Recently I’ve been contemplating about the plot of Westworld and its relation to human existence. I’m going to share my analysis of several topics that I think are central to the series. My basic assumption is that you know the characters and have seen the first episode.
Westworld displays a very natural disposition of predators. The visitors of the theme park go as far as to kill and abuse visual representations of humans. Is there anything more perverse than killing things that kinda look and are like you? In a way I think that the visitors get eerily close to killing themselves without actually doing it.
We (as the viewers) are constantly reminded that the so called “hosts” are indeed only robots. That’s also what the visitors have to be aware of to kill them pleasurably. It’s pretty visible with the couple at the end of the first episode; they annoyingly shoot a host who is acting out a newly programmed plot in front (or back) of their very eyes.
Now, there’s this belief that we’re at our most human when we act out our desires. I’ve got no reason to believe that statement. Is it really that we wan’t to kill each other when we’re most human; or is it maybe, that the killings happen when we aren’t human enough?
The fly in the first episode has several meanings of which I think awareness is one of. The way Dolores ignores it and cannot (or doesn’t) act on it, even when it leisurely walks on her eye, signifies the missing awareness to act on her suffering. I imagine the man in black uses this weakness to abuse hosts in the most objective manner. After all, if they’re not even aware, how could they ever experience any true pain?
And still there’s this nagging thought that there’s more to the hosts. I got pretty sentimental while Peter (the father of Dolores) was staring at the picture of the mysterious woman in New York and even went as far as to ask her daughter about the meaning of it. In that very moment it seemed to me that he was the closest to being “real”.
What happened after that? The creators and maintainers of Westworld got rid of him and replaced his being with someone else. Now my central question is if the disposal of Peter also got rid of the questions he shared with his daughter Dolores. What happened with her after hearing that? I think something pretty fundamental changed right then and there.
The distance between the actors (hosts, maintainers, creators, visitors) in Westworld is essential. Why would anyone be so dumb and fall in love with one of the hosts? Have empathy? Feel anything but hate and deep anger for them? Make them sleep during an emotional breakdown?
It is exactly in the act of killing or manipulating the hosts that people act out their indifference. There’s nothing more objectifying than changing someone or something into what you want them to be. And that’s what happens in Westworld. Is behavior like that really most human?
I was and still am constantly thinking about what happens if that distance is broken. If the hierarchical structure of the hosts as the hilariously dumb, deeply unaware, objectively simple robots suddenly are loved and thereby experience it as such. Isn’t it weird that the hosts (in the first episode already) play out love in their preprogrammed plots?
I consciously didn’t mention anything of human reality because my goal is to get you to think. Yeah, the questions might be pretty annoying but I hope that (at the very least) they create some kind of feeling (or the experience of i t).
Contemplating and thinking about Westworld as another version of reality is lots of fun to me. To me Westworld is like a heavily distorted mirror, if I look through it attentively I (think? I) imagine some resemblance of me shining through.
So is Westworld real? I don’t know. Please, don’t be angry. If you wanted to have a clear answer to the question then you definitely went in with the wrong intentions. But that’s the beauty of analysis. If you do it for yourself then you get the most authentic version of the answer. So go ahead and do it.