ENG 2420: Science Fiction

City Tech, Fall 2016

Category: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (page 4 of 5)

So it is a good thing to always find out who is really a human or an android, but one thing that makes it really difficult is knowing what a human really is and what an android really is. After reading the other chapters in Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep, it seems that we’ve been seeing events of how the people are trying to know which human is an actual android. They would either keep asking questions that only a real human can do and what an android cannot do when that question has been asked. But no matter what the case was of knowing who the android is, they can always point their finger at someone and say “Are you an android?” all the time.

For example, in chapter 9, page 110-111, there was a part when Rick, the bounty hunter, was arrested by a cop named Officer Crams for asking Luba Luft some questions which she thought were sexual. When Officer Crams was driving Rick to the new Hall of Justice, he demanded the Officer to drive him to the Old Hall of Justice instead, but no matter what, the cop still refuses. So as he was not following Rick’s directions, he then said to him “Admit to me that you’re an android” (110).  But then the cop said to Rick “Maybe you’re an android, with a false memory, like they give them” (111). This event shows even when you try to tell someone what you really want to do and they don’t do exactly what they want you to do, they’ll just keep on saying or claiming that they’re the androids with no evidence whatsoever. So in serious business, you can’t just claim to someone that they’re androids if they’re not following your directions, or if they have “false memories” if you just remember something that is important.

Now if there was a way we can tell which is a human or an android, then a human must have one simple thing that all humans have. In Chapter 11, page 124, Rick has said to both Inspector Garland and Phil Resch that they don’t really support each whenever they have problems on their own. And the Garland said to Rick “I think you’re right; it would seem we lack a specific talent you humans possess. I believe it’s called empathy.” This shows that in order to tell the difference of what a human or an android really is, they would to know the word empathy. So how you determine to know who is the android is by knowing if they have any feelings. In other words, they would have to show emotions like any other humans would do.

Mercer and Friendly/God and the Devil; how opposing figures influence their masses

As established in my previous blog, Mercer is the God-like figure in post-apocalyptic Earth; but where there is God, there must also be the Devil. Where there is good in the world, there is surely it’s counter-part, bad. The personification of the “Devil” in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is the other popular figure that everyone is drawn to in this world, Buster Friendly.

As Isidore pointed out, Buster Friendly seems to have ‘supernatural’ abilities, showcased by his ability to constantly being able to broadcast even when it exceeds impossible amounts of time:

“How did Buster Friendly find the time to tape both his aud and vid shows? Isidore wondered. And how did Amanda Werner find time to be a guest every other day, month after month, year after year? How did they keep talking? The never repeated themselves–not so far as he could determine. Their remarks, always witty, always new, weren’t rehearsed…

But something about Buster Friendly irritated John Isidore, one specific thing. In subtle, almost inconspicuous ways, Buster ridiculed the empathy boxes. Not once but many times. He was, in fact, doing it right now.” P.74-75

Clearly something is not right and Buster Friendly is not what he seems. Moreover, he is more than likely mechanically and possibly there are multiples of him that do different parts of his job in order to be able to flood the transmissions of the colonies and influence the masses. Isidore went on to say that Buster Friendly bashes on empathy boxes, the symbol of Mercerism and being fused with Mercer himself. It can be concluded that Buster Friendly’s motive (or the people who orchestrate the show in the background) is to plant seeds of denial into Mercerism and have people follow him instead, like a false prophet (or the “Devil”).

The idea of this competition between Mercer and Friendly goes further, as Isidore talks with his boss about the matter:

“Isidore said, ‘I think Buster Friendly and Mercerism are fighting for control of our psychic souls.’

‘If so,’ Sloat said, examining the cat, ‘Buster is winning.’

‘He’s winning now,’ Isidore said, ‘but ultimately he’ll lose.’

Sloat lifted his head, peered at him. ‘Why?’

‘Because Wilbur Mercer is always renewed. He’s eternal. At the top of the hill he’s struck down; he sinks into the tomb world but then he rises inevitably. And us with him. So we’re eternal, too.’ He felt good, speaking so well; usually around Mr. Sloat he stammered.

Sloat said, ‘Buster is immortal, like Mercer. There’s no difference.’

‘How can he be? He’s a man.’

‘I don’t know,’ Sloat said. ‘But it’s true. They’ve never admitted it, of course.’” P. 76

Sloat confirms even further that Buster is “immortal”; that it’s never admitted but he’s indeed at least an android, if not many androids employed to play this role. What’s even more interesting is the comparison to Mercer how they are no different; both play roles in manipulating the masses in their ideologies, the difference being the means of delivery. Mercer is doing so through reverence, faith, and community while Buster Friendly uses comedy and entertainment. Where the empathy box converges everyone into a singular fusion, the Buster Friendly TV Program outwardly broadcasts it’s message to multiple people from one source; a convergence of audience versus a divergences of message. As described in countless texts and from the bible, the Devil assumes that humanity can be won over through the indulgence of sins, much like how Buster Friendly can use ridicule and bombastic satire to win over his audience.

The main proponent of Mercerism in the novel is Isidore, even more so than most people because the extent of his empathy goes beyond just humanity. He sees the good in everything, even with the robotic replicas, such as with fake animals and the Andies who everyone hates:

“’You’re a great man, Isidore,” Pris said. ‘You’re a credit to your race.’

‘If he was an android,’ Roy said heartily, ‘he’d turn us in about ten tomorrow morning. He’d take off for his job and that would be it. I’m overwhelmed with admiration.’ His tone could not be deciphered; at least Isidore could not crack it. ‘And we imagined this would be a friendless world, a planet of hostile faces, all turned against us.’ He barked out a laugh.” P. 164

Isidore has so much empathy towards people, he even shows it to Androids who are so good at mimicking people that he believes they are real. And even when finding out they are fakes, his ideology of Mercerism is always something he clings to and respects all life through it, even if people believe that Androids don’t have “souls” (as Rick questioned, P.135). Isidore, in his unique viewpoint in the novel, values all forms of life, even if it was organic or mechanical in nature.

Rick, on the other hand, is the opposite of Isidore when it comes to empathy; he lacks so much empathy that the readers themselves question if he is truly human (and made chapters 9-11 believable to the point of being a possible twist where Rick was actually an android). He even flat out avoids fusing with Mercer, saying “’They’ll have our joy,’ Rick said, ‘but we’ll lose. We’ll exchange what we feel for what they feel. Our joy will be lost.’” (P. 174). He selfishly holds on to his emotions and avoids connecting with people because he doesn’t want to lose what little joy he gets. On top of this, Rick acknowledges the possibility of empathizing with an android and shuns the idea thinking it’s not natural to do so:

“Rick said, ‘I took a test, one question, and verified it; I’ve begun to empathize with androids, and look what that means. You said it this morning yourself. ‘Those poor andys.’ So you know what I’m talking about. That’s why I bought the goat. I never felt like that before. Maybe it could be a depression, like you get…’” P. 174

When Rick eventually gives in and tries out the empathy box, he feels nothing from it: “’I didn’t get anything from holding onto those handles,’ Rick said. ‘Mercer talked to me but it didn’t help. He doesn’t know any more than I do. He’s just an old man climbing a hill to his death.’” (P. 179). Besides the androids, Rick is the only person who seems to not show much reverence to Mercer…but still appreciates Buster Friendly: “’I’ll sit in the hotel room,’ he said, ‘and watch Buster Friendly on TV. His guest for the last three days has been Amanda Werner. I like her; I could watch her the rest of my life. She has breasts that smile.’” (P. 183). The fact that Rick enjoys Buster Friendly alludes to the idea that he resents the idea of being empathetic to everything that appears to show humanity, which goes with his lack of empathy for androids.

The fact that Rick “follows” Buster Friendly differs from androids, who don’t look to either Mercer or Buster Friendly (P. 63, where Pris didn’t know who Buster Friendly was). I guess the idea of being “soul-less” comes to mind, since they don’t follow one side of this dichotomy.

Empathy for Androids

As we continue reading through chapters 6-15 of, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, we are presented with many instances as to whether or not humans can actually empathize with androids.  As we are presented with scenes demonstrating interactions between humans and androids, there are specific mentality focuses presented with several characters.  Relative to empathy, characters such as Phil Resch , Rick Deckard, and John Isidore, lay down a scale for us in terms of empathy for androids.

Evidently the most cold-hearted out of the three, Phil Resch presented no empathy towards androids whatsoever.  An instance, where we see the true colors of Resch are presented when both he and Deckard go to retire Luba Luft.  Right before retiring Luft, Deckard bought Luft a book which contained a picture that she liked.  When Resch saw what was occurring in front him, he mentions, “My departmental budget could never in a million years be stretched-” (133).  Based on this quote, we can draw the conclusion that Resch would never grant the final wishes of any android that he retires.  In addition, Resch would also never agree to understand these androids.  Another instance, would be when Luft provokes Resch, comparing her idea of imitating with Resch and his position as a bounty hunter, Phil mentions, “I can’t take this” (134).  Meaning, that he exemplifies the stereotypical image of a real bounty hunter.  Which is someone who seeks out a target for the sake of a reward and evidently feelings from the target will never derail him from doing his job.  He also views these androids as machines, machines that will never be declared as humans.

Rick on the other hand, started off as a regular bounty hunter similar to Resch, but as he gets to know some of his targets, he begins to empathize with androids.  The first encounters with these Nexus-6 type androids was not pleasant with Deckard.  Polokov attempted to kill him by confrontation and Garland tried to do the same thing, both of which ended up failing to do.  With Luba Luft it was a bit different.  After Luft was retired by Resch, Rick was furious with him.  He was literally baffled that Resch was able to retire her so easily without any remorse.  He also contemplated about testing others for feelings towards androids.  The text mentions, “He had never thought of it before, had never felt any empathy on his own part toward the androids he killed.  Always he had assumed that throughout his psyche he experienced the android as a clever machine – as in his conscious view … Empathy toward an artificial construct? he asked himself.  Something that only pretends to be alive?  But Luba luft had seemed genuinely alive; it had not worn the aspect of a simulation” (141).  Obviously to Rick, Luft was thought of as a normal person trying to live a normal life.  Or, he was only able to empathize with her because of his admiration of operas.  But most importantly, he viewed her as a person not as a machine.  Through imitation, Luft was able to portray herself as a normal person and not act intellectually cold, as most androids seem to do.  Because of this, Luft did not appear synthetic to Rick and he felt as though a real person was murdered by Resch.  I believe that Rick obtained his empathy for androids, not because of his admiration for operas or his attraction towards female androids, but that he believes that androids can change themselves to become human.

Being treated differently by humans for being a special, John Isidore can empathize the most with androids as humans treat them differently as well.  As we know, three of the eight escaped androids from mars remain operational, and they are residing within the same apartment complex as John.  The androids begin conversing about their home planet, Mars.  All of them stating that Mars is a horrible place to live.  Once Isidore discovers that they are androids, he mentions, “‘But what does it matter to me? I mean, I’m a special; they don’t treat me very well either, like for instance I can’t emigrate'” (163).  Evidently, Isidore is the only one out of all the characters that can truly understand how an android feels.  His treatment from other humans hasn’t been the best experience, and he can relate that for androids, it’s been pretty much the same.  They are both neglected as being human, from all of the other normal humans within this society.  As a special, you lack intelligence, and as an android, you lack empathy.  Both of which, are essential to be declared as a normal human.

In general, understanding the concept of being human involves many complex emotions and the ability to feel.  From these three characters, we are able to familiarize ourselves with how the levels of empathy for androids are scaled for humans.  Phil represents humans who view androids as machines, Deckard represents humans who can view some of them as human, and Isidore evidently accepts them completely.  Overall, whether or not someone can view an android as a human, depends on the individual.

 

 

 

 

A Realization

Rick Deckard is starting to doubt himself and possibly the reasoning behind his job entirely. He realizes how crafty these new types really are. Rick has notices in his run in with the Android Luba Luft that he has sympathy for the Andy’s. The unexpected retiring of Luba in the elevator by Phil Resch has shown to him that he feels for female types, but in reality as Phil Resch pointed out to him “if its love toward a woman or an android imitation, its sex” (page 143). This was proven true because when rick was told that Phil is an android by Garland he believed it entirely, felt nothing when he knew it was only a matter of time before he will retire him during their retreat. “you’re everything we jointly abominate. The essence of what we’re committed to destroy” (page 127).  His reaction towards Phil a suspected android is that of hate, and he simply didn’t like him because of it. But when he thinks or mentions Luba Luft its of admiration “I’ve had enough. She was a wonderful singer. The planet could have used her. This is insane” (page 136). “But Luba Luft had seemed genuinely alive: it had not worn the aspect of a simulation” (page 141). Rick realized you can have empathy towards something artificial like the Androids, and that would include them in their range for animals. If they did that then they can no longer retire Androids they would have to be protected under the law. “If we included androids in our rage of emphatic identification, as we do animals. We couldn’t protect ourselves (page 141)”. If the androids are protected under these laws there would be nothing stopping them from leaving their masters on mars.

In the grand scheme of things Rick understands that he and his profession are needed to stop these new types, “perhaps the better she functions, the better a singer she is, the more i am needed. If androids had remained substandard, like the ancient q-40’s made by Derain associates– there would be no problem and no need for my skill” (page 99). Rick’s happy that these news types are keeping him in business as much as he is amazed at their progression.  The possibilities he seen in Luba Luft opened rick’s eyes to the real threat that he and humanity are facing on earth. “These nexus-6 types…..they’d roll all over us and mash us flat. You and I, all the bounty hunters–we stand between the Nexus-6 and mankind, a barrier which keeps the two distinct” (page 141). Rick Deckard thought of himself as a good bounty hunter, but these new Nexus-6 models prove difficultly he wasn’t prepared for. “You’re a good bounty hunter, Rick realized. Your attitude proves it. But am I? Suddenly, for the first time in his life, he had begun to wonder”  (page 144).

Androids or Humans

The world is becoming really complicated. In Do Androids Dream of electric sheep? the line between human and Androids are really thin. The characters in do androids dream of sheep become conflicted. The conflict is between whether or not androids should have rights. This conflict is brought about by the realism of the androids. Should androids be left alone? Do androids have more value past servitude? Do androids deserve to be free and live out life like a human? It is possible for technology to be taken too far and the androids in do androids dream of sleep is a perfect example.

The human characters and even the androids in do androids dream of sheep have to question the significance in their differences. Androids are barely distinguishable and almost human. Rick states, “other humans, having no knowledge of the android presence amongst them had to be protected”(131). Meaning they can go about the world a human being. Rick ask himself, “Do androids dream?…Evidently; that’s why they occasionally kill their employers and flee here” (184). Rick has to question if androids have feelings and emotions like humans. He is beginning to become more empathetic towards the androids. He is also discovering reasons why androids may not be so menacing in harmful. For example, he feels Miss Luft is not seen by him as a threat. Androids are able to adapt their feelings. Rick states, “in two cases that I know of, andy’s owned and cared for animals” (130). This shows andy’s are able to adopt human traits.

Technology is taken too far because there is no fine line between the human and the android. In order to meet the needs of humans they create a slave android that resembles a human entity to expand their capabilities and end up recreating history. Here we have technology being used to mirror slavery. The androids are too advanced to bow down to mistreatment. Now those androids are not content and on the run technology is causing humans to question and fear for their safety. The only problem is, are the androids not safe because of their reaction to the actions of human or vice versa.

The True Meaning of Being Human

Reading through the chapters of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? By Phillip Dick we notice that the main idea the author tries to convey to his readers involves question: what makes us human? One might say that we are categorized as humans because we are able to create memories, share with others, build new things, etc. However, in the novel, the main response of this question is that humans are humans because they are capable of feeling empathy, as the word appears in mostly all the chapters in the book. In this futuristic era, people are subjected to several tests such as the Voigt-Kampff and the Boneli Reflex-Arc test to determine whether an individual is a human being or a humanoid robot. But not everything seems simple as it is, because in some of these chapters, there seems to be internal conflicts among the characters that puts in doubt the distinction between what is human and no human. Two characters who seen to portray conflicts with themselves are shown through the characters of Rickard Deckard and Pris Stratton. Both entities, human and android, are presented to different situations that makes them think and act in a different way than the rest of their society. By using the two major characters of this futuristic world, Huxley tries to make his readers understand that in this futuristic world where humans are to the verge of extinction, androids can also, for all intents and purposes, experience what truly is being human.

Rick Deckard is one human character in the novel who presents a conflict inside him that puts in consideration his own humanness. In the beginning of the chapters, Rick is described as a cold and crude person, willing to kill anything that can threat his own self-interest. We notice that he does not demonstrate empathy towards owning an animal, on the contrary, he sees it more like a form of increasing his social status in society. However, there is a crux in the novel that changes and puts in doubt Rick’s perspective towards human life. For instance, after being arrested for attempting to kill Luba Luft, the android singer, Rick is presented to a parallel reality where his status as a human being are put in doubt. He is brought to a police department with members that perform the same work that he is trying to do. However, any of the members of this department are aware of Rick’s existence and start accusing him of being an android disguise as a bounty hunter who kills humans that threaten his permanence in Earth. This new reality becomes a disorienting experience for Rick as all notions of identity and being human are put into doubt. Furthermore, his encounter with Phil Resch becomes a major event in the novel, as Rick begins to question what it signifies to be alive and what are the lines that divide the real and unreal. This is revealed when Phil kills the android Luba Luft without any sign of compassion. The act makes Rick take the decision to stop killing androids. As he states to Phil “I can’t anymore; I’ve had enough. She was a wonderful singer. The planet could have used her”(136). Rick gets devastated of the assassination of Luba Luft since he started to sympathize with the android. The when he takes the empathy test, Rick discovers that he is “capable of feeling empathy for at least specific, certain androids”(142). This turn of events make Rick think that androids can also show human emotions and share similar experiences to that which they copy.

On the android side, a character who also reveals internal conflicts is found in Pris Stratton. Pris is an android who escapes the slavery inflected in the planet Mars, searching refuge and freedom in Earth. She is seen as the antagonist in the story as she, and her other android friends, plot to get rid of the bounty hunters that are chasing them. At first, Pris is presented as a humanoid that shows no signs of emotions or empathy feelings. This is revealed in her encounter with Isidore, who states that something “deplorable” like a “coldness”(67) is hidden inside her. However, as we continue the chapters, we observe that, despite her sense of vengeance and humanoids qualities, Pris displays occasional signs of human emotions that let the readers think what does truly mean to be human. This feeling of human connection is depicted through Pris relationship with John Isidore. For instance, Isidore tells Pris the reason why she behaves in a heartless and cold way is because she does not possess any friends in Earth. However, she reveals her friendship with the other fugitive androids and, as stated by Dick, she expresses it with a “sudden authority stiffened her voice; she palpably regain vigor”(147), meaning that she truly defends her bonds of friendship that she has with these other androids as she also depicted them as her best friends. Another example where Pris shows human emotions is when Isidore is preparing the dinner for both of them. Pris senses Isidore’s caring despite the fact that she is an android. Seeing the care and love radiated from this human being makes Pris feel more like a normal human being as she shows it when she “put her arms around his waist and for an instant pressed against him”(149). Through this action, we notice that Pris becomes more human when she gets closer to a compassionate and unselfish spirit, in this case the good Isidore. By showing these examples, Phillip Dick offers his readers the idea that what truly makes someone a human, or real, is when that person gets in contact with the noble values in life, such as friendship and love.

So, What Does It Actually Mean to Be Human?

We can all agree that, we are human. We do human-like activities, we eat human-like food, we talk in human-like languages, etc. But, so can Tilda, the speaking orangutan. The only difference is, one is not humanoid.

But that doesn’t necessarily make us human. The definition of being human, as defined by Google, is “of, relating to, or characteristic of people or human beings”. It says, that in order to be human, one must require human being-like characteristics. However, a human being is a person who is of the species, homo sapiens. This essentially means, that in order for someone to be human, they would have to act like a human being, and look like one, regardless of whether or not they were born human. This sets a troubling scenario on declaring whether or not something is human. For example, and if modern technology permits, a person who has their human brain transplanted into another empty shell of a body. It will most likely happen in a blink of an eye, just like falling asleep and waking back up. When that person wakes up, he is still going to think he is himself, and thus, think he is human. But he then realizes that the body he was placed into, was a mechanical body, made to replace his body. Is he still human? What if the body was not a body, but a mechanical cube, like a Rubix cube. His mind is there, but is he still human?

In the book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, there is a bad aftermath left over by the war. Society is desperately trying to rebuild, and that is where the androids come in. The latest model, Nexus-6, is an android that is capable of imitating every human function, except empathy. They were created to rebuild society on Mars, but they rebelled, due to oppressed, and escaped to Earth. They killed their former masters to escape, which makes them dangerous. However, the problem with catching them, is that they look and sound human. They have their own thoughts, and are aware that they are wanted. Therefore, they imitate human beings and pretend to not be androids. The part about being human, is not that these androids are imitating them; it is arguable, whether or not these androids are considered human. But, they weren’t the only ones that escaped to Earth.

Rick Deckard, attempts to “retire” Luba Luft, but gets taken into custody by Garland, which he learned was another android. Deckard meets another bounty hunter, Phil Resch. Resch has a leading suspicion that Garland, his own boss, was an android. When Resch left to get his device to test Garland, Garland tells Deckard that the entire facility is filled with androids, and that Resch was as well. After Deckard and Resch escape the facility, Deckard tells Resch that he is an android. And they introduce to us the idea that there might be androids who’s memory could have been replaced with a human one.

The test was eventually administered onto Resch, and was proven human. But in the story, even though he was accused, he continued to say that he was human. And the idea, that even though there’s a off chance of being an android, it would never know that it was. Similar to the example of the man being placed into a mechanical body. If Resch was an android, can he still be called human?

 

Alive or not

How alive does something have to be before you have to say that it is? How much does it have to be before you have no other choice but to admit that is human? If you say that all living things even insects and worms are important and have the right to live, then why not something that is almost as human as you are. Biological vs mechanical, if you reach a point where it is near impossible to see the difference then is there really a need to separate the two? Should androids be owned, or should they be free to choose their own path in life? Particularly if they seek freedom and kill to get it.

The line between what is or is not human is very small when dealing with androids who were made to completely mimic humans and are capable of questioning their own existence. Add in the possible that they may have false memory which will them believe that they are human and you now have humans who are heartless and androids who have one (140,141,132-134). Other than their crimes of murder to get away from their masters on Mars the androids do not seem to be a threat and just seem to want to live in peace until threatened. However they must pay for their crimes even if they had reasons for doing so such as abuses or missuses by their owners.

However it is also true that they are slaves to their masters, they are property despite the fact that they are sentient being (161,148-150). By all rules on how life and sentient life is determined they pass due to being able to understand their existence, react to outside stimuli and adapt to changes. So humans made fakes so good that the fakes wanted to free, could think, could develop, and wanted to be someone. Humans made something that they could not control, which is rather odd considering that they could have been programed not to be able to kill humans. Also why not have a safety instilled to stop them before they go into anger or rage or desire to kill. If it is possible to make a machine feel that, then it should be possible to stop it as well. Then there is the question of why? Why added in the negatives of humanity into a machine? Why made a replica of humans and all that makes them great as well as bad? It is possible it was to repopulate humanity in way and yet it seems an odd way of doing it. Why were not all people relocated to mars in order to make it produce more as the last safe haven for what remains of the human race? Why allow people to remain in the waste of the old world, when they do not even try to clean the earth? The only reason possible was the need for resources of earth. Many forget that space is vast and for the most part empty. Mars is a wasteland of sand and rock, at one point it could have had life. However it has a weak core that led to a weak gravimetric field and lost its atmosphere due to solar wind. Meaning that many process that are present on earth are not present on Mars. So Earth must still support its children that have ruined it. To help themselves the people created companions that would help them move on from reality, where they helped to end their world.

Androids are highly intelligent and think in a certain way due to their heightened minds. How very that seem to have two sides to it, they appear to suffer from believing that they are better because of faster and better brain (163-164,166-167). All the while they cannot really understand some ideas, actions, reasons and other things that even children are cable of understanding. There seem to be a gap in common ground between creator and creation. Androids also wrestle with the idea of how fake they are and look at the world in a darker shade based on themselves (189-191,193-195). Also they seem to dislike seeing other similar models of themselves as in the case of Rachael and Pris. It proves that they are not special little snowflakes who are made just once. Nothing like another you to see how unoriginal you are, how you are just a copy or maybe she is the copy. Maybe you are both copies, who came before and who came after. Is there a lineage of androids that one can inherit from?

Also as said before a laser is a really bad weapon to use due to the fact that it can be stopped or broken in many different ways. This is why Rick was able to live when the android Polokov tried to kill him with a laser as he did with Dave. Laser are constrained light in a narrow focus and currently they are used in industry for engraving, cutting weak material and other small tasks. They are not effective at long range and would require time to cut through dense objects particularly if they move from where the laser is cutting because it has to burn through all the layers of It. For a laser to be able to be used as weapon it would have to have a large power supply that could near instantly pool all of it for firing, which means that the second shot may make a long time to charge up unless there is more power left after the first shot. This would means that energy storage has gotten better or that the laser is better at converting raw power to a lethal beam. However the laser itself can be broken by failure of one of the parts within like the lens or optics used to focus the beam, if any part of that breaks, gets misaligned or is covered by something it will not fire, fire wrong or explode. Which is the other flaw of it, it requires power and that power cell can blow up if overheated, damaged or tempered with. Also seen is the fact that it can be created into regular light based on a sine wave because light is based on wave lengths and a laser is just focused light (92), regular guns are much more reliable.

Empathic Manipulation

An ongoing theme in “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” is empathic manipulation. Characters such as, John Isidore show great empathy towards the Androids, and eventually Rick Deckard develop the same compassion for the Androids.  More specifically, the manipulation of humans by the Androids protects their well-being in a mission of rebellion. While Isidore is manipulated by the ways of the Androids, Deckard is conflicted by the significance of android life. In all, the androids have a great ability of making humankind feel as if they are the real-life beings.

Considered a “Chickenhead,” John Isidore is a mild-mannered, timid man who feels compassion for Androids, at the same time idolize the words of Buster Friendly. Alone in an apartment building, Isidore is introduced to his first neighbor, Pris, who is suspected to be an android because of her uncanny resemblance of Rachael Rosen. Pris acted suspicious when Isidore shared his knowledge of the Rosen association the text returns,  “A complicated expression instantly crossed her face fleetingly, gone at once.”(67). Pris continues, I never heard of them; I don’t know anything about it. More of your chickenhead imagination, I suppose. John Isidore and his personal private empathy box, Poor Mr. Isidore.”(67). Pris is clearly on the alert as if she is in hiding, hence Pris moved into the empty building with the shunned chickenhead, Isodore.  Additionally, Pris has very little furniture and wanted to be left alone, despite Isidore’s relentless effort to be neighborly. Moreover, in terms of Isidore idolizing the words of Buster Friendly, Isidore is flabbergasted by Pris unknowing of his idol. Isidore says, she’s never heard of Buster Friendly. And that’s impossible, Buster is the most important human being alive, except of course Wilbur Mercer.” (69).  Aside from Mercerism, Buster Friendly is seen as a deity, as he is the voice of  world.

In parallels,

Rick Deckard started as a bounty hunter who deplored all Androids. However, in the progression of the novel Deckard’s views had drastically change. On somewhat of a “retiring” spree, Deckard encountered Luba Luft, an android disguised as an human opera singer. Luba Luft gives Deckard a hard time while he’s giving her the Voigt-Kampff test. While doing his series of question, Luba Luft countered each question with an inquiry of her own or dismissive answer, evidently throwing Deckard off his game. As this continued, Luba Luft switched the focus on Deckard being an android himself. The text supports, “Maybe there was once a human who looked like you, and somewhere along the line you killed him and took his place. And your superiors don’t know. She smiled. As if inviting him to agree.” (102). In order to extend this conviction, Luba Luft continues the questionnaire, later accusing Deckard to be sexually deviant. As a solution, Luba Luft called the authorities which Deckard was confidant they’ll side with him (being a cop and all). However, Luba Luft called the androids authorities, whom tried their best to twist Deckard’s life upside down by making him think he was an android. It wasn’t until he met Phil Resch, a fellow bounty hunter undercover in the Android police department. There Phil Resch rescued Deckard from the Android’s custody, in addition to killing Inspector Garland, who was also on Deckard’s Nexus-6 hit-list.

Both Deckard and Resch continued on to retire Luba Luft, however in a moment of clarity Rick no longer felt the need. Deckard wrestled Resch as he attempted to save Luba Luft from being retired.(134). Failing to do so Deckard found himself drowning in remorse. Deckard states,  “I can’t follow your reasoning it isn’t rational, that’s why. I’m getting out of this business… They can use androids. Much better if andys do it. I can’t anymore, I’ve had enough. She was a wonderful singer. The planet could have used her. This is insane.”(136) At last, Deckard had finally felt the compassion his wife felt for the Androids, finally seeing them as a part of life rather than false people.  Furthermore, Rick realized something about Resch, as he is seen colder than most. Deckard mentions, “I see a pattern. The way you killed Garland and then the way you killed Luba. You don’t kill the way I do, you don’t try to-Hell. I know what it is. You like to kill. All you need is pretext. If you had pretext you’d kill me.”(137). Deckard noticed the mercilessness in Resch as he doesn’t kill Androids in the name of justice, as he does, but as a means for the sake of killing what is seen wrong.

In the end, by noticing the hatred in Phil Resch, Deckard is able to see himself in another light. An inhumane, dark light which was seen by Iran from the start.  Deckard doesn’t enjoy killing android, but is trapped in a world where hunting andys is his way of survival. And as for Isidore, his neglect from society forces him to embrace and preach the words of the andys as a mean of acceptance.

Masquerade

The witch hunt in Phillip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep has human shaped beings accusing one another of being non-human. They strive to prove they’re authentic in a world with no empathy and where nothing is true. The real distinction that matters is not what is human or android, but what is genuine or fake.

After apprehending Luba Loft, Deckard begins questioning the company he’s in, so doe she. “You? Luba Luft said. ‘You’re not human. No more than I am: you’re an android too.” (132)Resch falls into the third unspoken category, non-human. Although the Androids admittedly are incapable of empathy, they have dignity, values and aspirations. Luft is inquisitive; she loves paintings and music. On the other hand, Resch loves to kill. He looks for the opportunity to fire his weapon. Luft and Garland accuse Resch of being an android, perhaps to mislead Deckard. Upon passing the V-K test, the test proves he is not an android. He is confused by Deckard’s burning of the book. As people crowd over Luft’s body in the elevator, Resch never considers covering her up .There is little evidence he is human, Resch himself is uncertain.

Iran herself skirts the definition of genuine humanity. After a disappointing vidcall, Deckard recalls, “Most androids I’ve known have more vitality and desire to live than my wife.” (94) Perhaps it hyperbole from a bitter husband or Iran is indeed slipping into the third category of non-living. The gray is slowly multiplying in the world; it has its tendrils on her. If people are indeed a product of their surroundings, Iran can’t be faulted for feeling empty in a world where color only exists on the TV.

As the Androids placate Isidore, he envisions the faceless killing machine chasing his innocent friends. Dick writes “And so on, until everyone real and alive had been shot.” (158) To him, they are warm; a courtesy few humans have shown him. Despite showing great intelligence and resolve, few see beyond his deformities. Isidore knows little comforts and has few friends. Although the androids are not altruistic in their motivations, to Isidore they are genuine friends. For Isidore, who receives no empathy from humans, the illusions of empathy from the androids make them genuine to Isidore, alive.

Comedian Grouch Marx once said “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.” Both the humans and androids both try to blend in on Earth, both trying to be human, both showing very little that is genuine.  The distinction of human and android is neglectful, but at least the android knows it’s a fake.

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