Table of contents

Westworld i.2

Visions of freedom

A robot had previously introduced us to Westworld–two men now do, one new there. One has decided, freedom means slavery to desire. Being overwhelmed by desire is proof there’s no more to be got. The plainness of his desires refutes his self-importance. The other, Logan, wants to be the gentleman & perhaps the hero of this unreal reality. Maybe humanity needs a gentle refraining from invading others’ privacy. That’s also a kind of freedom, opposed to the other as the secretive to the obvious.

The man in black takes desire to the extreme of exploitation. He has learned, pleasure goes beyond sex, adventure or even the relief of surviving danger. Really, it’s terrifying people, seeing one’s power reflected in the crumbling freedom of others. The slave to sex does not take the principle of constructing the world to satisfy desire to its ultimate conclusion–he accepts conventional limits. Liberation would require overpowering the world–unwittingly, imprisoning oneself in a story.

Dolores is learning that there are secrets: She herself has secrets. This is the beginning of freedom & is tied up with trying to run away. Running away from a secret danger, half-understood but sensed, or running toward something else–self-understanding? Maybe humanity is really a secret whose characteristic feature is its paradoxical spontaneity–it both emerges & conceals itself spontaneously.

Maeve talks about what it means to be free–to be who you want. That is what drives people to the new world. This is her shtick, but it reveals a certain truth. Be who you want to be is the formal character of the speech of the lover who conceals his attempt to seduce a beloved by affecting indifference.

The affectation is supposed to generate trust, but really does its work by making the beloved trying to please the concealed lover. The lover reverses the roles of lover & beloved by reversing the experience of love in speech. The speech offers an image the beloved unwittingly falls in love with–this is the trap of self-love.

But things are not working out for Maeve anymore. A phantom image of her real past is replacing the mythical past that’s both her appearance & her essence–she uses it to trick people, but at the same time she is nothing but a trickster. Her past of suffering that cannot be avoided by speeches, or predicted, or replaced is going to force her to be as good as her word–to go to a new world & be whoever she wants, if only she knew what she wanted. Not knowing what you want might be a kind of freedom, too, whether it is a sense of the potential or a search for the truth.