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Old 10-26-2001, 05:26 PM   #1
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Stanley Kubrick on God and the universe

This is a portion of an interview Stanley Kubrick did with Playboy magazine back in 1968 for his movie 2001: a space odyssey. Even though this interview is 30 years out of date, most of the info is not. Stanley Kubrick vision of the world in many different ways is still very much relevant today and believed by many people to this day. Out of all the interviews Kubrick did, this one he was able to show his intelligence the most on different subjects other than film. I will post portions of the interviews at different times.

"Probably the most intelligent man I've ever met."

-Arthur C. Clarke on Stanley Kubrick

"People who are not awed by the universe have no soul."

-Albert Einstein

-----------------------------------

PLAYBOY: Speaking of what itís all about - if youíll allow us to return to the
philosophical interpretation of 2001 - would you agree with those critics who call it a
profoundly religious film?

KUBRICK: I will say that the God concept is at the heart of 2001 - but not any
traditional, anthropomorphic image of God. I donít believe in any of Earthís monotheistic
religions, but I do believe that one can construct an intriguing scientific definition of God,
once you accept the fact that there are approximately 100 billion stars in our galaxy alone,
that each star is a life-giving sun and that there are approximately 100 billion galaxies in
just the visible universe. Given a planet in a stable orbit, not too hot and too cold, and
given a few billion years of chance chemical reactions created by the interaction of a sunís
energy on the planetís chemicals, itís fairly certain that life in one form or another will
eventually emerge. Itís reasonable to assume that there must be, in fact, countless billions
of such planets where biological life has arisen, and the odds of some proportion of such
life developing intelligence are high. Now, the sun is by no means and old star and its
planets are mere children in cosmic age, so it seems likely that there are billions of planets
in the universe not where intelligent life is on a lower scale than man but other billions
where it is approximately equal and others still where it is hundreds of thousands of
million years in advance of us. When you think of the giant technological strides man has
made in a few millennia - less than a microsecond in the chronology of the universe - can
you imagine the evolutionary development that much older life forms have taken? They
may have progressed from biological species, which are fragile shells for the mind at best,
into immortal machine entities - and then, over innumerable eons, they could emerge from
the chrysalis of matter transformed into beings of pure energy and spirit. Their
potentialities would be limitless and their intelligence ungraspable by humans.

PLAYBOY: Even assuming the cosmic evolutionary path you suggest, what has this to do
with the nature of God?

KUBRICK: Everything - because these beings would be gods to the billions of less
advanced races in the universe, just as man would appear a god to an ant that somehow
comprehended manís existence. They would possess the twin attributes of all dieties -
omniscience and omnipotence. These entities might be in telepathic communication
throughout the cosmos and thus be aware of everything that occurs, tapping every
intelligent mind as effortlessly as we switch on the radio; they might not be limited by the
speed of light and their presence could penetrate to the farthest corners of the universe,
they might possess complete mastery over matter and energy; and in their final
evolutionary stage, they might develop into an integrated collective immortal
consciousness. They would be incomprehensible to us except as gods; and if the tendrils of
their consciousness ever brushed menís minds, it is only the hand of God we could grasp
as an explanation.

PLAYBOY: If such creatures do exist, why should they be interested in man?

KUBRICK: They may not be. But why should man be interested in microbes? The motive
of such beings would be as alien to us as their intelligence.

PLAYBOY: In 2001, such incorporeal creatures seem to manipulate our destiny and
control our evolution, though whether for good or evil - or both or neither - remains
unclear. Do you really believe itís possible that man is a cosmic plaything of such entities?

KUBRICK: I donít really believe anything about them; how can I? Mere speculation on
the possibility of their existence is sufficiently overwhelming, without attempting to
decipher their motives. The important point is that all standard attributes assigned to God
in our history could equally well be the characteristics of biological entities who billions of
years ago were at a stage of development similar to manís own and evolved into
something as remote from man as man is remote from the primordial ooze from which he
first emerged.

PLAYBOY: In this cosmic phlyogeny youíve described, isnít it possible that there might
be forms of intelligent life on an even higher scale than these enities of pure energy -
perhaps as far removed from them as they are from us?

KUBRICK: Of course there could be; in an infinite, eternal universe, the point is anything
is possible, and itís unlikely that we can even begin to scratch the surface of the full range
of possibilities. But at a time [1968] when man is preparing to set foot on the Moon, I
think it is necessary to open up our Earth bound minds to such speculation. No one knows
whatís waiting for us in the universe. I think it was a prominent astronomer who wrote
recently, ďSometimes I think we are alone, and sometime I think weíre not. In either case,
the idea is quite staggering.Ē

~rougerum

[This message has been edited by rougerum (edited 10-26-2001).]
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Old 10-26-2001, 06:06 PM   #2
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Yeah, the universe seems pretty impressive now, but just wait 10^50 years (I made that number up), when the laws of thermodynamics turn this universe into a lifeless, uniform blob.
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Old 10-26-2001, 08:04 PM   #3
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Well, these philosophical speculations are an edivence of Kubrick's brilliant mind. I entirely agree with this concept of Godlike creatures that have evolved from primeval waters into something utterly out and above our limited prodding minds. These entities, besides, help us to solve the riddle of the existence of Evil in the Universe, considering that these beings would not have to carrie the burden of the moral responsability of creating such a terrible universe. As the author of a remarkable book ("Darwin's Dangerous Idea") puts it, the blind evolution of an algorithm would dispense with the idea of a creator God. However, creatures that progressively transform themselves into Godlike creatures may represent a trancendantal hope for us Earthbound animals who crave for the existence of a loving and caring God, whose reality seems to be confuted by everything which lies around us.

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Old 10-27-2001, 01:11 AM   #4
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Just to let ya know rougerum, I rented Dr. Strangelove tonite. I'll watch it tomorrow. Thanks for the suggestion, and great thread!
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Old 10-27-2001, 01:33 AM   #5
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God forbid -- I mean, really powerful aliens forbid, but I have to say that I *think* Kubrick is throwing the word "god" around with very little reverence.

What I mean is this: I too accept the possibility of very advanced alien life. After all, even if life developed in parallel, we've experienced quite a few ELE's (extinction level events) that could have really set us back in the race of technological development. Between a REALLY ancient cataclysm, the extinction of the dinosaurs, and even the Dark Ages, we could be anywhere from a couple centuries to a billion years behind a higher form of life.

...and that's even assuming that our planets' life cycles started at the same time.

But here's my problem: yes, they would be "gods" to us in the same way that we are "gods" to microbes, but that wouldn't make them God.

They would be MUCH more knowledgeable and powerful than us, but I still don't think they would have "omniscience and omnipotence".

Yes, they could serve most roles that God serves in our society, but they would not be responsible for the answer to the Great Questions:

Who created the universe, and why?

I would certainly think that these alien races -- still mere products of creation itself -- are not somehow be responsible for it. And I don't think anyone one this side of the "fishbowl" will ever discover the total process of creation, and certainly not the motivation of the Creator.

Let's return to the analogy of us and the microbes. We may be as "gods" to them, but we probably didn't create those microbes, and we almost certainly didn't create the matter that make up the microbes. We didn't create the universe that we and the microbes inhabit, and we certainly didn't create ourselves.

We're essentially just a larger fish in the same damn fishbowl.

And I think Kubrick skirted the issue of whether he believes/believed in God -- that is, the CREATOR of life, the universe, and everything -- and the reporter should have caught him on it.

And when he's suggesting that these mere creations either are or could be the creator, I can't help but think of three things:

1) He is a purebred humanist.

2) He's committing the same great sin by assuming that man (or his fellow brothers in the cosmos) can ever become God.

3) He's talking out of his ass.

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I believe in truth, beauty, freedom, and -- above all things -- love.

[This message has been edited by Achtung Bubba (edited 10-26-2001).]
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Old 10-27-2001, 01:39 AM   #6
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Lo and behold; it's Achtung Bubba.
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Old 10-27-2001, 02:56 AM   #7
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Yep, back from the cave that is Computer Science.
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Old 10-27-2001, 06:27 AM   #8
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Achtung Bubba;

The great idea of a Creator - supposing he is not just an imaginary Being - is not shared by several of the most important religions or weltanschaungen in the world.
For instance, Buddhism. Ortodoxe Buddhism rejects a creator. For Buddha, the Universe is the product of a crimeval and unexplanable disturbance. Everything, according to him, is in perpetual transit. The weel of life turns perpetually and non-teleologicaly.
A Creator would have the biggest moral burden of all: a world, and which there is suffering, death, undeserved punishments, wars, and every kind of agony, uncertainty and injustice. Kipling used to say that this world is certanly one of the hells. The principal of inviduation, that entails a sort of war of the world against isolated beings, the food chain which necessitates that in order to survive each individual must destroy other especies, etc; all that points to a single possibility, namely,that of a self-making God, whose predecessor forms would be the possible superior beings which we have been mentioning.
NB: Lets us not forget that the existence of polemos it self is a mark of imperfection. A truly benevolent God would never have allowed the torture of endless discussions, misunderstandings, fights, and all manner of wars. Polemos(war) is the a proof of a basic flaw in the fabric of the multiverses.

Well, those are my thoughts, my creed

Geez, when I start thinking about all the billions of possibilities that this Universe possesses, I get dizzy, lol



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Old 10-27-2001, 11:04 AM   #9
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To reject the idea of a creator is fine: Kubrick didn't address it one way or another.

All our modern observations not only point to the possibility of extraterrestrial life: it also points to a finite universe, a universe that began some 20 billion years ago, the result of an explosion from a single point.

Buddha can certainly believe in an perpetual universe, just people can believe in a flat earth. But it looks like the universe didn't exist at one point in time (though the idea of time before the universe is a difficult one). It begs the questions, who -- if anyone -- created this universe and why?

Buddha may have addressed those questions, but Kubrick certainly didn't.

And, again, the idea of a "self-making" god (as you describe it) doesn't address it either. Your concept appears to describe a being or group of beings that arose from other beings. That's not self-making (just like humans aren't "self-making", in that I'm not own parents) and it STILL does not address where the aliens predecessors came from.

Finally...

The principal of inviduation, that entails a sort of war of the world against isolated beings, the food chain which necessitates that in order to survive each individual must destroy other especies, etc; all that points to a single possibility, namely,that of a self-making God, whose predecessor forms would be the possible superior beings which we have been mentioning.

HOW??

How does our existence point to the "single possibility" of superintelligent aliens? How does it point to them and not a single, truly good, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God?

Sorry. I don't see it.

Regardless of Kipling's opinions, I believe that the problems of suffering, etc., in can be answered in that, without these "problems", true spiritual freedom wouldn't be possible.

If there was true justice in this world, if good people were rewarded in this world for their good deeds, and bad people were punished for their bad deeds, then people would choose to do good BECAUSE of the rewards. They wouldn't choose goodness for its own sake.

If there was certainty, again, you would KNOW the end results of your actions, and that would cause you to do what you do. If people KNEW that there was a God, there would be no real free will in choosing to obey Him.

This universe is not inconsistent with the idea of the Judeo-Christian God. At least, the universe certainly doesn't point solely to the idea of advanced alien life.

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Old 10-27-2001, 11:15 AM   #10
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Bubba,

It is one thing to disagree with him, it is another thing to attack him by saying he is talking out of his ass. I think Kubrick sees that a single god that created the universe may be too simple of an answer. That the possibilities for who is directly responsible for us is endless. Kubrick may see it as a complex answer we can not even begin to answer at this point and time and like Laura said, other religions have different views on this so instead of attacking him next time for believing this, just disagree with and respect his opinion as I do with all other people.

~rougerum
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Old 10-27-2001, 12:40 PM   #11
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You DID notice the smiley face, right?
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Old 10-27-2001, 01:24 PM   #12
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I did but i was just making sure.

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Old 10-27-2001, 01:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
To reject the idea of a creator is fine: Kubrick didn't address it one way or another.

All our modern observations not only point to the possibility of extraterrestrial life: it also points to a finite universe, a universe that began some 20 billion years ago, the result of an explosion from a single point.

Buddha can certainly believe in an perpetual universe, just people can believe in a flat earth.

Buddha doesnt belive in a perpetual universe. He belives that the Universe is perpetually (that is, as long as it exists) in flux, in a condition of a constant "devenir". There is no substantiality in the beings ("Sunyata") this totaly agrees with contemporary physics.

As to your observations conserning the concept of a self-making God, it only presents some difficolty for those who belive that idea of God is inextricably linked to the idea of a Creator. It is time that we should separet both concepts. British thelogians have even surfaced with the idea that God is an all-pervasive Love that is not omnipotent.
Omnipotence is just an attribute that we attach to the idea of God as a result of our childhood dependence on our parental figures. So, what is the problem of conseiving of God that is neither a Creator nor omnipotent? Btw, the inconveniences of polemos are shown when you refer to an opponent in a discussion as some1 who is speaking through a non-orthodox organ!

And Kubrick is just a genius too!!


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Old 10-27-2001, 05:42 PM   #14
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Laura:

I stand corrected about my comments about Buddha.

But I'm beginning to believe that your comments, as well thought out as they may be, are not well defended. They may be defendable, but it doesn't appear that you are making that effort.

Example:

As to your observations conserning the concept of a self-making God, it only presents some difficolty for those who belive that idea of God is inextricably linked to the idea of a Creator. It is time that we should separet both concepts.

How does it present only some minor difficulty? And should we not address even the minor difficulties?

If you accept as a given that my points about the Author of creation is God are somehow minor, you can say with a GREAT deal of care that it *could* be time to "separate both concepts".

As it is, I certainly don't accept it as a given, so jumping immediately to the "it is time" comment seems VERY premature.

Omnipotence is just an attribute that we attach to the idea of God as a result of our childhood dependence on our parental figures. So, what is the problem of conseiving of God that is neither a Creator nor omnipotent?

Again, the first sentence may lead to the second sentence, but the first sentence CANNOT be taken as a given, and you do nothing to convince me or the rest of this audience of the validity of the first sentence.

(In reality, God may not be omnipotent in terms of His realm. But He created this realm, and it's generally believed that creation is FAR more difficult than destruction. Thus, He holds the power of both the creation and destruction of our ENTIRE existence; from our point of view, that's pratically omnipotence.)

My beliefs come down to this: we are in a finite, physical universe -- finite in both space and time (a limited amount of matter that came into existence some time ago).

This universe was either created, or it merely "came into being". If it was created, the Creator is God.

The Creator may not be infinite, omniscient, or omnipotent Himself. We could all be a simulation of a universe being run a very large computer, in which case the programmers need not be immortal and all-powerful or even knowledgeable of all the events in our existence. But those programmers would still be our God (or our Gods) in that they created our universe.

It may also be possible that the universe did "just come into being". In that case, there is no God -- even other inhabitants of this creation aren't responsible, so they can't take that role of "God".

Finally, it may also be the case that advanced life forms within this universe are aware of and manipulating our existence on the quantum level. They have "god-like" powers, in the sense of Greek gods (who themselves were created and not the Creator), but they too are merely other creations. They too CANNOT be God.

Here: I've laid out a well-reasoned argument. You cannot merely brush it away as "some difficulty" and proclaim that you're right. Start defending your position, or there's really no sense in continuing this discussion.

Bubba
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Old 10-27-2001, 09:29 PM   #15
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rougerum, if you're so open to Kubrick's theory about aliens being gods, I don't see why you could be so skeptical when I once put it to you that aliens could be demons instead.
http://forum.interference.com/u2feed...ML/000533.html

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