Last night I started watching the latest and greatest re-cut of Blade Runner, a science fiction masterpiece from 1982. Peg and I first saw the film with friends Kathy and Jim Whitacre at the Parkland Theater. The only other time I recall seeing a film there was on a date during my senior year at Clover Park to see Lawrence of Arabia. Part of the theme in Blade Runner is about memory and sharing the moments of our lives.
I have been sharing all my life. I belong to a book club where we all share our views. I share articles and thoughts inn The Suburban Times and on Facebook. When my wife Peg and I join our friends on Friday evenings for dinner (in non-virus times) we all share what has happened since we last saw each other, and when several of us meet for Sunday breakfast (again . . . in non-virus times) we share what has been going on in the day since we ate together on Friday night.
Sharing stories and action along with meals goes back thousands and thousands of years. I can just see Ugh Neander and his buddy Yug Neander talking about their latest hunting trip, while starting a fire and drawing on cave walls a map with the animals they had seen.
By hearing stories about day-to-day activities we are kept up-to-date with our community and the world. One of my favorite books from our book group is The Philosophical Baby by Alison Gopnik. Gopnik talks about how we all search, discover, and share.
“Asking questions is what brains were born to do, at least when we were young children. For young children, quite literally, seeking explanations is as deeply rooted a drive as seeking food or water.” – Alison Gopnik
In the film Blade Runner (based on the book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick) concerns the creation of humans who are not quite human. They are expendable and have pull-dates. These “replicants” are implanted with memories and given photographs of themselves as children to give them a sense of belonging. The problem arrives when these “slaves” want to share in the human experience and be accepted into society.
“It’s too bad she won’t live, but then again, who does?” – Blade Runner
As humans we are very social animals; the restrictions on gathering are a tool that will hopefully slow down the Covid-19 virus enough to let our scientists develop a valid test and a vaccine. Those of us who are lucky enough to be quarantined together with family or friend can at least continue to share news, jokes, and ideas, still being able to watch TV, read, and explore the world via the internet. I can’t imagine being cooped up alone and only seeing other people while grocery shopping or having food delivered to the front door.
My wife Peggy reads, watches movies on Roku, Netflix, and Prime, and PBS. Otherwise she is cooking and experimenting with drawings and designs. I’m up early every morning marketing my small business clients. I also play the piano (oldies, country western, jazz, and Broadway show tunes). In the late afternoon or evening I search for good films to enjoy. Peg and I both write for ourselves and our clients. We share cooking duties. Peg grew up in a household of seven kids. As the second oldest, she learned about cooking long before we married. I share my articles and post news about our favorite non-profit organizations. For years we have reviewed plays and musicals from Seattle to Portland. We miss this live entertainment, but it’s not what we miss the most. We miss our families and we miss our friends. My family lives here in Tacoma and Peg’s family lives mostly in Tacoma. We have three children living in Pierce County along with twelve grandchildren and one great-granddaughter that we have never touched or held, born earlier in April. We all worry about our loved ones.
Not being able to share is a problem. We can phone, Zoom, and comment on Facebook was well as other social media, but these pale in comparison to real, human one-on-one involvement. We have our memories and the photos to prove we are not replicants. Right now, this is enough. As humans we want to be involved, contribute, and participate. We need to share both our sorrows and our joys.
Just like the Phillip K. Dick’s characters in Blade Runner, all humans, and apparently replicants, need the memories of loving, touching, and being in contact with the essential people in our lives – truly the way to well-being.
“Quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it? That’s what it is to be a slave.” – Blade Runner