The space is forever expanding; the sun is a million times larger than the planet that contains the human race; the whole solar system comparing to the Milky Way is no larger than the size of a quarter; and beyond that, are countless numbers of galaxies and endless possibilities. Not often does one think of these relationships between man and earth and outer space, and realize that man was not let alone the only intelligent being that exists. Arthur Clarke's science fiction, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Homer's epic poem, The Odyssey express that neither Odysseus nor man could advance without the influence of an outside power or force.
In the epic tale of Odysseus' journey and the evolutionary adventure of man, a higher force overcomes human kind on both sides is guiding Odysseus and man's actions, leading both to advance and develop. The beginning of the epic poem described Odysseus and his returning as, "In that last task,/ his will was firm and fast, and yet he failed: /he could not save his comrades. Fools, they foiled /themselves: the ate the oxen of the Sun, /the herd of Helios Hyperion; /the lord of light requited their transgression---/he took away the day of their return" (Homer 3). Odysseus, hero of the Odyssey, went on a decade long journey because his comrades made an ignorant action, ergo, the god punished them. This action of punishment indicates that since mankind was a creation by the gods, the gods have power to overrule or to destroy, and to respond when Odysseus does wrong, which is taking away the day of his return, and make him learn and advance through his journey trying to reach his destination. While in 2001: A Space Odyssey, the alternate force came in a more obscure, but basically similar way. The monolith first appeared in the age of man-apes; then again at the end of the journey on the moon; encountered and past the Discovery; and finally it appeared again as the reborn occurred. The symbolic shape of the monolith appeared even more often throughout the story. Every time the monolith appears, man takes a new evolutionary turn. Which points out the fact that man must rely on a superior force to be able to advance, or else man could never surpass man and make progress. The way human touches the monolith, like Adam taking the forbidden fruit of Eden, is indicating that the monolith is like an oracle from the god, carrying all man kinds' civilization and intelligence. Perhaps it is what man created with subconscious, or planted by intellectual beings from outer space, but what can be certain is that when a finger laid on the monolith for the first time, it was the beginning of human kind leaping into evolution. Similar as the two evolutionary forces---gods of Olympus and the monolith---might be, however, there are differences that set them apart.
The gods in The Odyssey are merely mirror images reflecting the human race, whereas in 2001: A Space Odyssey, the representing symbol, the monolith, is a form of existence completely differs from human knowledge. At the end of Bowman's journey, when he finally came closest to the next level of form, he finds himself in an old hotel room just like the ones on earth, "All the furniture seemed sound and solid enough; he tried the chairs, and they supported his weight. But the drawers in the desk would not open; they were dummies...Bowman picked up a carton of a familiar breakfast cereal, thinking as he did so that it was odd to keep this frozen. The moment he lifted the package, he knew that it certainly did not contain cornflakes; it was much too heavy. He ripped open the lid, and examined the