Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Ex Nihilo

This is my daughter's view of Dr Who which she enjoyed along with the rest of the family. Even NOS decided that we were so rapt that he wasn't going to turn off the TV or turn on the DVD player so we saw the whole thing uninterrupted apart from a few snatches of Graham Norton live in some other part of Television Centre. Anyway, the return of The Doctor was silly enough to still be Doctor Who yet still polished enough to compare with other Sci-Fi stuff. I wasn't sure about the pantomime with the plastic arm and how did they do that scene without continuous corpsing? Can't for next week though any teenage obsession with Zoe Wannamaker is probably completely exorcised by her being a piece of skin with a face. Yuk!.

I wasn't aiming to watch Bicentennial Man but I got into it when we were visiting and had to watch the end at home. I always find it difficult so watch films which try and give a view of the future only as a backdrop to the main conceit of the story and this film has that problem. Still, it was touching and sad and all that without actually saying much about the real situation. The future was seen as read, with all the main social problems sorted out but then again it is only a story to carry the main issue so I am arguing on the other side of my first point of view. However, all of this made me think about living for ever and the various issues that intelligent robots will create. Most of us probably don't want to die before the average span for our era but then again how many people have thought about living for ever? The one thing the film did get right was that life has a defined end. Tragically many of us don't reach what we or other would feel is a sufficient age. Equally tragically, many of us live beyond that time in pain or misery. Of course you could add in the mental misery of depression.

These thoughts of immortality came back after seeing the tile factories at Samarkand in Round The World In Eighty Treasures. To replace the worn-out tiles on the Chir Dor Mosque, there are workers continually making new tiles of great beauty. This made me think of all the upheavals that have come and gone unnoticed by these workers who genetically and mentally are the same people who started the whole thing in the first place. There is a distinct possibility that my daughter will be able to ask me questions and get the response I would give long after I have died. To her, I will still be with her but to me I will have gone. This is like the old argument about the transporters in Star-Trek. If they break you up and reform you at the far end, then are you not dead and all your thought-processes terminated? And there my thoughts diverge.

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