The Self

The other day I saw Ghost In The Shell (Mamoru Oshi, 1995, originally titled ‘Kôkaku kidôtai’) again. I guess the last (and first) time I saw it was 1998 or so and I remembered it had made a big impact then when I was in my early twenties. I couldn’t have guessed it would be as breathtaking then as it still is now. It’s a fantastic film on the dangers –or consequences if you prefer– of humanity creating intelligent computers. Wearable technologies, robotic limbs, the internet and the fact that we grew up on films about this subject (2001 A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner) provided us with a mindset able to further explore the meaning of the soul of men compared to the soul of objects.

I don’t know why I’m always fascinated and deeply moved by films on this subject. ‘A.I.’, ‘electroma’ and ‘The Matrix I-III’ are obviously films that made me cry like a baby. It must have something to do with a certain numbness robots display that I can easily relate to. Humans seem to almost take pride in showing their every emotion when shit hits the fan. Their will to display their involvement with other people’s misfortune is mostly enormous and encouragable. If it comes to stuff like that, I tend to act a little droidy myself. For instance I never take my problems elsewhere but I do advise others on theirs in a soulless, reasonable manner and on a clockwork basis. In a way I have become a replicant myself. Society prefers calling it ‘nihilist’, but doesn’t that mean ‘robotic’ in itself. Also, I don’t consider myself soulless, so even in that respect I’m just like all the soulless droids in all the films I just brought up. Maybe men truly is soulless and their longing for a certain soulfullness drives them to do radical things, or make radical choices and their longing or hoping to posess a soul actually provides them with one just as their longing for a God who’s not just their inspiration but also their actual creator provides them with one of those.

But I do believe in love to be the driving force behind- and the meaning of life, so in that repect I was created by –at least the act of– love and now am inspired by it, hense my God IS love. It’s just not the kind of love that makes me feel sorry for sadness, it’s more of a love that embraces the idea of a world in which happiness is something to be celebrated, like ‘weekends’… and sadness is just the mud we all wade through uninspired, simply because we must. Because we’re programmed to do so.

If you haven’t seen it yet, go out and order it on DVD: the animation’s stunning, the score (by Kenji Kawai) is stunning and the characters are cool ’n sexy like Bogart and Bacall, but the story (of a hacker called ‘the puppet master’ being tracked down by the cyborg cop who’s actually the puppet master’s digital soul mate) is simply awesome.


  1. eelko
    Posted September 2, 2008 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Akira is natuurlijk ook te gek. Qua onderwerp een voorloper van Ghost in the Shell. Hier gaat het nog meer om de mens. En wat daar voor een krachten inzitten. Check it out. Nog een keer want dat hebben we natuurlijk allemaal al uitgebreid gedaan.

  2. Rufus
    Posted September 2, 2008 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Lieverd, wat ik bedoel is dat ‘Ghost In The Shell’ dus uiteindelijk ook helemaal over de mens gaat. Ik heb onlangs over je gedroomd trouwens; we zaten in een auto en jij reed telkens te hard om de bochten te kunnen halen. Het was heel eng. Ga je hard?

  3. eelko
    Posted September 3, 2008 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    ja; ik ben geen lieverdje in het verkeer. maar sinds nika er is doe ik wat rustiger…da’s inmiddels al zes jaar.