Dehumanization Of The Foretellers In The Minority Report And Minority Report Essay Example
Dehumanization Of The Foretellers In The Minority Report And Minority Report Essay Example

Dehumanization Of The Foretellers In The Minority Report And Minority Report Essay Example

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  • Pages: 9 (2432 words)
  • Published: August 26, 2016
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The Precogs' Dehumanization

In Minority Report and "The Minority Report” How we define human, subhuman and superhuman is complex, with many intricacies and unknowns. The relationship between them, regarding the Precogs in The Minority Report short story as well as the film, is complex between these two forms of dehumanization and humanization. For those unfamiliar with the works, the three Precogs are collectively, literally, the human engine which enables Precrime to exist.

In both works, their superhuman ability to see the future has been harnessed giving, those who have access to the technology in which they are embedded, knowledge of future crimes. In this, their predominant overall treatment is as subhuman, and they are disconnected from normal human life. Though they are momentarily re-framed to the audience as superhuman (for this ability) in both works, they are predominantly dehuman



The two stark differences in its film adaptation, which was created in 2002, are:

  • The deification of the Precogs, stemming from this superhuman portrayal;
  • wherein the movie offers a different perspective, whilst maintaining their subhuman status.
  • And in the content of Precogs' life narrative.

Though important axioms in their biographies are still similar to the story''s, this leads to the film's deviation in conclusion, as only in the final, epilogue scene, the precogs are released from the world of Precrime into a human life.

Still, this ending's contrast sheds light on the subhuman state they existed in for the duration of the Precrime system's existence. In both works they are disconnected from living in the present, their superhuman abilities traded for their basic human functions

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leaving them in a subhuman state. They are stuck in the future and stuck in the past. From 1958, Phillip K. Dick writes,"Their minds were dull, confused, lost in shadows. But not the shadows of today were contemplating the future. The analytical machinery was recording prophecies, and as the three precog idiots talked, the machinery carefully listened."

Anderton continues in speech, "The talent absorbs everything, the esp-lobe shrivels the balance of the frontal area. But what do we care?

We get their prophecies

Donna is forty-five years old. But she looks about ten. "The sense that the other Precogs do not physically embody their rightful age seems to be implied. The enhancement of their abilities is paired with malformation of their communication skills. I interpret this skill as superhuman, because any human ability to do so it is debatable, disbelieved by many.

Though disabilities alone do not constitute a subhuman state, their treatment and the literary nuances which I will elaborate on later, do. They are stuck in the past, as they are underdeveloped. He states plainly that they are lost in shadows, not in the present. Later, when Anderton returns, Dick describes "Jerry" in particular, "The dwarfed hunched over figure had sat buried in it's wiring and relays for fifteen years. As Anderton approached, it didn't look up. With eyes glazed and blank, it contemplated a world that did not yet exist, blind to the physical reality that lay around it.

"Jerry" was twenty-four year old. Originally he had been classified as a hydro-cephalic idiot testers had identified the precog talent, buried under layers of tissue corrosion. Placed

in a government operated training school had been cultivated. By the time he was nine the talent had advanced to a useful stage. "Jerry" however, remained in the aimless chaos of idiocy; the burgeoning faculty had absorbed the totality of his personality. " Having lost 15 years of his life as part of this machine; and by absorbing his personality, he is made less human.

And it is the government who cultivates this superhuman ability to make it useful. This is not alleviation, but worsening, and keeps him stuck in the future. All three precogs are stuck in the future, while their bodies and other faculties are stuck in the past. This prevention of normal life is paralleled in the film. They are dosed with chemicals, and their physical pain is dulled. Their consciousness is confined to experiencing "previsions" and reliving the old ones again.. Wally the temple keeper, who even brushes their teeth, tells Witwer and the Precrime unit, "We see what they see…They don't feel any pain.

We keep their heads pretty well stocked with dopamine and endorphins. Plus we maintain careful control of their serotonin levels. We don't want 'em to drift off into too deep o' sleep. They cant be kept too awake either. "This seems self evident for my argument, wherein the usefulness of their superhuman ability, is enhanced by the same technology that confines their experience to a constant disengagement from life, with just enough chemically induced positivity (dopamine, endorphins, and balanced serotonin) to keep them going. Wally states plainly their bordering waking life.

This disengages them from human life. These chemicals balance our various types

of neurological happiness and satisfaction. For the Precogs, these are not genuinely derived from life experience or the self-initiated consumption of food, beverage and substance, as they have been by humans for thousands of years. As for the last century, whether such chemicals are given to individuals for their own sake or the sake of others, affecting enhancement or disconnection, varies. The dynamics of real-world mental institutions, chemical controls and the like are complex and also debatable.

But for the Precogs specifically, the effect is not to evolve or continue, but to keep them un-distracted by, normal human life. This is obvious, later in this scene after Agatha and Anderton have their momentary communication, when Agatha cannot even stand in water and almost drowns.? An unprecedented event, Wally nervously rationalizes to John, "Grabbed you?


Precogs aren't even aware of us, in the milk all they see is the future… Sometimes they dream about the old murders". When Agatha is on the run with Anderton and taken out of the milk, she must ask him, "Is it now?

I'm tired, I'm tired of the future". There was no life outside of the temple for her since entering it. It is crystalline here that she is unable to recognize the present, and has been trapped in the future and past as a part of the Precrime machine. This occurs both in the precogs' present, while caged in their "temple", as well as in their past. After having "genetic research" done on them at the "Woodhaven Clinic" as children, they had already been subjected to this.

The self-proclaimed mother of Precrime

explains, "You think the three in the tank come out of a test tube merely the ones who survived. All of these kids were born with severe brain damage. Most died before the age of those precious few who survived, had a gift for them it was more like a cosmic joke. They would wake up in the night, curled up in the corner, screaming, clawing at the wallpaper when these little children, as they closed their eyes at night, they dreamed only of murder. Over & over, one after the other. And it didn't take long for us to realize that the real nightmare was that these were about to come true."

This mirrors the story in the sense that they are less capable than a human of normal multi-faceted strength (simply defined, more than just physical) emphasized explicitly as brain damage, though it accredits them with a superior gift. In this, they cannot escape their experience of the future, which torments them. For the first time, Anderton acknowledges them as people, "You say some of these children, died. " She replies, "Oh so many of them, despite what we did for them. Or maybe, because of what we did to them. But it doesn't matter its a perfect system now isn't it."

She says this with a hint of sarcasm? , maybe even schadenfreude (for Precrime), as she takes responsibility for their dehumanized state. One aspect which she illuminates is the suffering of the precogs in their imprisonment in the future, making them unable to participate fully in the present, nor even sleep. She also assumes rightly that Anderton thinks they

were genetically engineered since zygote stage, perhaps implied earlier when he stated that she'd "developed them" and "pioneered the interface" "Interface", to me, implies technology.

This again portrays them as something other than traditionally human, which may have contributed to this subhuman treatment. This is shown when Agatha is on the run with Anderton and disconnected from the life supporting photon milk. Agatha had up until then been a tool for the precrime system and any information within her belonged to the public and was manipulated by computer. When Anderton tries to access this information in an underground fantasy bar, he cannot slow it down or speed it up.

His computer-maker, who crosses, kneels and explains himself at her sight, remarks, "How should I slow this down... hit her on the head? " Only after he has heard their story, does Anderton acknowledge her as someone with sovereignty over herself, by addressing her as "you", "I'm sorry, but you contain information and I need to know how to get at it. Can you tell me who Leo Crow is? "Once inside the fantasy bar he says her previsions “don’t belong to anybody” and speaks to her as if to a child.

This is reinforced as the precrime unit discusses her abduction, "He can't download her without a lot of technical support. " In modernity, we download inanimate information.

The majority of humans today do not consider computers to be human, such a notion may even be instigating in some circles. In this way they border not only the future and past, but a subhuman place on the border of living and

death. And it is the axiom of another person's life or death of which they are pre-conscious, so to speak. In both works they exist on the border between life and death. This is where a strong difference is present. For the story downplays their "spiritual"aspects, while the film connects them to this border, yet in both they are portrayed less than fully alive.

This dynamic is shown foremost in their prediction of the future. In the film, Precrime can only predict murder because, "there is nothing more destructive to the metaphysical fabric that binds us than the untimely murder of one human by another. " Still Agatha can see other aspects of the future, though Precrime does not harness them11, and in the story this non-homicide information is dispatched elsewhere. They are conscious mostly on that bridge between the two, pulled by this "death"-realm and away from the living.

Towards the end of the film, Agatha describes hersel,f in a distancing third person, stabilizing my argument, "already gone…she didn't die, but she's not alive either. " This metaphysical connection to life and death, and the expression of the death state is elaborated even further in the film. However, the story leaves more room for interpretation. Still, living humans (precogs) are the center of precrime machines. Both works attest their not being fully alive. Dick writes, “they muttered existed. They had no spiritual needs.

"His trivialization of this is a nod to the subhuman, as evidenced by him calling them “retarded” and "mutants". It is debatable that human spiritual needs exist and are equivalent. This aside, it is implied here that humans

do have spiritual and physical needs but the Precogs do not, indicating them as less alive in the traditional human manner.

This short statement raises many possibilities, as they may be:

  • superhuman, for spiritual needs are weakness;
  • superhuman, for they’re fulfilled spiritually (though this seems less implied);
  • or treated as subhuman for their needs are ignored and this is not an omniscient viewpoint in the story.

I could go on. Whatever their "divine" nature, they're frequently made subhuman, called "It", "monkeys" or their names are in quotes.

They are referred to as part of the machinery, and these computers are credited with the previsions as opposed to the Precogs themselves, "The solution, based on careful study of statistical method, is to utilize a third computer to check the results of the first two. " Physically, in both works, their imprisonment in this state comes from the very technology which enables Precrime to exist.

In both they are forcibly on life support, dehumanizing and disenfranchising them of the most basic power in our realm, thus depicting them as subhuman. In the movie, it having been created decades later, they sit in amniotic-like fluid, "the photon milk acts as... nutrient supply and liquid conductor, which enhances the images. We call the female Agatha, the twins Arthur and Dasher". Agatha and the twins are spoken of like animals, in "call the female" as opposed to 'woman' or 'girl' and 'is-named' even by one who cherishes them, perhaps because he deifies them, which will be addressed later on.

More to the point, it is Wally and those he

works for who carefully manipulate, giving them control over the Precogs. Towards the climax of the movie, when she is flushed out and reborn into the world, Agatha is shivering and unable to even stand on her own. The Precogs position in this aspect is a representation of their subordination and inertia. Phillip K. writes, "All day long the idiots babbled, imprisoned in their special high-backed chairs, held in one rigid position by metal bands, and bundles of wiring, clamps.

Their physical needs were taken care of automatically

Vegetable like

 Their deformation makes them useful tools, subordinate to other humans, and lower in the pecking order. Eating does not alone express the pecking order. Any manipulation of other living things can. The Mother of Precrime acknowledges and embodies this power. As she tinkers with her many flora, creating anti-poisons to a plant with multifaceted power, making food for other plants, and tea for herself, she spells it out for Anderton, "This was ten years ago when Neuronine first hit the streets.

It was an impure form of the drug, not the engineered cocktail that became so popular among the more "educated". "Educated" here implies those with more money, power and access to it. Thus the impure form would be accessed by those lower in the pecking order already as it were, causing the prenatal damage to the precogs which made them disposable enough to do research on and use as tools. The self proclaimed mother of pre-crime is one of few to talk straight to Anderton.

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