Table of contents

Westworld i.1

In the future, we will be obsessed with our origins

Dolores means pain. It is an ironic name–she’s a sunny-side-up sort of girl who insists on the beauty of the world. That her destiny is terrible is evident from the name her creators have chosen for her. That she does not think about her name is the evidence of her lack of self-knowledge. But is this any proof that she cannot learn? Is irony proof against the tragic possibilities of beauty?

What does it take for a creator to be in control of creation? Apparently, only this, to have the power to take memory from people. Apparently, memory does not take away from you who you are, but only who you were–who you have been. The difference is this, you do not experience the limits of being human. Not to remember is not to remember suffering. What other ways is there of learning, though?

Ok, but how do we tell the difference between human beings & the beings they have created? They are distinguished as newcomers & hosts, but that’s part of the story–it already depends on understanding something about the Wild West–that’s for later.

Aside from the story, there is a psychological difference that depends on experience: Human beings are they who trespass, they who break moral rules. The murderers & rapists, as it turns out. Is it any surprise that at some point getting out of control means ranting biblically against the consequences of this freedom?

This is what Genesis teaches us: Human beings move more & in more ways than any other being. They are unpredictable, not predictably good. There is in human nature evil already. So then the problem with what we’re saying is this, that human beings have created beings whom they’re robbing of human freedom. Control really means enslavement. Maybe this is the problem with technological progress, too. We want to be both the source & the principle of the changes we introduce, so that we retain control while increasing power.

Now, let’s talk about the Western. This is where Americans used to go to learn about American character. It is the uniquely American genre of storytelling that is also the peculiarly American way of reflecting on the origins of America. The talk of newcomers, as opposed to hosts, is supposed to suggest the love Americans have of novelty & to announce the future. It makes sense to ask, what did Americans hope to find in the Western as a story, concerning themselves, & what did they hope to find in the West as a place? What moves Americans? Now we see where they’ve ended up–freedom has turned out to mean being trapped in a story, not knowing what strange powers power the trap.

Mr. Jonathan Nolan’s first major work