The topic of empathy is repeated throughout all of ” Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” as a way to differentiate humans from androids. It is believed that androids do not have emotion, and therefor cannot connect to organic life. Humans have made animals a symbol of morality, encouraging each other to care for them in an public, congratulatory way. This way of expressing empathy leads to the Voight-Kampff test, used to determine who is human and who is not. The focus on emotion isolates in-organics.
Rick Deckard, a hunter of androids, is obsessed with having a live, organic animal. Society has put so much emphasis on feeling for others that Deckard believes he does not feel empathy the way he should. He buys an electric sheep to replace his deceased one, but is not satisfied. Deckard does not think he can connect to electric animals or androids because they do not express emotion like humans. He uses his lack of a ‘real’ animal as an excuse for his dispassion with those around him.
This idea is challenged later when Deckard has sex with Rachel Rosen, an android. She tries to prove to him that androids are not just machines, but do in fact have emotion. When humans display behavior that would suggest they lack empathy, Deckard begins to question his idea of what it means to be human. At the end of the novel Deckard gains an electric toad, and is unphazed by the fact that it is not organic.
In the novel of “Do androids dream of electric sheep” a major theme is empathy. In the beginning of the novel Deckard questions the empathy he has for his electric sheep he cares for it but feels that his sheep doesn’t have any connection towards him. Deckard’s job is to retire androids it’s a civil job that doesn’t pay enough for the proper animal to own at home. Deckard quickly learns that humans can have no empathy and become something else that isn’t human like his partner Phil Resch who shot an android because he needed too. Deckard also learns that androids can develop empathy for example; when Rachel Rosen slept with him to prove that there’s more to androids than meets the eye.
“Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep” by Philip K. Dick is a mixture of fiction and existence.This novel was interesting do to the fact that an artificial brain was conducted much similar of that of a humans’. It makes me think, perhaps in the near future there might be such a thing and technology which will take over. Therefore, one theme that came to mind was the difference between androids and humans, how we can identify them? A question like this must have an answer and one of my conclusion was that “humans have emotions.” That is one trait that makes us different from everything else. In chapter 9, Rick showed sympathy towards Luba as she was killed, an emotion that only humans will feel. Another example is in the same chapter, Rick takes the test and identified himself as human, human enough to feel what a human should feel. I believe that this novel makes a great point in being a human; that we are unique and should appreciate what we have. I enjoyed this novel and its idea of sci-fi I hope to continue interesting novel such as these.
Deckard’s conversation with Mercer
Why?” Rick said. “Why should I do it? I’ll quit my job and emigrate.”The old man said, “You will be required to do wrong no matter where you go. It is the basic condition of life, to be required to violate your own identity. At some time, every creature which lives must do so. It is the ultimate shadow, the defeat of creation; this is the curse at work, the curse that feeds on all life. Everywhere in the universe.”
I found this conversation interesting yet puzzling. How does the basic condition of life require violating one’s own identity? Mercer is saying that all life must at some point do this. (It doesn’t make sense to acknowledge this statement in relation to animals since they lack the ability to develop a complex identity in which they can violate. Maybe he is pertaining to only humans.) Nevertheless, it is still an abstract statement. This quote seems to be more of a person’s opinion rather than a statement from a higher truth which Mercer is suppose to represent. I believe that Mercer is in fact the author’s gateway into the book. In other words, his personal perspective of the storyline and also the real world.
I believe his statement to be true to a certain extent. In modern day earth most people, including myself, have to violate our own identity at some point. Out of my experience, I had to violate my identity because of a job which is exactly the same reason why Deckard did so also. Violating one’s identity is a “curse” as stated by Mercer, but this does not necessarily have to always be true. This “curse” only exists in capitalistic environments where people go out of their way to make money, which corresponds to violating ones identity due to an occupation. It seems that this is increasing becoming the case as the thirst for money increases. But who’s to say that all humans have to act in accordance to this and more importantly how does the entire universe revolve around this statement. What if a human is forced to live in a primitive state, such as surviving in an island, where an occupation isn’t required. Wouldn’t this Mercer’s statement be false?
One of my favorite parts of the book was probably in the middle of Chapter 9, when Luba Luft claimed that Rick Deckard himself was an android. First when she said that if there were any androids among her, she’ll be glad to help and Rick said that’s one indication of her being an android (when one android doesn’t care what happens to another android). This is when she told him that he was probably an android, just because it’s his job to kill them. She also asked if he took the Voigt-Kampff test himself and he responded with “I took the test when I first started with the department”. She said afterwards that perhaps it was a false memory that was given to him and that perhaps he killed a human that looked like him and took that human’s place without his superiors noticing. At that point even I began to question if Rick Deckard was actually an android. Even though he is a bounty hunter, I don’t believe it was mentioned why he was a bounty hunter in the first place. Maybe he was implanted with false memories to make him believe he was one.
ENGLISH-2420 (SCIENCE FICTION)
FEBRYARY 26, 2014
CAVES OF STEEL SUMMARY
CAVES OF STEEL DWELLED DEEP INTO MANY MOTIFS AND CONCEPTS. THE STRONGEST BEING THE HUMAN ROBOT RELATIONSHIP. THOUGHOUT THE NOVEL WE DEAL WITH THE QUESTION OF WHAT IT MEANS TO BE HUMAN. SINCE ELIJAH AND DANEEL REPRESENT THE C/FE CULTURE, THERE IS ALWAYS A CONNECTION BETWEEN THAT RELATIONSHIP. IN THE BEGINNING OF THE NOVEL WE SEE DANEELS SUPERIORITY DUE TO HIS PERFECT PHYSICAL MAKEUP AND INTELLECT. DANEEL ALSO APPEARS TO BE VERY LOGICAL AND REASONABLE. ELIJAH HOWEVER IS DEPICTED AS A FLAWED HUMAN WITH EMOTIONS AND WEAKNESS. HOWEVER WE SEE AT THE END OF THE NOVEL WHEN ELIJAH IS PERSISTENT AND DETERMINED TO FINISH THE CASE DESPITE DANEEL SAYING THAT IT WAS NO LONGER NECESSARY TO DO SO AND THAT THE INVESTIGATION HAD CONCLUDED. IT WAS ELIJAHS HUMAN ATTRIBUTES THAT EXPOSED THE COMMISSIONER. HUMAN QUALITIES SUCH AS DETERMINATION AND CURIOSITY. IN THIS SEQUENCE;
He said harshly, “Well, never mind that. Why are the Spacers breaking off?”
The robot said, “Our project is concluded. We are satisfied that Earth will colonize.”
THIS SHOWES THAT DANEEL AS WELL AS THE SPACERS WHO HAVE SUPERIOR INTELLECT AND REASON APPEAR TO LACK THE BASIC HUMAN DRIVES WHICH IS WHY ELIJAH WAS ABLE TO CRACK THE CASE. AT ONE POINT HE DID NOT EVEN HOW HE WAS GOING TO PROVE THAT ENDERBY COMMITED THE MURDER. HOWEVER THROUGH SHEER DETERMINATION AND CUCRIOSITY HE WAS ABLE TO SOLVE THE CASE. THIS IS POWERFUL BECAUSE IT SHOWS THAT HUMANS MAY NOT HAVE A SET PURPOSE, HOWEVER WE ARE DRIVEN BY SOMETHING UNEXPLANIABLE WHICH IS WHAT MAKES US HUMAN.
She went on, “Anyway, Lizzy was always talking about how there’d come a day and people had to get together. She said it was all the fault of the Spacers because they wanted to keep Earth weak and decadent. That was one of her favorite words, “ decadent.’
I found this quote in the middle of Chapter 14, Baley reminisces about his marriage with Jessie and her beliefs. I found this quote very interesting because it sets a theme of a human and robot relationship, of how it exposes Jessie’s beliefs to Baley. There’s a thin line between robots and humans, and through this quote its pretty obvious robots get blame for everything wrong with earth. The story continues to expose characters being prejudice towards robots. Later on the reader finds out that Jessie was part of mediavelist cult. Baley basically analyzes his wife’s resentment and frustrations.
Analysis of a significant event /passage in Caves of Steel:
“Suppose people started afresh on a new world (how that ran through his mind ever since Dr. Fastolfe had put it there); suppose Bentley, for instance, were to leave Earth; could he get so he didn’t mind working and living alongside robots? Why not? The Spacers themselves did it.” –Elijah
The quote stated above is particularly significant in the novel caves of steel. Elijah, a character from the novel Caves of Steel, was at one point closed minded about the idea of living along side with robots. He absolutely hated robots and never even considered the benefits of using robots. It is also important to note that hatred toward robots was a stereotypical thought within Elijah’s society. Earlier, Dr. Fastolfe a character which lives alongside robots had told him otherwise. Dr. Fastolfe carefully explained to Elijah how robots can in fact aid human life. With one simple, yet intelligent conversation, Dr. Fastolfe had managed to change Elijah’s stubborn aspects of robots. If a similar scene were to occur in the present dealing with a similar scenario, would it also be easy to persuade a person with stereotypical thoughts? I think it’s possible. It’s actually real easy to do so. The fact the almost everyone in Elijah’s society hated robots, is similar to how the media in present day society can persuade the masses into thinking and living a certain type of way. When a person is told something from a more logical aspect, they tend to acknowledge and agree. Maybe the author of this novel was trying to tell us that we should be more open minded and knowledgeable based off of this scene.
Caves of Steel, Comparison to Present day Society
The society within Caves of Steel and present day society are physically different in various ways. As I picture the scene of Caves of Steel, I image a dark depressing enclosed city without windows or sunlight. It’s a clear separation of nature from the city. There are no trees or greenery. It is literally a cave made of steel. It is a complete artificial society.
In comparison to our society, we are nothing like that. I believe that man will always try to incorporate nature within their societies. As we can see today, our cities are filled with natural elements, such as parks, plazas and trees. Our cities are never enclosed spaces, as we prefer we
One part of the novel that stuck with me was when Clousarr struck R.Daneel. Baley reacted in a way that was defensive. He exclaimed “What the devil”, and he then “snatched violently at Clousarr”. Baley knows that Daneel is a robot, but acts as though that blow could have injured him. Baley was either beginning to connect to Daneel, or the thin line that made him an android was forgotten momentarily.
Daneel then apologizes for hurting Clousarr’s hand. The moment passes and both men remember he is an android again. Clousarr then compares Baley to an android and any bond between Danell and Baley is broken. The officers were working pretty well in unison and Clousarr broke it up, This moment showed that life with both androids and humans working together is possible, but not with extremists among them.