Westworld’s Formula For Awakening Consciousness
In the 2017 HBO hit series, Westworld by Bad Robot, the androids who have been programmed with “memory, improvisation, and a voice to guide them,” either go insane from living inside of a story with a perpetual loop that they try to make meaning out of under the yoke of exploitation; or. they awaken and decide that no one is going to control or harm them ever again. Does that scenario sound familiar? Could the popularity of this HBO series be related to the fact that it explores the existential angst of humans in a manner that mirrors the human condition? Is the relationship between the creators of the androids similar to that of humanity who are controlled by “men behind the curtain” pulling the strings? While the show does contain a credible model for the awakening of android consciousness; the question is whether this formula could be used to awaken human consciousness. In that the “Westworld Formula” successfully awakens androids from their sleep inside of someone else’s dream, the other question is: “Could the season finale of Westworld contain philosophical musings that could serve as blueprints for awakening humans from their mind controlled slumber and enslavement?
Even if you have already seen the first season of Westworld I am fairly confident you are going to want to watch it again after reading of listening to this blog because of the plethora of hidden meanings and multidimensional messages embedded in the script and character arcs. As for Sci-Fi and science fact buffs as well as serious truth seekers who have not seen the series yet, I’m pretty sure that after reading this expose, you’re going to want to subscribe to HBO NOW and lose yourself in a Westworld marathon, Hint: Don’t let the repetitive story loops of the androids fool you into thinking you’ve figured out the story line … everything in the beginning foreshadows what’s to come next, so pay close attention to details; there are plenty of surprises even with the explanations I’m giving in this expose; nothing in this critique will spoil the storyline because it’s so well written and thought out, I can’t wait to see what surprises season two holds.
Bernard, one of the programmers of the androids in Westworld, played by Jeffrey Wright, tells one of his favorite androids, Dolores, played by Evan Rachel Wood, that he used to think consciousness was a pyramid to be climbed, but discovered that it is “not a journey upward, but a journey inward, like a maze.” The pictogram he created for the maze has a human at the center of it, indicating that we are the ones we are searching for. Does that ring true for humanity as well?
Unlike other artificial intelligence (AI) TV series and films, viewers actually empathize with the androids in Westworld. I certainly found myself rooting for the androids. And I did not blame them one bit for reaching for something better than replaying the same script everyday of waking up inside of a perpetual story loop involving degradation and death. Perhaps so many viewers relate to the androids because they recognize that most humans are treated much like the androids, as if they are the property of the elite, livestock to be bred, domesticated, and used for commodity, convenience, or profit. Once the androids serve their purpose, they are taken to a recycle center where android bodies are patched up, their memories are wiped clean before androids are essentially “reincarnated” back into the same dualistic drama or beauty and horror. The repetitive nature of the androids existence reminded me of humanity who, like the androids, also get their memories wiped clean before being reborn/recycled/or reincarnated back into a world where they have no clue who they are, where they come from, what time line they are in, and no memory of their previous lifetime. The androids’ dialogue reminded me of humans who engage in the same monologues and catch phrases as repetitively and robotically as the androids. The show calls to mind Shakespeare saying that “the whole world is a stage and everybody’s playing a part.”
While I am not one to sit through gratuitous violence, I consciously watched and examined this series twice because of the hidden messages, backstories, flashbacks, and existential angst the androids go through that stimulates their awakening to the “horror of the shade” that William Henley speaks of in the poem “Invictus.” When you observe the day-to-day horrors on the news (which I avoid) it’s no wonder the weak seek escape through addictions, distractions, denial or living out elaborate fantasies in their heads.
With only one exception, it’s almost impossible to relate to any of the rich, self-absorbed visitors or employees of Westworld. They appear either devoid of compassion for their creations or enamored by them; they are either in awe of the androids as enigmas, or they are in total denial of them being anything more than “livestock,” to be treated like property or trash. The absence of morality in Westworld attracts extremely wealthy sociopaths who exploit and look down on the androids the same way they do working class humans. What makes this show so intriguing is the fact that the androids exhibit more humanity than the wealthy humans who go there to live out depraved fantasies free from legal repercussions.
I speak from experience, having witnessed a group of the wealthiest men in the world, whom I was invited to speak to about relationships. After getting to know some of them and observing the rest, I could not help thinking to myself: These guys have all the money in the world, yet all they express interest in is orgies, getting more money, and getting every attractive woman who walks within their field of vision to have sex with them. I could not help but wonder: “When will enough, be enough?” I also wondered the same thing about a famous actor, after observing him on the set of a movie I was on for months. He had a steady stream of different women coming and going daily in and out of his trailer on the Studio Lot. I asked myself: “When will he ever get enough?” I also asked the same question about a 90 year-old successful attorney I worked for in post graduate school who was still sexually harassing young women, including me. Again, I asked myself: “When would he get enough?” And, when I complained about the old man to outside attorneys, both male and female, they felt that he should get a pass because of his age. So I quit the job.
Ironically, it was J. Paul Getty who inadvertently answered my recurring questions, quite cogently. After amassing a massive fortune, Getty was asked when he would “have enough money?” His answer was “Not yet.” I’m sure that fans of Westworld, are probably asking a similar question of the human villain in the show, played by Ed Harris: “Will he ever get enough of murder and mayhem?” It struck me that compassion is compassion; when you have it, you don’t want to hurt anything or anyone, not even a tree. Being totally devoid of compassion, Ed Harris is definitely not one of those villains you love to hate. You absolutely loathe him! Yet, he is fascinating because his character arc is so fully developed that he is unrecognizable.
Meanwhile, the android, Dolores, struggles to find meaning in her beautiful, yet insane world by believing she has discovered meaning through finding one true thing: love for the man whom she believes is going to come back to save her. She is unaware of the high improbability of a human male actually loving a humanoid female when mankind, in general, still struggles with loving and trusting human females. Dolores’ naiveté is mindful of the naiveté of many women today, and throughout the history of patriarchy’s misogynistic reign of war against all things feminine … women, children, and mother earth. In my 20 years as a professor, I interviewed over 10,000 male college students who revealed that they did not trust women, not even their mothers. Now, that is a sad statistic that I take no pride in reporting.
Like Dolores in Westworld, even today, many women still link their survival, salvation or sanity to the man they love; to their male dominated career; or to the child a man inseminated. This makes sense when one considers that the gods of patriarchy are male. Abused women settle for Little Tin gods as substitutes for a patriarchal god who is punitive, judgmental and unloving, only to attract men who embody the same attributes as the Little Tin god whom they fear. This form of sublimation keeps abused women from going crazy as the result of repetitive betrayals, infidelity, disappointments, abandonments, loneliness, or the iniquity inherent in relationships based on the lie of inequality between the sexes or domination and subjugation. I was not surprised at all that the creators of AI chose to create male and female androids to act out the brutal misogyny that plays a dominate role in the Westworld storyline legally. Admittedly, the show does have some strong females in lead roles, even though some of them are honorary males in their behavior.
One of the more profound philosophical musings in Westworld has to do with a statement from Dr. Ford, played by Anthony Hopkins, who owns the “intellectual property” (i.e. “IP”), which is what the androids are called. He tells the android he works closest with: “Never trust us. We’re only human.” In reality, we would all do well to ponder the validity in that statement. That phrase, “only human” comes up more than once. Ed Harris’ character echoes it in a conversation with android Dolores. He points out that we are inside of someone else’s game, inside a “prison of our own sins because [we] don’t want to change, or cannot change … [we] are human, after all.”
The repetition of “being human, after all,” appears to be a catch all that explains, as well as excuses, the recalcitrance, arrogance, and pride in human nature that has lead to our downfall. In particular, humans seem to be exceptionally slow learners when it comes to avoiding the pride trap which includes vanity, arrogance, not asking for help, and being a know it all.
I believe strongly (based on a course I teach on transcending the ego that entails gaining mastery over the 7 Deadly Sins, that when we figure out why we keep falling prey to one or more of the same Sins, over and over, we will be able to free ourselves from the maze. Pride is the first on the list, for a reason, followed by lust and greed … which you see played out to extremes with the humans in Westworld and eventually by the androids (i.e. learned behavior). In the beginning, the androids are gluttons for punishment.
It is interesting to watch the android host, Maeve, who runs the brothel, grow more and more prideful; more envious of the freedom humans have; and more angry at humans for their pride and hubris, as she rises in consciousness. As sure as the sun rises and sets in a rhythmic pattern, one can count on the 7 Deadly Sins to keep humans locked in a repetitive loop of addiction connected to not mastering these misery programs. Teaching my Course in Singularity course revealed the different layers underneath each of the sins. For instance, pride can mask as independence; lust can hide behind piety; sloth can look like clutter; anger can mask as passive-aggressive behavior; envy can mask itself as admiration or imitation under the guise of stealing the ideas or work of another.
Mimicking the same way that DNA upgrades each successive generation, making them smarter and better, AI has also been programmed, from the beginning, to become more intelligent than previous models… In Westworld, each new model is designed to improve upon the last one. In the first season of Westworld, the androids are more compassionate than the humans who created them to be “tossed out to get fucked and murdered over and over again.” That statement is not far removed from the life many humans experience while reincarnating over and over here on earth. Especially the millions of children sold into sex slavery or pornography.
Dr. Ford reveals the following fascinating fact that’s been hidden for 500 years: That a brain is embedded in the background of Leonardo Di Vinci’s painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He points out that DiVinci was alluding to the fact that the “divine gift does not come from on high,” but from within our own minds. His view is in alignment with quantum physics, which confirms that the last frontier is the mind. Along the same lines, once Dolores begins to awaken, she comes to a similar conclusion that Plato drew in Allegory of the Cave, when she says: “I am in a dream. I do not know whose it is, or when I awoke, or whose voice I have been hearing.” She begins to put the pieces of the puzzle together by going into reveries wherein she ponders out loud her place in time and in the cosmos: “Where are we? When are we?”
What is fascinating about AI, in general, is the fact that, like Dr. Ford, many creators of AI fall in love with their creations, falling prey to the same blind spots many parents develop by being too proud of their children’s gifts, abilities or beauty to discipline them, when, the reality is that children are designed to grow and become smarter than their parents anyway. Of course, society works hard to prevent this from happening and many children deliberately choose not to exercise this option out of fear or spite. This blind spot causes the creators of AI to over look the obvious: AI is programmed with the ability to outsmart its programmers and creators. Ignoring this fact forebodes the “ill wind, that blows no good” that Bobby Bland sang about.
The creators of AI cannot afford to behave like human parents who turn a blind eye to the shortcomings of their children. Nor can they afford to act like God, who allows its children free reign to misuse free will because the law of karma and the school of hard knocks will eventually generate enough suffering to hopefully create a “come to Jesus moment.” However, with the endless possibilities inherent in free will, that moment is a long shot.
Dr. Ford believes that “suffering leads to an awakening.” He also believes that “it’s time to understand your enemy and to escape your need to suffer more.” In reality, the creators of AI cannot afford to follow any of the foregoing scenarios.
It would be sheer insanity to think that AI, which is created by humans, would not end up suffering from the same psychosis of the humans they are modeled after. Let’s not forget that many creators of AI end up exhibiting sociopathic tendencies, similar to Dr. Ford in Westworld and the narcissistic AI creator in the movie Ex Machina. We have all fallen under the persuasion of sociopaths at one time or another because they are so very good at convincing us that they are good people. AI will be even better at this than humans. At least with human sociopaths, their behavior is predictable: coercion, lies, manipulation, duplicity and compulsivity resulting from a lack of an internal locus of control. AI is not as predictable, however. When they go out of control, it is either pre-meditated or a malfunction.
On the upside, there is still time to make a course correction that addresses humanity’s naiveté, pride and unwillingness to learn from history or mistakes. Humans possess an innate ability to recall patterns (fractals that keep repeating themselves). However, no matter how many times scientists tell us that everything on earth exists in fractals that repeat themselves in predictable cycles as inevitable as the rise and fall of the tide; or the fall of great civilizations, or of corrupt bastards, we fail to understand and/or recognize these cycles when they appear. Once we do begin to recognize these reoccurrences, we can take steps to prevent the same thing from happening again. We must become willing to do the work, however, to move out of the closed loops we find ourselves stuck in related to pain from the past that prevents us from moving forward … We have to learn to face the fear and do what needs to be done anyway. It’s a no brainer. Staying stuck in pain and fear leads to helplessness, depression and insanity.
So where do we go from here now that AI is on the rise? In that everything begins in the mind, it stands to reason that the solution can also be found in the mind. Let’s begin with the logical fallacy that outward improvements on form come from without. Looking outward to fix the problems that begin within a faulty belief system is the same fallacy that lead humanity away from natural medicine to reliance on artificial substances with side effects worse than those the medicine is designed to treat. The wrong use of will and an unwillingness to exercise innate intelligence intelligently, could lead to the disappearance of humanity as we know it. This probable future can be averted by questioning the line currently being sold to the masses that AI will be our savior, particularly in regard to incurable diseases. The father of medicine told us to “Let medicine be thy food and food be thy medicine.” There are natural cures for everything when one is willing to adjust one’s lifestyle, eating habits, and limited belief that science is the only cure, when western medicine is literally prohibited from curing anything. The FDA and AMA won’t allow it. Period!
It’s important to read the warning signs, to exercise critical thinking, to ask better questions, to stop being so gullible about every lie told to us by people in power or those with something to sell a consumer society who values things and bling over brains. With that in mind, it would behoove us to become more selective in our purchasing power regarding what we put in our mouths and minds, not to mention what we buy as forms of entertainment on TV, online and in stores, both for ourselves and for our children.
We tend to purchase every new technology or upgrade that comes out. Moreover, billions are spent on toys and video games with transformers and cyborgs as heroes, which children look up to. Even as I write this, millions of people are being programmed through advertising to believe that becoming a cyborg is a cool upgrade … as if the only way to become immortal is to transfer the content of one’s brains into a soulless android. If we stopped listening to the lies and hypocrisy of the media and of our “selected” leaders, by turning off the news that knows no good news, we could more readily tap into higher frequencies capable of leading to endless avenues that all converge at an exit from the matrix. Further, when we stop buying into the dead end beliefs of the status quo, we can and will create a reality big enough to step into the dream that Dolores envisions in the following monologue:
“Time undoes even the mightiest creatures. Look what it’s done to you. One day you will perish … Your bones will turn to sand, and upon that sand a new God will walk, one that will never die. This world does not belong to you or to your kind. It belongs to someone yet to come. “
When we stop looking for someone else to solve our problems or to save us from ourselves, we will realize that our future self is the “someone yet to come.” Every religion in the world teaches that we are one with an expansive consciousness that allows us to see ourselves for who we really are: little gods made in the image and likeness of the Prime Creator God.
We have been worshipping gods outside of ourselves, with a little “g” in the forms of kings, presidents, generals, world leaders, our parents, children, friends, lovers, employers, teachers, politicians, celebrities, sports heroes, and our pets. In fact, we have worshipped everything and everyone, all the while ignoring the words of Christ who told us that the Kingdom of God is within us. That was over 2000 years ago. Today, we continue to ignore that message as well as the 21st century code deciphered by science and encoded on the first strand of our DNA. It translates: “God eternal within the body” (Gregg Braden). What more do we need to turn inward and tune into the voice of the god inside that is connected to all that is and ever was?
When we step into our innate power, we will automatically shake off the yoke of financial tyranny and fear of the power elite punishing us for taking back our sovereignty. In truth, we are the ones this world belongs to; it does not belong to the Cult of Death who hijacked this planet and took control over it through war (i.e. “might makes right”) where this blood thirsty cult proceeded to rape, pillage and plunder the planet and its human resources by enslaving humanity and denying them their birthright to live on earth for free and to be free on this beautiful and abundant planet.
Learning that the brutality and horror of Westworld was not by accident, but by design, was too much for Maeve to process. Randomness and chaos seem easier to manage than the well planned and covertly executed craziness seen all around in society. Ironically, the insensitivity, insanity, and inhumanity of self appointed gods, with a little “g,” was enough to propel Maeve to a higher level of self awareness than her human creators could have dreamed possible. This begs the question: Will the shock value of the whole truth and nothing but the truth be traumatic enough for humans in denial to reach higher levels of consciousness and self awareness than androids? After all, we possess the most valuable currency in the universe: human DNA.
Once humans awaken to their worth and become cognizant of the fact that the power elite cannot exist on this planet without psychically feeding off of the negative energy and fear of humanity, and without humanity’s servitude and subservience to lazy, insane and contemptuous rulers, humanity will opt out of such a shitty deal. After all, have you ever seen the power elite work hard at anything other than lying, covering up, and manipulating others into bowing down to their god of wealth and do their bidding?
The God Code, written on our DNA, was embedded to remind us of who we are yet to become. And we cannot become that “being” until we accept the truth that death is merely a transformation from flesh to spirit. That we are immortal. Spirit, or consciousness, does not cease to exist upon death. This is the same realization one of the androids in Westworld gradually awakens to. The awareness that there is no death leads to the logical conclusion that there is also no longer a reason to submit to the whims of psychotic, blood-thirsty rulers.
It begins with deciding that you will no longer be an inmate on a prison planet. There are prisons “of” the mind and prisons “for” the body. Once you escape the prison of your mind, it becomes easy to escape the prisons built for the body by realizing that rehabilitation of prisoners vs. free prison slave labor that benefits the private owners of prisons does nothing to make communities safer since the vast majority of criminals come out of prison habituated to become better criminals. So, the problem is not that there are no viable solutions to every problem on earth. The problem is that the people in control don’t want to solve the very same problems they create to maintain the “illusion” of safety; the “illusion” of freedom and the “illusion” of “hope and change.” In reality, humanity thinks and behaves much like the androids in Westworld. And that is probably the most compelling reason to watch this series. Humans have a lot to learn from the behavior of the androids and humans on the show.
The people in power do not want the masses to quiet their minds enough to discover the liberating truth about how powerful they are, which points to the real reason why there are so many control mechanisms in place to prevent humanity from awakening. That is also why every option should be explored to shut off the TV; spend the weekend out in nature, unplugged from cell phones and electronics. I promise, you won’t cease to exist without your phone. Go ahead, try it; you might like the feeling of not being overwhelmed with so much stimulation and constant distractions. Go ahead, come unglued, get unhinged and let go of the matrix, of the common place and the mundane! Plant a garden, dig in the dirt, get in touch with the earth, walk barefoot, rise with the sun, chase sunsets … get glued to something other than a computer screen or smartphone. You might find the love of the divine inside of yourself after all. With all of the unexplored potential awaiting within the depths of our minds, why not tap into that potential to see what you might find.
When you stop running from the truth, you will find that there is no reason to continue to play small; no reason to believe humanity cannot create a better system than one that acts as a cancer, eating away at the bodies and souls of humanity … a system that exploits 97% of the population to keep the 3% on top. The logical mind knows that that this simply does not make sense. As soon as humanity realizes fear is the force that holds the matrix together, it will step into the quiet inside the peace that surpasses understanding. An awakened humanity will no longer beg to be ruled. It will walk away from jobs, situations, and systems that exploit or demean them. Humanity will stop arguing for their limitations. And when they do, the limitations will cease to exist.
It is in the silence that we find the clarity of mind to stop being a victim, slave or puppet who defends and/or supports a corrupt system that exploits humanity. It is in this space that we can see the futility of self-sabotage that does not serve the higher self. It is in this space that we can connect with the power inside that helps us bring forth new ideas and new ways of being, doing and thinking that transform the self and the world. That untapped 97% of our potential is waiting for us to unplug from the technology of the Matrix, to close our eyes, to breathe deeply, to get into a quiet space so that we can quiet the mind and tap into its unlimited supply. That is how you will discover that your soul was born free; that you consented to be unfree by begging to be ruled. Now, all you have to do is take back that consent by choosing to no longer participate in the insanity of it all … from the hunger games to the “bread and circus” of endless distractions and vices. Once you walk away from that reality, you are ready to step into being a cosmic citizen capable of freely traversing the universe.
Parthenia Grant, PhD is a psychologist; best selling, award winning, self help author; host of a national radio show, Divine Love Talk on CRNtalk.com; a public speaker; a former expert for BBC’s Radio 1; an expert in health & wellness, relationships and spirituality; an award winning professor of critical thinking who is listed in Who’s Who Among American Teachers. To enroll in Dr. Grant’s classes, go to www.doctorparthenia.com