Ryan's Lit Class Discussion
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Greg Xu

WOW that's Greg's thoughts! Empty WOW that's Greg's thoughts!

on Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:18 pm
Existentialism deems that existence is the precondition of essence. There would be no essence without existence. In this novel, Nexus-6 androids clearly exist, for they have their own thoughts and actions. Therefore, they might have an essence.

But what is their essence, if there is one? Thinking of a knief, its essence is its blade. But how do we define living beings' essence? Even an animal has quite a few sorts of essences. And, in this novel, even more so, for animals can symbolize people's social status. If an animal, in this post World War Terminus, cannot justify its master's social status, we can then presumably say that this animal would no longer be considered an animal, either by its master or by any other person. When it comes to androids, its essence is quite clearly defined, however. That is, an android must be an assistant (or, in fact, a slave) to a human being (or a few human beings). If an android abandons its essence of serving people, it is considered at large, which would lead to compulsory "retirement". However, this essence is still defined by humans, which means there are flaws in this definition. For example, we cannot say that an escaped andy is not an android, though it is neither serving humans nor is a pile of "retired" scrap. Things become blurry, especially for the advanced andys, the Nexus-6.

Before finally defining the essence of androids, let's first see how this world defines a human's essence. People in this post-WWT era are bound to take the empathy test. Those who fail it are not essentially considered human beings, but rather, "chickenhead". A chickenhead is deprived of basic rights of humans in this world--to migrate. This is like how criminals do not get to vote in our world--they are deprived of a right every other adult has. Usually, a criminal is not fully considered men, for the society has the right to take life from them, but not from normal people. Likewise, chickenheads are not considered men in this novel's world, for society applies legal deprivation of human rights to them.

Then let's go back to the Nexus-6 andys. The Nexus-6 andys are far more advanced than any other type of android, which is why they are so dangerous. However, we do not yet fully see their inner nature, so we cannot put an from-our-perspective essence to them yet. But a sure thing is, they have in common that they struggle for themselves. And in this struggling against humans and for their own livings, the Nexus-6 androids gain essence. We do not yet know how they will behave after the possible elimination of human beings, for andys' actions are hard to perceive or predict due to the fact that they have no emotions. Nonetheless, for now, every struggle they undergo strengthens their essence. It is the struggle that tells them, "Hey there, you are an android! See? You're in an struggle with humans! Remember that, and don't stop fighting!"

In conclusion, for now, the safest definition of the Nexus-6 androids' essence is their fighting against humans. But after that, their essence is not yet predictable.
Tony Yu
Posts : 2
Join date : 2018-03-27

WOW that's Greg's thoughts! Empty Re: WOW that's Greg's thoughts!

on Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:31 am
Greg introduces some concepts mentioned in the novel and analyzes some elements. His careful thought about the essence of androids is intricate. Actually, I totally agree with Greg's idea that androids do have essence and their essence change from serving as a servant to struggling for themselves. However, I think the journal prompt needs further and more specific examples involving Rachel to better support and explain the thought. I've also got a question: Chickenheads are deprived of so much rights from the society, so how can they find their essence?
Crystal Pan
Posts : 3
Join date : 2018-03-26

WOW that's Greg's thoughts! Empty RE: WOW that's Greg's thoughts!

on Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:58 am
What are the essences of humans, animals, and androids? Before answering that, we should first think about who determines their essences. For humans, they decide their own essence and create values for them. Is the essence for Isidore determined by the world rather than himself? Isidore is a human too, but a special one. He can determine his essence, but he just accepted what the society has set for him. However, after he met Rachel, his essence seemed to progress. He prepared a gift for the new neighbor, just like other normal people, which indicates that he wants to pursue essence just like a normal people. Before Nexus-6 androids, androids just accept their "essence" determine by humans which is living as servants. However, some Nexus-6 androids possess the ability to start to rebel and reject this essence, and start to choose for themselves. I think the essences for Nexus-6 androids and humans both include creating values for themselves. Finally, animals, they don't have the ability to choose for themselves. Their essences are determined by the world around them.
Greg Xu

WOW that's Greg's thoughts! Empty Replies to Tony

on Thu Mar 29, 2018 4:01 pm
First, thank you for agreeing with my ideas Smile. I agree that more examples could be applied. The answer to your question on chickenheads is the following. Though chickenheads are recognized by the society as non-human, there are evidence that they themselves don't take it this way. They are actually as smart as "normal" people. Also, the fact that Isidore avoids mentioning his identity as a chickenhead shows how he does not think he is a non-human. Therefore, it is rather safe to assert that chickenheads are de facto humans--who cannot migrate, but no more difference. Therefore, their essence can be defined as humans. According to the existentialism philosopher Albert Camus, what keeps a man from suicide gives his life meaning. Thus, basically, the essence of chickenheads is their state of not committing suicide.

By the way, criminals sentenced to death are similar to chickenheads in many ways. They are both determined by the society as abnormal, thus are deprived of some human rights--for chickenheads, they cannot migrate or give birth to children; for death criminals, they are deprived of their lives. However, here is their major difference: one can still live, but, solely, cannot have off-springs; the other one is much worse, for they cannot even live! In philosophy, life is a major factor in any subject. Therefore, death criminals do not have the same essence as normal humans or chickenheads. Their life loses meaning, so I would like to appeal to Nietzsche's idea here. Nietzsche, as a nihilism philosopher, holds that god is "dead", in people's minds; and people can do anything they want, as long as they get pleased, without god's supervision. Death criminals are those people defined by Nietzsche. In their minds, everything, including laws, ethics, morals, are all "dead", or "abandoned". Unless they become faithful to religions again, or they still have a purpose, like an off-spring that would spread their genes in the future, they would have the essence of solely entertaining themselves so that they would not bore themselves to death, or, commit suicide.

Again, appreciate your recognition!
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WOW that's Greg's thoughts! Empty Re: WOW that's Greg's thoughts!

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