As part of our reading of Westworld, we are considering how humanity is redefined in the world of this text. We are exploring what it means to be human, in a world where people have their non-biological, “fake,” non-living counterparts (“hosts”).
What does authenticity means in a world where everything, including emotions, memories, reveries, beings, etc. can be simulated, created by people? What defines a “human” or “humanity” in the world of Westworld? What distinguishes the real/genuine/authentic from the fake/simulated/ersatz? What is missing/lost/sacrificed (if anything) in these replicas? Is anything gained?
- Who/what serves who/what? Who are the masters and who are the slave? Who are the superiors and the inferiors?
- What are the relationships (colleagues, friendship, sexual, love, etc.) between different types of beings?
- What is a real “emotion” if it can be simulated or real memories if they can be implanted?
- What about the setting, the utopian park of the old Wild West, where the rich come to live out their fantasies at the expense of others?
- What kinds of competing sets of values are at play?
- What are central conflicts of the first episode?
I am also particularly interested in us tracing how, through their interaction with the “hosts,” people (the “newcomers” or the people who work on creating the hosts or Westworld itself) move from merely embodying values/norms of their society that they have have already internalized, to developing individual, (perhaps rebellious?), free-thinking understanding about the world and their places in it, and the hierarchy of beings (living and otherwise).
Think about these questions in relation to other texts we are read or ideas discussed this semester, as well as real-life advances in technology (such as those presented in this article, “Japanese professor creates uncanny, human-like robots and the exhibit website, Android: What is Human?).
Make at least two comments (just hit “reply,” either to my original post or to another comment on it) by the end of class today (Tuesday, 11/20, by 3:45pm). Then go back/read through all comments and extend the conversation by making at least two more comments (of course, more are always welcome!) in response by M 11/26.
Your comment (reply) can be just a few sentences: provide the quote/citation and a quick explanation of how/why it functions in the context of some larger issue/question (or you can raise questions, complicate issues, extend discussions, analyze a character, or setting, etc. &/or discuss central conflicts/values/themes through the use of your evidence/analysis). Feel free to post multiple comments, and also to respond to others. If you’ve already discussed some of these instances in your previous blogs or in class, you should feel free to draw on that material.The goal is to have some good virtual discussions here to help you think critically about important themes/questions raised by this complex novel, and to find/analyze/synthesize various pieces of evidence in support of claim.
The goal in all cases is to provide specific examples from the text (scenes/quotes/citation from the episode) with discussion/analysis and some connection to a larger claim/argument. You must cite currently in MLA format (in-text citation).