Waking up Saturday morning, trying to decide whether to stay in bed or begin checking off my to-do list, I picked up my phone and scrolled through the news app. A New York Times interview with Elon Musk topped trending stories, a frank confession of the Tesla CEO’s recent downward spiral due to overworking and insomnia.
After reading about Musk’s troubles, I went about my day, making my way through the to-do list, then sitting down for an afternoon respite with the book I’m currently reading, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. As I read, I came across this passage just after Frankenstein has brought life to his creature, realizing the mistake he made:
The different accidents of life are not so changeable as the feelings of human nature. I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body. For this I had deprived myself of rest and health. I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.
It may be a cliche, even obvious comparison to liken Musk to the mad scientist, but it seemed too appropriate not to share. It’s a reminder that while technology advances, human nature remains constant. We still have desires, aspirations and the need to prove something, just as Shelley recognized in her fellow man and captured in her classic tale.