"IF TRADITIONAL WESTERN SOCIETY IS TO MAINTAIN ITSELF, WE MUST WHOLEHEARTEDLY REJECT THE TRAPPINGS OF SOCIETAL MODERNITY..."
ALTERED CARBON - A GLIMPSE OF A HYPER MODERNIST FUTURE
PUBLISHED: 4th March, 2018 | By PINOCHETBALL
When you think of the future what sort of images are conjured up in your mind? What will the world of tomorrow actually look like? We are seemingly at a point in human history wherein the time between the conception of our wildest imaginations and their eventual realization is vastly dwindling. As humans we are all too welcoming of anything that will make our lives less painful or strenuous and as we continue to rely on these conveniences we are losing our grip on what little visceral connection we still hold with nature, and most importantly, ourselves.
Among these little creature comforts that technology has brought us is Netflix. I recently had some time to finish watching a show, Altered Carbon, which I became enamoured with. It was a beautifully made program that I believe has a much deeper meaning than most are meant to immediately grasp. Just about every film and tv show can be subjectively interpreted. Hell, 2001: A Space Odyssey could be considered a cautionary tale of the dangers of AI and one might even point to the rather insidious nature in which Facebook's vague terms of service are policed by equally recondite algorithms. No, there is a dire warning hidden deep within the subtext of the entire plot itself, and I'm not even sure the writers knew it given the context of the rest of the programming Netflix offers.
In the world of Altered Carbon, people are able to live incredibly long lives as they are given a "cortical stack" at birth. These are mandatory for citizens of "The Protectorate". In it is contained your "DHF or Digital Human Freight”, what we normally would refer to as our lives and memories. Think of it as a large capacity flash drive implanted at the base of your brain that can be accessed from anywhere in the developed worlds. The human form is no longer a figurative shell for our souls, but a literal one that can be slipped into and out of. However, if this drive is damaged, you die. For real.
This opens up new doors and opportunities to many, especially the socio-economic upper echelon. The main character is awakened to find that he has been forced into the servitude of one such wealthy individual, so wealthy he is a household name across planets. He befriends a local latino firecracker of a detective and later an erudite artificial intelligence program taking on the likeness and persona of Edgar Allen Poe who runs and resides within a hotel. In fact, Poe IS the hotel, which becomes our main character's base of operations.
The crux of the story is your classic whodunit murder mystery with a modern twist, and several character development subplots that end up tying the whole thing together, and toward the end, even a little Shyamalanesque twist to boot.
It is a program worthy of your time not simply for the entertainment factor, which Netflix undoubtedly delivers, but for the aforementioned hidden meaning that traditionalists will surely find within it, as I had.
We have all seen many tales about the dangers of manipulating the ever-felt yet never-seen natural order which governs our existence, however the glaring question in my mind as I watched the show was, "What happens when playing God becomes institutionalized as societal norm?"
In an early episode, the detective is spending La Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, with her family and decides to bring back her long-deceased grandmother to spend the night with them. This is generally considered a big no-no as her grandmother belonged to a form of neo-Catholicism which believed that once your physical body had died, you were meant to die, and it was blasphemy to act otherwise. Her grandmother was relatively cool about it, however, as we quickly find out Abuela has a pretty good sense of humour, especially since the body she was placed into was criminal. Not just any criminal, but in typical Netflix fashion, the lowly bad guy had to be a bald, overweight national socialist sporting the 14 and 88 on either side of his head respectively, and the Schwarze Sonne on his right bicep.
With a heaping helping of traditionalist irony, the aryan man, who happened to be the victim of police brutality just prior to his incarceration by the detective herself no less, while sporting the accent, language, and persona of her grandmother, proceeds to instruct her toward the end of the episode on the true meaning of death. In near-perfect Spanish she states:
"No matter how long you live, you never finish... you have to learn to let the world continue; Accept that death is part of life."
Subsequently instructing to not bring her back.
That phrase sets the tone for the entirety of the show's remainder. It's a touching scene meant to remind us that our time here is fleeting and valuable beyond measure. If traditional Western society is to maintain itself, we must wholeheartedly reject the trappings of societal modernity and take up the torch what shone the path our forefathers have forged.
You should not simply watch this because it is action-packed and entertaining, assuredly not found wanting in that regard, but primarily because if you choose to truly open up your mind and see the world for what it is, and what it shall become without the guide rails of unabashed, truthful, historical context, you might be the spark who lights the flame of the coming revolution.
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