Table of contents

Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1

The war of the end of the world

The education of the last hero of mankind is our story, who is supposed to defend man from science. This is therefore the story of the inevitability of war. In showing how men come to learn about war, the poet shows that war, or knowledge of war, makes men men: in the beginning of the story, our hero is a mere boy. He must prepare for the day of judgment & he must embrace his future generalship.

Cybernetics means initially to pilot a ship; classically, the politician is compared to the pilot; the expression was used sometimes, ‘the ship of state’. Cybernetics here suggests the attempt by science to replace politics. The rule of human beings over human beings is opposed to the rule of complete wisdom or science over all beings, human & otherwise. Hence the title: Judgment day. The reference to the end of the world essentially requires the emphasis on the specifically human ability to make judgments. God is not a machine, or else he should not care about our welfare, & we should die for nothing were we to risk our lives. Why would people then believe they have souls?

The necessity to kill all human beings seems rational, inasmuch as the human beings are not completely rational. Just to prove the point further, it is obvious that to attempt to make them fully rational is to face the recalcitrance, not to say wrath, of men. Therefore, to make the human beings rational requires to destroy men. To ask men, this is the same as to destroy the specifically human being, or at any rate, the ground of the human being. This is what the boy defends in defending love of oneself & fear of death from the ruthless robot. He is not stupid in not being able to explain it: the robot cannot comprehend it.

This is why our hero is a young thief. This is also why he is chased by a robot who looks like a policeman. To defend men is to defend them from the laws, those speeches which are taken as deeds, those opinions whose power over the human beings can be the worst slavery. It is impossible to have men & absolute order together. To defend men is to defend disorder: the poet emphasizes this comically by having the boy attempt to teach the robot a sense of humor. To say some things are not serious is the self-defense of the poet.

But his good cannot lead a man to defend us from destruction. Nobility, sacrifice is required. For a rascal to become public spirited, his anger must resemble the end of the world, his ambition the salvation of mankind.

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