Frankenstein By Mary Shelley
(Author\'s Note: This was a semi-creative project. We had to address the issues
in a persuasive letter rather than a boring ol\' report, so please become
unconfused as far as the format..) Cal Tech Curriculum Committee: Scientists are
all too ready to lock themselves away with their research, unwilling - perhaps
even incapable - of seeing the consequences of their actions. It is our duty as
their educators to provide them with not only a means to gain knowledge but also
insights into the society into which they will ultimately release their
findings. Since none here are literary or English majors, it may seem difficult
at first to integrate such needed sociological concerns into their current
courses of study, so it is our duty to give them easily-reliable examples which
parallel with their own course of study, examples that will be memorable. And
what better to illustrate and retain attention than a tragedy? I suggest that
the Mary Shelly’s novel Frankenstein be included as a central text in the
current Humanities courses required here. The reason Frankenstein may hold more
relevance as part of the program than say, a classical Greek play, is the
subject matter alone. Hopefully, the literary connections are more likely to be
drawn, if we can appeal to the students’ interests as best as we can. Perhaps
then they are more likely to believe that the humanities do "have something to
do with them." The specifics it also raises about ethics and responsibilities
of science speak more than enough of the novel’s behalf.Many scientists in the
far-reaching fields today may feel overwhelmed, perhaps even taking on a

Gaudi-esque credo to their respective research. That Spanish architect is quoted
as saying that he "didn’t have time to wonder," that he "had to spend
all of [his] time working." While this is a commendible work ethic, such a
belief can lead scientists to bring the "curse to mankind" that Einstein
warns us against. While a piece of art may incite violence, certain sciences may
uncover information that can physically provide the means of violence.

Scientists provide the power, they are the vehicles of the force - but it is
rarely they who end up wielding it. Governments, companies, and monetary
sponsors are those that are really calling the shots, and since they only bought
out that technology without acquiring that knowledge themselves, they may prove
irresponsible with that power. They have no responsibilty towards it, so it is
up to the scientists themselves to determine if the rest of the world is ready
for thier data. A common misconception is that the computer industry is out of
control - but what is really growing beyond its rights is the monopolization and
marketing of those computers. Unwitting engineers have explained to the
executives how operation systems work, and now that simplified knowledge in
turned against the users. This issue is addressed well in the Frankenstein novel
as well. Had Victor taken in his monster and walked it into humanity slowly,
instead of abandoning it when it needed him, his creation might just have fit in
afterall. "Could or should" maybe do not even enter the picture. Science
will continue to refine itself and go onward in some form throughout our lives.

Someone will reach the next step or the higher level, and more will build off of
it. However, the best precaution to learning and releasing innovative concepts
to the society at the right time is giving our future scientists a wide range of
possible scenarios to consider. In the novel, Victor understood how to perform
his experiments, he had insights into what had been done in reliable fields
before. But based on his seclusion and his obsession, his blind devotion to only
his ideas, he could never predict the outcome of his experiment. He had no
thesis to work towards. Knowing a bit of biology and chemistry does not qualify
one to single-handedly delve into potentially dangerous projects. Why did he do
it? Passion, obsession, the need for individual worth? We cannot allow egos to
interfere with safety. We also cannot be willing to encourage our students
complete withdrawal from society, with the possible loss of their own self to
their science. A self-absorbed mind is not as likely to make responable
conclusions. We should never sacrifice the individual for the collection of data
or the progression of technology, because the progression will never stop.

Thrown into motion such as it is, it will continue forward until we reach either
the status of omnipotence or self-destruction. I do now think we should