“Westworld takes the classic robot-creator conflict and flips it. Yes, there’s a knowing line about how all children rebel eventually from the park’s paranoid head of security… But Westworld is really the story of children waking up to the terrors their parents have inflicted on them and willingly exposed them to. If Dolores goes homicidal after she remembers the things a cosplaying cowboy paid $40,000 a day to do to her, she’d be right to do it.”
That’s Millennial philosophy in a nutshell. I say this as a Millennial myself: it’s problematic. We take the classic, in this case a natural truth explored through narrative over countless millennia of human tradition, and flip it. I’m not sure how accurate the author’s observation is, considering Zeus rebelled against his parents who had previously rebelled against their parents, but it sounds good… I guess? The character voicing this fact, demonstrating knowledge of human nature, is called paranoid. We might ask what the value is of taking the opposite position of all previous human history, but that would require actual thought.
She continues, “the story of children waking up to the terrors their parents have inflicted on them and willingly exposed them to,” which is, you know, what happens when human beings are born. It’s called existence. Philosophers, from Pythagoras to Epicurus to Buddha and Jesus to Nietzsche to Freud etc, have discussed the existential dilemma a bit. Life is hard and painful and compelling; part of us blames our parents for the inconvenience of existing. Whether one is abused, abandoned, spoiled, pampered, or loved doesn’t erase that fundamental condition.
That’s all relatively innocuous. The next sentence though is an issue. “If Dolores goes homicidal after she remembers the things a cosplaying cowboy paid $40,000 a day to do to her, she’d be right to do it…” The author’s proposed response for one’s existential pain is to lash out and end the existence of others. She doesn’t specify any target, such as an abuser or creator or enemy, nor any constructive way for Dolores to improve her own situation. Instead, the author’s idea of the right thing to do is for Dolores to inflict harm on others, perhaps indiscriminately. Well, the Charleston killer and Charlotte rioters and Orlando shooter agree — they resent and revenge themselves upon the world for the fact of their own condition. All would argue that they or “their people” are oppressed and deserve better, yet have no concept of personal agency but to throw a temper-tantrum. It’s lazy and purposelessly destructive. If that is our idea of the right thing to do, we’ll never improve. Instead of simply committing suicide, we have to drag the world down with us. Why?
I’ll not even get into the question of taking the non-human’s side against the human, or of idolizing the victimized Other and lamenting [people] as Evil. Feel free to chime in.
Fn PAY ME, Simmons — you have like 3 decent writers.