Wednesday 18 August 2010

Terminator versus work colleague

It says much about my day that when I described someone as “like the Terminator” and then added “a psychopathic killing machine”, I subsequently spent several minutes analysing why that was the wrong thing to say.

Then I realised it’s because the Terminator isn’t a psychopath. A psychopath has an abnormal lack of empathy whereas a lack of understanding is de rigueur for your average T-800. Besides being more impressed than I should be for writing ‘de rigueur’ in a discourse on the true nature of cybernetic organisms, it got me to thinking again about the nature of evil itself. Which is worse – doing a bad thing and knowing it’s wrong or doing an evil thing and not knowing? Or is evil defined by an understanding that what is being done is wrong and not caring? Or are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ hollow constructs we place on what is an essentially meaningless world?

I started this train of thought whilst watching Terminator Salvation, starring the very angry Christian Bale. I liked the acknowledgement to its predecessors – “come with me if you want to live” and even the traditional “I’ll be back” – though I groaned at the old “if we act like them then we’re no better than machines” chestnut. It was probably about that time my mind wandered to the other films and how I’d never really rated Judgement Day, also known as “Cool, my own terminator”, and how Rise of the Machines was so much better (I really mean that) and Nick Stahl, who played John Conner in that film, also played the boy in The Man Without a Face and that must mean that Mel Gibson is really old now and maybe that’s why he’s so angry. It’s a fear of death.


  1. I love all the Terminator films, but at least part of that may have something to do with the opening bits, where they're naked. I can watch the first five minutes of the original forever really!! :-)

    Talking seriously though, I really don't know which is worse. Is ignorance an excuse?
    In real life, I honestly don't think so, but a 'robot' has no emotions or reasoning, and is just doing what it's told to do, so I don't think we can blame the 'Terminator', only it's makers.

    Ultimately of course, it's humans who made the computers, who made the Terminator, and they didn't realise what they were doing... so...
    What the hell am I on about????
    I think my brain just exploded :-S xxx