Supertoys Last All Summer Long

Spielberg’s movie, “A.I.”, is based on a screen story by Ian Watson and the short story by acclaimed science fiction writer Brian Aldiss.

I loved the movie! The story really came alive for me when an acquaintance pointed out that, just possibly, Teddy (the robotic toy bear), was seeking love and recognition from David (the robotic boy) in the same fashion that David sought it from his human adoptive parent, Monica.

What is also fascinating for me, is that “Monica” is the name of Augustine’s mother, who lead him to Christianity. It is one thing to be “lead,” but quite another to be “lead on.” In “A.I.”, the quest for the “holy grail” of Mommy’s love leads David onward and upward in a fashion similar to the way that Dante is lead onward and upward by the “holy grail” of Beatrice.

Look at this one unbelievably powerful line from that short story by Aldiss:

An overcrowded world is the ideal place in which to be lonely.

I marvel that there can be such power in one sentence, or one word, or one name.

We tap into such wellsprings of power when we point to some hidden place with the magic wand of allusion. Yet, if that wand is used too frequently, or falls into inept hands, then that wellspring stales to a hackneyed puddle.

Allusion becomes Illusion as we create a fictive alternate universe; a world in which we rule and things happen.

Take a video camera and walk around your home or office, or a park, shooting, and then view the tape. What do you notice? The first time I used a video camera in the late 1980’s, I noticed that nothing was happening. We are so conditioned by fiction and film to behold constant action, drama, tension of psycho dynamics between larger than life personas.

But in our home movie, all is quiet; nothing happens. It is strangely relaxing and peaceful to sit and watch nothing happening as the camera pans about a room, zooming in on objects, dwelling for a moment, and then moving on like some bee in a petrified garden.

Nothing ever happens (except for the occasional tsunami or volcano, which is nature’s drama). Nothing ever happens unless we make it happen with our minds, in our minds.

Evil writes the best scripts! Literature owes quite a debt to the devil. Milton has Satan say, “Evil, be thou my good.” The final page of a certain revealed scripture speaks of God as “a refuge from the evil of the sneaking one who whispers in the hearts of men;” a scripture which describes itself as “a guidance to those who ward off evil.” Without the devil and evil, what is the value of a charm to ward off evil?

There is a joke about a man who meets God, and God offers to reward him any one request. The man requests to see what heaven and hell are like. First God take him to hell. He sees an infinitely long, narrow, table, with people seated on either side, facing one another across the table.

Each person has ridiculously long spoons permanently affixed to their hands. The table is set with the most delicious dishes of food. The starving banqueters are eternally frustrated as they try in vain to reach the plate set before them with a spoon that is too long. Next, God whisks our spectator away to Heaven. His eyes widen and his mouth drops open as he beholds THE EXACT SAME SCENE of an infinitely long narrow table, and people with long spoons affixed to their hands. But all the people in this scene are happy and smiling, for each has learned that, though the long spoon is too long to reach the plate set before them, yet that same long spoon is just long enough to reach the plate of the person opposite, and to spoon some food into that neighbor’s mouth. So everyone in heaven is cooperating and feeding each other. But notice, same scene, same long spoons, same predicament. The difference lies in the characters of the captives and their attitude towards others.


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