Resurrecting the Dead: A Reflection on Technology

 For many years now I have been intrigued with Mary Shelley’s story, Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus. In many ways her story is a prophecy of themes that characterize our technological world-view. In the book that I am now writing, The Frankenstein Prophecies: The Untold Story, I explore seven of those prophecies. The triumph over death, which is the dream of Victor Frankenstein, is the central theme.

That theme lingers today in films that are our collective dreams. Jurassic Park is a good example. In that film and its sequels dead creatures are recreated from their genetic codes. But they are destructive monsters. So too is the creature that is made by Victor Frankenstein.

Is Mary Shelley’s story a warning about becoming a God who would create life?

Does Jurassic Park and it sequels allude to the same warning?


Are the resurrected monsters that were meant to be the attraction in a theme park, a kind of Disneyland run amok, the modern form of Frankenstein’s monster?


In Mary Shelley’s story Victor Frankenstein abandons his creature and refuses to take responsibility for his actions. Abandoned, cursed as demon and devil, the monster is marginalized. Her story lives on as told only from Victor’s point of view


What might be learned if drawing near to the margins we listen to his side of the story?


Might we be faced with the unsettling question; Who is the Monster?

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Comment by Wayne Terry on September 14, 2016 at 5:16am

I would rank Mary's Shelley's in the top three novels that have impacted on my personal psychology. I have posted my take on the novel. If you are interested on my take, it can be found in my blog post titled Confessions of a Bipolar One Secondary School Teacher:...

Comment by Mary Harrell on September 5, 2016 at 9:26am

Dear Dr. Romanyshyn,

Much thanks for this intriguing post.

As I read this post, I was reminded of the steadfast commitment that you have brought to the working out of the themes that technology brings to the world.

Years ago, my own imagination was ignited as I read your application of hermeneutics to the most fundamental equation of our time,E =mc2, in Technology as Symptom and Dream.  I was new to the field then, and so deeply moved.  You described a final shadow image (pp. 184-191), saying that the equation  promises that if we can convert mass into energy we can convert energy into mass.  You invited us to consider the unspeakable shadow of that equation through the following imaginative passage:

"As the universe cooled and darkened, energy condensed and matter formed.  We cannot help but hear in this description of the physical events echoes of a cultural-psychological dream: matter as less enlightened energy is cold and dark.  It may very well be the most ironic and tragic aspect of our stay upon the earth that in our pursuit of enlightened matter, in our dream to escape the coldness and darkness of matter, we may bring about the cold and dark of a nuclear winter." (p. 189).

For me, those words brought a visceral response and animates my own work today. We will work out the dreams of the culture, or as Jung warned, those dreams will live as fate.   

That you are now exploring the themes within Mary Shelly's Frankenstein is very juicy indeed! Don't keep us waiting too long!  There are many in the culture who want to hear what you've come up with, as well as some, who will likely continue this important work over time.

Best wishes.

Mary Harrell 

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