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Existentialism in the book

on Thu Mar 29, 2018 1:27 pm
In existentialists’ mind, the existence of human endows the meaning of everything in the external world. When a child is born, he or she doesn’t mean anything. That makes an existence, but neither the family status, nor future responsibilities will affect the essence of the child. Only the child himself can determine what he may do in the future and in what form will he live in the society. Through this, we can find out that existence precedes essence.
Human beings have their essence because they have free choices and their choices are about seeking the essence. The book <Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?> is also demonstrating this relationship. For one of the main characters, Isidore is an adequate example of this concept. When his existence appears, maybe the deficiency of intelligence makes him a “chicken head”, it won’t prevent him from seeking the essence of himself. He always continually asks himself what his life will become and what existence of him means to the world. And after living alone for such long time and only relaxing through the empathy box, he has a new neighbor and a new achievement in his job. He firstly gain praise from others and gradually find his essence and the meaning of his life. Till Chapter 8, Isidore enjoys his life by receiving sense of identity from others.
In contrast, the Nexus-6 android hardly achieves what essence motivates human to do. Their essence is given by human before their existence that is to be matched with one of the emigrated family and serve for them. But as an android, its own essence has always been survival instead of seeking the meaning of itself. It doesn’t care about and understand others emotion and this is the only criteria on psychological level to find out whether it’s an android or human. For example, when asked about boiled dog was disgusting or not, Rachael didn’t show resistance, but she felt bad about raw oysters. This proves that androids lack the ability of empathy. As a result, although Rachael and Isidore became neighbors, she will never behave like Isidore to do her neighbor a favor so that she can receive thankful responses from others, thus finding her essence. All of this is because an android doesn’t need it; the implanted procedure doesn’t enable the android to feel about the essence of it.
Existence is something being-in-itself and this can be owned by anything, but essence, which is being-for-itself, is specific to human. So, we can conclude that the android exists, but its essence is simple and won’t progress.
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