Archive for March, 2012

The Thirteenth Floor

After I finished watching The Thirteenth Floor and realized it was all set within different levels of simulations I thought of the beginning. Josef Rusnak opens the movie with the quote “I think, therefore I am”. This makes the viewer ask are these characters real. Is it their awareness, physical abilities, flesh, or just the idea that they exist enough to make them all real?  Descartes seems to say by thinking and being self aware it should be enough to prove ones existence. Even though the characters in Los Angeles in the 1990s seem conscious and aware they are part of a simulation. Whitney describes the simulation and says “Its units are fully-formed, self-learning cyber beings. (Units) electronic, simulated characters. They populate the system, they think, they work, they eat…they’re modeled after us.”   The people in the simulation are living normal lives but never question if the life they live is real. Grierson and Hall sometimes blackout and cannot remember what they have done. Yet, had we not known they were part of a simulation it could be explained by head trauma, Alzheimer’s, amnesia, split personalities and the list goes on. Memory loss and Déjà vu isn’t suppose to be explained by a simulation of reality.

Also Fuller and detective McBain reaction to the truth is interesting.  Fuller in his letter writes ““Ignorance is bliss” for the first time in my life. I agree. I wish I had never uncovered the awful truth.” Fuller would consider living a deceptive life. Detective McBain says to Jane “ Do me a favor, will you? When you get back to wherever it is that you come from, just leave us all the hell alone down here, okay?” The “units” would prefer continuing their lives blindfolded by deceit. There is no pleasure in uncovering what you once thought was real is nothing but an advanced cyber system. In the end no matter how self aware they are, all of the units are simply part of a game of chess, available for possession.


In the other material that we covered I would have to say I was envious of characters experiencing the new aged technology.  Living through avatars, plugging in to cyberspace, and experiencing a different life. Ubik like the other materials introduced a new world. Some humans were able to read minds, predict the future and change the past.  Evolution enhanced humans with these mutations and talents. But there was the very present half-life that I did not like.  If it was a utopia then sure I’d be open minded to it. But based on the description its not, half-life is just a way to prolong life.  We see that the realm of half-life is not consistent. Jory is able to alter this reality. Before Joe realized he was in half-life he said “But for some reason—for one of several possible reasons—reality has receded; it’s lost its underlying support and its ebbed back to previous forms.”(153) Further Joe points out that within one day they regressed from two years to forty years. That’s one confusing reality so why not take your chances with an amoral womb. Jory, a young immature boy, constructed a reality in order to eat half-lifers.  Ella said and—there are Jorys in every moratorium. This battle goes on wherever you have half-lifers; it’s verity, a rule, of our kind of existence.” (207) We are not introduced to the other moratoriums but Dick informs us that this battle in half-life is not avoidable.  Half-life just isn’t to appealing to me.



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