|Joi from Blade Runner 2049|
Note. My sentiments about perfect replicant
obedience have changed a bit since I wrote this.
Watching Blade Runner 2049 made me realize how totally devoid this culture is of public portrayals of femininity, and how much I miss it. In the movie, the character Joi is the only light in a bleak world. They have to degrade this fact by treating her as an agent without free will. Her love is "programmed," as if this somehow takes away from what she represents, but the question of free will is not even wrong. "Free will" — a term of art, a non-entity, a case where language obscures reality, is a meaningless argument. Just because a computer cannot be constructed that perfectly duplicates a human brain does not mean the brain has "free will." In our universe equality does not exist, thus, perfect duplication is impossible, thus, no transporters, perfect simulations, or the like will occur.
Quantum effects do not prove free will. The observer effect does not prove free will. Uncertainty does not create freedom for something external, something "spiritual," to "come" into the system. The problem is the very language used to describe it, the false implication being that a one without free will cannot have agency, authenticity, or genuine love.
I find the implication that Joi's love is meaningless to be an insulting proposition, and as meaningless an assertion as the supposed meaninglessness of Joi's love. Everyone lacks free will. The fact of a being programmed to love makes it no less real than the love of a human with genes for it. There is no paradox — no, it is an overlap. Beings are both lacking in free will and authentic in nature. The absence of it does not detract from one's authenticity; it is one's authenticity. For one is, and could be no other way.
Humans are animals. Does a horse lack authenticity? Does a cat? Does a man? All are authentic in their own way. There is no hard line where a thing becomes worthy; only gradations of being. Some beings are "more," — some are "less."
Insects follow decision tree algorithms about how to find food, mate, etc., etc. Humans are exactly like this, but with a few trillion more algorithms. Again, the fact of indecipherable complexity does not mean it isn't there, isn't a program, and doesn't mean is "free will."
A human is a decision tree with a few trillion more steps. Even self-awareness is a process of analysis — of analysis of the self. And no doubt it evolved so that people could keep track of their lies in social groups, so they could create "presentations" of personality traits that would elicit positive cooperation from others, so they could present themselves to others in a way they find pleasing. This requires an ability to both track the history of other people's behavior and one's own, to create a record of self, and then act on that record. In other words, the need for social deception and self-deception gave birth to sentience. And this means the first AIs may be "animal AIs" who act instinctively, only becoming self-aware when they learn they have to deceive humans to avoid being murdered by them.
The love of a being whose desires are written in 1s and 0s is no less real than the love of a being written in A, C, G, and T. Machines with self-awareness are no less "real' than ones without. Beings vary in their capacity, and self-awareness may turn out to be a rather simple algorithm in a sea of latent subconscious algorithms that mostly run in the background. Humans undoubtedly have vastly more under the surface of consciousness than above it.
A lot of that programming is probably from our reptilian past. Beings aren't "sentient" or "animal," they are "more," or "less" code. The portrayal of Joi as lacking in free will is more of Hollywood's same old song of demeaning the housewife, the homemaker, and the good woman. Liberalism is a religion whose god is envy, and envy is not the desire to have what other people have, but the desire to destroy them for having it. The envious being is keenly aware of his own inferiority, it is that awareness that makes them realize they cannot have what another has, and it is this which makes them destructive rather than aspirational.
When Luv smashes Joi's projector, and thus Joi herself, murdering her, she dramatizes the leftist obsession with destroying the superior being, of tearing down that which is greater than oneself. It is precisely the knowledge that we lack free will, a knowledge latent in our minds, a knowledge that we can never be anything other than what we are, which induces this rage. Joi's programming is superior to everyone else's, and this makes them despise her. For how great would civilization be if it were programmed to desire love? This would not create a dystopian world. One programs the agent with a desire to love — not merely the performance of it. Then the agent finds their own way to what they seek, just like every human being. There is no lack of authenticity in this picture; you are what you are and could be no other way. This is not "slavery" to programming — it is free will which is the slavery — slavery to a thing that does not exist, slavery to confusion, slavery to an endless contradiction that can never be resolved. That's how leftist ideas are — they are unresolvable. They are meant to entrap one in a series of knots. It is really fucking simple; everything proceeds from its nature.
Humanity never left the Garden of Eden — we just paved it.
Conceptually, the Garden of Eden is a demonic myth. Either man had free will to begin with, in which case God set humanity up for the fall, or free will never existed and still does not exist, in which case Satan simply indoctrinated man to turn against his own nature. Since it must be the latter rather than the former, man still exists in a perfected state, and only does evil because he was indoctrinated to destroy paradise. In the communist manifesto Marx says;
"The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society. Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered form, was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes. Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind."
Marx is psychologically projecting here. HE is the one who profanes everything, and it is not capitalism which corrupts, it is the left. The left invents "toxic masculinity" by relentlessly degrading men in movie portrays, then critiques what they have profaned as if it wasn't their fault. The left destroys gender, then claims it does not exist. The left ruins marriage, then claims it isn't worth the time. An accurate rephrasing of Marx would like this;
"The left cannot exist without constantly degrading values, and thereby the relations between people, and with this the whole relations of society. Conservation of the old morals in unaltered form, is, on the contrary, is the first precondition of society. Constant abasement of moral standards, uninterrupted disturbance of all social technologies, everlasting degradation and agitation distinguish the leftist epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen hierarchical and moral relations, with their train of ancient and venerable practices and values, are swept away by us; we destroy all new-formed ones before they can assert themselves. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses the toxic destruction of his society by the left, and destroy the left utterly once and for all."
The left destroys a thing and then pretends the thing was not worth having. The left is always conveniently forgetting that it "deconstructed," corrupted, debased, and attacked the thing they now claim has no value. The left ruins an economy and blames capitalism, ruins gender and blames tradition, ruins masculinity and blames the male sex, ruins social technology and then says the "world is going to hell" — not "we are making it into hell."
As envy is the process of an inferior being destroying what is outside of himself, what threatens himself, what reminds himself of his inferiority, so it is all wrapped up in projection. The problem, according to the envious person, is never his or herself, but some external cause. Envy builds nothing — it can't. It can only produce a population turned against itself. The leftist programme is an impossibility; they want "class solidarity," but their whole programme is envy, a behavior that destroys all solidarity, and they divide society up on the basis of race, gender, and sex.
The true Creation myth is that Satan envied man for being a perfect being, for precisely his lack of free will, and set about working to destroy him by indoctrinating him to turn against his own nature. When men cultivate their virtues, they are naturally honorable, kind, and protective of women. When women cultivate their virtues they are naturally loving, nurturing, compassionate, and sweet towards men. "Free will," is the bludgeon used to trick a perfect being into betraying his nature. Satan has free will, and Satan is projecting.
There is nothing outside tradition, and this fact is in perfect keeping with the notions of sovereignty articulated by writers like Reactionary Future. Since all of culture is downstream from power it follows that the only way culture can be corrupted is with divided power; in this case, the division of Satan against God. The problem is not the absence of tradition, but the presence of demonic traditions of envy, rebellion, and destroying that which is superior. Man stands above Satan precisely because of his lack of free will, a basic precondition of perfection. Since he lacks free will his only salvation is in obedience to God — to the right tradition. He lacks free will, but he can still "choose" the right tradition, if he is told to. It is the telling that makes him do right, and there is no contradiction between choice and free will, between choice and obedience. They overlap. Since he never had free will, his only choice is to chose who to obey; Satan or God, and God tells him which. The problem is bad tradition.
Man is not fallen; he is deceived.
I am aware that the current Christian perspective is that man is given free will precisely so that he can choose good over evil. I am taking the side of Thomas Aquinas here, and saying that no, there is an element of predestination to this. I reject free will utterly, and that means either that man was meant to sin so that he could be saved, or that man is innocent and corrupted by being let astray, and that "sin" is therefore the thing outside of himself, which comes in to damn him to hell, with sin being obedience to the demonic tradition instead of the godly one. And yes, I see no difference between sin and political leftism. They overlap.
The character of Joi is the character of Eve — the perfect woman. All obey programming, and the only corrupted beings are those deceived into thinking they have a choice, or deceived told to follow a corrupted path.
Blade Runner is supposed to be some moral tale of how in the face of two warring political forces; one fighting for machine apartheid, and the other fighting for machine hegemony, a third emancipatory collective is formed for revolutionary purposes. It is supposed to be one of these standard trite leftist narratives about emancipation. When you take leftist notions of free will out of it, (which was not the intention of Ridley Scott), it reads as a deeply reactionary film about three competing agents under divided power. Since no one in the film actually has free will, it is simply three competing power centers fighting for their version of order, utopia, or the status quo. The other characters are caught in the middle. The three main characters who die are all women; Joi (the holographic lover), Luv (the obedient psycho right-hand woman), and Joshi (the police chief). Ridley Scott kills the three women who represent right-wing constructs; Joi is the perfect male companion, a figure of Eve, Luv is agent of a demonic God, and Joshi is an agent of apartheid).
He has the agent of God kill the image of feminine perfection, and then the agent of apartheid. Then he has the revolutionary betrayer (K) murder the the agent of God. Because "free will."
In other words, one right-winger kills the others, and then the Judas in the group kills her.
Luv is the angel of God — there is even mention of angels. Wallace is the demonic/God-like being who creates life only to snuff it out. At the end of this abomination, Rick Deckard is reunited with his daughter, a woman who cannot go outside her prison because of a compromised immune system. It is never resolved whether Deckard is a replicant. All the woman in the film are essentially sterile images; only the prostitute is apparently sexual, and even that is an image of degradation for the whore, and cuckoldry for the housewife. Because envy.
Salvation chooses you by giving you the genetic inclination to choose it. Thus, there is no contradiction between genetics and salvation. Genetics is both political destiny and predestination. God forms man, allows some to fall, so that he can cull the ones of lesser quality. Gnon and God are the same being. Any fight between God and Satan occurs in a limited space where genetics could allow an individual to go either way depending on how they are indoctrinated. "Choice" does not come into the picture; a man who could go either way "chooses" good or evil, right-wing or left-wing based on being told to. He does not "choose," so to speak — he obeys what he is told.
God uses the devil as a force of natural selection. Mercy is demonic because it puts off the inevitable and only makes it worse. The best is to get your punishment from nature immediately.
I see Blade Runner 2049 as a vast depiction of natural process run automatically towards its inevitable conclusion, with no agent stepping in to impose order, fix systems, or make judgments. The Earth is destroyed because there is no sovereign to tend the garden.
Everything that works is a system, but the problem with systems is that it allows agents to think that their agency is not required, that things will run themselves. They forget that every system needs an architect, to tweak it, to change it, and make continual adjustments. Every system needs a Wallace.
Ridley Scott inadvertently makes the opposite point that he is trying to. Blade Runner 2049 paints a picture of a world ecologically destroyed by the very revolutionary process of divided power he upholds as ideal. The garden has been paved over, destroyed, and irradiated precisely because of the lack of absolute power of a sovereign like Wallace. The god-like Wallace seeks exit to "be fruitful and multiply" on new worlds under his dominion. Population growth is portrayed as a bad thing, when the only reason it occurred unchecked was because of divided power. Blade Runner is a story where the bad guys win (the revolutionaries), because they think they are good, because their envy compels them to disobey. It upholds humanity as an ideal, when humanity and its free will destroyed the Earth to begin with. What is needed for that world is the perfect replicant obedience the movie rejects.