Cutie as a Metaphor of the Mind in Asimov's Reason
Using one's reason to the highest ability is considered to be a virtue in our society. Reason and logic have a lucid quality that is reassuring to human interaction. Ultimately, humanity prizes itself for its ability to logically explain our observations by using reason. Another facet of the human mind is to be inquisitive, to constantly ask questions about our surroundings. Both these facets are shown by the main character, "Cutie," in Asimov's "Reason." This thought-provoking story uses Cutie, a robot, as a metaphor of the human mind, and on a larger scale, humanity itself. Closer analysis of "Reason" will allow an indepth understanding of :- (1) how the reasoning process is used to formulate a belief by Cutie, (2) how the human mind uses reason to deal with that which is unknown to humanity.
In "Reason," Asimov cleverly uses a robot as an analogy of the human mind. The reader becomes aware of this as the conversation of Powell, the human supervisor, and Cutie unfolds at the beginning of the story. Cutie possesses an innate curiosity and asks a question that has preoccupied human beings since the dawn of mankind: what is the purpose of my existence? This is a symbol of the human mind's inquisitive nature. Cutie also uses the word, "intuition," (Asimov 96) and this too indicates that Cutie is Asimov's representation of human nature. The discourse with Powell also enables the reader to witness how Cutie uses reason to explain his existence. By doing so, Asimov shows how a human mind can reason and formulate a belief.
To resolve the uncertainty of his existence, Cutie begins his reasoning from concrete...
... middle of paper ...
...l with the abstract, and unknown aspects of living (e.g. death, existence etc.) by building belief systems that allow a purposeful life. On a large scale society can also create belief systems to explain mankind's existence, and observations of this universe. Whether these beliefs are illusions or the absolute truth do not affect us as a functioning society. The question that Asimov leaves in the reader's mind is, 'Is our society built upon a web of beliefs that creates a comfortable illusion of all observations?' Will we ever know the truth to abstract questions pertaining to life, and the REASON of our existence? Or will we always live with inaccurate beliefs-- based on reason and incorrect postulates-- to resolve these questions. These thought-provoking questions shakes the reader's confidence of humanity's ability to find the truth by reasoning correctly.
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