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on sheeps and androids

The movie Blade Runner is very dear to my heart. It is a treatise on the nature of existence expanding on, and perhaps exceeding the reach of the Phillip K. Dick work which inspired it, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Perhaps I have missed out on some greater subtlety of PKD's work, but the point of DADoES pursues the definition of fake, while Blade Runner instead focuses on what is real. Where the replicants in the novel are sociopathic monsters who emulate emotions solely to gain traction against humans who may hunt them, the humans there rely on machines to dictate their own emotions for them. They dial for "energetic determination" or "six-hour self-accusatory depression." As much as the replicants are machines incapable of real emotion, humans are similarly reliant on a machine to simulate emotion for them.

In contrast, the movie's central them is spelled out for us in Deckard's apartment, when Rachel is playing the piano. She professes that, "I didn't know if I could play. I remember lessons. I don't know if it's me or Tyrell's niece."

Deckard says, "You play beautifully." In a stroke, he negates concern for the origin of the memory, confirming that what she can do defines who she is in this moment. It's unimportant whether or not the origin came from someone else, it's her own ability in the present.


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