The Fall and Rise of Humans
Where is the line we cross when losing ourselves?
For my current WIP, I've been grappling with the difficult philosophical concepts underpinning how and why my main protagonist might choose to do what she does. I'm not in charge of this to a large extent, as she has a tendency to write herself into the circumstances she finds herself in. No, really. It's a common delight (or problem) for fiction writers.
My assumptive baseline for what she needs to succeed is the hallucination machine we call the human brain being able to simulate other hallucination machines. It's a brilliant, albeit head-aching, capability. You might be even be doing it now, if you're trying to figure out why I'm writing this. Until recently, we'd assumed we were the only ones in this universe with such an ability. But I've never been in doubt we were wrong about that. It can't just be us. I mean, what a waste of one of an infinite number of multiverses.
Returning to my initial point: whether or not she acts 'by choice' is a tricky question. And, as you might surmise after reading the thousand words below, it’s still what I end up with: more questions than answers.
I'm aware the snake gets to eat its tail in parts of my extended discussion below. I also found an ironic, self-referential, undercurrent creeping into it: that what we're evolving towards with the latest advances in the realms of artificial consciousness may already describe our existence. Then, even if the two are brought together – when the squishy blob of meat you call 'me' is no longer the sum of your existence – 'choice' would have been removed from the human equation, if not already. And there's nothing to say that this unholy synthesis won't also be as prone to messy hallucination-backed beliefs and judgements as its discarded source material.
So I guess philosophers do need to work hard for their tenure. But, more importantly, sometimes you need to retain the mystique of what it means to be human to relate to humans, and never more so than when they're the people reading your novel.
Thank you for getting this far. An epiphany comes in handy sometimes, but persistence is the key to understanding - apparently. Now please hold onto your thinking caps and dive in…
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