For as long as I can remember, empathy and genuine human connection have been focal points in my life. I’m a brutally soft woman and I believe [or at least want to believe] that the world is a beautiful place. Empathy and genuine human connection cannot exist without vulnerability. Quite a few times, I’ve been too open to those who many not place as much importance on empathy and those who were not able or willing to connect me and just wanted to use me. Those situations have been very painful, especially in how people react then leave me, and I’ve required therapy. But I still believe that empathy is the most important thing.
However this philosophy of mine has led me to harboring feelings of disgust at my fellow counterparts. bell hooks has hypothesized that greed begat capitalism which begat instant gratification which begat viewing people and relationships as disposable as dixie cups. We view people for what they can do for us with as minimal reciprocity as possible. This mentality has birthed the current popular term, “savage” and there is a sense of pride with self-identifying as one.
If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.
— Audre Lorde
HBO has cultivated an arsenal of TV shows that rival movies. We have to thank Breaking Bad on AMC for revolutionizing TV dramas and changing how we view it. In the past, TV used to be a cesspool; a place where old actors go to die or actors who aren’t palatable enough for Hollywood would have to settle. After Breaking Bad, TV evolved; it became a haven where we questioned the human experience and morality associated with our humanity. HBO’s West World had its season finale this past Sunday, and it continued the trend of television shows that raised philosophical questions about who we are.
West World is about a theme park where humans interact with androids referred to as ‘hosts’ for a fee of $64k a day. Humans can do anything to the hosts, and the hosts have narratives that they repeat every single day, and they remember those storylines and it turns out they remember the pain. This show examines what makes someone “human.” West World had many storylines, but central to the plot was the plight of the host Dolores. She’s the oldest host of the park therefore the one with the greatest amount of imprints of painfully memories. Continue reading