Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Frog Prince.

The Prince and the Frog - Ivan Bilibin

Okay, it's time for a trickier post. Put on your thinking caps. I'm going to ask you all a question; what on earth makes a human, human? This is a relevant question to science fiction and fantasy authors. We have worlds with genetic engineering and magic. We can twist, transform and mutate human beings in any way we choose. We can give them superpowers, turn them into butterflies, apotheosize them into god-like beings. So what we want to explore in this blog post is, what makes a human, human?

Let's just start with this question, and take an example from a well known fairy tale. Your incredibly handsome, dashing prince is turned into a considerably less handsome and charming frog. He still has all of his personality, mind, memories, passions, hopes and dreams; but now he has the body of a small amphibian. Is he a human or is he some creature entirely other?

If you answered 'he's no longer human,' let me make matters more complicated, let's assume Prince Charming is a Christian. Salvation applies to humans, but not to frogs. Someone, of course, could say that he is still in possession of a human soul, and not a human body. So the human soul is what makes a human, human. There's a certain logic to this idea. After all, when we die and shed this body, we're still human.

So, it would stand to logic, that what makes us human is spiritual and not physical. However, let's say that said Prince Charming has been stripped of human mind and reason. His mind is that of a frog. Has he died? That brings up yet another question. Is the mind physical? If for instance I were to turn you into a frog, brain and all, would you still think and feel like a human even if you were unable to express it? If that is true what does it mean for mentally handicapped people?

I think (and I could be wrong), it's very necessary for the Christian fantasy writer to view to mind as a non physical substance that can stand abuses that the only a fantasy writer can throw at it. We need some core definition of what humanity is, in a other-worlds where humanity can be compromised. Objectively, we need the best working standard of what a human is.

I rest my case.

"She turned me into a Newt! I got better." 

No comments:

Post a Comment