Robots in the System

Standard

Image

Physicalism argues that the soul doesn’t exist in such that a counter argument against the dualist’s explanation of the soul through reasoning. While the dualist may explain that the soul can be proven by the human ability to hold desire and reason, the physicalist argues that this is simply a function of the physical body (the brain). One example used for this is the chess playing computer. It is argued that computer has the ability to reason and so it will respond to moves made on its own king with defense. The physicalist will argue that the ability to reason is implied and that the computer therefore has the desire to win, or it wouldn’t react in a defensive manner to my moves. Therefore, we are nothing more than a computer ourselves and nothing exists within us outside our very physical ability to hold desire and reason.

That is a very good argument. I, however, am not a physicalist. I am a dualist. I believe that humans have souls and are motivated internally. The computer, for instance, does not have full range of free will. It is programed to react in X manner when Y situation occurs. In other words, the computer is not acting out of TRUE desire but instead simply choosing from the list of options included in the software when the program was developed. Both the desire and reasoning were built in from the programmer and not an actual attribute of the software program.

Then again, one must consider whether or not humans today possess the type of true desire and reasoning that my dualistic view leads me to believe in. Aren’t we programmed, just like the software? We are programmed as a child to think, feel and behave in a certain manner throughout our interactions with the great institutions of our society (family, school, religion, ect.). These interactions provide us with our “options” when faced with certain stimuli.

Take one of the most basic human desires: the desire to live. In order to live, a human must appeal to the basic needs of the human condition. The human must perform X task in order to obtain food, water, and shelter. In today’s society, this means that the human must submit to a monetary system, attend work, and submit themselves to the will of their masters in order to survive. Although it is intuitive for the human to respond to this need in this manner, it is not required (as is the case with the computer program). The computer program does not know how to resist its programing and the human does. The outcome may be homelessness, starvation and ultimately death but it is an option that the computer does not have.

This realization is the greatest supporting evidence that we have into the existence of something “more” being possessed by humans…still it is being exercised less and less today. If the ability to resist programming is intrinsic to the exercising of the soul and humans become less likely to do this, does it mean that the human race is “selling” its soul to the institutions that program us? Is our submission to the monetary, governmental and religious institutions the first move in a de-evolution of soul? Are we, now, nothing more than robots in the system? 

I like the Dexter series finale…because I’m not a moron [Spoiler]…

Standard

Image

I know that there were a lot of fans who weren’t happy with the last season and especially the last episode of Dexter. I will concede that the plot line for the season had variable highs and lows. However, that has been part of the package for this show for the majority of the show’s life.  The show tends to mirror Dexter’s killing style. There are episodes that build and episodes that deliver. It’s not bad writing, it’s just the writers being true to Dexter’s character.

Before I get into the nuts and bolts of the last season and the season finale, let me first explain why I fell in love with Dexter in the first place. After all, perception is the biggest motivator of opinion. I love the psychology of the show and the philosophy of “the code”. When it comes to Dexter, I’m not as interested in “how” he’s going to kill his next victim but rather “why” he kills in the first place. I love the glimpses that the show gives us into Dexter’s pathology as a serial killer and inevitably our own darkness as well.

I thought the last season and the finale delivered on a lot of these aspects. I understand that a lot of people were disappointed in the lack of action in this season. That wasn’t what was motivating the writers, though. The first few seasons were about creating a framework. Through these seasons, we got to know Dexter, got to experience his murders, and understand his interactions with the world. During this time, we were given the feeling that Dexter was a good person, even though he was a killer.

The later seasons seemed to focus on the “humanization of the monster”. Dexter was able to marry, have and care for a child, and experience great loss. Through these experiences, he begins to understand emotion and connection. He learns to mourn and experiences religion. He is taught honesty, as he struggles to come clean to Deb and learns guilt as he experiences the downfall of her in Season 7.

The last season was a tribute to this humanization. In the end, we saw Dexter capable of true love and connection, honesty, and most importantly self-sacrifice.  Personally, I see the last episode as the “last will and testament of Dexter Morgan”. We see all of his walls broken down as he says goodbye to everything that he loves…but I’m getting ahead of myself with generalities. Let us talk about the specifics of the last season and the finale.

 

Vogul

While, there seems to be a lot of negativity regarding the introduction and development of Dr. Vogul. The introduction and interactions of this character are simply to explain Dexter from a psychological standpoint. I cannot help feeling like if this character had been introduced at an earlier stage, Dexter’s interaction with her would have been completely different. Just as Dexter is beginning to see himself as human, Vogul is quick to remind him that he is a psychopath.

She tells him that he is incapable of true love. Furthermore, she explains that true love is not motivated by selflessness and implies that Dexter would never be able to express self-sacrificing love. In the end, self-sacrificing love is exactly what Dexter exhibits.

Realizing that he is not good for the ones he loves, he gives up everything and isolates himself. This is the most beautiful, gratifying moment of the entire series. We have watched Dexter struggle to find true connection and live a “normal” life. When he finally achieves this, he gives it all up to spare the one he loves pain.

 

Deb

Debra is the pentacle of Dexter’s world. So many times in the beginning, Dexter expressed a distance from her. This made the relationship seem tragically one-sided. We watched throughout the entire series as Deb expressed deep love and connection to her brother and we felt as if he would never be capable of reciprocating. I was happy to see in this last season that when Dexter’s wall of lies was broken down and Deb’s pain from killing Leguarta was over, the two were able to share an equally distributed connection.

They reminisced about old times. They were both able to put aside their personal feelings and give blessings on Quinn and Hannah respectively. Dexter was capable of turning down a kill to make Deb a hero. Both of these things show that Dexter became capable of compromise in relationships (another indication that he overcame his ‘psychopathy’).

I agree that I would have rather seen Dexter holding Debra and facing the storm with her in the end but I completely get the symbolism of dropping her off the side of the boat. Debra was essentially his last kill, why would he not complete his ritual before facing the storm alone?

Lastly, I would like to address the naysayers regarding Deb’s death. I have seen so many people criticizing the fact that she didn’t ‘die a hero’. This claim is ludicrous! Debra has always been a hero. She was shot in the line of duty, which ultimately led to her death. The fact that she was able to accept Dexter for everything that he was and give him peace, despite her feelings about him being a serial killer is what makes her heroic to me. That’s all I need. I don’t need to see an elaborate hero’s funeral to see Deb as a hero in the end…she just is.

Hannah McKay

I have to admit that I struggled with Hannah for much of this season. I had a feeling that Dexter was being foolish by clinging onto her. I felt that he should have killed her. I hated her and the fact that she was ‘allowed’ to be around Dexter’s son. I felt like, at any moment, she was going to try to kill Deb again or maybe even try to kill Dexter (or worse, accidently poison Harrison). …and then I realized what the writers were doing.

The last season centered on the humanization of Dexter Morgan. What is more human than falling for someone who is essentially ‘bad’ for you…or falling in love with someone who is less than perfect and then loving them despite their flaws? If Deb was able to accept Dexter for all that he was, why would Dexter not do the same for his one true love, Hannah? In the end, Harrison with Hannah makes complete sense.

Firstly, Hannah kills to protect. Therefore, Harrison will be safe with her. She will do whatever it takes to keep Harrison safe and Dexter knows this. Secondly, Hannah is the only person (left) that truly knows who Dexter is. She knows about his past, his ‘dark…whatever’, and most importantly, she knows ‘the code’.

I feel like the writers are arching toward the fact that Harrison will eventually turn out like Dexter. After all, he was born in blood as well. If this happens, Hannah will know how to deal with it. She will hand down the code and teach him to control his urges. She will tell him the truth about his father, something that nobody else could ever do. I understand that there is a very human ‘need’ for us to see Harrison with Aster and Cody but this doesn’t make sense on the grand scope of things.

Dexter Not Getting Caught

This is complaint that bothers me the most. So many fans of the show wanted Dexter to get caught in the end. These seems superbly sadistic to me. I’m hoping that the motivation for this is that viewers wanted to see Dexter being honest to everyone who loved him. Looking at this from a writer’s standpoint, it does not make sense for Dexter to get caught in the end. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Everybody at Miami Metro would know that Deb was involved, spoiling her ‘hero’ reputation.
  • Harry’s legacy would have been ruined.
  • Harrison’s life would have been ruined.

In the end, there was an element of Dexter’s honesty with Miami Metro. The moment that Dexter took the pen and killed Saxon in the interrogation room, he was opening himself up to scrutiny by Quinn and Batista. I think that the scene where they are setting in the interrogation room, watching Dexter kill Saxon was as honest as he could be with any of his fellow employees about the fact that he was a killer.

I think, in that moment, they knew. There is no way they could watch that kill and not see that Dexter was experienced at killing. Furthermore, it is monumental that Dexter allowed himself to be seen doing a kill…that he did it on purpose…and that he did it at the police station. If it had gone any further (leading to an arrest or investigation), it would have spoiled the integrity of Deb’s death, of Dexter’s sacrifice and of the overall themes of the finale….SO STOP WHINING ABOUT THIS…seriously.

 

Dexter’s ‘end’

I am extremely tired of hearing that the ending did not make sense. The theme of the ending was self-sacrifice. This is what Dexter was doing when he decided to walk away from everything. He sacrificed his relationships with Hannah and Harrison; with everyone that he loved. He sacrificed his love for being a blood splatter analyst, as well as his love for his boat and for and the sea. In the end, we see him isolated and alone in an environment that is so foreign to him that it feels as if he is in prison despite the fact that he was never caught.

A few final notes and then I’ll leave this online to everyone’s scrutiny.

  • I wanted to see Zach Hamilton learn ‘the code’ and carry on Dexter’s legacy in Miami
  • Masuka’s daughter was important for his personal growth. Stop complaining about this…it would have been sad to see everyone else grow so much except Masuka. In the end, he is allowed to be dignified as the rest of the cast.
  • STOP COMPLAINING BECAUSE THERE WASN’T ENOUGH DEATH IN THE FINAL SEASON…blood and gore are not the theme of the show; serial killer pathology is….
  • If you like the first seasons better than you’re a sadist, not a fan. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of other TV shows with lots of murder to feed your appetite for blood…
  • Micheal C. Hall is simply a genius…anyone who disagrees obviously can’t understand the depths that the show went into in the end.
  • Go ahead disagree with me in the comments…I would love the discourse!