Of unicorns and electric sheep.
After finally settling with your own ideas and beliefs, having worked them all out, there is little else for you to do to busy your increasingly insane mind with, than adapt those of others and re-chew them, think them over.
Sound weird? Nah. Law enforcers are weird.
I’ve been watching ‘I, Robot’, ‘Ghost in the Shell’ and ‘Blade Runner’ in a short period of time. For the illiterate, all 3 (4 actually, there are 2 Ghost in the Shell movies) are about a world dominated, one way or the other, by androids. Perhaps dominated is a misleading word, but it comes closest; just as we today are dominated by the machines that we create and soon, will create us.
Staying true to the principles of blockbuster movies, all of them have happy endings. I am not going into details, since you will be watching them soon if you don’t want your throat eaten, but humans and often, androids survive and live happily ever after. What I find particularly remarkable, is that the android’s "feelings" are taken seriously and its opinion into account.
They smile, shake hands, wink, curse, go diving. They respond and hug children. When threatened to be killed, they put up a fight, scream, run. Of course, who wouldn’t? What troubles me a bit though, is that people are influenced by this behavior. I remember seeing ‘A.I.’, a movie by Spielberg, in which a young boy robot screams for his life when they are about to boil him in oil on a fair. People start throwing stuff, yelling "release that boy!"
Today, there are androids freely available that resemble dogs, cats and even women. Taking AIBO as an example, this dog-like machine will act very much like a regular dog. Of course, with the exception that it does not freak when it is in obvious danger. If it would, people would feel sorry for it and perhaps save its "life".
Humans have very obviously a problem with distinguishing robotic imitation from human expression. The concept today is fairly simple: People express, robots imitate. The line is thick and there is no grey zone. When a robot should be terminated and it begs to you, cries to you, to please let it live, there should be no more feeling in murdering it than turning off the light. I hate to break it to you, but the android "Sonny" in ‘I, Robot’ is a machine, and it really doesn’t care if you skull-fuck him and break its back to leave it there until its batteries run out and it dies. Not even when it begs you not to. It Doesn’t Give a Shit. It doesn’t have a heart, doesn’t even have a brain, for that matter.
The little kid screaming for its life in ‘A.I.’ is no different than a toaster looking happy when it pops out your breakfast. Honestly.
However, where ‘A.I.’ and ‘I, Robot’ draw a clear line between robots and humans, ‘Ghost in the Shell’ and ‘Blade Runner’ approach the matter from a different angle.
Today, people’s severed limbs are replaced by artificial ones. Dead structures of metal and plastic, taped lifelessly to your body. However, new prosthesis have been developed that respond intelligently to your body (for the record, I do believe that a computer/android is intelligent). Prosthetic arms are made that, once attached and programmed, have a robotic hand that responds to your body like a normal hand would: opening, closing, and turning around a robotic wrist. Soon, we will have brain implants to help the blind or deaf, or top the reflexes of soldiers. And where does it end? If you have fully replaced a human body with a synthetic one, except for its brain, does it still have a soul? When you synthesize the brain, does that make it a fake? Do actions turn into imitations?
The truth is, all of our actions are imitations. We beg for mercy because that’s what we’ve been doing for million years. We want to live and reproduce, which is the sole reason our race still exists today. It’s all hard-wired, and we don’t give a shit if we die or not. Not really. We just beg, and live to fuck another day. Reproduce begging babies, hard-wired robots that exist only because we acted like our ancestors, as will they. It is the ultimate in our urge to copy ourselves.
I enjoy putting up shreds of whatever busies my mind on that curious MSN ‘message’ spot (That’s the nerd in me talking, don’t listen to him!). Hoping it will trigger a similar tendril of thought in other people’s minds, and they can share their version of the facts. Often it only takes as much as a single phrase, or even word, to break a dam and start a whole new flow of reason. The last one to do that for me was my therapist, about 9 years ago now. He may just have saved my life, though I very much doubt he considered our sessions a success.
Thanks anyway man.
10 feet under the soil
and I can still hear her sing
I always carry a booklet with me, in which I write down whatever pops up in my head, and makes a deep impression on me. Then later, I can leaf through it and see how my mind has evolved the last few months. People change rapidly and thoroughly. They never notice, because their point of view changes right along with it. I encourage anyone to keep a diary of some sort, often you can look back on who you were and what you have become, and learn enough from it to change further, in the best sense possible: self-knowledge.
Anyhow. The few lines there are about my mother. She’s passed away 12 years ago now, but for some reason her presence is in my mind now more vividly than ever before (except the obvious of course). I can’t put my finger on it, but I have a few ideas where it might come from.
12 stinking years. It is tempting to review them with a sense of irony, sarcasm almost. Trying so desperately to be happy, while it just doesn’t matter, the core has died. Smile when amused, cry when not. One grey area, starting at our last fight, the moment she walked away in anger and never came back.
The reality of course, is different. I know as well as anyone the world changes color the moment your vision of it changes. But still, I carry her with me where ever I go, what ever I do, how ever I feel. Mostly dormant, it’s sad to say I can go days without thinking of her. But she is there, undoubtedly. I feel it stir when yet someone else dies, one way or the other, pulling open a wound that’s there like Clark Kent tearing open his shirt. And most of all, I see her looking at me in every girl’s eyes I look into. Which is likely the reason I hardly look in some one’s eyes when talking to them.
There is a sort of stigma lodged in my brain, that of a perfect woman. Though she’s located behind my eyes, there are a few things I do know about her. She’s older than me, sexually perverted to a degree that will drop your jaw, and she doesn’t exist. She mustn’t exist, that’s the key. She is represented in every girl on the street that I find attractive, that holds the potential to have me crying, naked and bleeding under the sole of her shoe. Yet they can’t, they won’t, because I won’t allow it. She’s an illusion, and even the woman I would create with my own hands, my own mind, my own ribs, wouldn’t do because the blanks aren’t filled in by the perversion of her own twisted character. Oddly, it all comes down to sex. I think I’ll dig up Freud and give him a fond high-five.
Don’t dare think you are holier than this. These are the mechanics that makes each of us tick.
So there she is. My angel, clad in leather. My undeveloped Oedipus complex, rocking me to sleep every night. It’s only recently that I became fully aware of her, after someone else (Yes, that’s you Lisa) stepped down from the stand, and I caught glimpse of her claiming her spot. Not that she had ever given it up. There’s room enough in my straining skull for another split personality.
In the same metaphorical sense I seem to be so horny about lately (fucking fag), there’s my girlfriend sitting up there now, overshadowed by the contrast with the person there with her. I often wish she would be a little more perfect, and then other days I review my version of perfection and she matches it flawlessly. But always, always I fall back to that shadow, cradling and smothering me.
How’s that for a mind trip…