Westworld – Get Disassociated

-Trigger warning, this isn’t the most pleasant post I’ve ever written.

There’s nothing like escaping to a world where you can literally fuck and kill everything in sight and have zero consequences from it. Just go to this place where the beings there live on eternal programed cycles and loops. They live, they love, they laugh, they get shot, gutted, raped and scalped.

As soon as I was through episode one I had the premise for the overall series down.
-Dude in Black — looking for the impossible because what he seeks isn’t for him.
-Dolores Abernathy — whelp, she’ll figure out this place ain’t real. But how?
-Maeve Millay — Maeve was a queen of magic in history. She’s a natural badass. Damn does she prove it throughout the series.

From a pure story perspective the whole show had its usual twists and turns and its clear show of the exponential growth between the affluent and their “second lives” in Westworld, and the “hired help” being both between the “hosts” and the clean up assessment crew boys who can only fix the mess made by those who can pay much shinier pennies.

What caught my eye was the way that the flashbacks were relived by the “hosts.” They were very similar to what I experienced both through PTSD and as a side affect of the Disassociative Identity Disorder that I live with every day. Both Maeve and Dolores become very unaware of their surroundings, reliving in full vivid memories the atrocities that befell the both of them throughout the show. Once you unlock that box on remembering, there’s no going back…

You can try to wipe the system, but even “organic grown” systems such as our own brains have a way of holding on, and remembering, sometimes to our detriment. Instead of just getting rid of the information when the wipe occurs, it’s simply sectioned off and walls built around it. Sometimes, and in my case, a new personality is built. The same occurs for any “Host/Character” in Westworld. Except for theirs are re-coded by an entire team of super smarty pants… I built my own all by my selves.

In the Bicameral Mind (which I went and researched the hell out of as soon as I heard the name, especially as it parallels so greatly to my own reality) we witness the hosts, either through programming, or in Dolores case, coming into her own and understanding the voice she hears inside of her, is actually herself. What is not made clear is whether or not she accepts that voice as a singular “her” or if that voice remains a slightly disconnected “self” or a secondary “self” that she can continue to speak with as she has for most of the show. I get the feeling that we’re supposed to believe that Dolores at the end of the show is somehow all put together as one perfect brain… but I can’t honestly believe that.

I live in a Septcameral mind. (heh… two would be so much easier… ) There is the original me, and seven (plus) parts of me. All of which were created by me during times that I should have and would have rather died (at the time… I’m well and happy to be above the daisies now thank you very much).

Disassociative Identity Disorder is the gift my mind gave me when I was captured by people who made those vacationing monsters in Westworld look all too real. Because they are. There are men and women who if they had money like those in Westworld, would do nothing but kill and rape everything and everyone in their path. The moral implications that we’d create a place where this was ok is just stomach turning on so many levels. Just like the Hosts in Westworld, despite our best efforts and upping our programming as much as we can, sometimes we still fail and are victim over and over again. We don’t ask for it.

There has always been debate on at which point does “personhood” begin. I have other me’s living in my head. Talking to and with me everyday. We experience the world everyday and depending on the day or activity, I simply go in and “boot a different program” or “personality.” Sometimes they boot themselves and it can become a bit of an issue cause I have no idea what happened while their program was running. Which is the reason one of me has taken… so much… over the years, and others of us are only now just remembering with them.

They are alive within me as much as I exist as a singular physical being. It’s not easy all the time living in a single body. The other personalities in my head have their own memories, likes and dislikes. They have their own dreams, they have their own memories, but as far as even some psychologist see… they aren’t “Real.” That’s always struck me as terribly frustrating and insulting to them*which is ultimately me… from a logical perspective I guess.*

Every time I watched what happened to Delores and Maeve on screen… I remembered my own trauma’s. I remember waking up for the first time to a small voice in my head telling me to get up from the bottom of the stairs I thought I had fallen down and just wet myself.. I remembered waking up on my bike heading home thinking that maybe I had fallen on my ass playing ultimate Frisbee? What were with the bruises? I couldn’t…. didn’t want to remember… and for years another held those memories for me. Just like Maeve and just like Dolores, sometimes there are things that trigger those awful memories and they’ll plague me for days. I’ll see something, smell something and some times have no control over where my mind goes running to from there. I might not have visible scars… but it doesn’t mean they aren’t there every single day.

In the similar way that the hosts memories were “wiped” (which never seemed to be done very well. Seriously… those guys have one job. Fire them all…) any child or person that has something they can’t fight or fly against their attacker, they flee within their mind. Further and further in until they are just a small voice and their body is just a husk they are living in. They completely disassociate from what is happening. While their body is attacked, they could be anywhere else but there… at least for a little while.

The same confusion that Dolores lived with throughout the series, from looking for people from her memory and programming that no longer existed (or ever existed)that she still “heard,” to standing in a place and not knowing which timeline she was on, I suffer from. Every day. I’ve become exceedingly good at quickly recognizing surroundings, and patterns because I’ve had to use them as fail safes to tell where and when I am at. For this reason I’ve noticed things like routine…. like living in a real life story loop… has become very important as a part of my life. Each one of the characters in my Septcameral mind living on their own loop, doing their own activities and all getting time in their “westworld,” to make sure we stay safe.

TLDR: Westworld is a story about beings who, through programing, suffer from a certain level of Disassociation from their past experiences. Watching their minds fracture, remember, and go through some of the worst things one can think of hits all to close for some of us and throws into sharp relief questions regarding reality, personhood, and what that “little voice in our heads” really is.

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