Understanding Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Soviet Aeroflot Space Crew Meet a US Official

The Part played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man (1876)

Between 1964 and 1968, Stanely Kubrick (operating out of the Socialistic UK) initiated a widespread, precise and highly sophisticated movie script, set and technological design that is still marveled at today. Working with the British leftwing scientist Arthur C Clark, Kubrick had insight into the cutting-edge of US computer technology, and knew that the US were planning a manned Moon Mission (which actually occurred in 1969 – a year after this movie was released). At exactly the same time in the USSR – a country that was beating the US in the Space Race – the Soviet people were hard at work like Kubrick, but unlike Kubrick were attempting to turn science fiction into science fact. Whereas Kubrick’s ideas remained theories brought to life only in the imagination (through the expert use of ‘props’ and camera tricks), the Soviets were attempting all kinds of space explorations – including landing a Cosmonaut on the Moon. Although the Soviets are in space in this film, it is obvious that Kubrick bucks the trend of the obvious Soviet superiority in 1964, and instead invents the fiction of US capitalism superseding Soviet (Socialist) science and in so doing, expanding its greed and avarice to the edge of the perceptual universe and making ‘first contact’ with an alien entity. Or so it seems. 

The bourgeois narratives are many and unending. Half seriously and half in jest, a parody of these could be something like this; the sudden appearance of the monolith on Earth some 4 million years ago triggers the evolution of the human brain. The ‘unnatural’ and obviously ‘manufactured’ structure of the rectangular monolith is like nothing the early humans have ever seen. Seeing and touching this odd structure (there are no straight lines in nature) totally befuddles the naturally produced perception of the early humans who do not understand its presence, origination or meaning.  Its affect and effect is tremendous! The monolith suggests that nature can be ‘changed’ through human labour, and society and culture transformed as a consequence. (Was Kubrick a closet Marxist?) This story-line appears to be straight from Engles’ 1876 text entitled ‘The Part played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man’. All tools are labour-saving (and energy-saving) devices. It is easier to kill an opponent with a weapon than by hand. Those with weapons dominate those without. Vegetarianism is pointless as it represents a state prior to the human evolution of the brain and the eating of meat. The bone of contention thrown into the air transitions into a flying bomb situated in space 4 million years later (2001). Everyone has weapons in the future – but those with the stronger weapons possess political dominance over those with lesser weapons (as represented by the US-led Cold War). Early humans were tribal in nature and fought over resources much like modern humans. Aggression in human development is the marker of victory, whilst peace is the marker of weakness. The US wants to defeat Socialism through warfare and the threat of warfare. The US has no intention of matching the ‘peaceful coexistence’ advocated by Lenin. If you understand this, you will see a giant human embryo floating in space and enjoy life in a neo-classic (French-style) room (shared by a monolith). The film is actually set in the year 9000 CE (hence HAL 9000), with ‘HAL’ standing for ‘Halloween’ as the film is horrific in parts! Leonard Rossiter – the British comedy actor – starred in the British sitcom ‘Rising Damp’. Water that rises up goes into the rarefied atmosphere – with Rossiter ending up in space…. 

From 1939 to the end of 1941, the US did not join the UK or the Soviet Union in the fight against International Fascism. Many in the US (and Europe for that matter) were of the opinion that Hitler was a very successful leader and that America should sign a separate peace with Nazi Germany. IBM, operating out of New York, was rumoured to have assisted the Nazi German regime with the administration of its Concentration Camps from 1933-1941 (when the US joined the UK and USSR in a war against Japan, Germany and Italy). IBM was able to give the Nazi Germans a computerised cataloguing system that involved inmates to be recorded in large batches through code numbers tattooed on their forearms and recorded as data in a centralised coordinating office somewhere in Berlin (or wherever such a place was required). This is how the Nazi Germans ‘processed’ large numbers of targetted human beings through the industrialised murdering process known today as the ‘Holocaust’ (with at least 11 million victims). It is assumed that ‘HAL’ – as the computer that kills – represents the IBM collaboration with Nazi Germany, and explains why IBM withdrew their permission to have their logo included in the film, once they discovered Kubrick’s true intention. 

This film might be termed an exploration of ‘capitalist futurism’, but Kubrick did not understand that ‘greed’ for power underlaid the US effort which would all but come to an end by 1972. The US capitalist system was engage in a selfish war of attrition against the truly humanistic USSR as a means to prevent its own working class developing a true consciousness about its own plight and voluntarily ‘uniting’ with the Socialist System of the USSR! The behaviour of the US in the 1960s was not natural for a capitalist State. Using its revenue to fund humanistic projects that generated no monetary profit could not be sustained by a ruthless and predatory capitalist country. Indeed, contrary to Kubrick’s idea, it is unlikely that the US would have made ‘first contact’ with any aliens lurking near Jupiter.

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