alias_sqbr: She's getting existential again. It's ok I have a super soaker. (existentialism)
I have feels as a result of reading A Shrine to Saint Ann, but given what an obscure little book it is I'm going to try and connect those thoughts to more general half thoughts some of you might actually be interested in.

Despite a wide range of female characters (who I liked!) I found myself most attached to one of the male characters, which is unusual for me. Without going too much into spoilers, he was killed and reanimated for the "greater good" and is treated largely as an object whose importance and value lies mostly in his use for other more important people.

Which is a pretty good description of a lot of the AI characters I connect with as well, like GlaDOS or EDI. They have a personality of sorts, and vestiges of free will, but are also controlled on a deep level by the will of others (programmers/gods etc) and even while they resent and/or fight against this programming there is no clear division beween it and their "real" personality. Their personality is treated by their controllers as a veneer of user interface over their "true" useful self, and this is not entirely unwarranted. Also they're just weird, they don't think like regular people and their programming makes them do odd and sometimes terrifying things.

What I enjoy seeing for such characters is a character arc where they try and define for themselves who they are what they want, and not just by becoming "normal humans". The odd weirdness is part of who they are, and has it's own advantages. "Normal Humans" are weird and terrifying and not entirely in control of themselves either, after all.

I don't know why I like these characters so much. Maybe because my anxiety has controlled me so much for most of my life? Plus there's all the narrow boxes of sexism etc. I've certainly spent a lot of time navigating the world through a fuzz of overwhelming emotions, blocked off from the vast majority of possible actions by "WRONG WAY GO BACK" klaxons. Sometimes this has led me to do things I felt really bad about but also felt trapped into doing by my brain. Also I don't connect very much with my body. And am kind of weird!

Hmm. I think I may have more to say on this subject later but that's it for now.

EDIT: Possesed characters too! And I wonder how much of this stems from the part of me that still deep down believes I was made by God for his own mysterious purposes even though I've been an atheist for 20 years (partly because I couldn't understand why any benevolent being would create me to be so miserable and full of doubt) And there's evolution too, and all those questions about whether the self even exists or is just an illusion, a useful shorthand for the consensus of all the different processes controlling us.

September 2017

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