These visions were further reinforced by all the original Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Lost in Space (we all knew who the villain was), Star Trek, Time Tunnel, and even the Jetsons, who combined to provide a weekly dose of extra terrestial reality.
The movies were even better and Robbie the Robot became my iconic friend. Forbidden Planet is still one of the most important movies I have ever seen, as it deals with the essential struggle between the ego and the id. I must admit that when I see Robbie I see Freud. What does that say about my early years?
My passion for science was fed directly by The Day the Earth Stood Still, the Blob, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the Fly, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Thing, and most significantly, the Incredible Shrinking Man. After all, didn't the exposure to radiation cause him to continue to shrink to the size of an atom? Of course I would study particle physics!
However, the more I studied physics and worked in the highly specialized field of technology the more I wondered about my place in the universe. In college I spend a lot of time in philosophy classes trying to determine my cosmology and the "meaning of life." Fortunately, that was in the 60's and there was a wide selection of "stimulants" which could be used to test reality.
At some point, a few years out of college, I decided to abandon my chosen career and consciously turn away from technology. Instead of working to smash atoms and search for "strange" particles (pun intended), I looked to history to understand how we ended up in this situation.
I became a modern Luddite.
Furniture and craft provided me with the tangible objects of that search. I wondered what furniture Jefferson used tin his daily life, how the Kings of Europe lived, how Napoleon influenced a global style of design and what emerging technology did to the Victorians and their furniture.
These were the thoughts in my head as I walked to work, inspired by the movie this morning. What would I do if I had a time machine? Backward or Forward?
(Did I mention how I loved Dr. Who??) "It's bigger on the inside!"
Tonight is Oscar Night and last night CNN ran a long special on the history of the Academy. During that show I saw Charlie Chaplin as he was awarded honors for his contribution to film. Thinking about his generation and what technology has changed during the 20th century, I did some searching on the computer and found this clip.
It summarizes perfectly my belief that technology for technologies' sake is a troubling waste of time and intellect. We need solutions to serious global issues, starting with clean water and air. We need to focus on easing human suffering and natural food. The time and money the world spends on weapons of destruction is about as necessary as this machine which "feeds men".
As they said in the Twilight Zone episode, "To Serve Man", it's a cookbook!