There’s something exhilarating about going to a zoo and being “up-close” to a wild animal. You would probably never stand next to a lion in the wild because it’s a fucking lion, but at a zoo you’re under the assumption that you’re safe and protected. Most of the time you probably don’t even consider the possibility of the animals being set loose. But the reality is animals can be unpredictable, and if they got loose, you’d more than likely be fucked.
Now image instead if you were at a zoo with dinosaurs and a full-grown T-rex got loose. Then you’d really be fucked.
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton is basically science gone too far. Dinosaur enthusiast, John Hammond, creates a “zoo” of live, genetically engineered dinosaurs. But he is too narrow-minded to understand the risks of his park, which results in the dinosaurs getting loose and everyone who is stuck on the island fighting for their lives. Hammond doesn’t realize that even though his dinosaurs are technically “created” by him (well his scientist because he doesn’t do shit), they are all living, intelligent creatures guided by nature and their own biology. They don’t have time for Hammond’s inadequate breeding.
Throughout the book, chaos theorist Ian Malcom emphasizes the dangers of science. He criticizes Hammond and his men for basically playing God and attempting to create life while simultaneously expecting them to act accordingly instead of like actual wild animals (amazing). He’s not saying to deny science (like some people who think that’s a good idea), but to understand that nature and biology will act in a way that is beneficial to their survival, whether or not it’s convenient for you.
FYI, life doesn’t revolve around you.
Not surprisingly, a major component of this is greed. It’s a fucking theme park with live dinosaurs, of course it’s gonna scream profits. And in a capitalist society, the only thing better than a profitable dinosaur zoo is an even bigger, more profitable dinosaur zoo (cause ya know, that sounds like a great idea). So because of greed, Hammond’s scientists accelerate the growing process of the dinosaurs which probably isn’t a good idea (spoiler alert, it’s not) and even consider creating “better” versions that would seem more ideal for customers. But going too far too fast leaves plenty of room for detrimental errors.
Science mixed with greed is a pretty good recipe for disaster. It’s a profession where you are constantly trying to outdo your competitors and yourself. People constantly want something bigger and better than what they already have. So imagine having done something more harmful than helpful but being under the pressure to keep pushing further to find the next big thing. Too bad some people don’t understand until they get eaten by a velociraptor.
It’s foolish to believe we have control over everything, and even more foolish to not except some issues waiting over the horizon. Humans have made ground breaking discoveries and created amazing innovations. But sometimes you have to take a step back, accept your morality, and don’t try to play God.
“We live in a world of frightful givens. It is a given that you will behave like this, given that you will care about that. No one thinks about the givens.”
“We haven’t re-created the past. The past is gone. It can never be re-created. What we’ve done is reconstruct the past – or at least a version of the past. And I’m saying we can make a better version.”
“You create many of them in a very short time, you never learn anything about them, yet you expect them to do your bidding, because you made them and you therefore think you own them; you forget that they are alive, they have an intelligence of their own, and that they may not do your bidding, and you forget how little you know about them…”
“But scientific power is like inherited wealth: attained without discipline.”