You just watched a scene from the TV series “Westworld”, which we often share on the IG stories lately. Before we make a transfer of this interesting dialogue to today, let’s briefly discuss the subject of the series.
“Westworld” is a kind of fairground, amusement park designed for rich people who want to experience the Wild West. People come here on vacation and pursue their passion for adventure, which is often hidden in the depths of their selves. The residents of Westworld are ‘hosts’ who are welcoming the guests to this little town. ‘Hosts’ are robots with a highly developed artificial intelligence, dressed in humanoid appearances. The people responsible for the ‘storytelling’ of the park have written a story for each of the robots. When guests interact with them, they become part of the narrative and once the experience is complete, the robots’ memories are erased and a new day begins with the same story. The Delos company, which finances the amusement park, has left little room for spontaneity (spontaneous speech and behavior).
As a result of a problem in the park, some robots begin to gain consciousness. The scene we just watched is a dialogue between one of the park’s founders, Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) and Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright), the Head of Delos Programming, who has just discovered about his true nature, being actually a host. Title of the scene: “Consciousness doesn’t exist” (Season 1, Episode 10).
Dr. Ford says that the self is a fiction and that this applies to both, humans and robots. And he adds at almost the end of the dialogue: We, as humans, live in loops, just as you robots do. What does this mean? Although we have the perception that each day passes differently, it is actually experienced very similarly. Early in our lives, this cycle is often very tight, and we constantly experience the same ‘patterns’, in other words, the same events. Some of us call it ‘fate’ and stay in the loop. Some of us start to wake up and after a certain time try to get off the wheel that the hamster is running as if it is on autopilot. After this point, some get out of that loop and enter a larger loop (in this process, consciousness expands), while others give up and fall asleep again.
So, how is the loop (= story, narrative) for each of us designed? According to how we perceive ourselves. But if our self is a fiction, is the story we live really our story? Unfortunately no. It is said that a person does not have a sense of self until the age of two and a half. It is only after this age that he/she begins to define the “I” and then tries to protect it. While describing him-/herself, he/she observes the surrounding, imitates, and measures the reactions to his/her behavior. He/she begins to describe him-/herself, in a way, as if he/she is looking into a mirror. As a person grows, he/she meets the environment outside the nuclear family: kindergarten, school, circle of friends, workplace, society, etc. Through these resources, he/she has inputs to ‘feed’ his/her self. Has he/she started to live his/her own story? For most of us, the answer is again “unfortunately, no”.
When we reach a certain age, our core beliefs (which profession makes a lot of money; at what age to get married and have children; the absolute correctness of gender roles; etc.) are formed. It is necessary to first see (recognize) the aforementioned patterns, then pass them through our own filter (do I experience this as the real “me” or do I live in someone else’s belief), then dare to break the patterns (get out of the comfort zone) and make it sustainable. This is how we live our own lives. Otherwise, we are no different from a robot with a definite loop.
How was your “I-making” built? Are you living other people’s lives, or are you starting to build your own self?