I just saw the movie ‘Westworld’ unedited and I have to say, it is a movie that I like. Before the movie, there was a 15 minute ‘the making of..’ special. Micheal Crichton wrote and directed it. The movie stars Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin and James Brolin and they all acted well in the movie. I remember watching the movie as a young teenager with my family. It was like watching a John Wayne, Douglas Fairbanks and Robin hood movie all rolled in one. The premise of the movie is, for the rich who can afford it, at $1,000 dollars a day in 1976 dollars, you can goto the most advanced theme park in the world. Where robots make your dream of adventure come true. Westworld, where the park recreators have built an authentic reproduction of an 1890’s frontier town, complete with shootouts and dancehall girls and stage coaches. In the park, there is also Roman world, where you live in the decatent world of Rome in its hight of glory or you could choose Midievil world with Knights and jousts and everything that comes with living in those times.
The idea was to create an illusion of danger while maintaining complete safety. Micheal Crichton wanted to postulate the question ‘what if’. In a world driven by technology, a society becomes so dependant on that technology that if something were to go wrong, that society would become chaotic.
Now, look at America today. We have eliminated the cord to our telephones. Most people don’t even use them anymore, but instead have a palm sized computer with a phone app built into it. My latest smartphone cost more than my high end laptop. We have ‘Bluetooth’ and other forms of wireless communications dependant on cell towers. Our cars have GPS navigation in them and I actually ran into a college graduate that could not read a map and even though he knew what a phonebook was, never actually used one. Schools are forgoing the need for books and opting instead to using a tablet computer to download the electronic version instead. There is less of a need for professional or semi-pro photographers now because of the camera built into our smart phones. And when was the last time you actually used a calculator or wore a watch to remind you of the passage of time? The wristwatch is now just a piece of jewelry now. My point is, what would you do if all of our little gadgets stopped working? No more internet, no cell phone service, no electricity…what would you do? Could you read a map? Could you skin a rabbit and know how to cook it so it is safe to eat? How would you communicate with people far away? Could you survive for a time without the technology that you have become reliant to? I think the idea postulated in that movie could be all to real if something were to happen, even for a short period of time. Try living a day without technology. I bet most people could not do it.
So, has the western world become like ‘Westworld’ in that we are living in an illusion of safety? Just something to ponder as you read this on your tablet computer or smart phone. And yes, I wrote this on my iPad and watched the aformentioned movie on my Android tablet so I must ask the same question of myself.