Dangerous Minds has a piece on Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke and 2001 that includes this excerpt from an interview Kubrick did for Playboy Magazine in 1968.
“The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning. Children, of course, begin life with an untarnished sense of wonder, a capacity to experience total joy at something as simple as the greenness of a leaf; but as they grow older, the awareness of death and decay begins to impinge on their consciousness and subtly erode their joie de vivre, their idealism – and their assumption of immortality. As a child matures, he sees death and pain everywhere about him, and begins to lose faith in the ultimate goodness of man. But, if he’s reasonably strong – and lucky – he can emerge from this twilight of the soul into a rebirth of life’s elan. Both because of and in spite of his awareness of the meaninglessness of life, he can forge a fresh sense of purpose and affirmation. He may not recapture the same pure sense of wonder he was born with, but he can shape something far more enduring and sustaining. The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death – however mutable man may be able to make them – our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.”
Check out Dangerous Minds for more on 2001 as well as an embedded YouTube video, a documentary on the making of the film previously available only as an extra feature on the DVD and Blu-Ray.
(I had the great pleasure of meeting Arthur C. Clarke once about 40 years ago (holy shit!) and he was so charming and so nice, it was one of those encounters you don’t forget. I never met Kubrick in person, only dealt with him on the phone a few times during pre-production and production of The Shining. It was neither here nor there but I’ve always taken enjoyment in the fact that he was a kid from The Bronx who got shitty grades in school and went on to do the films that he did.)