Do Androids Dream of Electric Five?

I just read that Harrison Ford crashed his plane on a Venice Beach golf course. He's banged up but not critical. All the love for a speedy recovery.

Anyway . . A night or two ago I found myself watching Blade Runner for the 97th time.

That's an approximation.

And it was a little weird because the movie seemed really cheesy for some reason. Like there was a complete disconnect between the Past Me, and the Now Me.

But then I remembered a little piece of movie trivia which is that there are two versions of the movie. One being the awesomely cool 'Director's Cut' and the other being the first released version which had been modified by committee and included a really bad voice over which didn't make any sense and sort of killed the whole mood of the movie.

HBO-GO gets a lot of things right, but they're streaming the wrong version, and I was so annoyed that I couldn't find the good version that I had to go back and read Phillip K. Dick's original novel for some perspective.

Approximately for the 85th time.

There isn't a lot of similar stuff between the book and the movie(s). "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" is a sci-fi take on empathy and conscience, while Blade Runner (at least the good version) is a film noir detective story in the dystopian future. They both have robots and hover cars (amen), but the  book has got electric sheep while the movie has Sean Young before she went crazy.

Both, though, are good hours well spent.

Anyway, my favorite bit in the book is the Mood Organ. A transistor radio with two knobs to help you dial in a particular mood. Like you can dial in happiness, or motivation, or my favorite, 888 which is the setting to want to watch TV even if there isn't anything good on.

Phillip K. Dick's Mood Organ is a much better invention than Aldous Huxley's Soma pill. The Soma pill just makes you happy and compliant. With the mood organ you could dial up an hour's worth of self loathing, followed by the desire to do fifteen minutes of intense cardio, and cap it off with an agreeable manner when it comes to shoe shopping.

I wonder what life would be like if such a thing were possible. I mean, yeah, we have some killer drugs, some of which are even legal or in the process of being legalized, but you're not allowed to operate heavy machinery. And there are of course inhibitors like Prozac which just build up a wall against unwanted synapse communication, but those things take weeks to kick in and I want my mood changed now.

I wanna set my machine to make me feel like getting out of bed is a good idea at 7:13am.

I would sell both of my children for that setting alone.

But we have all read enough books to know that an artificially pacified society will come crashing down. And lets assume that the Rand Corporation knows this and still wants to market a mood organ to the general public? What kind of features would a toned down version have? We can't all be happy and self motivated, but what are some universal emotions that could make life just the tiniest bit easier without destroying humanity?

1. Feeling good about flossing.
Now . . . I floss every day. I have to. My tooth enamel is made out of chalk and I've paid dearly both financially and emotionally for my lack of dental hygiene in my twenties. So yeah, I floss every day. Everyone should floss every day. Probably twice. But I don't know what it is about flossing that is so repellant. Could be having to stick my fingers in my mouth or the little bits of day old food that gets sling shot from my bottom teeth to the bathroom mirror. No idea. But nine out of ten dentists would agree to this.

2. Decisiveness in while staring at an open refrigerator.
Am I hungry? Am I bored? Do I want a salad? Is that yogurt good anymore? Why won't anyone finish that last piece of cheesecake? It really shouldn't be me.

3. A confident sense of self worth while tackling fourth grade math.
The struggle is real folks. The struggle is real.

4. Courage to get things from my wife's purse.
I don't know what danger I'm trying to avoid, but every time I ask my wife for something, a pen, a stick of gum, and she tells me it's in her purse, I feel like I have to bring the purse to her, rather than rooting through it myself. What am I expecting to find? I mean c'mon. I keep a photo of her particular brand of tampons on my phone just incase I'm at the store when she's run out. I'm not shy about girly things. Except her purse. What is it about the damn purse?

5. A vague interest in Reality TV.
I know that doesn't sound like a positive thing, but here's the truth: The world is not divided by democrats and republicans, nor the religious versus the non-religious, nor even the Jets and the Sharks . . . there is a chasm between those who absolutely abhor reality TV and those that are mesmerized by it. I've hated reality TV since the very first episode of MTV's "Real Life", which was a good seven years before "Survivor" aired so don't ever let anyone fool you into thinking "Survivor was the cutting edge. I understand the fascination with train wrecks and soap operas and to some extent professional wrestling, but so many people that I love and admire just can't get enough of the stuff. It honestly makes me feel a little bit petty, a little bit small, and a little bit out of touch. I feel like if I could just for one single moment consider the hardship that is Kim Kardashian's life, I would have finger on the pulse of pop culture. Like maybe I could empathize with an entire section of society that has been closed off to me for so long. Maybe my life would be complete.

At least I'd have more to talk about.

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