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Jurassic Park And Nature Essay Research

Jurassic Park And Nature Essay, Research Paper

How could one describe the relationship between humans and nature? Perhaps it is

one of control, a constant struggle between the power of the elements and the

sophistication of human mechanization. Could it be one of symbiosis, where man

and nature coexist in relative peace? Are we, as a species, simply a part of

nature?s constantly changing realm? This issue is one that philosophers have

debated for centuries. Where does mankind fit into the vast network of

interacting environments and beings called nature? From the beginning of time,

we have attempted to set ourselves apart from the rest of Earth?s creatures.

Given the ability to reason, and to feel, and most importantly, to choose, we

find ourselves with ?the impulse to master and manipulate elemental force? (Pacey

86). We must fight, we must advance, and we must control all these elements of

the natural world. But just how much of that world do we control? Surely people

attempt and perceive control over nature, but do they succeed? The question of

control, over nature in specific, is one of the prevalent themes that runs

through Michael Crichton?s Jurassic Park. This novel is set on a small island

off the coast of Costa Rica called Isla Nubar. On this island, construction of a

new, virtuostic, state of the art park is almost complete, when a gathered team

of paleontologists, businessmen, and a mathematician arrive to approve of the

park opening. All seems well until the ?experts? lose control of the park,

leaving the main attractions, genetically engineered dinosaurs, free to roam and

hunt. This loss of control further contributes to the downward spiral the park

experiences, resulting in numerous deaths. How, one might ask, could a team of

technicians and experts let something like this happen? The answer is simple.

They over-estimated their perceived sense of control over one of the world?s

most unpredictable forces? nature. The theme of man?s perceived control over

nature is one that Crichton has masterfully incorporated into his novel. The

actions of the park experts present to the reader the false idea ?that the

proper role of man is mastery over nature" (Pacey 65). Mankind has always

attempted to achieve this mastery, and the construction of Jurassic Park is a

perfect example. Crichton uses the character of Ian Malcolm to constantly

present this theme. Through his eyes, one may see past the awe of Jurassic Park

and realize its most fundamental flaws. Malcolm describes the park saying, ?It

is intended to be a controlled world that only imitates the natural world? (Crichton

133). Malcolm is very accurate in his evaluation. Jurassic Park is not the

natural world. Much like the abuse of over-mechanized agriculture and the

age-old desire of man to fly, it is simply an attempt to control and master the

elements of nature (Pacey 85). Nevertheless, the experts and at Jurassic Park

insist that the animals are ?essentially our prisoners? (Crichton 113). Very

often when mankind attempts to flex this perceived control over nature, it

works. Almost every last frontier on this planet has been explored and

conquered, hence coming under our control and domain (Pacey 87). But is this the

case with Jurassic Park? How did these animals of eons ago match up against

man?s perceived sense of superiority, a sense of superiority that had the

nerve to assume control over dinosaurs and proclaim, ?After all, they?re

trainable? (Crichton 140)? Crichton again uses the character of Malcolm to

answer this. Throughout the course of the novel, Malcolm constantly stresses the

importance of his chaos theory, reiterating that man cannot assume control over

an unpredictable complex system. The attention to detail that such a park

required was simply overwhelming for the experts. There were simply too many

factors to be included and assumed controllable. The animals were created

without the ability to breed, they did. They island was deemed inescapable, it

wasn?t. The systems were supposed to control the island, they failed. In

short, Malcolm argues, ?? the history of evolution is that life escapes all

barriers. Life breaks free. Life expands to new territories. Painfully, perhaps

even dangerously. But life finds a way? (Crichton 159). The experts in

Jurassic Park were mistaken in assuming that they could control and master life.

By employing what one could call, ?high technology?, the over-sophisticated

automation going beyond the park?s needs, the experts failed. Any illusion of

control was therefore lost because of the false assumptions that their

?halfway technology? could successfully maintain these unpredictable

animals. The technicians in Jurassic Park certainly believed and maintained

throughout the novel that they had control over the ?halfway technology? of

the dinosaurs. But how could they assume such a thing? After all, dinosaurs are

animals that have been extinct for millions of years, and how they would react

to an entirely new ecosystem was anyone?s guess at best. The experts had what

could be called tunnel vision, or what Malcolm refers to as ?thintelligence.?

The experts in the novel looked at the task of creating and controlling the

dinosaurs as strictly a technical one. This is where their mistakes began.

Tunnel vision often results in the overlooking of aspects of technology that are

crucial to its eventual employment of the end user. In this case, the experts

failed to take into account how the animals would react to both a new

environment and the technical ?fixes? that they employed to control the

animals, such as the lysine dependency gene. These components should not have

been ignored, but they were. Crichton uses Malcolm again to point this out to

his readers. Malcolm puts forth his idea of thintelligence in one of his

diatribes against the experts of the park. He attributes much of the park?s

failings to the expert?s thintelligence saying, ?They both have what I call

?thintelligence?. They see the immediate situation. They think narrowly and

call it ?being focused.? They don?t see the surround. They don?t see the

consequences. That?s how you get an island like this. From thintelligent

thinking. Because you cannot make an animal and not expect it to act alive. To

be unpredictable. To escape. But they don?t see that? (Crichton 284). This

thintelligent thinking, or what I prefer to call tunnel vision, is the primary

reason that the experts ceased to believe that their control over the animals

was merely perceived. If this were realized, perhaps their thintelligence could

have been turned into intelligence, possibly dodging catastrophe. At the

beginning of this discussion, a question was posed; how could one describe the

relationship between man and nature? In the novel Jurassic Park, surely it was

an attempt of control. However, in the end, who was controlling whom? Did man,

with all of his reasoning and scientific fact, prevail over the savagery of

prehistoric animals, or did nature?s most awesome product win out in the end?

Control is an interesting notion. The experts in Jurassic Park perceived they

were in full control of the island, but they were indeed misled. No technical

fix that they implemented could ever have served to control or master the

elements of nature, yet through the entire novel they believed the animals to be

their ?prisoners.? In this instance, the prisoners broke free from their

constraints, and in the end, won the battle of control. Simply put, nature