Our friend Isaac
Last week’s episode, “The Box” (302), featured not one but two quotes by Isaac Asimov during the reading of William Bell’s last will and testament. Both were paraphrases of the original Asimov quotes. From the scene:
My great friend Isaac once said, life is joy, death is peace. It’s transition that’s difficult.
Asimov’s actual quote: “Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome.”
Another great paraphrase of Asimov from the scene:
Walter, we gather knowledge faster than we gather wisdom. By now I trust you have ample reserves of both.”
Here’s the original Asimov quote: “The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”
Although the writers no doubt paraphrased the original quotes for clarity and space, there’s also a bit of genius in how they transformed this second quotation. Asimov is referring to the grand collectives of science and society here. But really, isn’t this also true about our individual selves — especially in this Internet age when limitless knowledge is seemingly at our fingertips, and also the capacity to inflict seemingly limitless pain with what we know about others?
This is not just a question of science and society, but of individual human souls… just as true for us as it is for Walter Bishop. Maybe that’s why this quote from Fringe has been retweeted on Twitter dozens of times since the episode aired last Thursday night.