Is Kant’s nature/freedom dualism clearer in ‘Farewell to the Master’ or ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’?
Since the film ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ is based on the short story ‘Farewell to the Master’ then the dualism of nature/freedom would appear a bit for both, but more clearly in the movie.
The philosophy of Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher 18th century known for his contributions to Enlightenment thinking, goes against the grain and separates the concept of freedom and ethics from the concept of nature to compare them. To shorten this, the dualism or contradiction of nature and freedom can be said that humankind obtains control over nature through innovation, science, and technology; but also to lose its freedom to the structure and tools that it created.
A bit of context for the short story ‘Farewell to the Master’: a craft appears on the lawn of the Smithsonian. It doesn’t descend. It just appears out of nowhere. A few days pass, and crowds gather. Then a man steps out of the craft accompanied by a large green robot. He says his name is Klaatu and the robot is Gnut. Before he can say anything else, he is shot dead by a person in the crowd. Invisible robot Gnut appear in the Washington D.C. capitol, with a message of impending doom. From there, the book and the film take different paths. There is a plot twist at the end of the book that the mysterious robot was the master of the alien man all along. The robot Gort, based on the book character Gnut, seeks retribution in the film and is a bodyguard, not Klaatu’s master.
The morality during this story stays consistent, but kinda lacks creativity and an important takeaway.
A bit of context from the movie ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’: Aliens and humans meet when a flying saucer lands on earth. A humanoid appears from the vehicle and explains that he comes in peace. The military surrounds him, and as he makes an unexpected movement, he is shot. His companion, a robot appears, though the humanoid stops him from hurting them. The shot destroyed the humanoids gift for the president. The alien is then taken to the hospital though he heals himself. No one manages to enter the saucer. Klaatu wishes to talk to all the world leaders at once, though this is impossible. He then requests to integrate with the humans, which he is not permitted to do. Klaatu runs away and stays at a boarding house.
Klaatu becomes a young child’s babysitter as his parents are away. He goes to some of the people that Bobby, the young boy, looks up to and helps him solve a math problem. Klaatu needs help to save the earth, and is helped by Bobby’s mother, Helen, who breaks up with her boyfriend when he betrays them. Klaatu is shot dead and Helen mutters some words Klaatu told her to say. Klaatu is revived for a few moments where he tells earth that they have two choices, peace or elimination, before he heads back to his country. What happens next you should watch the movie to find out : )
In conclusion, because both things are very similar, I believe the point in dualism concerning nature/freedom is more clear in the movie only because additional features are being added and people naturally are inclined to understand certain things better in movies rather than in books. In movies, music and dramatic scenes are present to express the feel of the story as if we are there and for some it’s even informational. Music being expressed at the right moment, at the right time really completes gives out the best experience.
Thanks for reading this essay. Hope you enjoyed it and I’ll be seeing you in my last essay of this course soon, as always be blessed!