By Bernie Bell
I read a poem by Bartholomew Barker https://bartbarkerpoet.com/ entitled ‘The Droid’s Lament’ – the premise of which is what R2D2 ( Star Wars star) holds in his head – the information……memories……..secrets.
It reminded me of the speech in ‘Bladerunner’ which ends with “time to die”, and I thought about all that I hold in my head – books read, films seen, music heard, places visited, people met, songs and sayings. I was born in 1955 and my memories start soon after that – memories of sweeties which no longer exist, of toys which are now collector’s items.
When writing items for ‘The Orkney News’, I often bring together these links and connections. When doing so I sometimes need to check facts, as my memory these days is Swiss Cheese – with big holes in it through which memories, words, names, faces, can fall. My memory is mine own, but I need to check actual facts. Though the knowledge that these things exist has to be there in the first place for me to know which facts to check! So much ephemera – so many connections to potentially be made. It’s not only droids that can hold and connect a lot of memories, it’s us ‘organics’ too.
And I’m thinking, when I go, does it all just switch off? Become lost, forever? The information is all there, somewhere in the world, but not the connections and, in particular, the individual, personal connections.
I know that life continues, as now and then I come across those who haven’t moved on yet. And also those who could be said to be still living in their own time, parallel to ours – reading Castle Dor by Daphne du Maurier illustrates this nicely.
All life continues, but not all individuals continue, as individuals. Will I? In a way, I hope not. When I ‘switch off’ I hope that I can do so, completely. Not cease to be – nothing ceases to be – but …just…to be able to….stop. I’d prefer not to have to deal with having a conscious life again – too much to deal with.
Though, if I didn’t remember – was starting with a ‘clean slate’ – would that be more bearable? To do that, I’d need to lose all the memories, all the connections – which brings me back to where I started.
Droids can hold it all, and as long as they are un-feeling, un-thinking – just data-processors, they can hold almost unlimited data, for as long as they exist – which, depending on what they are made of, can be indefinitely.
It’s when/if they start to feel – to put things together, not just as data, but as memories – that they can approach humanity, can get confused, and maybe write their memories down, to help to clear their heads.
Oooops – what a give-away.
A thought provoking peice of writing Bernie. Us thinking droids are too human for our own good. It would be so good to be able to switch off thinking, memory, and emotions at will, for a mental holiday while alive.