Sunday, February 27, 2011
In Blade Runner, the difference between humans and androids is minute. The androids have a shelf life of four years, after that they are removed from existence. They have served their owners and succeeded in completing/working on a project. Their existence is centered on their ability to work as slave labor and have an expiration date to avoid the disastrous consequences that befell other science fiction characters. But the differences between human and machine are played out in Blade Runner. If emotions and memories can be manipulated and constructed, where does the distinction fall? These robots have memories that to them seem as real as our own. They have emotional responses to stimuli around them. And they have an expiration date, just like humans. This idea has implications for the director's interpretation of human life. The robots have a predestined, predetermined life span that is unyielding and controlled. They understand their limitations and live out their existence accordingly. Most of us believe that our lives are totally controlled by our own actions. We typically reject the notion that a creator, even before we have lived our life, has determined a day and time of our demise. That we live our life to work for an ultimate goal, and when we are no longer useful or have completed our job, our time on Earth is up. This is a simplified version and summary of determinism, which claims that all of time has been predestined and that we have no control over our lives. This is the life of the machine in Blade Runner, which clearly serves as a metaphor for the lives of humans.