Self-explanation is a bid for immortality, or at least, perpetuation in the moment.
We know ourselves to be limited, and incapable of self-perpetuation, at least relative to the cycles of generation. We live within the box of our own mortality, with the strange awareness – usually dim, or blindingly bright, but seen through layers and layers of glass stained with the images of our own passions – that somehow we got here. Somehow we got into the box. And if we’ve gotten in, then it stands to reason that we can get out. Such is the root of every human romance.
That’s why in BLADE RUNNER Deckard and Rachel escape Los Angeles (the Box of Morality) to British Columbia… at least in the happy ending version the studio compelled Ridley Scott to produce. In the happy ending version we are not left with the pregnant promise/curse: It’s too bad she won’t live. But then again, who does? In the happy ending version we see the happy couple bathed in sunlight amongst the trees of old growth, redeemed not just from the sterility-inducing pollution of The City, but redeemed even from death itself.
That’s one thing BLADE RUNNER 2049 got right. The line of generation from original to sequel runs through a child.
In the happy ending version, while glimpsing the couple redeemed from civilization and death, we learn by means of voiceover that Rachel hadn’t been programmed to die at a particular time. From this we will naturally think not that she is immortal, but that she might be fertile. Though, the images of she and Deckard bathed in white light suggests they’ve made it not just to British Columbia, but to Heaven.
The happy ending version is like the Gospel of Matthew relative to the Gospel of Mark. Mark ends with Jesus’ passion and death on the cross. Matthew adds the Resurrection.
It might be noted that in mythopoetic terms, BC and Heaven are the same thing. Nature is the Garden we came from – Fell from – and to which we might return. Nature is Heaven… or so it was conceived.
So, here’s another reason to hate scientific materialism: it is completely insensitive to what we’ve all lost in deciding that Nature is not Divine. Hence the attempts in the 20th Century to rediscover some sort of convincing nature mysticism – from Nazism in the early part, to Hippy-ism in the middle, to the dark-greener parts of New Age Eco-feminism toward the end.
Culties of this particular faith tend to wield “facts don’t care about your feelings” as if it were a perfectly liberating truth, not seeing that the blade cuts both ways. In the joy of winning their argument against the insane sensitivity of the Social Justice Warriors, they fail to notice that they have pierced their own hearts.
Verily, the Golden Rule is the Kingdom of God, the ONE PLANET that is Mother/Father to us all.
Which brings me back to my original point, about finding ourselves in a BOX, and thinking that if we got into this BOX, we must also have, locked up within us, the means of getting out. Hence, the perfect parallels between sexual union, gnostic transcendence, and space age technology. All three of these are alike means – practical, possible, and imaginary – of getting out of the BOX of our own mortality.
This is the dream that animates us. This is the dream of our souls.
Verily, the idea of the soul is the personification, the embodiment, of this dream. We know we have this dream because the idea of soul exists. Soul is the representation of the idea that we transcend the BOX we live in. It is, thus, not a sign but a symbol.
Conscious knowledge speaks in signs.
Real knowledge speaks in symbols.
Perhaps the easiest way to explain the difference is to liken signs to robots, and symbols to synthetic humans.
The Turing Test
We might not be too far from satisfying The Turing Test. In fact, it’s easy to fool a human being with a verbal imitation of a human being. We do it to each other all the time. It’s much harder to fall in love with a robot IRL. Conscious knowledge is like a chatbot. Real Knowledge is Rachel.
Hence, what makes BLADE RUNNER science fiction is the idea of some technological advancement has led to the mechanical manifestation of Real Knowledge – the ability to make life, and so transcend the BOX. TERMINATOR and MATRIX are dystopian visions of this same idea. The happy ending version of BLADE RUNNER is a story of technology eventually embodying real knowledge and by this recovering THE GARDEN.
Pardon my punctuation.
Romances are different versions of this same story. The idea of love is the natural equivalent of the real knowledge technology of sci-fi. Within romances, regular relationships are like mechanical technology. They get the job done, but don’t transcend the BOX. Romances are about the reunification of conscious and real knowledge. This reunification, in mystical terms, is the holy grail.
Hence, Romance as a genre begins with a parallelism between sexual love and a mystical quest for the Holy Grail. The Royal Blood, which is nothing other than the sacralization of the animal world, the marriage of Heaven and Earth, the child of which is the soul.
Hence the Buddhist doctrine that Nirvana and Samsara are ONE. Our capacity to suffer is exactly our capacity for bliss. So, the Earth is both Caladan and Arrakis, Venus and Mars, and we are faced with a choice between a Red Pill and a Blue. So the story goes.