Summary Of Susan Sontag's The Imagination Of Disaster
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In “The Imagination of Disaster” Susan Sontag discusses the recurring themes in science fiction movies and why the human psyche is allured to technological destruction. Destruction is a very common theme among science fiction. Stanislaw Lem’s “How the World was Saved” is a fictional piece about a machine that has the power to turn the world into nothingness he discusses the power of technology and how humanity wields it foolishly. Although the genre of science fiction differs in execution between movies and writing, I claim that both commonly portray technology and science as the reason for our apocalypse because humanity has and always use them immorally.
Humans have strong destructive tendencies as long as they benefit themselves, which is what allows room for the immoral abuse of science and technology to take place. Humans know how self destructive they are and love to push situations to the edge until they mess up and act like they didn’t know what they were doing. In Lem’s short story two androids are working on a machine that can do anything that starts with the letter “n”. One scientist asks it to do “nothing” and the machine begins to delete everything in existence into nothingness. The android named Klapaucius who was trying to be a smart aleck by pushing it to the edge claims he didn’t know this would happen to which the machine replies, “Klapaucius don’t pretend to be a greater idiot than you are” (385). The machine knows Klapaucius is trying to play dumb and act like he didn’t know what he was doing when trying to outsmart the machine. Klapaucius knew this was a possibility but in his efforts to try overwork something already amazing he messed up and is now trying to act like he’s a simpleton who couldn’t cause such destruction. ¶ I believe that on the surface level of his mind Klapaucius did actually convince himself he did not know this would happen as to cover up for his fatal mistakes, but deep in his subconscious he knew what he was doing. He is an android but I believe his characteristics still align with human choices. I think we as humans know the boundaries of certain things, but we continue to push them even if we know they are immoral. For example a fight with your girlfriend. If she