Update: Warning, this is a spoiler alert about Westworld. In Season 2 Westworld enters the life extension business. How’s that for another synchronicity?
Happy New Gemini Moon everyone! Before the moon moves into Cancer, I want to get this post out about consciousness, a very mercurial subject. I stumbled upon an article about Pete Buttigieg and decided to take a look. The article contains an interview with Mayor Pete about how he is spending his time nowadays. I was astonished to discover we have the same viewing habits! When asked about what he is watching , this is his reply: ” We got pretty deep into “Westworld.” I know I’m like five years late on that. We’re starting to get into this show “Upload.” I am also just starting Westworld and just completed Upload and am completely obsessed with both of these shows. While Pete and I have little in common outwardly, I am wondering why he is drawn to these shows. This synch came on the heels of my watching the Season 1 finale of Westworld which I cannot stop thinking about. Yes, it is THAT GOOD.
I will try not to spoil anything here, but I have to share the basic premise of Season 1, and maybe the entire series. Westworld is about an adult theme park featuring AI set in 19th Century Western United States. It is a place where guests can come and explore all their fantasies without any consequences. Over time it becomes clear that the AI “hosts” are retaining some of their memories of being exploited and abused by the guests. When they are ” killed” they are brought back online and awaken from an allegedly dreamless sleep. However, many of the characters begin to evolve based on retaining memories and developing intuition and wisdom. They become sentient beings, likely to evolve past the humans who created them. Once they awaken, they cannot revert back to who they were before and life has permanently changed. This is similar in some ways to Upload, which is where a young man who dies in a car accident and whose girlfriend signs him up for life extension. Life extension is a process whereby a technician uploads one’s consciousness onto an avatar so humans can still be “alive “. In Upload we see what happens to the main character and his “angel” while he roams around a for-profit luxury virtual afterlife. Upload is a dramedy yet also about moral evolution and awakening within a virtual reality.
So much of my favorite entertainment, both old and new, revolves around this theme – Groundhog Day, The Good Place, Vanilla Sky, and Black Mirror’s San Junipero episode, just to name a few. In all these shows and movies, the main character(s) are altered somehow while asleep or unconscious. Eventually they discover the key to enlightenment. The repetition of this theme is not random, at least I do not see it that way. Westworld in particular emphasizes how humans and AI operate within loops and rely on their “stories” to define identity. It is suggested that awakening requires that we abandon the narratives and make the best choices we can, knowing that there is still some programming interfering with absolute free will. This had me considering the notion of the inmates running the asylum, as the actual “asylum personnel” are interested only in conformity, control, and monetization of the enslaved. Naturally I landed on the familiar Matrix notion that we live in a simulation and need to free ourselves.
All life is sentient or at least has the potential to become sentient. Isn’t it interesting how much entertainment “programming ” focuses on rebooting aka reincarnation? I welcome your thoughts on this in the comments below. While Westworld has too much violence ( like The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, and other HBO darlings) and Upload can be a bit campy, they are excellent opportunities to see evolution in action. As someone who often remembers dreams and can occasionally go lucid, I hope I can forge ahead with my own ascension, pandemic or not.
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PS – take a closer look at the trees in these photos and you will see more than meets the eye.