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Flowers for Algernon:
The Pursuit For Artificial Intelligence
Daniel Keyes science-fiction novel Flowers for Algernon, first published in 1966, relates the story of Charlie Gordon through a diary (a collection of "progress reports") written by Charlie, a mentally-challenged man who via experimental brain surgery evolves into a genius. Although many scientist and researchers in today's highly technological age are striving for ways to increase the mental capacities of human beings through biological and artificial means, when Flowers for Algernon first appeared, such ideas were pure science-fiction. Yet despite Charlie's tragic outcome in the novel, it seems a wise idea to continue to pursue any and all means to increase the mental abilities of human beings, due in part to the need for highly-intelligent men and women who will confront unimagined conditions in the distant future.
At the beginning of the novel, the reader is introduced to Charlie in the first-person…… [Read More]
Flowers for Algernon thus argues for mainstreaming, with added support, when viewed in the real-world context of childhood education of gifted or special needs children alike. It is not enough to look at a child's IQ when designing an appropriate curriculum. The child's temperament and emotional developmental milestones must be considered as well. Finally, another danger the story highlights is the tendency to expect too much of children with high intelligence, which can create a sense of perfectionism within them, as demonstrated when Charlie fears (in his case, justifiably) that his intelligence is faltering. Conversely, setting too low expectations for lower I.Q. children can be a problem. One must not make assumptions that everything comes easily to a child. In the book, Charlie resents being given his gifts, and that his talents come without great effort. Rather, because he remembers what life was like before, he feels he must make…… [Read More]
Once "beneath" these men, Charlie was now above them and he feels as though they treat him as a thing rather than a human being. He cannot process what is happening to him and he withdraws from society because he is misunderstood and misunderstands. The danger of knowing too much rests squarely in knowing when things are awry. Retarded Charlie was not smart but he was not stressed and unhappy. The struggle to find peace with knowledge is more difficult than we like to think because we must think about it and we must rationalize it even when it is better when we do not.
Flowers for Algernon examines the difficult and delicate psyche of man through understanding intelligence. The potential associated with knowledge intimates we can understand everything and live enhanced lives people because of that. The actuality speaks another truth, revealing knowledge has very little to do with…… [Read More]
hile the winner gets a huge amount of money for supposedly being the strongest human, in fact, the strongest human is merely the one that uses the greatest amount of self-centered cunning and brute strength. If one is going to define humanity, especially in the post-Darwinian age, then it would seem that humanity, to be set apart, would depend on altruistic feelings and use of intelligence rather than selfish feelings and use of brute force alone. In this respect, there is little to separate the producers of TV reality shows from Dr. Moreau, and, by extension, little to separate the participants from the man-beasts. hile it is certainly a cynical viewpoint, it would seem that those who participate in the reality shows might be assumed to be as dimly aware of their condition as the man-beasts after their reversion to the more animal state.
Graff compares Dr. Moreau to Mary…… [Read More]