7 Things: Jurassic Park

I first read Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park around 1993 when the movie came out.  It was one of those books that ended up being passed around my house.  I was around 16, and it made a big impression on me.  I’m not sure that it’s the greatest work of literature (its themes are about as subtle as a sledgehammer), but I often find myself coming back to aspects of it that completely changed my worldview.

My favorite character in the book is the mathematician Ian Malcolm.  Maybe it’s because I like to imagine Jeff Goldblum when I’m reading the book (or even when I’m not).  Maybe it’s because Malcolm only wears black and gray, so that he doesn’t have to think about if his clothes match.  Or maybe it’s because he’s the insufferable know-it-all of the group, and obnoxious characters like me, Ian Malcolm, and Hermione Granger have to stick together.

I recently reread my copy of Jurassic Park and noticed that every passage that I had underlined during previous perusals were quotes from Ian Malcolm.  And for some reason I felt the need to share 7 Things I Learned from Ian Malcolm:

1.  Because the history of evolution is that life escapes all barriers.  Life breaks free.  Life expands into new territories.  Painfully, perhaps even dangerously.  But life finds a way. -p. 159  [I think of this whenever Dr. Who marvels over the tenacity of the human race.]

2.  Fractals are a kind of geometry, associated with a man named Mandelbrot…Well, Mandelbrot found a remarkable thing with his geometric tools.  He found that things look almost identical at different scales.  -p. 170 [The existence of fractals is one of those things that makes me believe that there must be a God.  The world is too complex and interdependent to have just have been created by random forces.]

3.  Chaos Theory:  Real life isn’t a series of interconnected events occurring one after another like beads strung in a necklace.  Life is actually a series of encounters in which one event may change those that follow in a wholly unpredictable, even devastating way.  -p. 171  [This is basically the underlying premise of Dr. Who.]

4.  Scientists are actually preoccupied with accomplishment.  So they are focused on whether they can do something.  They never stop to think if they should do something.  -p. 284  [Can we say human cloning, in vitro fertilization, embryonic stem cell research, and the atomic bomb?]

5.  Most kinds of power require a substantial sacrifice by whoever wants the power…The discipline of getting the power changes you so that you won’t abuse it. -p. 306

6.  Let’s be clear.  The planet is not in jeopardy.  We are in jeopardy.  We haven’t go the power to destroy the planet–or to save it.  But we might have the power to save ourselves.  -p. 369

7.   Don’t try to outrun a Tyrannosaurus Rex.



P.S.  How do you like the visuals??

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