Significant discoveries involve a process leading to a new understanding and the potential for transformation. To what extent…
Discoveries are a paradoxical concept that conceptualise human experience established through various context and beliefs. Bryson’s postmodern scientific account “A short history of nearly Everything” confronts pre-existing truths to uncover humanities dichotomous nature, transforming humanities perception. Similarly, Marjane Satrapi’s animated film “Persepolis” dictates the discovery of one’s self, through the growth of a girl living amongst the Iranian evolution, highlighting the human instinct to belong among varied contexts.
Discoveries involve the questioning of past certainties and may catalyse a reappraisal of both self and the wider world. This is embodied in Byson’s “A short history of Nearly Everything” which employs a tenuous nature of humanities existence and environment through a non-linear dialectical structure, emphasising awareness and appreciation through anecdotes and sharp wit. Bryson challenges the assumption that the process of discovery is simple, highlighting the complex progress of human knowledge. He reveals discovery as propelled by the “divine and felonious nature” of humanity, epitomised through the “worst invention” of lead by Midgely which he intentionally denied detrimental effects of, and humanities capability of “unpicking deepest secrets of heavens” from Cavendish’s results of Earth’s weight to Rutherford’s findings of neutrons. Bryson accentuates the parameters of OUR knowledge through explaining Einstein’s relativity theories through a train analogy, ‘our brains can take us only so far.” He further establishes a scathing critique of humanities felonious nature in his final chapter “goodbye” implying the destructive capacity, exhibiting that “humans are inherently bad news for other living things” through the extinction of a creature that did us no harm, preaching despite being “the universes supreme achievement,” humans have lost track of their moral integrity and ethical responsibility and action must be taken before it’s too late, thus emphasising discoveries potentiality for transformation.
Similarly, Marjane Satrapi’s animated film “Persepolis” challenges former assumptions to instigate individual and societal development varied within diverse contexts. The unique cyclical narrative structure and visual style embodies the growth of Marjane, who searches for her identity through war, exile and personal struggle. She begins as a confident Iranian girl with dreams “of being the last prophet of the galaxy” as her attempts of rebellion and unique personality are embodied in defying new laws and her courage in protesting the new regime against her teachers, encompassing loyalty and conviction. Her progression throughout the film fluctuates highlighting her omnipresent struggles as she becomes exiled to Vienna, struggling with accepting who she is which conflicts with her desire to belong, encompassed through ambiguous backgrounds in Iran and outlandish portrayals of Europe. The symbolic black and white pallet portrays the restrictions placed upon her and Iran amongst the war, as Marjane is condemned by policemen for the ‘obscene way’ in which she runs. However, accountability is encompassed by her selfish actions of falsely accusing a man of eyeing her, personifying humanities loss of ethical responsibilities. Thus, Satrapi personifies the conflicting natures of humanity to dictate life is difficult, implying discoveries can generate re-evaluation of self and society.
Discoveries may catalyse a re-evaluation of humanities existence. Bryson accentuates the parameters of humanities knowledge through the enormity of our solar system conveyed by an extended metaphor of a journey on a rocket ship, emphasising that “we don’t actually know what’s in our solar system” and a train analogy to explain Einstein’s relativity theory, emphasising humanities capacity, ‘our brains can take us only so far.” The oxymoron “we know amazingly little about what happens beneath our feet” based on the discovery of Earth’s core, reaffirms the idea of humanities limited knowledge, as Bryson highlights through the analogy “each time we manage to unlock a box, we find that there is another locked box inside.” However, Bryson implies this concept to an extent, dictating the involvement of a process isn’t always needed for significant discoveries. This is implied through Penzias and Wilson’s accidental discovery of the edge of the universe awarding them a Nobel prize, juxtaposing Princeton researcher George Gamow’s long years of research, only to be “left with sympathy”, highlighting discoveries aren’t always derived from endless searching “It didn’t really become an active notion… until… two young radio astronomers made an extraordinary and inadvertent discovery.” Similarly, the discovery of the largest moon in the solar system was unintentional, embodying the notion since discovered through a “routine examination” by a young astronomer James Christy. Thus, Bryson coincides that discoveries have the potential for transformation, with or without a process.
Similarly, Satrapi’s “Persepolis” highlight the loss of humanities moral obligation through the depiction of Marjane’s growth within the Iranian revolution, implying that discoveries raise challenging ethical issues. Cinematic war scenes representing people as silhouettes, highlight the harsh realism of the Iranian invasion as Marjane dictates “every aspect of our lives changed…and so did we.” The loss of humanities moral integrity is further exposed through Marjane’s first view of a dead bod, emphasised through slow motion pan outs and increase of darkness, signifying the horror and reality of humanities actions. Marjane personifies dominant desire to belong, however pre-existing assumptions contradict “they think we’re all violent, blood thirst fanatics.” However, accountability is encompassed by her selfish actions of falsely accusing a man of eyeing her, personifying humanities loss of ethical responsibilities. Conversely, humanities didactic nature is personified through Marjane’s sophisticated grandma as she dictates “keep your dignity and be true to yourself” as Marjane walks in disappointment after telling a man that she was French, implying her grandmothers statement “fear makes us lose our awareness, it turns us into cowards as well.” Thus, Satrapi personifies the conflicting natures of humanity to dictate life is difficult, however embodied by the final scene of the grandmother’s lesson “you always have a choice,” thus implying discoveries can generate re-evaluation of self and society.