Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Memories and the word, "Buddy"

My wife and I were discussing how far back we could remember as kids. We came to the conclusion that you believe you are remembering way back, when in reality you only think you can remember back that far. Most likely, your "first memories" are only "memories" based on photos you've seen of yourself at the age of 1-3. I remember thinking I could remember (how's that for a confusing beginning to a sentence?) the birthday party when I was sitting in a plastic swimming pool. Turns out, I was turning 1 year old at that party; no doubt, at some point when I was a kid, I had seen the picture of myself eating cake, wearing Mickey Mouse ears, and sitting in a plastic swimming pool.

This discussion made me think about the classic sci-fi film, Blade Runner. There's a scene in the movie where one of the characters discovers they aren't a real human, but a manufactured android instead. The android believes itself to be real and even defends this belief. Another chracter reveals that the maker of the androids scanned in photographs of young children into the robots' "minds" when they were being made. These photos were processed by the robots' "minds" into "memories," and provided a false childhood for them. The android cries when it discovers this disturbing truth.

The film is interesting because its themes make you ponder the nature of reality and the line between human and computer. Blade Runner is based on Philip K. Dick's novel, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" If you're interested in the fascinating world Philip K. Dick explored in his sometimes unnervingly prophetic books, check out this website. Many of his books have either already been adapted as films, or will be soon.

One last note..... we were talking about the word, "buddy," at work today. Several people asked NOT to be called "buddy." Why is this? There's something inherently condescending about the term, I think. Who knows? It's hilarious because you can't quite pinpoint the reasons. Do YOU like being called, "buddy?"