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Essay about Film Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

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Film Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep


This film is much more than just an acceptable homage to Philip K
Dick, author of many original science fiction novels, often laced with
philosophical perspectives on reality and human dependencies. The
book, published in 1968, deals with the very postmodern theme of
cultural fatigue in relation to our humanity, of the essential human
quality of empathy, its limits and its contrasts. Human beings
remaining on Earth are propped up by dependence on artificial pets and
their feelings towards one another is contrasted to explore the ironic
nature of how we place our emotions in order to survive. This is the
device and purpose of the concept of androids:



He had wondered as had most people at one time or another precisely
why an android bounced helplessly about when confronted by an
empathy-measuring test. Empathy, evidently, existed only within the
human community, whereas intelligence to some degree could be found
throughout every phylum and order including the arachnida. For one
thing, the empathic faculty probably required an unimpaired group
instinct; a solitary organism, such as a spider, would have no use for
it; in fact it would tend to abort a spider's ability to survive. It
would make him conscious of the desire to live on the part of his
prey. Hence all predators, even highly developed mammals such as cats,
would starve.

Empathy, he once had decided, must be limited to herbivores or anyhow
omnivores who could depart from a meat diet. Because, ultimately, the
empathic gift blurred the boundaries between hunter and victim,
between the successful and the defeated. (p.28)



...


... middle of paper ...


...biguity by subtracting the ill-fitting,
unnecessary happy ending. Instead we may wonder whether the unicorn of
hope, love and purity (my interpretation) can live, or deserve to
live, outside the dream and inside such an exhausted, dead-end of a
world. This film is serious; both far-fetched and realistic, bleak in
setting but finally unresolved, hopeful even, striking a powerful
chord with its searching, struggling characters. Crucial aspects of
the human condition are here on display in surely what is a fine
creation.

This essay does not include the vast religious parallels that can be
read into the characters and their actions eg. the replicants as
fallen angels returning to Earth to confront their maker, Batty as a
symbol of mankind, Deckard as God's agent of death and Sebastian as an
intermediary Jesus Christ.


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