Re: 2001's gospel message

R. Joel Duff (
Fri, 5 Nov 1999 07:49:21 -0400

>At 04:46 PM 11/04/1999 -0500, wrote:
>>My interpretation: Dave took a long time, trying to save himself,
>>trying to escape death by means of technology, proud of his
>>victory in even overcoming the murderous HAL. But when he is
>>imprisoned alone within himself, after an extended period of time,
>>he comes to the end of himself. On his deathbed, he finally
>>gives in and submits to the will of the Power that is greater than
>>him. Immediately the heavenly gate is opened, the key having
>>been found. Dave is reborn in a new creation.
>>(Go back and see the film, and check out my interpretation for
>>Now, do you think Kubrick would have interpreted it that way?
>>Who is right?
>I think that the only one who is right is Arthur C. Clark. He was the
>writer. All others who interpret it differently than him have misunderstood
>or changed his intent. I don't know how Clark interprets the story. This
>is no different than when I tell one of the people in my group to do such
>and such, and they intepret it differently than what I meant, there has
>been a miscommunication. I may have spoken wrongly, but they may have
>decided to do something differently.


I remember reading a very interesting paper on the movie once that I can't
put my hands on right now but one thing that I remember is that there was
great tension between Clark and Kubrick. In fact, Clark wrote the book off
the screenplay and after the movie was done almost in protest to how
Kubrick interpreted the film. So reading the book is not necessarily the
way to interpret the movie since both had different goals. Clark is an
newage type atheist (if those can go together) and pushes those themes hard
in his books. Kubrick has always been very much into looking at what makes
evil and good. Kubrick did at least believe in some sort of higher being
though was not especially fond of Christianity. I think David has captured
the message that Kubrick brought to the film that Clark was not happy
about. Clark, like in all his books (eg. the Rama series) is obsessed with
the effects of technology on society and our dependence on them. Our
savior to him is to be released from the binds of technology. I'll try to
find that paper, it helped me see the movie in a whole new light learning
about all the squabbles and fights they had over the screenplay that
ultimately lead them to part ways and Kubrick just ended up doing it his


R. Joel Duff, Assistant Professor
Dept. of Biology, ASEC 185
Campus Mail 3908
University of Akron
Akron OH, 44325-3908
Office: 330-972-6077