3) Science and Faith
4) Lem's Philosophy
6) Facts and opinions of his environment
Stanisław Lem (12 September 1921 – 27 March 2006) was a Polish writer of science fiction, philosophy and satire. His works explore philosophical themes; speculation on technology, the nature of intelligence, the impossibility of mutual communication and understanding, despair about human limitations and mankind's place in the universe. They are sometimes presented as fiction, but others are in the form of essays or philosophical books. Translations of his works are difficult due to passages with elaborate word formation, alien or robotic poetry, and puns. Multiple translated versions of his works exist.
It is important to connect Lem with futurology. His ability to predict future trends was outstanding, and till this day his 'prophecy' from past is fulfilling. Soon after his success and popularity, governments were curious about Lem's ability to predict. At times of cold war people like him were priceless, a lot of people wanted to correspond with him and wanted to find out how is he able to have such accuracy. At some point USSR thought that Lem is polish project of brightest minds trying to predict technology outcome.
Solaris is the first polish book in history to make such huge impact on such wide audience all over the world. Also it is first book of Lem that brought greater attention. Solaris in very simplified description, contains shows human kind meeting different consciousness. Consciousness pushes characters for deep introspection, which is very significant and visible topic in the book.
“We have no need of other worlds. We need mirrors. We don't know what to do with other worlds. A single world, our own, suffices us; but we can't accept it for what it is.”“I felt myself being invaded through and through, I crumbled, disintegrated, and only emptiness remained.”
Science according to Lem is not something that answers the questions. It only makes it more possible to be closer to answer with it's hipotetic constructions to bring better picture of reality, in the same way as minds of the socially working scientists.
Translation of one question(from first link):
" In which moment does faith lie in achievements of science?"
" It is not really about me, this audition is happening because this camera works, which is result of science. And you came here because you believed that car wouldn't break, you believed that meteorite won't fall on you. These are examples of faith that is more or less likely happening. Faith and Knowledge represent two extremes of a pole. It will be always mixed somehow. On one hand we have pure religious faith that doesn't demand 'school supplies' to believe, on the other hand we have pure knowledge. If a watchmaker repairs a watch, he uses his knowledge. It's almost impossible to split faith from knowledge. We always can find something of knowledge in faith, and some faith in knowledge.
Lem thinks that nothing awaits us after death. He also mentions that he has never really thought about life after death too much, and it's not his speciality.
At some point he stopped writing belles-lettres and 'damaged' or killed his protagonists to make sure he won't come back. His wife suggested that his writing carried 'a mission' to make the world better place, although Lem states that world can't be made a better place, it follows its own road.
His interest of history was focused on impacts of events. Lem points out that history itself isn't that interesting to him. He also mentions that we are very vulnerable beings, and religion has only been with us for two thousand years, what in perspective of age of earth is not really much.
Stanisław finds asylum in comprehending 'moment of existence' through sciences that research cosmos. He points out how small earth is and how insignificant when taken as whole picture.
"Either something is authentic or it is unauthentic, it is either false or true, make-believe or spontaneous life; yet here we are faced with a prevaricated truth and an authentic fake, hence a thing that is at once the truth and a lie."
"Man does not create gods, in spite of appearances. The times, the age, impose them on him."
"You climb to reach the summit, but once there, discover that all roads lead down."
- Before World War II, government tested intelligence of children in Poland, Lem scored the highest in south part of Poland. He was considered a brilliant kid,
- Lem never learned how to use computer,
- Very often in interviews or quotes he points out how vulnerable and insignificant one man is in whole world,
- He thinks of world as 'swine',
- Very often he would joke at people and reality, rarely at himself. He didn't really like anyone to criticize his works,
- He hid his jewish origins, and luckily avoided getto during the war,
- Born in rich family,
- Lem loved cars, he was type of driver with temperament, that liked to drive fast and to overtake other cars,
- He had significant problems with health in his older years, he was sent to hospital few times in critical state,
- He suffered depression because of state of Poland,
- 60th anniversary of publication of The Cyberiad resulted in one of the most complex then doodles : http://www.google.pl/logos/lem/
- There is 'unspoken rule' behind Lem's books, that most of stories are based on real stories he experienced. Although Lem himself says that he rarely used experienced, all he used was his imagination,
- His career in science-fiction was kind of accident, as he states himself. Before finishing medicine, he happened to meet someone responsible for publications(Lem wasn't aware of his position). After few meetings, Lem was suggested to write a book by publisher. That's how 'The Astronauts' were started. Lem actually jokes at the title, as he had no idea why he chose it without even knowing content of book or idea behind it,
- A lot of people point out his incredible memory.