It is an unearthly hour to wake up and start typing a post. A warm pet sleeping next to you makes it so much tougher.
So what compels me to share my thoughts? I’m one of those people who can’t sleep till they’ve got unfinished business that CAN’T be overlooked. My thoughts demand attention, and I must let them out somewhere or I might burst into flames. Kidding, I won’t be able to sleep. And that’s just as bad.
I’ve been watching Westworld quite intently. It’s one of the few TV shows which has me completely hooked, not just for it’s storyline or the characters (both of which are incredible); but for the sheer beauty of how they’ve spun reality into a story – so riveting – the episode stays with you long after you’re done watching it.
This is my plight. A few dialogues from the most recent episode I watched are still resounding in my head.
A little background (WARNING: spoilers ahead):
Bernard is an undercover, lifelike robot created by Ford to do his dirty business for him. The interesting part is, that Bernard is fully aware of his situation.
Ford:After all, in this moment, you are in a unique position. A programmer who knows intimately how the machines work and a machine who knows its own true nature.
Bernad: I understand what I’m made of, how I’m coded, but I do not understand the things that I feel. Are they real, the things I experienced? My wife? The loss of my son?
Ford: Every host needs a backstory, Bernard. You know that. The self is a kind of fiction, for hosts and humans alike. It’s a story we tell ourselves. And every story needs a beginning. Your imagined suffering makes you lifelike.
Bernard: Lifelike, but not alive?
(I can’t express how much I love the subtle wordplay in the dialogues they have written for this show.)
Ford: Pain only exists in the mind. It’s always imagined.
Bernard: So what’s the difference between my pain and yours? Between you and me?
This is the part that’s keeping me awake:
Ford: The answer always seemed obvious to me. There is no threshold that makes us greater than the sum of our parts, no inflection point at which we become fully alive. We can’t define consciousness because consciousness does not exist. Humans fancy that there’s something special about the way we perceive the world, and yet we live in loops as tight and as closed as the hosts do, seldom questioning our choices, content, for the most part, to be told what to do next. No, my friend, you’re not missing anything at all. I don’t want you to be troubled by this. Time for me to set your mind at ease.
And then he wipes Bernard’s memory clean.
Phew. Just reading it again makes me feel so aware of my human-ness. What is it that makes us, us? If pleasure and pain are all states of the mind, can’t a machine feel the same way if you program it to?
Then it struck me. What makes us us; is knowing why we feel the way we do. It is getting to the root of our emotion, and making things happen from the knowledge that we feel a certain way because of something that led to it.
Think about it. The biggest inventions and breakthoughs that have ever happened, are because someone felt a certain way about something. They then used that emotion and channeled it to build something new. Just the feeling gave them enough motivation to carry on with their idea. That single emotion fueled their discovery. (Hell, look at me, typing away bug-eyed into my laptop just to get this out. I could be happily sleeping, but no.)
It all starts with a feeling.
Another supposition of mine is that fear is an incredibly potent emotion. It can make us do a lot of things. More on that some other time.
For now, FEEL. It is what makes you human. Feel within the deepest reaches of your being. Feel deeply, let it mould you. Let it bring out something in you that can change the world (within you, around you, whatever suits your perception). After all, everything mankind ever created, rose out of a feeling. You either get defeated, or you go ‘fuck me, I gotta change something’.
And when in doubt, choose to be kind 🙂
Love always x