In Defense Of Humanity
I believe that one of the reasons that this season of West World has received a mixed reaction is that over and over again the point is made that humanity, and by extension the audience, doesn’t deserve to go on. The show has so few humans to root for and the few that we have like Elsie are betrayed by other humans. Certainly if you look at the news or read the comment sections in social media it can feel as if the show has a point. I think many people watch entertainment to get away from the world and when presented with such a dim view of humans it can leave the viewer feeling worse. This deconstruction of humanity basically falls into 3 categories: Humans suck
Humans are simple
Humans are just passengers in biological survival machines
As Jules says in Pulp Fiction “Well, allow me to retort.”
1. Humans Suck:
I think Big D did a great job in the telegraph of breaking down how skewed Delores world view must be. Even with 4 million guests code to look over, that still by 2050 will only account for half of one percent of the population. On top of this it is a very select population, imagine if Delores had instead been a host at Six Flags for 30 years she might conclude that all of humanity liked roller coasters, over priced food, and comically large stuffed animals. What she doesn’t see, and we often forget ourselves, is the literal billions of times a day that people all over the globe work together, eat together, tell jokes, talk sports and generally treat each other decently without regard to race, religion, etc. It is easy to forget this because the headline “People get along at work” doesn’t go viral or generate clicks or likes.
2. Humans are Simple
In the forge ghost Logan refers to how humans are simple, only 10,000 lines of code governs their behavior. I can understand why human behavior might have less complexity than a hosts. A lot of our behavior is learned. As children we study and mirror the behavior that we see around us. We learn is a series of plateaus while hosts have to have all behaviors programmed in from the start. I would however point out that those mere 10,000 lines of code allowed a small band of nomadic people to spread over virtually every surface of this earth. That code created art, philosophy, mathematics, and science. With that code we created the works of Shakespeare and landed on the moon. Oh and lest we forget that code created the Forge and all the hosts. Let us not be to quick to dismiss what we have done with just 10,000 lines.
3. Humans are “Just” passengers:
The question of Free Will has been asked since the for thousands of years. The view presented by Delores and the Forge is that we are just passengers while all of our real decisions are made to ensure survival. People do not rush into burning buildings or collapsing towers because of survival, these are conscious choices to save people we don’t even know. Look at the Shat on TV podcasts and website. I don’t know you guys personally but I doubt that you started this because you had dreams of immense wealth. If you did than there must certainly be easier ways to make a buck. Instead it seems like a labor of love. You don’t cover the Big Bang Theory of the Voice which are immensely popular shows, instead you seem to concentrate on shows that are challenging and actually interest you. Are you trying to tell me that the hours of watching, taking notes, editing, recording, reading, and reviewing are done by mere “passengers” who have no free will. No, these are actual choices that you have made that have nothing to do with survival and from that you have created something new. Just as each listener, poster, and caller have all made very deliberate choices to be involved. One just has to look at the amount of work and creativity that is generated by listeners to know these are created by people with agency, fully responsible for their actions, not mere “passengers”.
I know that humanity can be vexing and it seems like each new technology highlights both the best and the worst in us, but in the end I believe that most people want to live by each others happiness and simply want to make their way in the world. Unlike hosts humans come in infinite variety and can not be shoe horned into a box marked good or bad.
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