GABBLER RECOMMENDS: “I Don’t Want to Be the Strong Female Lead” by Brit Marling

Even the spirited Antigone, the brave Joan of Arc and the unfettered Thelma and Louise meet tragic ends in large part because they are spirited, brave and unfettered. They can defy kings, refuse beauty and defend themselves against violence. But it’s challenging for a writer to imagine a world in which such free women can exist without brutal consequences.

Butler and other writers like Ursula Le Guin, Toni Morrison and Margaret Atwood did not employ speculative fiction to colonize other planets, enslave new life-forms, or extract alien minerals for capital gains only to have them taken at gunpoint by A.I. robots. These women used the tenets of genre to reveal the injustices of the present and imagine our evolution.

As time has passed, I’ve come to understand what deep influence shaping a narrative has. Stories inspire our actions. They frame for us existences that are and are not possible, delineate tracks we can or cannot travel. They choose who we can find empathy for and who we cannot. What we have fellow feeling for, we protect. What we objectify and commodify, we eventually destroy.

I don’t want to be the dead girl, or Dave’s wife. But I don’t want to be a strong female lead either, if my power is defined largely by violence and domination, conquest and colonization.

Sometimes I get a feeling of what she could be like. A truly free woman. But when I try to fit her into the hero’s journey she recedes from the picture like a mirage. She says to me: Brit, the hero’s journey is centuries of narrative precedent written by men to mythologize men. Its pattern is inciting incident, rising tension, explosive climax and denouement. What does that remind you of?

And I say, a male orgasm.

And she says: Correct. I love the arc of male pleasure. But how could you bring me into being if I must satisfy the choreography of his desire only?

I imagine new structures and mythologies born from the choreography of female bodies, non-gendered bodies, bodies of color, disabled bodies. I imagine excavating my own desires, wants and needs, which I have buried so deeply to meet the desires, wants and needs of men around me that I’m not yet sure how my own desire would power the protagonist of a narrative.

These are not yet solutions. But they are places to dig.

Excavating, teaching and celebrating the feminine through stories is, inside our climate emergency, a matter of human survival. The moment we start imagining a new world and sharing it with one another through story is the moment that new world may actually come.

[Via]

“From ‘Upload’ to ‘Westworld’: The Cautionary Tales of Technology-Driven Series”

‘“Devs” mixes themes of religion with themes of technology because Garland considers them “versions of the same thing: They’re devotional, they’re faith-based, they make us feel dizzy, they make us feel small, they make us feel comforted,” he says, citing “the way in which the product launch of a new piece of tech can look like a very excited, feverish church meeting.”

All of these shows depict such devotion — often leading to great destruction — despite even the best of intentions. In “Devs,” Sergei (Karl Glusman) becomes physically ill when he learns what Forest’s code really does, and Forest has him killed. (Admittedly, he does resurrect him in that digital afterlife, making him what Garland calls “damaged” and “complicated,” rather than a “bad guy.”) “Westworld” spent its first two seasons peeling back the layers of both the people who both built and frequented the robot host-filled theme parks that let them play out their wildest childhood dreams, no matter how sadistic they turned out to be, and the hosts themselves as some of them gained awareness of their situation. And in “Next,” a pair of brothers (played by John Slattery and Jason Butler Harner) fall on opposite sides of what to do about an A.I. that develops into a super-intelligence and begins to manipulate the lives of those who are trying to shut it down.

Even though dramatic license is taken for the level to which these technologies evolve in these stories, the majority of the science is rooted in fact, which requires an ongoing research process, especially as the real world of technology changes over time.’

[Via]

See also: Gods in our Machines. 

GABBLER RECOMMENDS: “If We Can Make Animals Smarter, Should We?” by Shayla Love

monkeys doing Freud “In Dvorsky’s eyes, transhumanists are ultimately focused on the alleviation of suffering. The transhumanist philosopher David Pearce , for example , is known for what’s called the hedonistic imperative, which says that genetic engineering and other technologies should abolish suffering in all sentient life.

But is this just another bias that uplift reveals? That if only animals could be smarter, more aware, then they’d suffer less? Is this a fallacy that could be our own undoing, rather than an animal’s salvation— the overvaluing of intelligence?

“What about the kinds of suffering that humans experience as a direct result of our higher-order thinking?” Povinelli asked. “I’ve met a lot of transhumanists and many of them are very unhappy and they’re suffering more than a lot of people that don’t think about these things every day.””

[Via]

 

See also:

GODS IN OUR MACHINES BY G.B. GABBLER

Did you miss out on our Circo del Herrero series giveaway?

Did you miss out on our series giveaway? Don’t fret! The first volume is permafree and available for download here.

 

V-day stands for Vulcan Day – Tomorrow both books in the Circo del Herrero series are FREE!

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Starting tomorrow, both of our books will be free, but you can get the first one now at this link.

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