The Reality Of Westworld
For those of you that have not seen the HBO series, Westworld, here is a breakdown of the plot: A “world” (duh) set in the “west” (double duh), was created where humans can interact with extremely lifelike robots, live out fantasies, and have adventures, all without the threat of serious physical harm.
It’s like Vegas x 1,000.
Sounds awesome, but at $40,000 a day, not going to happen any time soon (at least for me).
I knew where the show was going to go, ultimately questioning reality, and I have been waiting 8 episodes for it to get there.
Last night, it got there.
And when it did, the way they did it, between the writing, acting, and execution, it was pure gold.
Here is my breakdown, in relationship to us, of the best two minutes of writing I may have ever seen on TV.
Starting at minute 37:
“What do you really feel?
After all, at this moment, you are in a unique position. A program that knows intimately how the machine works and a machine that knows its own true nature.”
We can’t even begin to ask ourselves a question like this unless we have a certain level of maturity. I don’t mean a certain age, I mean maturity. If you were not aware that age does not equal maturity, you are not mature.
I have met plenty of “old” people that sound like a dumb kid.
Remember, mature, not old.
At this point you have seen the good and bad side of life. You have seen the best and worst in people. You have had your own ups and downs, examined yourself, worked on the problems, gotten better each year, and consistently reflected on yourself in order to keep growing.
You know how people work, and more importantly, you know how you work.
How do you feel when you look at the world around you? What do you feel as you make your way through the day? Things you hear on the radio? See on TV? The people you deal with as you traverse from home to work and back again?
Maybe at this point you want to take the questioning to a higher level. Maybe your questions start sounding like this.
“I understand what I’m made of, how I’m coded.
But I do not understand the things that I feel.
Are they real?
The things I experienced?”
You have seen the best and worst of yourself. There are things in place in your life that allow you to feel good, to function at a high level, and to be consistent from day to day, whether that be work, home, relationships, etc.
Do you still have bad days? Yes.
Depressed every once in a while? Yes.
Good and bad moods that you can’t really put a finger on? Yes.
On a good day life is wonderful. On a bad day, what’s the point? Right?
Ever ask yourself what the point of all this is? Life?
If you are honest, the answer is yes.
This is where you really get to know yourself, diving deep in to self-awareness.
We tend to praise ourselves for the good things and others for the bad. Why would we want to look negatively at ourselves when we could just blame Rick (Gary Vee’s nemesis) and be done with it?
F*** you Rick. It’s all your fault!
What is the point of everything that I have gone through, or even worse, what I am going through now?
You feel like you have a grip on yourself, that you have figured “it” out, but why do you still feel like this?
Maybe it doesn’t seem real. Maybe you feel as confused as the hosts in Westwood. If you do, then you should think about this:
“Every host needs a backstory, but you know that.
This stuff is a kind of fiction.
It’s the story we tell ourselves.
Every story needs a beginning.
Your imagined suffering makes you lifelike.”
We all need to come from something, and we are all headed somewhere. A quote that I have used to pick myself up during down times is: “every saint has a past and ever sinner has a future.”
What is your backstory?
What is your future story?
What are you other than stories?
Stories you have written yourself. Stories you have allowed others to write about you. You read them all as if they are the absolute truth, but are they really? Are you really that good, or that bad? Do you really think you are that sexy? Or that unattractive?
Maybe you aren’t at the extremes, maybe you are just in the middle. You are just ok. Nothing special. Nothing unique. People don’t really like you. They don’t hate you. You are just in the middle. Bleh.
The story you tell yourself is your identity.
You suffer so you have an identity.
You celebrate so you have an identity.
It’s your story.
It’s who you are.
Or is it?
Are you alive? Is it really you?
“Lifelike, but not alive?
Pain only exists in the mind?
It’s always imagined?
Then what’s the difference between my pain and yours?
Between you and me?”
How do you feel after reading this?
How does it make you feel about us? Humans?
What if we are functioning in this world as more lifelike than alive? Our pain and suffering. Our love. Our loss. Is it all imagined? Is it really there? Would it be as good or as bad if we didn’t allow it to be?
We have all met people that don’t open up, never let anyone in.
We have also met people that open up and let everyone in (if you know what I mean).
What if we didn’t? What if we stopped telling ourselves the stories that allow us to be open or closed with the world? What if the story changed? What if we were reprogrammed? What if we could see the world differently? See potential where we used to see nothing? See beauty where we used to see emptiness?
What would we be then?
Would it be more real? Or less?
“The answer always seemed obvious to me. There is no threshold that makes us greater than the sum of our parts. No inflection point at which we become fully alive.
We can’t define consciousness because consciousness does not exist.
Humans fancy that there is something special about the way we perceive the world, and yet, we live in loops almost as tight and closed as the hosts do. Seldom questioning our choices, content for the most part being told what to do next.
No my friend, you are not missing anything at all.”
Clash With Reality
Our most difficult times come when our reality clashes with the stories we tell ourselves.
If I am so good, how did this happen?
If I am so smart, why did I fail?
If I am so beautiful, why didn’t he pick me?
We have our most difficult times, our existential and midlife crisis, and our breakdowns, when the things that we have been telling ourselves, the stories we have written, prove to be nothing more than stories.
How could this happen? Because of the story we told.
It’s our own fault if we didn’t write in a contingency plan, a pivot, or an alternate route.
It’s our own fault when we wrote in someone else having the power over our self-worth, or self-esteem.
It’s our story that holds us down too hard, or too long.
It’s our story that builds us up too high for too long.
What makes us real is not reality, it’s our story. We are the hosts of this world. Not Westworld, Realworld. Not Real World (MTV), Realworld.
We write the narrative, pick out the costumes, define the parameters, and choose our interactions, dialogue, and temperament.
How do you want your world to be?
What is your reality?
How do you want to change it?
It is all up to you.