Dr. Iris Hineman- Lauren Star

An integral character in the film is Dr. Iris Hineman, one of the creators of the PreCrime technology. Hineman enters the plot soon after Anderton is accused of murder, as Hineman’s green house is the first place that Anderton runs to. Anderton seeks her help, as he is in disbelief that he the Precogs are correct about his future. The role Hineman plays is a wise, and almost omniscient, point of view. She is one of the most knowledgeable people about the system, and also seems to be conscious of lessons in everyday life. She proves that she has knowledge of her reality based on the interactions with those around her. She sees the effect that she has on others, such as with the PreCrime system, which helps her create her reality. While speaking with Anderton, she mentions that she actually had no intention of creating the PreCrime system; it was simply a science experiment gone wrong. She only intended to help the children suffering from horrific nightmares. After the discovery that the Precogs’ dreams were future visions, she takes on a God-like power role. She alters the organic processes of life, and implements a system to intercept an otherwise natural course of action.

This parallels to William James’ thoughts in Pragmatism, where he discusses how the progress of science diminishes mankind’s importance. James asserts, “Man is no lawgiver to nature, he is an absorber” (James 12). In Minority Report, Hineman, though arguably inadvertently, tries to become a lawgiver and defies natural human law. Humans are animals, and animals are inclined to kill each other at some point for various reasons. By trying to redefine nature and the sequence of events, she mirrors a “Frankenstein” type of creator in the fact that she created something much more significant than she anticipated. Hineman, however, can be considered at fault for neglecting the desires of the Precogs themselves. Since she invented this system, she did not want to dismantle it immediately, even though there clearly were consequences for doing so. Agatha states in the movie that she did not want to be a Precog, but no one listened to her. Hineman brought her into this reality, and then eventually retired and left Agatha to fend for herself. James brings up a point in Pragmatism that speaks to the human reluctance to change our opinions and values once we feel we have developed something worthwhile. James writes, “The result is an inward trouble to which his mind till then had been a stranger, and from which he seeks to escape by modifying his previous mass of opinions. He saves as much of it as he can, for in this matter of belief we are all extreme conservatives” (31). Hineman wants to defend her system, and while she knows copious amounts of innocent people could be getting locked up, she does nothing to stop what she’s created. It would be counterintuitive for her to try and shut down such an impressive system that benefits majority of the society. She had complete knowledge of the minority reports, yet according to James’ theory, she couldn’t help but to protect her previous opinions about the system even though she knew they were flawed.

Although her character is not admirable for her apathy about known injustice, she gives Anderton valuable advice regarding his peers and the PreCrime system as a whole. Supporting her omniscient character style, she offers this guidance to Anderton, “You shouldn’t trust anyone. Certainly not the Attorney General who just wants it all for himself, and not the young Federal agent, who wants your job. Not even the old man who just wants to hold on to what he created. Don’t trust anyone. Just find the Minority Report.” Her warning is foreshadowing that Anderton must be very careful regarding who he believe are his friends and who are his enemies. Hineman can be admired for her original objective of helping others as well as providing insightful information to Anderton as he tries to prove his innocence. However, she negates this good will by her lack of commitment to fix the defects in the system she created.

pic iris

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