The Interiority of Being
With Blade Runner (1982) we question (again) what it means to be human and what human identity is. Technology has a profound effect on human existence, from the creation of texts and the ability to maintain written records to the development of machines such as clocks and Siri, Watson, and now Sophia (Taylor). In all situations, we privilege the human subject: the ideas of the earth as center of the universe and the world as flat because that’s how we observe it and the idea of human privilege above all other Beings as a result of religious identity. (Religious identity needs to be addressed separately, but to be clear, I am a practicing Protestant.) We are no longer alone, and if we consider the interiority, however limited (in our view), of other Beings in our world (e.g. companion animals, symbiotic gut bacteria, plant responses to human contact), we never were alone. The difference with humans is, as Adam Nocek states, our ability to “abstract…from that [human] body” (Broglio and Nocek). We recognize and are able to communicate our analyses, our abstractions, our ideas to others. We consider this a higher mental function that other Beings are incapable of, and it may be that some of these other Beings are incapable of such. However, it does not mean that they do not have an “inside” life of memories. The replicant Leon had pictures of his own memories, of the experiences he had during his lifetime, and he valued those pictures. Roy, too, has memories of the amazing worlds he had seen that others, such as Deckard, could never imagine, and those memories would be gone when he reached his lifespan. These are human conceptions; they represent an interiority that may not have initially been part of the replicants but has developed as part of their lived experiences. But Leon and Roy are not human, despite their appearances and their interiorities, as they were made by humans. Notice how when Deckard shoots Zhora and Pris and when Rachael shoots Leon, the replicants resume a stiff, mannequin form. They do not remain human-like because humans are made from other stuff.
Blade Runner. Dir. Ridley Scott. 1982. Film.
Nocek, Adam, and Ron Broglio. “Posthuman Self and Technology with Adam Nocek and Ron Broglio.” YouTube. 22 Mar. 2016. Web. 24 Mar. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ALvdmeV5WU&feature=youtu.be>.
Taylor, Harriet. “Could You Fall In Love With This Robot?” CNBC.com. 16 Mar. 2016. Web. 24 Mar. 2016. <http://www.cnbc.com/2016/03/16/could-you-fall-in-love-with-this-robot.html>.
Notes in Progress
Back to the Future. Dir. Robert Zemeckis. Perf. Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, and Thomas F. Wilson, 1985. Film.
One change in the past, George punching Biff to save Lorraine, changes the McFlys’ future as Biff becomes a cowering, suck up. The series investigates such small changes, such as when Marty purchases an almanac that Biff finds and uses to enslave Lorraine and become Marty’s stepfather in the future. Doc physically resembles Rotwang from Metropolis.
Blade Runner. Dir. Ridley Scott. 1982. Film.
Replicants are created; can they create?
I, Robot. Dir. Alex Proyas. Perf. Will Smith, 2004. Film.
Spooner’s arm: an unwanted part of him that has superhuman strength, source of regret as the robot who saved him calculated the odds of survival and saved him instead of the young girl who would have had more life to live than he would. Similar to Deckerd in that both are burned out, but we know that Spooner has human interiority while Decker’s interiority is questionable. The conscious Robot (Sonny, built to bypass the 3 laws) who goes to those lower interiority robots to rescue them from destruction. VIKI who guards humanity at the expense of individual humans.
Lussier, Mark. “At the Event Horizon, or Once More into the Light of Things.” Distributed Spring A 2016 Arizona State University ENG 501 Research Methods.
“Playtime.” SeaQuest DSV. NBC. 23 Oct. 1994. Television.
Filmed at Florida Southern College when I was a student. The last machine calls SeaQuest into the future to save humanity. The last two humans, a boy and a girl, do not know touch as both were incubated by Centsys and monitored by her. To save humanity, the SeaQuest crew must get the boy and the girl to interact (instead of play their computer games), and that interaction must remain a constant so that Centsys, with Lucas’s help, can die. If computers remain, Centsys reasons, humans will not survive.
Metropolis. Dir. Fritz Lang. 1927. Film.
Labor issues, destruction of the machine destroys the lower classes’ living quarters and the necessities and luxuries of the upper classes (visible loss of power). Would Robot Maria gain control of the humans, or at least the men, as they were enthralled to her sexually. George (11811) a laborer who saves Fredersen; merging of Hand and Head by the Heart as encouraged by the authentic Maria. Trinity, patriarchy, capitalism
Orphan Black. BBC America. Perf. Tatiana Maslany. 2013 - present. Television.
Clones who have the same appearance but different interiority. Maslany has discussed her use of different soundtracks to create each character. Sarah (the only one who was able to conceive a child (Kira) and who was / is a hellion, Beth (murdered) was a cop addicted to pain pills, Cosima is a science whizz, Allison is a soccer mom, and Helena (Sarah’s embryonic twin) is almost completely crazy because of her upbringing (one to the church, one to the state - as the surrogate told Sarah; Orphan Black refers to the need to get a particular orphan out of the country and under protection: this was Sarah), and Rachel who works for Project Leda and was always self aware; the clones become self aware and are initially being killed by Helena as part of her religious upbringing, but Helena recognizes Sarah as being her embryonic sister, and Sarah convinces Helena to stop killing their sisters. Parallel plot at the end of season two that introduces their male counterparts, Project Castor (played by Ari Millen, whose Mark was part of a cult whose leader impregnates the women).
Terminator. Dir. James Cameron. Perf. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, and Linda Hamilton, 1984. Film.
Skynet becomes self aware and sends a Terminator back in time to kill John before conception because he will lead a revolt against Skynet after Skynet destroys most humans through nuclear warfare.
Glass, Ira. “Episode 470: Show Me the Way.” This American Life. NPR. 27 July 2012. WUSF, Tampa, FL Reaired 19 Mar. 2016. Radio. <http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/470/show-me-the-way?act=2#play>.
Kafka Adaptation - Metamorphosis to cockroach (repulsive), actually beetle (not repulsive); starts at 41:07