Dick: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, finish
notes & response:
-How big is the android web?
-What does it mean to be human in a world full of androids?
-What do emotions mean if they’re generated by a machine, and conversely, what if they’re not?
-Nevil Shute, “On the Beach”
-The disruption of Mammalian patterns in humans
-Between human life and animal life, how do you choose and which do you choose to shave?
-The ability to establish extreme empathy for animals may or may not rely on the extinction of the animal species
-The androids possess no empathic sense (or humans can’t grasp it)
-Rick is especially interested in defining the qualities that separate humans from androids
-Perhaps what makes us human is the tendency to become attached (likely a generalized mammalian trait)
-What’s the difference between synthetic, or electric, animals and humans (androids)?
-How do we begin to place value in one over the other?
-Empathy Boxes that link users into a collective consciousness
-Where exactly do these Empathy Boxes come from and how does it separate/distinguish humans from androids?
-Rick examines the effects of sharing his emotions with the world and how it in turn affects himself
-Consumerist spirituality that undermines the human religion
-“Empathy in the natural world would be an evolutionary disaster—You’re making it dead.”
-Taking care of something allows you to get back in touch with your empathetic side
-Tests of empathy to distinguish humans from androids: measure empathetic responses (or lack of) from questions designed to evoke emotional responses (animal subjects/themes)
-Philip K. Dick, “Martian Time Slip”
-The synthetic toad revelation as the false appearance/appeal of the supposed Messiah’s favorite animal may be Dick’s commentary on the deception of false ideals/idols/religions
-This suggests, like Rick, that we prefer to be let down by the reassurance of reality rather than hope beyond that which may or may not exist outside of reality
Occasionally, it seems, imagination has the ability to create what ultimately can deceive. And despite the possibility to be let down by instilling hope in something that may or may not be real, as human beings, we can’t help but invest in the emotional investigation of thought and imagination. It makes most sense that Rick “prefers” knowing that the toad of the Messiah is artificial because he hunts and kills androids, the mechanisms that are incapable of experiencing emotion or empathy. The phrase “Kill Your Idols” immediately comes to mind. In a way, Rick’s highest, or most rewarding, bounty is to be the police of these empathy deceivers. The artificial deception of these creatures makes sense but doesn’t necessarily negate the ability to conceive of hope beyond that of the artificial, at least to me (as long as we don’t become empathy machines ourselves, of course).