Essay on Gattaca: A Philosophical Analysis

Essay on Gattaca: A Philosophical Analysis

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Brimming with ultramodern scenery and metaphysical speculation, Gattaca is a profound glimpse into the not-so-distant future of humanity. Vincent, the main character, is a frustrated ‘faith birth’ living in a world in which his genetically manipulated peers have succeeded him in every competition. Motivated by an unquenchable fascination with space, Vincent recruits the chronically petulant but genetically flawless Jerome Morrow, who allows Vincent to assume his genetic identity in exchange for companionship and free alcohol. As Jerome, Vincent is quickly hired and becomes a celebrated success at Gattaca, America’s leading space station. Poignant and triumphant, Gattaca provides the discerning viewer with a philosophical perspective of the ethics, politics, and realities involved in the lives of both the genetically superior and the naturally conceived.
In Gattaca, the metaphysical reality of human free will is articulated through Vincent’s unpredicted achievement. Modern idealists, such as Berkley, believe that reality consists of ideas rather than physical objects (Velasquez 190). Jerome reveals his own idealistic mindset through an intimate conversation with Vincent, in which he lessens the significance of his physical contribution to their mutually dependant relationship and proclaims the necessary role of Vincent’s nonphysical one. Jerome says, ‘I only lent you my body. You lent me your dream’. Sartre, an existentialist philosopher, believed that every individual is responsible for determining his or her individual purpose (Velasquez 96). Although authorities at Gattaca possess a rigidly materialistic outlook (displayed through their unquestioning reliance on genetic analysis as a means of determining competenc...


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...ich prevented him from securing employment at Gattaca initially, arguing, ‘there’s just no gene for fate’.
As Vincent’s spaceship explodes into the sky and Jerome’s oppressive physical body is self-incinerated, Vincent says dreamily, ‘for someone who was never made for this world, I’m certainly having a hard time leaving it. Then again, every atom of our bodies was once part of a star ... maybe I’m not leaving it. Maybe I’m going home’. Encompassing everything from metaphysical realities to ethical and political debates, Gattaca sets a philosophical foundation on which each viewer will build his or her own interpretation of human purpose and destiny.



Works Cited
The New American Bible. Ed. Patrick O’Boyle. Washington, D.C: The Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. 1969.
Velasquez, Manuel. Philosophy: A Text with Readings. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Group. 2002.

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