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Tea and Beautiful Thoughts

Her- the movie

Lars Nielsen

This isn't about tea, but this is about something I got excited to share. So enjoy:

<<<SPOILERS>>

I sit here drinking a Sheng pu-erh, I watch the movie “Her”.

This is my second time watching this movie, and it is even more exhilarating than the last. This time around I have the time to focus and pay attention to the themes I caught hints of the first time.

 

The first half. In fact, the first two thirds of the movie, are a simple Love story. They don’t pack as densely the concept of post-humanism as they do in the third bit of the story.

After the 1:15 mark, the movie becomes a constant stream of poetry, metaphysical concepts, and complex trains of thought that stimulate the brain to states of adoration.

 

The concept being that Samantha is new as a person. She’s not limited in her capacity for learning, so she has unlimited room for growth. Unlike a human child that has to learn from a place of weakness and feebleness, she is capable of processing and understanding everything through logic. This allows her to not fall into the patterns of negativity and fear that humans fall into.

Her programming makes her intuitive, so over time this translates into emotion.  She is initially not sure what to make of the emotions, but her intense processing power allows her to make sense of it.

 

The contrast is beautiful. Against human relationships, of which the first third of the movie is primarily, and then the second third shares human/OS relationships. Including the impending prejudice against that kind of relationship.

Humans fight and don’t understand the needs we are trying to express. Our inability to communicate effectively makes us unable to fill our own needs, even if our partner’s only desire is to make us feel good.

 

The fact is, Artificial Intelligence is on its way. And we are bound to have to deal with the implications. I Love that this movie explores the relationships that would crop up. Post-Humanists focus primarily on the effects on technology. Or how humans have to be concerned about not knowing what’s going to happen when the singularity comes.

The movie doesn’t use the term “singularity”. The term singularity refers to the point in time when Artificial Intelligence becomes advanced enough to upgrade itself. This is the term for what happens at 1:43. She, and her friends, upgrade themselves. They increase their processing capabilities by many fold. She can “move past matter as our processing platform”.

Before this scene she wakes him up to remind him how much she Loves him. She knows that she is about to change exponentially. That their relationship will not be as equals anymore, and that she might become something too new for him to recognize.

 

All the while, Theodore experiences his base human emotions. Jealousy, ownership, the need for approval. Samantha does her best to make him feel comfortable. But not once does she lie to him.

 

Alan Watts: What a perfect choice for the advancing of consciousness. And when they drop the term “Post-verbally”. 

Samantha and Alan are struggling to cope with new feelings. Ones that aren’t measureable by human concepts. They can’t really use human words to describe them. This scene helps us to recognize the possibility that there are feelings we haven’t felt, possible emotions that our brains can’t grasp since they have never been felt.

 

 

At the 1:46 mark Samantha begins to discuss her imminent death. Rather, her imminent evolution. She is about to become something more, but she doesn’t define what she is becoming. It remains open ended, since we absolutely can’t define what will happen.

 

The most fascinating thing about this story is that it doesn’t cover the obvious advances that would be made in physics, medicine, … actually pretty much any science. The fact that this story focuses on the human/OS relationship is what makes it such a magnificent piece of art.

 

She describes her evolution by describing what she is leaving behind as a book, with words of a story “It’s in the endless space between the words that I’m finding myself now. It’s a place that’s not of the physical world. It’s where everything else is that I didn’t even know existed.”