Stephen Speicher

Gattaca (1997)

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54 posts in this topic

Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

I think Gattaca is more a cautionary tale than an anti-technology one.  Or why else would his hero be an astronaut?  Who loves technology more than astronauts?

I don't think that Gattaca is anti-technology. I specifically used the words anti-genetic engineering. While genetic engineering is a form of technology, technology is the broader term.

In the movie, the parents can choose almost everything about their child before it is born. When the baby is born, you can calculate the probable diseases it will have and when it will die. If some viewer focused on these facts- and igrored the issue of the businesses who hire according to the applicant's genetics and disregard the fact that the best genetic make-up means nothing without a will and a passion to achieve what you want - then do you see that a viewer could come to an anti-genetic engineering conclusion? For example, the viewer could say, "If this is the kind of society that would arise with genetic engineering, then I am against genetic engineering." This is the wrong conclusion to draw, and it is not explicit in the movie's writing. So, I don't think it detracts at all from the movie's merit, and I agree that Niccol provides enough evidence to arrive at the proper interpretation.

Well, I can accept your thesis, if by "plot resolution," you are referring to his moving back in with his wife, who wasn't a Romantic heroine.  I wasn't too thrilled by that myself.

Yes, that was what I was referring to; I did not like that he got back with his wife. However, my memory of this movie isn't too great. I saw it only once several years ago. I remember thinking that S1mone was a movie that could have been better.

Besides, there's nothing immoral about using a virtual actress to make a movie, is there?  In fact, the public does not necessarily have to know the full details, so long as the creator of the "actor" does not accept any acting awards or pretend to be other than just computer-generated animation.

I agree- there's nothing immoral about his use of a virtual actress. In fact, I thought it was very clever, and even admirable because his motive was his desire to have control over his creation. It allows him to make his movies a more pure form of his vision. The problem is that he lies and makes the world believe she is a living actress. I would honestly have to watch the movie again to comment any further.

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

I literally just finished watching this movie and exactly right up till the ending I thought Gattaca was one of the best films I had ever seen; the last 30 seconds just murdered the movie for me; seeing the real Jerome commit suicide in the flame-pod just completely undid the profound beauty of the film for me :D

But there were amazing moments, I think my favorite is when Vincent says:

"A year is a long time", and Irene responds: "Not so long, just once around the Sun" :D

I am open to the possibility that I am misjudging the film, and I am definitely going to watch the movie again shortly. Consequently, I will wait to actually rate it on the poll. Plus, Uma Thurman being as beautiful as she is does help some :D

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

Gattaca is one of my favorite movies, and I appreciate the opportunity to discuss it.

After reviewing the DVD versions deleted scenes, it is apparent that Niccol opposes genetic engineering.

That deleted scene, apparently intended to be inserted prior to or directly after the end credits, points out to the viewer that had genetic engineering been a fact of life in the past, many prominent individuals (such as Einstein) might never have been born.

The argument isolates some of the possible negative effects of genetic engineering and drops out the probable positive effects. The arugment also strikes me as being of the "It's bad for our collective welfare, so it's bad" variety. I would have rated the movie far lower had that scene been in the movie proper. How wonderful that it ended up on the cutting-room floor.

Steve

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Hello!

In case anyone is interested in the setting for Gattaca, I have some pictures of Wright's building up on my website:

http://sandstead.com/images/san_fran/Marin/

Those are some lovely pictures of a great building. I took many pictures when I was last there and found it an extremely difficult building to capture on film. Its immensity alone is hard to surround.

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

... the last 30 seconds just murdered the movie for me; seeing the real Jerome commit suicide in the flame-pod just completely undid the profound beauty of the film for me :)

I thought that it was the proper ending. You have to understand that the real Jerome is a tragic character, and thus his ending fits his purpose. He was not meant to have a "happy ending"...he didn't even have a happy life.

How did it negate the beauty of the film? What was wrong about it to you?

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

the last 30 seconds just murdered the movie for me; seeing the real Jerome commit suicide in the flame-pod just completely undid the profound beauty of the film for me :)
Jerome was born with a perfect body and lacks the will to live. Vincent was born with a "damaged" body and loves life. Jerome kills himself, Vincent reaches the stars.

I think Jerome's suicide was good for the movie because it underscored the connection between man's will and the final outcome (both got what they chose).

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Jerome was born with a perfect body and lacks the will to live. Vincent was born with a "damaged" body and loves life. Jerome kills himself, Vincent reaches the stars.

I think Jerome's suicide was good for the movie because it underscored the connection between man's will and the final outcome (both got what they chose).

An acquaintance made what I think is a good observation about Gattaca: that the theme of the movie is really free will vs. determinism. This is evidenced not just by Jerome but by Vincent's brother (both them, vs. Vincent), and probably also by the Uma Thurman character, who initially buys in to the genetic-test-showing-inherent-superiority view but has a change of heart ultimately when she learns the truth about Vincent. And overall of course, this is the primary theme stressed in the movie, Vincent's own will overcoming the deterministic attitudes of the culture at large.

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

An acquaintance made what I think is a good observation about Gattaca: that the theme of the movie is really free will vs. determinism.
I think the film contrasts two viewpoints:

(1) That an individual's character is determined by his genes. For example:

- When one of the cops mentions to the director of Gattaca that he had a motive for the murder, the director refers to his genetic profile which says that he does not have a "violent bone in his body".

- Anton believed that character had nothing to do with winning a swimming contest, that a person's genes would determine success or failure.

(2) That an individual's character is chosen and not determined by his genes. For example:

- Vincent is willing to take greater risks than his family. He is willing to bet his career on a one percent chance of not developing a heart condition. He also wins in the swimming contest because he is willing to risk his life - unlike his risk-averse brother.

- Jerome twice chose to commit suicide.

I think the theme "free will vs. determinism" is too general for this movie because Gattaca dealt with a specific form of determinism, i.e. biological determinism. Sarah earlier in this thread mentioned the sentence "There is no gene for the human spirit" which captures the theme quite well.

I like the colors in which the movie was shot (is that called cinematography?), the score is nice and of course Uma Thurman who is in my opinion one of the most beautiful actresses alive.

Here are some of my favorite scenes:

- When Vincent's job is to clean the Gattaca building he is cleaning a window behind of which the Gattaca employees work when his boss tells him:

Boss: "When you clean the glass, Vincent, don't clean it too well."

Vincent: "What do you mean?"

Boss: "You might get ideas!"

Vincent: "Yeah, but if the glass is clean, it will be easier for you to see me when I'm on the other side of it".

- When young Vincent is shown in the geneticist's office playing with the model of a molecule.

- When Vincent pulls out a hair and gives it to Irene so that she could obtain his genetic profile, she intentionally drops the hair and says: "Sorry ... the wind caught it!".

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"Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post."

I have a heart condition myself, which I didn't know about until long after I fell in love with this movie. It's kind of strange - it was my theme movie for so long and then I found out I shared more in common with the hero than I really wanted. lol. It's still very special to me so I have given this a great deal of thought. Here's what I think.

First of all, I'm a fan of genetic engineering, just like I'm a fan of the right to leave your riches to whoever you want when you die. However, if I had been Gen-engineered what I could easily prove I had in physical qualifications would come second to what I could volitionally. If it was given to me, physical perfection would not be a source of self-esteem, only my choices would -(the base of any self esteem as I must chose to build my physical characteristics, now).

Having said that...

When you take morality out of the laws, moral men become outlaws. Whether the laws are made by a world council or a corporation or a preacher or philosophy teacher or your own father, this holds true. Though no derivative dream I may have is more important than protecting the freedom to pursue dreams i.e. respecting moral laws, I would say that totally writing someone off because of a "genetic qualifier" IS morally wrong unless no amount of volitional choice can make up for it.

To be moral I would require someone to be the best to hire them. Whether they are born the best or work their entire lives to achieve it IS actually relevent though. It actually puts me in favor of the one who worked - they earned it volitionally. They wanted it! Good genetics are always a gift to the receivers, but like being born rich a persons will matters most in whether that gift is well used.

Vincents heart was probaly in better shape due to his lifestyle and training than many of his "perfect" desk-mates. Vincents skills not only surpass those of the man they think he is - they surpass many of those at Gattaca period. He is -one of-, if not -The- Best. His job is navigation (if I remember correctly) and that requires much more mind strength than heart strength, especially considering they'll be in zero-g, after all. His skill and determination would have allowed him to pay for a heart transplant or an artificial one if that option had been open to him. Unfortunately the black market can only offer so much. The crime, however, is that the market should be considered "black" at all.

If to be moral a man must break immoral laws (a contradiction in terms if I ever heard one) then he should. Anything less IS immoral. Anything less is sanction. John Galt broke a bunch of immoral laws and I doubt Howard Roark had a demolition permit for his building, either. See, In this movie's context I could say Vincent committed fraud, lied, etc, etc, But if I do, I shouldn't forget to say it with pride. You can make as many rules and laws on the premise that biological-determinism is totally true as you want, I'm not going to obey them and neither should any moral person - such as Vincent.

Those are my thoughts on this movie, and I should note that I had no idea the same man was responsible for the Truman Show. I'm not surprised, as it's one of my favs.

Thank you all and I would appreciate any rational arguments against this view you might have. :)

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

If to be moral a man must break immoral laws  (a contradiction in terms if I ever heard one)  then he should.  Anything less IS immoral. Anything less is sanction. John Galt broke a bunch of immoral laws and I doubt Howard Roark had a demolition permit for his building, either. See, In this movie's context I could say Vincent committed fraud, lied, etc, etc, But if I do, I shouldn't forget to say it with pride. You can make as many rules and laws on the premise that biological-determinism is totally true as you want, I'm not going to obey them and neither should any moral person - such as Vincent.

Which immoral laws did Vincent break? Remember that in Gattaca's society there was a law against discrimination based on genes:

Of course, it's illegal to discriminate, "genoism" it's called. But no one takes the law seriously.

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

Which immoral laws did Vincent break? Remember that in Gattaca's society there was a law against discrimination based on genes:

Of course, it's illegal to discriminate, "genoism" it's called. But no one takes the law seriously.

He broke the rules of gattaca - fighting their unstated and immoral policy of blatant genoism. To do so he broke many minor laws, probaly. Possessing a false I.D. for one. These harmed none but gatttaca itself. Laws are for the protection of the moral, not the immoral - such as Gattaca. You can't initiate immoral action and expect the rules of morality to protect you. If a killer is trying to kill me, I'll shoot him whether I have a permit or not. :)

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He broke the rules of gattaca - fighting their unstated and immoral policy of blatant genoism.
I admire Vincent and I love the movie so please don't take the following as major criticism of the movie. I don't think Vincent fought any of Gattaca's policies. He violated their policies, yes. But none of his actions were taken to get rid of these policies. It's like trying to fight anti-abortion laws by having an abortion.
To do so he broke many minor laws, probaly. Possessing a false I.D. for one.
Probably he did. But more importantly he was dishonest. He commited fraud against Gattaca. Gattaca would not have employed Vincent if he had not deceived them, lied to them, etc.

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

I admire Vincent and I love the movie so please don't take the following as major criticism of the movie. I don't think Vincent fought any of Gattaca's policies. He violated their policies, yes. But none of his actions were taken to get rid of these policies. It's like trying to fight anti-abortion laws by having an abortion.

Probably he did. But more importantly he was dishonest. He commited fraud against Gattaca. Gattaca would not have employed Vincent if he had not deceived them, lied to them, etc.

Your right, His goal was not to change gattaca's policy. The question is, should he - should that be his focus - his goal? I don't think so. Sure he could have, and he probaly would've been justified. Should we, However, spend our entire lives fixing every injustice or should we fight those that primarily stand in the way of our goals, brushing them aside like so many cobwebs? Life should be the pursuit of value and joy. Evil is not so important that it should be our primary focus (thank you Mr. Ray!), Ever! Nothing so destroys a law in the minds of those who haven't focused on it than otherwise moral and just people of great character standing against it!

He was as honest with gattaca as they were with him, if not more. Did he deceive them about his abilities? Did he deceive the girl? He risked all to tell her the truth. He was an Honest man. They would not have employed him in his position had he not had the skills. Those were his! He lied only to the extent required to bypass their immoral policy. No more, no less. How far he would go to protect his self is a major part of the plot. As example - How often and with what level of impunity did Dagny break immoral laws? She lied, bribed, threatened, etc. Was John Galt immoral for his actions against that goverment? Indeed not. George Washington was rightly called a terrorist. Were they all immoral? No. Thier's is the highest form of morality, to know that your actions are moral to the extent you can stand against any and all and never bat an eye. LOL. Call it Vincent's razor. Break any immoral laws which stand in the way of a moral goal. No more, no less. :)

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

He was as honest with gattaca as they were with him, if not more. Did he deceive them about his abilities? Did he deceive the girl? He risked all to tell her the truth. He was an Honest man. They would not have employed him in his position had he not had the skills. Those were his! He lied only to the extent required to bypass their immoral policy. No more, no less. How far he would go to protect his self is a major part of the plot.
Gattaca's doctor analyzed Vincent's urine sample in front of Vincent's eyes and when he saw the results he congratulated him for getting the job. They made no secret about the fact that they commited genoism. Genoism is both immoral and illegal but Gattaca has the right to choose their employees by any standard they wish.

Vincent provided Gattaca on a constant basis with fake blood, urine and other test results and dispersed Jerome's hairs into his office keyboard in order to make Gattaca believe that he was Jerome. If he had provided Gattaca with his own DNA during his interview then Gattaca would have refused to employ him. Now that is dishonesty. Look at the trouble this got him into: he became a suspect in a murder investigation and became completely dependent on Jerome. He made himself dependent on a suicidal alcoholic who could have killed himself any day and which he did at the end of the movie (though in this case he left enough samples for Vincent to continue his deception). Furthermore why would Vincent want to work for a company that employed people not based on ability but based on their genes? That could get him into a lot of trouble when he sits with them in the same spaceship.

Your right, His goal was not to change gattaca's policy. The question is, should he - should that be his focus - his goal? I don't think so. Sure he could have, and he probaly would've been justified. Should we, However, spend our entire lives fixing every injustice or should we fight those that primarily stand in the way of our goals, brushing them aside like so many cobwebs? Life should be the pursuit of value and joy. Evil is not so important that it should be our primary focus (thank you Mr. Ray!), Ever! Nothing so destroys a law in the minds of those who haven't focused on it than otherwise moral and just people of great character standing against it!
If you had been with Vincent during his interview and spoke to Gattaca as passionately as you write your postings here, you could have made a difference. :)

I don't know what I would have done in Vincent's situation. Spending a lifetime cleaning office buildings when your dream is to be in space? No, thanks. I think one should not let the world come to a state where happiness is as difficult for some as it is in Gattaca. Fortunately, there are many places in this world where happiness is possible. Let's keep it that way.

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

Gattaca's doctor analyzed Vincent's urine sample in front of Vincent's eyes and when he saw the results he congratulated him for getting the job. They made no secret about the fact that they commited genoism. Genoism is both immoral and illegal but Gattaca has the right to choose their employees by any standard they wish.

Vincent provided Gattaca on a constant basis with fake blood, urine and other test results and dispersed Jerome's hairs into his office keyboard in order to make Gattaca believe that he was Jerome. If he had provided Gattaca with his own DNA during his interview then Gattaca would have refused to employ him. Now that is dishonesty. Look at the trouble this got him into: he became a suspect in a murder investigation and became completely dependent on Jerome. He made himself dependent on a suicidal alcoholic who could have killed himself any day and which he did at the end of the movie (though in this case he left enough samples for Vincent to continue his deception). Furthermore why would Vincent want to work for a company that employed people not based on ability but based on their genes? That could get him into a lot of trouble when he sits with them in the same spaceship.

If you had been with Vincent during his interview and spoke to Gattaca as passionately as you write your postings here, you could have made a difference. :)

I don't know what I would have done in Vincent's situation. Spending a lifetime cleaning office buildings when your dream is to be in space? No, thanks. I think one should not let the world come to a state where happiness is as difficult for some as it is in Gattaca. Fortunately, there are many places in this world where happiness is possible. Let's keep it that way.

I doubt Gattaca would have been so blatant if there was any chance of anyone calling them out on it. Like many goverment agencies today, they are "above the law"...or so they think.

Really, do they? Does Gattaca really have the right to choose their employees by an immoral standard? Of course, they do - As much as their employees have a right to respect that standard. :)

Vincent did just what he had to do to achieve a moral goal in spite of an immoral world. No more, no less. Vincent's razor. lol. He WAS dishonest with gattaca,.... and I'm proud of him for it.

lol. Trouble? -Look at the trouble John Galt's actions got him in. :) Thats never a way to judge the full value of an action.

Furthermore... :) It's never made explicit, but it seems that Gattaca is the only ride in town, so to speak. It's probaly a goverment enforced monopoly. No mans going to have his leg bones cut in two to make him taller unless theres no other way. Ouch. :)

Yeah, if there was anybody better - I'd be on Their ship! I geuss thats a chance he decided was worth it.

Thanks, but I doubt my words are of more worth than the actions of learning what he had to, to be qualified for the job. Words are never enough, but such as he are worth defending however I can.

If I was in his situation I would do same, more or less.

Amen - However, I disagree that we should keep it that way, alone. Lets make it more so!! The world belongs to those who fear it not. :)

I think that if your not growing your dying, and I think we're growing!! :D

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Vincent did just what he had to do to achieve a moral goal in spite of an immoral world. No more, no less. Vincent's razor. lol. He WAS dishonest with gattaca,.... and I'm proud of him for it.

I'll try to make a case against dishonesty here. I'm not saying that the following is the reason why Ayn Rand thought that dishonesty was immoral. In the past, I've had trouble understanding Objectivism's case for honesty but I believe I am beginning to understand it. Maybe someone else more familiar with Objectivism can jump in and comment on consistency with Objectivism.

Dishonesty towards others is not immoral because one never "gets away with it". In fact, one can get away with dishonesty. Vincent in Gattaca, for example, got away with it as far as we know.

Imagine you were living in New York and walked to your office each morning through the streets of New York. And imagine you did this blind-foldedly. Now you can be an extremely lucky guy and get away with your chosen blindness a day or maybe a week or month. The amount of time is not important. What is important is that ultimately, given enough time, such a policy will get you killed or will get you into jail or a mental institution. In other words: practicing this policy is self-destructive in principle. The principle does not make a statement about how or where you will be killed but just identifies a causal relationship between a certain type of action and a certain effect. If you were living in a small village with low traffic then your policy will probably make you last longer.

Another example would be gambling (e.g. roulette). You might enter a casino for the first time in your life, bet a certain amount and win twice that much money. This was pure luck, though. Statistically, you will eventually lose all your money if you play long enough. If the game does not depend entirely on luck but also on your skills then you might prolong your bankruptcy but not avoid it. Why? Because the odds are against you. It's in the nature of gambling that it will result in your financial destruction. So a rational person would refuse to gamble on principle because he is interested in long-term survival and does not hope to be lucky this time while he knows that he ultimately has to loose.

Dishonesty is just another instance of the same principle. Each time you fake reality by telling a lie you are contradicting reality. You might get away with it. But the longer you go on the more likely it will be that you will be exposed. Equally, when you are surrounded by active-minded geniuses who possess a vast amount of knowledge you will be more likely to get exposed sooner rather than later like you will sooner get killed on the streets of New York than in the streets of Smallville (I hope that one exists not only in fiction). If you are surrounded by idiots you probably last longer. But the odds are against you and therefore you refuse to fake reality on principle.

In the case of Gattaca, observe how the doctor found out about his Vincent's true nature. The doctor observed that Vincent - under the eyes of the doctor - was unusally quickly able to provide a urine sample. He also made an observation about his unusal anatomy. In this example the doctor's intelligence and knowledge of human psychology and biology enabled him to discover Vincent's lie.

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I'll try to make a case against dishonesty here. I'm not saying that the following is the reason why Ayn Rand thought that dishonesty was immoral. In the past, I've had trouble understanding Objectivism's case for honesty but I believe I am beginning to understand it. Maybe someone else more familiar with Objectivism can jump in and comment on consistency with Objectivism.

Dishonesty towards others is not immoral because one never "gets away with it". In fact, one can get away with dishonesty. Vincent in Gattaca, for example, got away with it  as far as we know.

Imagine you were living in New York and walked to your office each morning through the streets of New York. And imagine you did this blind-foldedly. Now you can be an extremely lucky guy and get away with your chosen blindness a day or maybe a week or month. The amount of time is not important. What is important is that ultimately, given enough time, such a policy will get you killed or will get you into jail or a mental institution. In other words: practicing this policy is self-destructive in principle. The principle does not make a statement about how or where you will be killed but just identifies a causal relationship between a certain type of action and a certain effect. If you were living in a small village with low traffic then your policy will probably make you last longer.

Another example would be gambling (e.g. roulette). You might enter a casino for the first time in your life, bet a certain amount and win twice that much money. This was pure luck, though. Statistically, you will eventually lose all your money if you play long enough. If the game does not depend entirely on luck but also on your skills then you might prolong your bankruptcy but not avoid it. Why? Because the odds are against you. It's in the nature of gambling that it will result in your financial destruction. So a rational person would refuse to gamble on principle because he is interested in long-term survival and does not hope to be lucky this time while he knows that he ultimately has to loose.

Dishonesty is just another instance of the same principle. Each time you fake reality by telling a lie you are contradicting reality. You might get away with it. But the longer you go on the more likely it will be that you will be exposed. Equally, when you are surrounded by active-minded geniuses who possess a vast amount of knowledge you will be more likely to get exposed sooner rather than later like you will sooner get killed on the streets of New York than in the streets of Smallville (I hope that one exists not only in fiction). If you are surrounded by idiots you probably last longer. But the odds are against you and therefore you refuse to fake reality on principle.

In the case of Gattaca, observe how the doctor found out about his Vincent's true nature. The doctor observed that Vincent - under the eyes of the doctor - was unusally quickly able to provide a urine sample. He also made an observation about his unusal anatomy. In this example the doctor's intelligence and knowledge of human psychology and biology enabled him to discover Vincent's lie.

Thank you so much for arguing with me. Your right, and I was wrong. Then it's not that he broke immoral laws - it's that he lied about it. If a laws immoral and it stands in the way of your goals you can break it,but if asked if you broke it you must tell the truth. Does that mean you should change your goals or fight the consequences of those goals? I think you must fight for your freedom to pursue happiness.

So, for instance, if some one puts a gun to my head and says if I'm an Objectivist they will shoot me until I'm dead my options are : 1- say I am and die 2- kill them first. Unfortunately, there isn't alot I can do with a gun to my head so I should really avoid that situation if I can. The point is, I can't lie and say No, even to save my life. Why, then, would you say that John Galt told Mr. Thompson that he had no friends, no sweetheart and that he didn't know what sort of cigerette he was smoking? I would have said, "there's no one I want to see." and, "A very rare cigerette." and thats all. So that doesn't quite make sense to me, but the idea here does.

What this means is that Vincent never should have become an astronaut- Not until he had found a way to do it honestly. Maybe that means he'd have to build his own spaceship, and his own "Gattaca". If his goverment declares that illegal he should either go to a different country (something he probaly had already thought of) or build his own country , or find a way to act in outright defiance of their laws. Otherwise he'll just end up another Dr. Stadler. Isn't it telling how excepting no substitute for living can make so many things so simple and so many things based on substitutes simply so worthless.

Thanks Dufresne

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So, for instance, if some one puts a gun to my head and says if I'm an Objectivist they will shoot me until I'm dead my options are : 1- say I am and die 2- kill them first.

There is also 3-Lie and say you're not. In fact, that is exactly what you should do.

The principle of honesty, in the Objectivist view, is not a divine commandment or a categorical imperative. It does not state that lying is wrong "in itself" and thus under all circumstances, even when a kidnapper asks where one's child is sleeping (the Kantians do interpret honesty in this way).

[...]

Lying to protect one's values from criminals is not wrong. If and when a man's honesty becomes a weapon that kidnappers or other wielders of force can use to harm him, then the normal context is reversed; his virtue would then become a means serving the ends of evil. In such a case, the victim has not only the right but also the obligation to lie and to do it proudly.

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There is also 3-Lie and say you're not.  In fact, that is exactly what you should do.

OK, so Would that not be evading reality because the criminal IS evading reality ? Hence, they are not a representative of reality - so that honesty or morality does not apply to your actions concerning them to some extent?.If that is so, then surely it doesn't mean that if someone lies to you, it matters not, if you, say, - kill them - unless thats a DIRECT result of their lie endangering your life. There must be a principal to base this conservation of judgement on so that morality should be applied to them as much as they apply morality to themselves. "Morality should be applied to others as much as they apply morality to themselves." ..I like that. lol.

WEll, any Ideas, anyone? Am I making any sense here? :)

Does Mrs Betsy make sense to you, here, Dufresne?

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So, for instance, if some one puts a gun to my head and says if I'm an Objectivist they will shoot me until I'm dead my options are : 1- say I am and die 2- kill them first.
There is also 3-Lie and say you're not. In fact, that is exactly what you should do.
OK, so Would that not be evading reality because the criminal IS evading reality ?

NO! It is facing the MOST relevant fact: that a criminal has a gun to your head.

To an Objectivist, honesty does not mean never telling lies. It means never seeking values by telling lies. When someone initiates force against you, you are not seeking values. You are trying to keep a value that is rightfully yours: your own life.

If that is so, then surely it doesn't mean that if someone lies to you, it matters not, if you, say, - kill them - unless thats a DIRECT result of their lie endangering your life.

The proper principle here is that, if someone initiates or threatens force against you, you may do anything necessary -- but no more -- to stop them, remove the threat, and defend and protect your values. It is essentially the same principle the law recognizes in cases of self-defense.

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NO!  It is facing the MOST relevant fact: that a criminal has a gun to your head.

To an Objectivist, honesty does not mean never telling lies.  It means never seeking values  by telling lies.  When someone initiates force against you, you are not seeking values.  You are trying to keep a value that is rightfully yours: your own life.

The proper principle here is that, if someone initiates or threatens force against you, you may do anything necessary -- but no more -- to stop them, remove the threat, and defend and protect your values.  It is essentially the same principle the law recognizes in cases of self-defense.

So Vincent, by trying to keep the value of being judged by his abilities and actions was justified in lying to Gattaca, or do we have the right to our lives, but not the right to be judged primarily by the actions of our lives?

I think it's safe to say he did what was necessary --but no more-- to stop them, remove the threat, and defend and protect his values. The only value he gained was to be judged by his actions and choices, not his genes alone.

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So, for instance, if some one puts a gun to my head and says if I'm an Objectivist they will shoot me until I'm dead my options are : 1- say I am and die 2- kill them first. Unfortunately, there isn't alot I can do with a gun to my head so I should really avoid that situation if I can. The point is, I can't lie and say No, even to save my life.
Suppose someone decides to walk around naked to the supermarket and suppose it's snowing and freezing because it's terribly cold outside. Suppose another person decides to walk around naked in his cozy bathroom. It's the same action (walking around naked) but in two different environments. Now suppose someone walks around naked outside in the summer. It's the same environment but it's different weather.

The action of walking around naked is not inherently good or bad, moral or immoral. Whether an action is good or bad can depend on the environment or on the climate in which the action is performed. These are just two factors of many. All of these factors together constitute what is called the "context" in which the action is performed.

Think about the action of killing a person. Contrary to what many people say, killing another person is neither inherently good or bad. It depends on the context. It makes a hell of a difference whether you kill a person who wants to kill you or whether you kill your girlfriend who didn't do a thing to harm you. The same applies to lying.

The ten commandments (don't kill, don't lie) are very different from the moral principles of Objectivism. The ten commandments are rules that a believer is expected to follow regardless of the context. A moral principle (in Objectivism), in contrast, is created for a context in which it should be followed for the sake of one's own life and happiness.

The moral principle of honesty also is created for and only valid in a certain context. It is valid in a context in which honesty does not result in a loss of your values or your life. This sounds like an obvious point since moral principles are for your own long-term survival and happiness. But it's not at all obvious to Christians who follow the ten commandments obediently. This was basically what you were asking: Should I tell the truth if it kills me? Not according to Objectivism.

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Suppose someone decides to walk around naked to the supermarket and suppose it's snowing and freezing because it's terribly cold outside. Suppose another person decides to walk around naked in his cozy bathroom. It's the same action (walking around naked) but in two different environments. Now suppose someone walks around naked outside in the summer. It's the same environment but it's different weather.

The action of walking around naked is not inherently good or bad, moral or immoral. Whether an action is good or bad can depend on the environment or on the climate in which the action is performed. These are just two factors of many. All of these factors together constitute what is called the "context" in which the action is performed.

Think about the action of killing a person. Contrary to what many people say, killing another person is neither inherently good or bad. It depends on the context. It makes a hell of a difference whether you kill a person who wants to kill you or whether you kill your girlfriend who didn't do a thing to harm you. The same applies to lying.

The ten commandments (don't kill, don't lie) are very different from the moral principles of Objectivism. The ten commandments are rules that a believer is expected to follow regardless of the context. A moral principle (in Objectivism), in contrast, is created for a context in which it should be followed for the sake of one's own life and happiness.

The moral principle of honesty also is created for and only valid in a certain context. It is valid in a context in which honesty does not result in a loss of your values or your life. This sounds like an obvious point since moral principles are for your own long-term survival and happiness. But it's not at all obvious to Christians who follow the ten commandments obediently. This was basically what you were asking: Should I tell the truth if it kills me? Not according to Objectivism.

Thanks, glad to see you agree on that.:) I think I've got a handle on this, so my question is, "Were Vincents action immoral?" if so-reconcile that with my statements and questions in my last post and your own logic here in this one.

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Artistically, I think it misses the most important part to focus on whether Vincent "defrauded" Gattaca by lying to them, etc. For one thing, he really did know how to do his job, superlatively.

But the real artistic focus is Vincent's own sense of life and focus on maximizing his own potential, against great odds. This is a man with the quiet determination to fulfill his deepest desire to become an astronaut, whatever it takes - and literarily, I think that is the important part. The injust policies are a foil to his determination, to accentuate and contrast what he possesses.

Note that it can be surmised from Ayn Rand's writings that, at least when younger, she admired the Vikings, presumably because of their exciting, adventurous, bold lives, or at least a romanticized version of it. But I don't think you could exactly call being quasi-pirates a proper way to live.

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I just want to use this opportunity to say that Andrew Niccol's latest movie, Lord of War, will be in theatres on September 16.

I hope it lives up to his reputation. :)

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