Novel Do Androids Dream
The threat to Humanity by Androids
The novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip Dick is one of the science fiction novels that describe the struggle for survival by humans in a post-apocalyptic planet after the earth’s life has been affected by a global nuclear war. The humans are forced to move to Mars and form a separate colony. Most of the animal species are at high risk of extinction from high levels of radiations thus owning an animal becomes a show of empathy and status. The main setting is about a bounty hunter named Rick Deckard who has a task of killing six androids of the Nexus-6 model that were on the loose. Moreover, a secondary set entails John Isadore who helps the escaped androids. In relationship to Deckard's mission, the tale surveys the subject of what it means to be human in an artificial world and the lack of empathy portrayed by the androids. Therefore, this essay critically analyses the threats posed to humanity by these androids due to differences in the human and androids nature. Humans have the ability to be empathetic towards other humans (Brand, 2013). The Mercerism religion attempts to unite humanity through empathy. However, the religion's followers have become more discriminatory and secluded resulting in a general society that fails to accept all humans. Those affected by the radiations from the nuclear war experienced reduced intellectual capacity and they are discriminated against and they are neither included in human society nor allowed to move to Mars. They are nicknamed ‘chicken head’ or ‘ant head’. They are isolated due to their poor mental status. Ironically, Isidore who is one of the affected showed a sense of empathy in the novel. He bought a spider but the androids he was hosting cut of four of its legs to see if it would still walk. He showed great empathy by drowning the spider to end its suffering as he cared more about the spider than the profits it could gain him as it was prized for being a living animal. Therefore, humans have become less empathetic towards others, just like the androids which lack empathy, thus threatening their coexistence as those affected are at a high risk of suffering or being eliminated. Also, this poses a risk to humans as androids cannot be distinguished through the naked eye, therefore, they can easily be assimilated in the society when regarded as ‘chicken head' just like the affected humans. This makes it difficult to differentiate between humans and the androids thus they can easily be manipulated by the androids into being uncompassionate unknowingly. This in return brings about divisions in the general society and increased levels of discrimination which threaten the humankind’s survival in the dying world. Additionally, humans began using mood organs in order to bond with the rest of humanity (Rhee, 2013). The moods organs are a necessity in every household according to Philip Dick. These mood organs change an individual's outlook towards the world and one can decide to select the mood they will wake up on in the morning. For example, setting D in these organs makes one feel better disposed on the world (Brand, 2013). Moreover, there are hundreds of moods that one can choose from and schedule them for the days ahead. Through selecting a combination of moods on someone else’s mood organ, one can simply influence other people in order to win disagreements or convince them to do what the dialer directs them to do. This is a major threat to humanity as one can dial oneself to depression and face the danger of inflicting harm to self or another individual. Furthermore, the events that the individuals face in these mood organs are not real at all. This, therefore, alters the normal human nature of cognitive thinking and relations with one another thus exposing them to risks of misunderstandings and false pretense. With this perspective, humans become more vulnerable to the androids as it becomes difficult to distinguish between the reality and fiction as it affects their normal perception of events. This mentality also makes humans fail to think rationally hence they can be negatively influenced by such moods thus threatening their survival. An android uncovered Mercer as a sham and later Mercer admitted to that fact. In spite of the discovery of Mercerism on fake origins, it still lives on. This reality highlights the struggles faced by humans in the novel and what it takes to be human in an artificial world. According to most individuals, Mercer has become an iconic figure and despite his phony beginning, he has accomplished connecting humanity during the tentative times (Brand, 2013). Actually, people would rather live under his pretenses than live in the world where emotions are gradually diminishing. In one instance, Deckard argues that he can no longer hunt down the androids as he has become empathetic towards them (Rhee, 2013). Mercer then advises him that it is actually wrong to pursue androids, but he has to do it anyway, continuing the insincerity of the religion. Therefore, it is clear that the androids have influenced the humans’ emotions towards them as individuals are now becoming empathetic towards the androids. This has affected human relations with one another greatly as there are conflicts of ideas and interests among them and fake motives. These differences make it difficult for the humans to survive in an artificial world as they are easily manipulated into accepting non-existent ideas against their will. Philip Dick also surveys the lines amid living and non-living creatures. William Mercer makes the humankind to trust that the major distinction between the androids and people is their ability to be empathetic towards one another as this is what eventually creates worth in a life (Rhee, 2013). However, the androids to some extent weaken the humans' empathy and in some instances experienced empathy themselves. On one occasion, where Deckard is pursuing his last targets, he bumps into androids inside a house and one of the androids, Roy Baty, fires at him but eventually misses. Deckard then shoots Irmgard Baty, and this makes Roy cry in pain. Moreover, Deckard states that Roy cherished Irmgard, which is a show of compassion in his feelings towards someone else. Also, while androids show self-interest in their aspiration for self-preservation, they show feelings for other androids. This is an attempt to protect their livelihood as well. On the contrary, humans are taught not to be empathetic towards androids, a fact that has resulted to them possessing fewer feelings in broad, something they are now struggling to maintain (Brand, 2013). Deckard realizes that Phil has been mercilessly killing androids for killing's sake, something that Phil likes and has no regrets for. Deckard also exhibits related selfishness through killing as many Androids as he can for him to obtain a bounty. His intentions are for him to buy living animals, something that will raise his social status. This shows that Deckard does not have empathy for others because while the rest of the individuals try to sustain a connection to maintain their kind, he is only concerned in satisfying his personal momentary desires for recognition in the society. Therefore, individual desires have influenced the survival of humans as more people have become hypocritical making it hard to maintain unity in the struggling society. This also makes some individuals feel excluded from the rest thus negatively affects their survival in the society.
In summary, this novel surveys the humankind's efforts for significance in a world that is dying. The main uniting factor that is relevant is empathy. Philip Dick discovers themes that display the insincerity behind individual motivations meant to preserve togetherness. Humans have made decisions based on their selfish interests and for recognition in the society so as to raise their social status. This has resulted in conflicts of interests among individuals that have made them vulnerable to the androids. The androids, on the other hand, are working to preserve their livelihood. The superiority battles between humans and the androids are clear in the novel and humans are the most affected as they are more vulnerable than the non-empathetic androids. This is because the humans often act in contradictory ways to the principles of their religion. Therefore, it is evident that humans generally need a merging belief structure to maintain their humanity. This is the only way that will help them cope with the new challenges they face and give them a sense of hope for survival.