Introducing Gattaca<br />A few thoughts from Einstein<br />
Why Einstein?<br />Einstein was one of the greatest scientists and thinkers in recent history.<br />He worked in America on the Atomic bomb during the 50’s and 60’s- at an exciting time for science<br />He was very concerned about ethical issues in science<br />He was also a refugee from the Nazi regime, and the victim of discrimination himself. <br />He worked on the Atomic bomb, and regretted it. <br />
The Theme<br />Ethics and science<br />Fear of technology<br />Fear of Human Nature<br />The unethical use of science <br />As technology (science) progresses, human nature remains the same.<br />
Abuse of Technology<br /><ul><li>What was the Atomic bomb first used for?
What are the problems with such power in the hands of mankind?
How does society in ‘Gattaca’ abuse their power? </li></ul>When Einstein saw the atomic bomb he had helped to create, he said<br />‘ the power of the atom has changed everything except our way of thinking…the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind.’<br />
Fear of technology<br /><ul><li>When Vincent’s parents choose which egg to develop, what criteria did they use to choose his brother? </li></ul>Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.<br />
Technology and Society<br /><ul><li>What opportunity for development has Vincent been offered?
What do you think this says about the society he lives in? </li></ul>All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.<br />
Technology and Humanity<br /><ul><li>What do you think Einstein meant by this?
What do you consider the qualities of humanity to be?
How has technology in the world of ‘Gattaca’ removed people from humanity?
DO you think this is true in the real world? </li></ul>It is appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity<br />
Limitations<br /><ul><li>Do you think Vincent ever accepts his limitations?
What does it tell you about the society of ‘Gattaca’ that Irene and Anton are so quick to accept their limitations?
Do you think there is a conflict between the advanced science and the old prejudices in ‘Gattaca’?</li></ul>Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.<br />
The way we think<br /><ul><li>What do you think this means?
What are the problems of society in ‘Gattaca’?
What has the society in ‘Gattaca’ lost with their quest for genetic perfection?
What warning is the director sending to his audience? </li></ul>The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.<br />To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.<br />
The Future<br /><ul><li>What does the director want you to think are old ways of thinking ?
What new manners of thinking does Vincent inspire in others?
What does this suggest about the ‘real world’?</li></ul>We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive. <br />
After Watching Gattaca<br /><ul><li>Write down all the events from the film that show you how their society judges people</li></ul>‘What clues do we get about<br /><ul><li>how society values its people?’
‘Does the society at all resemble the one we live in’?</li></li></ul><li>Introducing the Issues:<br />Genes and Genetics<br />Gattaca was made at the end of the 20th century, just as a huge debate in the media about the future direction and ethics of genetic manipulation was firing popular interest.<br />This debate will certainly continue and become more complex still because it has vital implications for the life of every person and every living thing on earth as well as being fundamental to the construction of the fictional Gattaca. <br />You need to grasp a few names and basic genetic terms so that you can discuss issues thoughtfully.<br />
Terms<br /><ul><li>Genes are the coded building blocks of all living things. The genetic blueprint for life is found in the nucleus, the control centre of every cell.
The chemical building blocks of genes are made up of individual stretches of nucleotides. You’ll be interested to discover that there are four base nucleotides, known by the letters G A T C. These are sequenced in triplets . Single stretches pair up to create long strands of DNA (dioxyribonucleicacid), twisted and interlocked like
a spiral staircase.</li></li></ul><li>DNA is about Pairs<br />So what might the name ‘Gattaca’ represent?<br />Who are the ‘bonded pairs?’<br />● DNA strands twist in a controlled way that always matches and bonds certain pairs of nucleotide bases. A G on one strand always pairs up with a C on the other, and an A with a T. Professor Nossal describes twisted DNA strands, the famous double helix molecular structure, as ‘circular staircase-like assemblies’– each step made up of a bonded pair of bases.<br />● Long stretches of paired bases in a double-stranded DNA molecule make up a chromosome. Each living species has a certain number of chromosomes, which code that species’ individual characteristics. Every human cell has 46 chromosomes.<br />
What do the character’s names mean?<br /><ul><li>It might be worth noting that the character name ‘Jerome Morrow’ lacks any of these letters, as though he is somehow inert or non-human, perhaps. A similar argument could be made for the cool murderer, Josef.
However, the names EuGene (‘well born’), VinCenT (‘successful one’, someone who overcomes) and FreemAn, combined, possess all the necessary components of the base code to make and continue creating life. Perhaps they will combine to bring life to Irene, another imperfect VALID whose name is also absent of the key letters.</li></li></ul><li>So what is it about?<br /><ul><li>Gattaca is a multifaceted film. It's the story of Vincent, a "faith baby" with strong will power who dreams of exploring space but lives in a world where only the genetically enhanced can be astronauts. Undaunted, Vincent pursues his dream in the only way possible. Jerome is the opposite of Vincent. Blessed with the improvements offered by genetic engineering, he is unable to cope with the disappointments of life. Gattaca is also a murder mystery. Vincent gets caught up in the investigation surrounding the killing of his superior at work, a man who opposed the mission that Vincent has been scheduled to take. Is Vincent the murderer? Will the investigation expose Vincent as an "in-valid" and a "de-gene-erate?" </li>
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