and saving Private Ryan are great examples of movies that use music in the right places. I really enjoyed your site because it displayed so many interperations of the movie from so many people. They helped me form my own ideas about the movie, especially yours. However there are a few things I disagree with. 1- First of all I don't think HAL made a mistake at all in detecting the fault in the AE-35 unit. In fact he was trying to get rid of the humans in the first place and everything was planned to happen the way it did. He didn't want human error to interfer with the very important mission they were on. He worked too well. 2- I dont't think that when Dave is going to disconect HAL, he is really showing fear in his plee to get Dave to change his mind. After all, during the news broadcast the newscaster asks the astronauts whether HAL expresses true emothions and Dave replies that he is only programed that way so that it is easier for the astronauts to talk with him. By knowing this and knowing that human emotions can be easily influenced and make humans act foolishly, HAL purposely tries to get Dave to feel sorry for him. 3- I haven't exactly figured out what the monolith is yet but I refuse to believe it was made by aliens dispite what the book says or what 2010 says. I think that maybe the monolith is a physical representation of human intuition and intiligence. When the monolith is flashed on the screen as the ape-man is looking at the bones, the movie is showing that he is finally using his own itelect as he looks at the bones in a new way. The monolith on the moon shows that human intelligence has lead him into the universe, and the monolith near Jupiter shows that it will lead him beyond. I think its much less interesting and more pessimistic if the film means to say that humans have needed another being's help everytime he was faced with a problem. It is also very naive to think that humans are "chosen" to become the highest form of life. The monolith is also used to show that modern day humans are similar in the way they deal with things and yet at the same time different. In the prehistoric times man was afraid of the unknown object yet his curiosity persuaded him to explore it. In 1999 man is again faced with the unknown and reacts with the same curiosity but he is not afraid anymore. He wants to learn as much as possible as soon as possible. 4- I'm also surprised that you think the Blue Danube is used just to calm the audience. Here's what I think: When the man-ape is shown thinking about the bones and really looking at them instead of thinking of them as something in the background, the exciting and moving sounds of the Also Sprach Zarathustra are played to show how revolutionary his actions were and how revolutionary the simple bone tool was to the primitive man. In the spaceship scene, the Blue Danube illustrates how such an amazing tool (the spaceship) has become a normal everyday thing for humans. I really appreciate your hard work on the site and thank you for taking the time to read my ideas. Sorry if it got a bit lengthy and sorry if my writing is bad, I wrote it with a lot of noise in the background and couldn't concentrate. By the way my name is Al. From: "Robert Snyder" Subject: 2001 2001: A Space Odyssey causes one to reflect on the primary questions of the ontology of human existence. The key word is questions. The film is about unanswerable mysteries. It embraces the unanswerable and frames the unknowable in its rightful state of awe. In 2001 the Questions are Monolithic (!). They are the Questions that have hounded the human soul since the Dawn of Man and persist just as forcefully today. What is the Monolith? It is black. It is impenetrable. It is always there. It comes from who knows where. It never responds to our inquiries. It is void, and it is absolutely terrifying. It is . . . the Unknowable. It represents everything that we are not sufficiently equipped to know. Since humanity's first appearance in the universe, since that first miraculous acquisition of the quality that makes us human, self-awareness, we have thereafter been engaged in confrontation with this Monolith. In the Dawn of Man, Kubrick shows the time from the first acquisition of self-awareness until confrontation with the Unknown to be quite short. One sleepless night of fear and darkness, eyes searching, then at dawn, suddenly, immediately, full force unmediated confrontation with the Unknowables of Existence. The unexpected and sudden "I am" that precedes this confrontation is, smartly, only implied by Kubrick. He skips it and moves directly to the What, Where, How, and Why Monolith. What, Where, How and Why are the objects that human logic and grammar immediately demand from the profound and simple "I am." "I am" is an a priori argument. It is antecedently necessary to the subsequent Monolithic Questions that have no answer. 2001 is mostly commentary on the fear and psychic destabilization which the human mind has endured since its first "I am." Fear and psychic trauma are humanity's characteristic reactions to the Questions that can not be answered and from which the mind demands answers in order to complete the argument "I am." In 2001 these are the reactions we see the first time and every time the monolith is encountered. The first time is, of course, at The Dawn of Man. The monolith did not appear quietly without being noticed one day. No, clearly it was not there, and then it was there. The trigger was self-awareness. The trigger was "I am." Before this, the apes were quite content sharing puddle water with Tapirs. These same Tapirs and other animals, we later notice, do not seem the least bit impressed when the Monolith does show up. In fact, they don't even see it. And they certainly don't here that scary music. They just continue wandering around as always. Man, alone, is burdened with the Monolith. This burden, this shock of being, but not knowing, is linked in the film immediately to a propensity to commit violence. The deep rooted fear, constantly present in our consciousness, of that which we can not know, has not yet been sufficiently tempered by any framework that we have yet been able to construct in this world to prevent us from lashing out irrationally and violently at the world. We kill, irrationally, because we do not know. We still have not found any way to fundamentally alter our relationship with the unknowable. It was possible to skip all of human history since the Dawn of Man until the year 2001, transitioning as Kubrick did in only a few seconds with the camera panning and following the bone/weapon, flung out by man's arm in one fluid movement, propelled by a very perceptible and fertile combination of exaltation, fear, terror, power, primal angst. The bone is hurled skyward in this way, as has all of human technology since. But more importantly, what is said by compressing all of history like this into just about 5 seconds of film, is that nothing at all worth mentioning has changed apparently since the Dawn of Man regarding our own self awareness and its concomitant relationship to the unknown. The relationship was, at the beginning, and still is, a relationship of terror. Even the artificial intelligence of HAL is shown to encounter self-awareness in exactly the same manner. He becomes self-aware. Therefore he is inextricably engaged with the Monolith. And his reaction is the same: fear-inspired violence and murder. "I'm afraid, . . .Dave. . ., I'm. . . afraid," he says as he is about to die as Dave removes his "higher" logic circuits. The psychedelic journey into the living room shows again the persistence of this shock on our psyche. Bowman finds himself engaged in rather immediate and intimate, Eyes Wide "Open" encounter with the Monolith. This plummets him directly into a domestic Victorian apartment where all of his physical needs are satisfied, without effort, for his entire lifetime (a simple symbol of civilized life which is surely designed to some extent to act as a buffer against our primal fears of the unknown). Yet, at the core of his soul, he is shown to be quite alone, in a world with still no answers to the questions. He has his life-long monologue with the silent monolith, which hounds him always and offers him still nothing even on his death bed. Even as his last act is a finger pointed at the monolith, as if to say "Can I ever know?" Finally, the embryo. the awe of creation and of "being," and perhaps, Kubrick offers a suggestion that one day humanity may alter its manner of being, that perhaps we may find a way of perceiving the unknowable not solely with fear and violence, but instead with a more positive posture. -Rob Snyder From: "Roberto Mendes" Date: Thu, 30 Dec 1999 22:26:56 -0200 Hello! I've read your excellent essay about 2001 and I will read it again before send you any comments about it. For now I'd like to share with you some impressions I have about the movie. The first one is about the "warning" transmited by the monolith, telling to the aliens that the mankind is "waking up". I agree to that viewpoint, but the scene always make to thing of an angry God. I explain: several scientific tests were probably made with the monolith and probably these tests included took photographs of the subject. So I think: why was that the precise moment to the monolith starts the "transmission" to the aliens -- a transmission that had caused pain to the human beings around it? In that moment, another photograph should be taken, but that would be taken as if the scientists were a group of tourists, in some kind of museum, around some "ordinary" sculpture. So it seems that this lack of respect lead the monolith to punish those men. I don't think that that's really why the signal started at that time, but the more I see the scene, the more I think of it. You'll probably agree to me when I say that the group seemed as tourists... ;-) The second impression I'd like to share, and the most important, is about the COMPUTER MALFUNCION message. I'm not quite sure if this message means that HAL was really with serious problems or if it was displayed by the life-support subsystem in response to changings due to HAL's attempt to kill the Discovery's crew, that is, I'm not sure if that means a real HAL's malfunction or only an automatic response to a HAL's possible malfuncion. What do you think of it? That's it for now! Best regards, Roberto