And though time goes by
I will always be
In a club with you
In nineteen seventy three
James Blunt – 1973
Suggested songs for background during reading:
- Alphaville – Forever young
- Belinda Carlisle – Heaven is a place on earth
- James blunt – 1973
Some periods of our life are so above average to resemble a different existence. That exhilarating feeling of walking three meters above everyone else, of fulfillment and joy, like the world is revolving around us and our favorite music is in the air. It can be days, weeks or years for the most fortunate. Almost everyone has had or is going to have his. The Daft Punk would call it the “prime time of your life”.
Romantically, I dream about a hypothetical dimension created by the energy generated during those moments. Created, for example, by two lovers having fun and enjoying their fairytale romance. A dimension with these characteristics: the time is frozen and we don’t age, this allows us to revive our best period over and over. This concept is similar to a videogame, nothing changes and we can start a new game in the same conditions. I can play videogames now as an adult but it doesn’t feel the same, our virtual heroes instead will always run free in the same world.
This is just fiction but thanks to technology and transhumanism it could be reality one day. This is the concept behind San Junipero, an episode of the third season of the British science fiction series Black Mirror.
WARNING: SPOILER ALERT
In the coastal party town of San Junipero young people flock to enjoy the pleasures of youth. Among them Yorkie and Kelly. Yorkie is shy and clumsy in her glasses and nerdy clothes, while Kelly is outgoing and extroverted. They meet at Tucker’s, the town’s club. Yorkie is not in the mood for dancing but Kelly persuades her. Yorkie doesn’t feel comfortable in that situation so she gets off and finds herself in an alley during a rainstorm. Kelly finds her, tells her that they only have two hours until next Saturday and tries to seduce her but Yorkie refuses because she has a fiancé named Greg. Here the screen goes black and we hear some electronical noises until “one week later ” screen announces a shift in time. This time they meet in the 90’s, the music and the arcade videogames are different, but their feelings are still there and they end up sleeping together. Yorkie confesses it was the first time for her. We now know that something is very unusual about this town. It turns out that Yorkie is a woman in her 70s who has been in a vegetative coma since she was very young due to a car accident. Kelly, instead, is a terminally ill cancer patient of about the same age. Greg is just a guy hired to serve as a husband for Yorkie to have the legal authorization to end her life. San Junipero is a computer simulation created by a company that gives the opportunity to have a free trial of a few hours every Saturday. For different reasons both these women are trying the software. But there’s more to the story. Kelly is reluctant to have a stable relationship in this virtual world and engages in careless flings; she lost her daughter and her husband and they both chose to be buried, therefore Kelly is afraid that both of them are waiting for her in what religion calls paradise and if she stays in the simulation she will leave them alone. Kelly eventually visits Yorkie in the clinic where she is kept alive by machines. “Hello Stupid, it’s good to see you”. They debate (in the simulation as Yorkie can’t speak) about what is reality and if the feelings they have are real. They love each other so much that Kelly marries her so that she can take the decision for her to be euthanized. When it’s time for her to die as well they can reunite in the fantastic sunset of San Junipero in a wedding dress and drive an Mx-5 away, towards a perpetual happiness. Belinda Carlisle’s “heaven is a place on earth” is playing in the background. Heaven is a place on earth because the two girls recognize that town as a real place, even though they are aware it doesn’t physically exists. Their life goes on. A robotic arm places some semi spheres (similar to the ones attached to the participants’ heads) on a huge server farm. The end
The episode poses numerous philosophical questions.
Do people have the right to end their life in order to pass to the simulation? If so, at what conditions?
Can people stay forever in a simulation? Are they allowed to end the simulation, and cease to exist?
Can the simulation be considered real life with real feelings?
What I’m sure about is that it causes a sentimental hurricane . It was the spark to light the fire that led me to find out about transhumanism; having a young body and be able to live forever in a harmonious world is a heartwarming possibility. We will have completed the transition and become transhumams. The brain-computer interfaces will allow our brain to communicate with chips, blurring the border between biology and technology. Once this is achieved, our conscience could be downloaded into an hard drive or transferred to the cloud just like any other file in a computer. With a precise and reasonable legal frame the applications are virtually unlimited.
If we want to talk about the episode in a strict sense i loved the brilliant soundtrack, the chemistry between the two protagonists, the photography of the town and the surroundings, the costumes and the video games from different decades. Very well made episode with a perfect pace.
San Junipero is the most emotional and deep tv series episode I’ve ever seen. Absolutely a must see. It brings you in contact with the atavistic questions of humanity. Youth, old age, life, joy, fears, disease, death, afterlife…one hour of art and philosophy…between the prime time of life, the pain, the losses, the relationship with your loved ones and the desire to survive our biological nature.
PS: If you want to have the chance to survive your mortal body read the next article about Cryonics and Alcor Life Extension center.
What do you think about being uploaded to a simulation after death? Leave a comment below