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Science-Fiction: Tool for Education and Enlightenment

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posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 08:08 AM
I`d like to propose that Science-Fiction movies, books, ideas are a tool for education and enlightenment...more so than many other things.

I'd also like to propose that people who scoff at science-fiction are ignorant of its benefits to human psychology, sociology, politics and even economy.

1. Predictive Value

Science-Fiction has always been predictive of things to come. Back in the 19th Century, Sci-Fi writers like Jules Verne and H.G. Wells did in fact predict Rockets, Computers, Fax-Machines, Televisions and even the Internet...while less bright citizens (calling themselves "Skeptics" and "Rationalists" laughed at them)

2. Political & Social Value

The old 1960s Series "Star Trek" (and also many of the newer ones), showed and taught what the effects of different political attitudes are. They showed what democracy is, what a republic is, what a Federation is, and also, when landing on other planets, what the effects of communism, fascism, dictatorship, etc. naturally are.

Star Trek offers a model of sensible politics, as do many other Sci-Fi programs.

3. Value for the Expansion of Awareness & Imagination

Expanding ones awareness and imagination are arguably the two most important factors in continued growth, prosperity and success of an individual and society. Science-Fiction promotes both.

4. Inspirational Value

Sci-Fi has inspired millions to become better inventors, better story-tellers, better business-people, better diplomats between nations.

What ideas do you guys have on Science-Fiction?

[edit on 14-1-2009 by Skyfloating]

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 08:15 AM
On more speculative notes: our kids learn more in one sci-fi movie than in a month of school? sci-fi writers practice a form of "remote viewing" or "channeling" without knowing it?

...have we averted Dystopian nightmares because Sci-Fi (Orwell for example) has warned us?

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 08:30 AM
Amazing Sci-Fi Predictions

1. CCTV – as imagined by George Orwell in ‘1984’ (1949)

In one of the most famous dystopian imaginings, George Orwell plunged his character Winston into a world of paranoia and suspicion, watched over by the sinister Big Brother. First published back in 1949, Orwell pictured a life where the populace was watched over by telescreens, with nobody ever sure if they were being watched. CCTV arrived as a means of watching the public in the 1970s, and there are now an estimated four million cameras in the UK alone.

2. The Internet – as imagined by Mark Twain in ‘From the London Times of 1904’ (1898)

"The improved 'limitless-distance' telephone was presently introduced, and the daily doings of the globe made visible to everybody, and audibly discussable too, by witnesses separated by any number of leagues." A little bit more a stretch for this one, but back in 1898, Twain wrote of a global communications network called the telelectroscope that you could see and hear through – pretty good going for the 19th Century! The Internet, or at least the American military precursor to it named ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency NETwork), was first brought about in 1969, as a way of keeping lines of communication open in the event of a major attack during the Cold War

3. Geosynchronous Satellite – as imagined by Arthur C Clarke in ‘Extra-Terrestrial Relays’ Wireless World magazine (1945)

Arthur C. Clarke came up with one of the most astoundingly accurate predictions of our time when he postulated that a network of geosynchronous satellites that revolved at the same speed as the earth and therefore remained in the same position over it, could make global communication possible. Hermann Oberth in his 1920 book ‘Die Rakete zu den Planetenraumen’ and John R. Pierce also have claims to have come up with the idea. Although this idea was not first published in a fictional context but in a scientific forum, Clarke also used the idea in his books.

more coming.

[edit on 14-1-2009 by Skyfloating]

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 08:30 AM
I owe pretty much everything I am to science-fiction. I didn't do any work as a schoolboy. I'd just get suspended all the time and sit at home getting stoned and watching Star Trek and The X-Files.

Originally posted by Skyfloating
What ideas do you guys have on Science-Fiction?

I agree with yours, for a start. But several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation per day followed by a discussion should be mandatory in every single classroom planet-wide. I think the world would also be a far better place if children were forced to do an in-depth study of the original Star Wars trilogy (preferably instead of the bible) including all the concepts behind it up until the age of around 25-30.

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 08:34 AM
continued from last post

4. The video iPod – as imagined by HG Wells in ‘When The Sleeper Wakes’ (1899)

Wells, the writer of some of the most important books in science fiction, came up with a device that sounds almost exactly like a modern day media player such as a video iPod in his book ‘When The Sleeper Wakes. His version was a flat square with a little picture that was ‘very vividly coloured.’ Not only were the people on the screen moving, but they were conversing with clear small voices.

5. Test-tube babies – as imagined by Aldous Huxley in 'Brave New World' (1932)

Brave New World is one of the most famous glimpses into an imagined future, and author Aldous Huxley’s imagination conjured up a world where the population is not born naturally but from a machine, where their genes can be perfected and the nutrition controlled. This pre-dates the arrival of so-called test tube babies, where the egg is fertilised outside of the body, by some 46 years – although in reality a human is still needed for the pregnancy, which means you'll have to hold off on suggesting a test-tube baby's star sign is Pyrex...

6. CD/DVD – as imagined by EE ‘Doc’ Smith in 'Triplanetary' . (1934)

In Smith’s book Triplanetary, the author talks of records surviving a noxious gas attack because they were on playable discs of platinum alloy. Although CDs and DVDs are, of course, not platinum alloy, a metallic looking storage disc is fairly prescient.

for more check the link provided

[edit on 14-1-2009 by Skyfloating]

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 08:35 AM

Originally posted by Skyfloating
On more speculative notes: our kids learn more in one sci-fi movie than in a month of school?

I certainly did when I was a child. sci-fi writers practice a form of "remote viewing" or "channeling" without knowing it?

Interesting that you mention that. Last night I read a short story by Philip K. Dick called Waterspider, where the government had killed all science-fiction writers because of their precognitive abilities. Someone from the future had to go back to the 50's, capture some science-fiction authors, then take them back to the future.

But in answer to your question: yes. I think some of them certainly do (with and without knowing it).

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 08:39 AM
Sci-fi is like everything something that can be used for positive and negative purposes but in every case it let's you think about the possibilities.

I do like your view about the dystopian sci-fi and the avertable warning within it.

The lesser part about sci-fi in this sense is for example the alien movies like star-ship troopers, war of the worlds and independance day. While nice movies to watch it does instill fear about the unknown. Luckily we have other movies like The day the earth stood still, Contact and Star Wars, giving a more varied picture of Possible aliens and the interaction between them.

Sci fi is one of the better creations of human creativity imo, it can be a startingpoint for real science and like you said a warning to future generations

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 08:40 AM
reply to post by Cadbury

Phillip K. Dick. He may just have been the best sci-fi writer ever. Loved every one of his books.

I once read a conspiracy-related article entitled "Phillip K. Dick and the Illuminati"...if you find it, it may be something that interests you specifically

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 08:45 AM

Originally posted by Harman

The lesser part about sci-fi in this sense is for example the alien movies like star-ship troopers, war of the worlds and independance day. While nice movies to watch it does instill fear about the unknown. Luckily we have other movies like The day the earth stood still, Contact and Star Wars, giving a more varied picture of Possible aliens and the interaction between them.

I can see that. As a kid I asked my dad: "Why are sci-fi movies from the 50s always showing aliens as evil monsters?"

I think as society becomes more enlightened itself, its science-fiction stories will change with that.

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 08:49 AM

Originally posted by Skyfloating
I once read a conspiracy-related article entitled "Phillip K. Dick and the Illuminati"...if you find it, it may be something that interests you specifically

This article?

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 09:13 AM
I agree that sci fi writers seem to be pretty close when it comes to forcasting future scenarios. I remember reading stuff 30 years ago that spoke of bottled water, daily air quality reports, and people wearing sugical masks when they went out in public, all pretty common now in various places.

R.A. Heinlein's 1959 novel Starship Troopers predictied a time when it was not safe to go to city parks and such due to gangs of violent teenagers.

One can list things that various authors were dead-on about for pages. Of course, there are probably even more things that they were dead wrong about.

The trick is to be able to discern which aspects will come about, and which wont. I don't think that there is any precognitive ability going on in these works, just some good imaginations and the ability to follow a reasonably logical path between what is now and what "now" could lead to in the future, and the ramifications of a speculated advancement.

It's kinda like prophecies in that if you spew enough ideas about the future, and wait long enough, you're bound to hit some things that ring true later on.

There are definitely concepts in sci fi that should be required learning for everyone though, even if only to open your mind to the possibilities.

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 09:21 AM

Originally posted by Cadbury
This article?

precisely that one. read it about 7 years ago...surprised its still around.

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 09:54 AM
reply to post by Skyfloating

Marvellous post- good quality literature in science fiction certainly stimulates the mind,encourages creativity and opens up new avenues of thought -I don't think the satellite would have been invented when it did were it not for Arthur C Clarke.

Its a great shame that nowadays many people are dismissive of (or feel threatened by) the genre's ability to encourage people to think for themselves.
There always a certain amount of mindless pulp in any given subject but its undeniable that the science fiction genre contains some true classics -hopefully they will be read for many years to come (if they're not banned by religious organisations or corporate government

I think one of the best books I've read is 'Flowers for Algernon' by Daniel Keyes -whilst being an excellent read its also a very perceptive commentary on the human condition - other authors like John Wyndam,Philip K Dick,Alfred Bester,Robert Silverberg and Ian M Banks are so talented that its almost sickening.
I also think it would be healthy for children to be encouraged to read certain works from the genre -the books from the Sc-ifi masterworks list is a good start and maybe should be on the school syllabus (if they're not already).

[edit on 02/10/08 by karl 12]

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 11:40 AM
Sky, this isn't news to those of us who attend science fiction conferences.

Many sci-fi writers are futurists and some are scientists. In general the conventions will have some heavy science panels along with writing panels, panels about film, fandom, costuming, and copyrights, transhumanism, cyborgs, cultures, world building, art, comic books, the future of literature... and that's only part of the ones that I've attended. There's also generally some contingent of the anime folks there as well (though they have their own cons and have their own mix of futurists.

Next week one of the panels that I'm scheduled to be on is about economics (and another on digital copyrights.) I've done panels (with other panelists) on folklore and comparative anatomy (to mention two extremes.)

The silliest thing I ever did was to run a panel on office supplies catapults. I like office supply engines and we launched a lot of koosh balls. Also had a kit robotics competition for distance travel... cheating was allowed if you bribed the gamemaster with a drink.

Some of the largest conventions (Dragoncon) also have film producers and actors and directors in attendance and they get feedback from the audience (heck, we've also done this at smaller conventions.)

As to the general makeup of the fan group, most are above average intelligence, many are programmers and some are scholars and teachers and librarians and some are into robotics and science. Many want to be writers or artists, so they produce ideas and bend ideas. At a convention it's quite possible to sit and chat with a NASA scientist (or astronaut if you go to the convention in Houston) about travel in space, missions to Mars and Saturn, etc.

...and about opportunities to speak to the public about it.

On the other side of the coin you also get the SCA who are real fanatics about accurate history and costuming.

Now that I think about it, it's really a bunch of educated yahoos having lots of fun being educated about things.

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 11:43 AM
It's a synergy. The professionals (including engineers, astronauts, scientists, writers, and artists and filmmakers and others) all swap stories and ideas and get to ask each other nosy questions. We sit around in the bar, have drinks, and yammer ideas at each other for hours.

And then the productive folks go off and do their own take on these ideas.

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 12:36 PM

Originally posted by karl 12

Its a great shame that nowadays many people are dismissive of (or feel threatened by) the genre's ability to encourage people to think for themselves.

I have some special types in mind here...those "art house" or "indie" film fans who ridicule sci-fi...although it is one of the only ways to practice abstract thinking and still reach many people and youth. I think the "indie" movie industry should do more experimental sci-fi.

Thanks for the book recommendation. Ive read all the authors you listed, but not that one.

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 12:39 PM
reply to post by Byrd

Ive never visited a convention before, but recall you saying you have. I like the idea of a sci-fi con not only being about fantasy and role-playing but about specific futurist plans and science.

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 12:47 PM
Written science fiction certainly educated me, and stimulated thoughts in all sorts of wild, but productive directions. The problem with movie science fiction is that too often, they pick directors who are unfamiliar with the genre, haven't read the book, don't understand the book's place within the sf universe, and can't be bothered with the subtle nuances. Thus you get Starship Troopers, good theater but bad sf. TV sf does better, especially on cable: Twilight Zone, Star Trek, Babylon 5, Stargate, just to mention a few. Unfortunately, TV tends to muddy the waters by describing as SF pretty much anything that doesn't fit mainstream categories.

My last year of high school was in a small school where, since their class offerings were limited, I wound up with English, typing, and five study halls. I spent that year reading the was wonderful. Every sf story that mentioned something I didn't understand or hadn't heard of before prompted me to go look it up, leading me further and further afield. I did discover, however, a distaste for most mainstream fiction that others extolled: it seemed grey and lifeless, bereft of anything approaching a new idea. Most reminded me of passion plays: predictable, moralistic, and dull. Then one day in the spring I realized I had read every single book in that library that was of any interest whatsoever (it was a small library) to me. I'm not saying that everyone would prosper under such loose control, but it worked for me, led me to art, math, chemistry, physics, astronomy, history, sculpture, and on and on. At any rate, I left that school in the early spring, with a nod of thanks to Asimov, Clarke, Dick, Heinlein (father of wisdom), Howard, Norton, Simak, Welles, Zelazny, and oh, so many more who taught me to think for myself, and fear not to replace ignorance with understanding.

That "free-range" education left me with an eternal love of books and learning. My private library now encompasses some 1500+ books, with several shelves worth of quality SF nudging shoulders with the likes of Aurelius, Tacitus, the Durants, Plutarch, Chairman Mao, Ghibran, and Tolkien. An eclectic bunch, contradictory and opinionated, but fun. And perhaps I should mention that books go into my library only after I've read them.

Learn more from SF? Hell, yeah!

[edit on 14-1-2009 by apacheman]

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 01:57 PM
What I find most interesting about lovers of Sci-Fi is that they can have spent a lifetime reading about the 'future' and can still be shocked to see it come to pass. I am speaking more of the dystopic Big Brother/Constant Surveillance State where technology becomes a kind of prison, nano-tech threats, sinister pharma/food etc.

The man I am married to produced one of the more seminal sci-fi films of the last 20 years -- and for what it is worth, I didn't realize how seminal it was until I started hanging around here. Anyway, he is a brainiac who grew-up reading sci-fi, but would regularly get into furious frenzies of disbelief when he would see these things coming to pass.

My response to this was: "Dude, you've spent a good portion of your life reading science-fiction that told you this was coming. Why so shocked? The future is now."

While I am personally not a big reader of sci-fi lit, I certainly agree with the OP and I have a great respect for the writers in the genre as I believe they were/are indeed prognosticators, unfortunately for us…

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 02:22 PM
I think it's that most SF is pretty optimistic about the individual while being pessimistic about the general, displaying a consistent and abiding faith in science, knowledge, if you will, being intelligently applied for the greater good. After all, since we've been warned, for goodness sake, why would intelligent people not act properly?

Pollyanna-ish? Sure. Your hubbie probably feels betrayed by his faith in humanity, his belief that eventually we'll learn. It's just that it takes sooo looonnngggg, dammit, and the fools who don't read SF keep running things off the road, despite all the signs and warning.

LOL, wryly.

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