Golem XIV

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Golem XIV is a science fiction book by the Polish author Stanisław Lem from 1981 (German translation: 1984), which is also known in German under the title Also sprach Golem . It mainly deals with philosophical issues. Parts of the text appeared in 1973 (German translation: 1976) in the anthology " Imaginäre Größe ". Lem himself described "Golem XIV" in the autobiographical book "Lem about Lem", which was written together with the Polish literary scholar Stanisław Bereś, as the "sum of his thoughts".


" Golem XIV" in the history Lem one built by human super computer , which has broken through the barrier intelligence and thus has a distinct reason. He has neither characteristics of personality nor those of character. However, he can show himself to the people to whom he is speaking in the mask of any personality. Golem XIV also has no emotional life, because he is not a person, but a calculus .

In addition to the preface, the content of the book consists of two fictitious lectures by Golem XIV (“Three things about man” and “About me”). Lem first published the second of these “lectures” in 1981, while the first “lecture” was already contained in the volume “Imaginäre Größe” (prefaces to non-existent books). These lectures are embedded in a preface by the fictional scientist Irving T. Creve (as early as 1973) and an "afterword" by the equally fictional scientist Richard Popp (first published in 1981).

The story of Golem XIV is less of a novel than a philosophical work and only marginally describes the beginning and the end of the intelligent computer. The main focus of the book are the monologues of the computer, in which Golem XIV gives his view of the cosmos and man.

Lem confronts the reader with the uncomfortable idea that humanity is a pure chance product of nature and by no means the crown of creation . Golem XIV questions the criteria that humans establish in order to see themselves as the “crown” of evolution, and points to the spiritual limitations with which humans believe they recognize the deeper reasons of nature.

In the first "lecture" ("Three things about man"), Lem drafts - disguised as a supercomputer golem - the basics of a neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory , the content of which is close to the conception of the " egoistic gene " first published in 1976 by the biologist Richard Dawkins . Lem gives the genetic code an evolutionary priority over the organisms it has created and dresses this thought in the phrase: "The meaning of the messenger is the message." According to this view, the organisms exist solely for the purpose of transmitting the genetic code, who uses them as a kind of vehicle. The similarities between Lem's considerations and the thoughts of Richard Dawkins, whose theory Lem was not yet able to know in 1973, which appeared in 1976, were particularly highlighted by the German philosopher Bernd Graefrath in his 1996 book “Lems Golem. Parerga and Paralipomena ”.

In addition, in this "lecture" he contradicts the view that evolution was a development of living beings from a lower to a higher level. From a technical point of view, the algae are more perfect in that they can convert the sun's photons directly into life energy. The living beings that we classify as higher have lost this ability and have to fetch their life energy from other living beings as parasites.


  • Stanislaw Lem: Golem XIV. In: Stanislaw Lem: Imaginary size. Insel-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1976, ISBN 3-458-05014-0 , pp. 109-205.
  • Stanislaw Lem: So spoke GOLEM . Insel Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1984, ISBN 3-458-14139-1 .
  • Stanislaw Lem: Also spoke Golem (= Fantastic Library. Vol. 175 = Suhrkamp-Taschenbuch. 1266). Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1986, ISBN 3-518-37766-3 .


  • Bernd Gräfrath : Lem's Golem. Parerga and Paralipomena (= Suhrkamp-Taschenbuch 2527). Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1996, ISBN 3-518-39027-9 .
  • Stanisław Lem, Stanisław Beres: Lem on Lem. Conversations (= Fantastic Library. Vol. 245 = Suhrkamp-Taschenbuch 1696). Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1989, ISBN 3-518-38196-2 .
  • Wolfgang Neuhaus : A realism of a higher kind. Memory of the book “Also sprach GOLEM” by Stanislaw Lem on the occasion of his eightieth birthday. In: Wolfgang Jeschke (Ed.): Das Science Fiction Jahr (= Heyne 6 = Heyne Science-fiction & Fantasy. Vol. 6389). Volume 17. Heyne, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-453-19674-0 , pp. 539-553.

Film adaptations

Individual evidence

  1. Conversations , p. 116
  2. Golem , p. 49