Autor Wątek: Common theme  (Przeczytany 6598 razy)

darkerdays

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Common theme
« dnia: Wrzesień 01, 2006, 06:18:34 am »
Hi, I'm new and I was just wondering if anyone was familiar with the books Solaris, His Master's Voice, and The Cyberiad.  

I was looking for a common theme in which to write my thesis , but I can't really think of anything, interesting.  I was thinking about writing about the common theme of not being able to communicate or understand eachother.  For example Rheya and the Ocean in Solaris, and the "alien" message in His Master's Voice.  The problem is, I need to use all my books, and I can't seem to find anything to relate to that idea with the Cyberiad.

If anyone has any other good ideas, or has an idea from the Cyberiad, I would much like to know, thanks.
« Ostatnia zmiana: Wrzesień 01, 2006, 01:25:16 pm wysłana przez Terminus »

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Re: Common theme
« Odpowiedź #1 dnia: Wrzesień 01, 2006, 01:36:35 pm »
Well, it is truly non-trivial to find a linking theme between the two Solaris, His Master's Voce and Cyberiad. At least, the matter becomes complicated when we're trying to incorporate Cyberiad into the idea.

However, everything is not lost. Notice that in Cyberiad we're encountering the fables and stories about robots, but they're written exactly like they were human-stories. More, they are based on the medevial language forms and ancient legends, laced with great humour. What it shows, is similarity between humans and robots (as Lem imagined them). Therefore I would try to base on the idea of philosophical anthropology. By which I mean:

1. Lem views robots as humans, and describes them as people. It is a substantial simplification, which makes the story rather funny that serious. However, it is the ONLY way to give the human reader an insight into the robot-life. Or isn't it?
2. Humans imagine alien inteligence as human-like (with all the consequences).
3. Humans try to communicate with other inteligences like they were also humans (with all the consequences).

Here, link this now.

Best Regards
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darkerdays

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Re: Common theme
« Odpowiedź #2 dnia: Wrzesień 05, 2006, 09:06:24 pm »
You seem to know a lot about Lem and his works, hopefully you can help me with my research paper which will be due by the end of this month.

I've read several literary criticisms and they all seem to share a lot of the same elements, one being the word cognition, the process of knowing; perception.  Why do people choose this word to describe his works?  

i.e. "cognition and estrangement figure not only as conceptual and aesthetic qualities but as overt themes as well" (Freedman 96).

I haven't had to turn in my thesis yet, but it will be due in a few days.  It can be anything that ties in all the books.  Solaris, His Master's Voice, and The Cyberiad.  I was thinking something on the lines of the limits of individuals (not humans because of the Cyberiad unless I state that I am treating those in the Cyberiad as human).  

Limits pertaining to knowledge, and the impossibility of knowing such things.  The limits in communication which is common in all of the books.  I really don't feel that I should write a 10 page paper on his use of satire against scientific process and government.  

What I'm asking is if you have any thoughts or suggestions that could help me make this easier.  What do you think of my thesis?  What troubles might I run into?  Thanks for the help with your last answer.

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Re: Common theme
« Odpowiedź #3 dnia: Wrzesień 22, 2006, 02:41:22 pm »

Well, it's not suprising to say why perception is being made central in Lem's books.  He was always aware of the limitations of human cognitive strength. And in my opinion it cannot be treated as a proof of his pesymism, but rather of a common sense. That's Lem for you: highly sceptical about everything, but appreciating the value of knowledge and life themselves. In one of his last interviews he said, that even though life seems nonsense, as you are born and die without actually changing anything in Universe's big blackness, it all seems to be worth living, as there's something valuable in this short-lasting flash of life, which is what life is.

So, being sceptic, he also remained somehow optimistic about sense of life. No doubt he'd also like Humanity to be able to communicate with other civilisations, and so on. But here the sceptical side limited his fantasions. All the reasons he gave to show that we're unable to make 'Contact' are purely logical and all are very reasonable. There's only one thing that can be oposed to that - pure hope. But hope, for Lem, was not one with illusion, therefore he smashed elusive visions of Contact (in His Masters Voice), and shredded the scientifical approach to the Unknown in Solaris.

I think it's great what you wrote about the line limiting the knowledge, and it stands as a robust common theme for all the three books. As usually, Cyberiad requires quite different aproach.

During our current discussion about Cyberiad in the Polish section (we've got an ongoing project of reading Lem's books together, called The Lemological Academy, and we're kind of "processing" Cyberiad at the very moment) we (to be more precise, Aniela) have concluded, that the book looses it's sense if Trurl & Klapaucjusz* are thought of as robots. Even though they ARE robots.
I guess that without this assumption we'd be left without the possibility to truly understand what's going on. Lem needed a human observators, representing human-like reasoning, ways of thinking, and, of couse, sense of humour. The hillariousness of Cyberiad is due to the fact that the Constructors duo is oposed to purely un-human ways of thinking and behaviour.
It can be seen for example in the fact, that the Constructors are considering themselves superior to the machines they've constructed. This may be odd, taking into account that they're machines themselves. This paradox is simply omitted by Lem, therefore -in my personal opinion - proving, that we're not supposed to imagine that Trurl & Klapaucjusz (Clapaucius? Is it?) are just AI-s.

Therefore, we've got three situations:
1. His Master's Voice - humans confronted with pure information (of unknown origin), unable to understand it in any way.
2. Solaris - humans confronted with another life form, unable to even say if it's intelligent, though it has tremendous powers , much surpassing  ours. Understanding is right out of question.
3. Cyberiad - humans (in robot forms) confronted with the machines of their own construction, still unable to fully predict their behaviour or control them; not fully understanding machine "intelectuality".

Well, I hope it all helps anything, though it is pretty much too late for it ::)

Best Regards anyway.

---
* (I'm not sure about how his name is translated into English, so I used Polish original.)

« Ostatnia zmiana: Wrzesień 22, 2006, 02:42:09 pm wysłana przez Terminus »

Pekka

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Re: Common theme
« Odpowiedź #4 dnia: Listopad 04, 2006, 09:58:51 pm »
Hello, I am back. Just returned from a week´s holidays in Berlin and brought back a load of SL`s books in German...looking for better translations. In the technical museum in Berlin I did run across with the works of computer inventor Zuse, who also is the inventor of the digital universe cosmology (Wollfram´s  A new kind of science is derived from that). See: ftp://ftp.idsia.ch/pub/juergen/everything.pdf.

Also http://www.idsia.ch/~juergen/everything/html.html

Isn´t this analoguous to the interaction between the Solaris Sea and humans...the discussion about inperfect god playing with his powers in the end of the novel?

 8-)
Pekka from Lahti

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Re: Common theme
« Odpowiedź #5 dnia: Listopad 07, 2006, 09:37:43 am »
Congratulations on your nice trip. You were so close to Poland...
As for the article, it seems interesting... I am suprised one can have such a thing published in a scientific journal ::) I wonder if it's a part of the Philadelphia List ::)
Hopefully I will find time to read it...


Pekka

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Re: Common theme
« Odpowiedź #6 dnia: Listopad 13, 2006, 10:25:14 pm »
And soon even closer...planning a pilgrimage 8-)

Wasn´t it so that SL used to escape hay fever by going to Zakopane? Well, I am planning to go wanderig in the Tatra mountins (have once driven over them, in the middle of the night, from Dresden to Prague).
I have experience from the Bavarian alps so shouldn´t be too difficult 8-)

Folks, if you share the same hobby and are familiar with Tatra mountains please contact me. Planning trip with my wife perhaps in April-May - is that a good point of time for that?

So perhaps we could organize a real pilgrimage tour  :)
Pekka from Lahti

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Re: Common theme
« Odpowiedź #7 dnia: Grudzień 11, 2006, 09:43:17 am »
Wow, back after a long time.  I really didn't like the books, they were way to hard for me.  Anyway, I got a 270/300 on my paper, one of the only As.  :)  

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Re: Common theme
« Odpowiedź #8 dnia: Grudzień 17, 2006, 12:31:30 am »
Cytuj
And soon even closer...planning a pilgrimage 8-)

Wasn´t it so that SL used to escape hay fever by going to Zakopane? Well, I am planning to go wanderig in the Tatra mountins (have once driven over them, in the middle of the night, from Dresden to Prague).
I have experience from the Bavarian alps so shouldn´t be too difficult 8-)

Folks, if you share the same hobby and are familiar with Tatra mountains please contact me. Planning trip with my wife perhaps in April-May - is that a good point of time for that?

So perhaps we could organize a real pilgrimage tour  :)


Hi Pekka, I haven't noticed this message of yours somehow :( However, there's still time until april/may :) Well yes, I'm a climber and also a fan of any good mountain hikes :) Tatras - if You have done Alps - are sort of miniature of the latter (Tatras have relatively small area, and highest attitude around 2400 (Polish) and 2600 (Slovakian)). Very beatiful thought. And I am familiar with them, at least with the Polish part (they're divided by the Polish/Slovakian border. Slovakia gets around 2/3 of them, we only have 1/3 ::) ).

April/May is a nice idea, well, you'll experience snow in the upper parts, at least you should expect that if the weather is like it always was. However, this year's weather is pretty freaked up. Nobody knows then :)
« Ostatnia zmiana: Grudzień 17, 2006, 12:33:14 am wysłana przez Terminus »