Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Raised in Captivity

In general, children are not permitted to leave parental custody. Exceptions to this are few, and almost always involve reassignment of custodial responsibility, e.g., teachers at school, or other children's parents on a play date.

Parallels could possibly then be drawn between childhood, and a term of imprisonment. Neither state is voluntary, and involves a curtailment of freedoms to varying extent, with greater privilege given to those who cooperate the most. Care in some form is given by the captor(s), but the quality of care varies widely, from earnest attempts at education and support, to blatantly abusive neglect and mistreatment.

So when a child grows up holding the same insupportably antisocial views as their parents, or rationalizes their own obvious ill-treatment, or makes excuses for their parent's questionable decisions; in short, when a child molds himself or herself to emulate the parent as closely as possible, with all behavioral tendencies intact... are we seeing a variation of the Stockholm Syndrome?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Realization #2 for May 6, 2009

'The Boy Who Cried Wolf', is a well-known fable, in which a young shepherd grows so bored with the tedium of his work, that he repeatedly pranks the residents of his village with false alarms. In the end, there are dire consequences, as the populace refuses to respond to the boy's final - and this time legitimate - distress call.

I was taught this story as a child, and that the moral was, that untrustworthy behavior leads to unforeseen repercussions. I never questioned this outright, but it always struck me as odd that the villagers would be included in this comeuppance, via the loss of their sheep. The boy usually fared much worse of course, but what had the villagers done to incur a karmic debt?

Today, the answer finally came to me, and it's simple: the villagers had failed to act upon a known risk. They had clear evidence that the shepherd could not handle the trust placed upon him, but they chose to accept the easier path - of believing his promises never to repeat the trick - rather than go to the trouble of finding a more reliable replacement.

It would have been a major loss to the village; sheep can be replaced, but we assume that the boy must have been loved and missed by someone, troublesome though he might have been. A high price to pay for adherence to the status quo.

Realization #1 for May 6, 2009

Many bands are formed, and break up, without their members ever performing music together.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Intuitive Leap

Intuitive Leap
Originally uploaded by Else Barnard
I've been thinking a lot lately about Blade Runner. Avatars, like replicants, are almost indestructible in practice, but are sometimes strangely delicate and vulnerable.

I can fly thousands of meters into the air, then plummet to the ground without a parachute; falling so far that descent actually becomes tedious. I hit the ground, then brush myself off and walk away. There may be a few points of damage - if it's been turned on at all - but even that springs right back up to full health without so much as a bruise. Even if I am shot, blown up, or otherwise damaged enough to die, I'm not killed, just sent home. 'To regroup', as they say.

But invulnerable, sadly, I am not. My existence is entirely contingent upon outside factors: the health of LL's servers, or their market share for that matter. Most tellingly, my existence is dependent upon that of a flesh-and-blood human, out there in your world. A loss of time, or interest, or a turn of poor health, could mean my ceasing to be. Those of you who know me, but not my puppeteer, would never know where I'd gone, only that I was here once, but no more.

Still... Roy Batty was wrong. We do believe in what he claimed to have seen, the attack ships on fire, and the Tannhauser Gate. What's more, we remember that he saw them... and so, even though he never existed in meatspace, the idea of 'Roy Batty' is now distributed through countless diverse media both electronic and organic.

Immortality via redundant backups. I like that.

- E