Thursday, February 05, 2004

Finally done, and this is interesting, as the Chobits connection can be quite unsettling, to say the least...

.:Time To Work On Theology:.

Thesis 2B: Conscience is our ultimate and subjective norm of moral behavior, judging the morality of concrete individual acts by applying universal moral laws, thus involving both objective and creative subjective dimensions. The gradual formation of an informed “Christian conscience” is marked by fundamental stages (instinctive, moral, and religious) developing true freedom together with the recognition of moral obligation, and grounded on prayer and the Spirit’s prompting daily conversion towards fuller, responsible “new life” in Christ.

Thesis 3A: Personal primordial commitments develop through widening horizons involving breakthroughs into deeper meaning,, values, and freedom. They are gradually formed within the universal human quest for self-identity, clear purpose in life, overcoming guilt and evil in the world, trust/hope in salvation, and unity and friendship.

If we are to take all this into consideration, working from a basic and practical framework, we recognize the fact that our conscience is our guide in living out our lives towards the path of the good. Our conscience is a building block towards our whole being, as it forms our commitment, considering that any commitment that we make will be taken into consideration by our conscience when we do act. Most of the time, we are commonly relegating conscience merely to a role of a voice that tells us what we should or should not do, without realizing that our conscience is more of our life’s “compass”, so to speak, as it is that which allows us to act accordingly in any given situation not merely as isolated instances, but more importantly as small pieces of a larger puzzle that spells out to us the bigger picture.

We speak of this conscience as subjective in the realization that it is something that is personal to each and every one of us. What is part of one’s conscience is part and parcel of his or her being, as this is the guide for us in our exercise of freedom. In spite of this conscience’s being subjective, it is at the same time objective as it is one that is observant of universal moral laws, not in the least bit unconscious of the human autonomy to act accordingly in a kingdom of ends. A kingdom of humanity.

Again, our conscience is not merely an arbiter in isolated circumstances, but our “moral compass” (Although it actually surpasses mere issues of morality.) that is actually taking us in a particular direction. This essentially means that we already have a direction that we are keen on taking a priori any reflection or intellectualizing. This is what we call our primordial level of commitment. It is not up to us to have this primordial commitment or that primordial commitment, as it was not really up to Neo in Matrix Reloaded to figure out whether or not he was the One through the Oracle. “You already made your choice, Neo. It’s up to you to figure out why.” As such, this basic thrust of our being is already within us, and it’s less for us to “make a choice” when we’ve already made it, but more aptly, it is for us to acknowledge this already-present being, and to then choose this or that thing in accordance or in repudiation of that primordial level of commitment we have.

Similar though it may be to the concept of a “Fundamental Option”, it is not entirely the same, as one’s primordial level of commitment is not merely concerned with morality, but every aspect of our lives. At the same time, our primordial level of commitment grows over time. With these things in mind, we begin to understand that making a commitment is not entirely as simplistic as we originally perceived it to be.

Our conscience is what takes us there. Given our human freedom that is the ground for all choice, our conscience is its guiding principle. At the same time, such freedom is useless if it remains intangible by not exercising choice. This leads us to make a commitment: a promise that is tangible to all, a promise that is a very exceptional kind of choice. This commitment in turn shapes our choices, because we now choose this thing or that thing in accordance to the commitment that we make. Ultimately, our promise is grounded in the great humanizing goods of love, friendship, and communion. These great humanizing goods likewise shape our commitment, as we refine and further our actions in the direction of bringing them forth.

We develop our conscience. Likewise, we develop our commitment. Our conscience cannot remain static, as we must act out in accordance to our conscience, and similarly, we must be conscious of our moral obligation, given a conscience. Simply put, we cannot act as though we are oblivious to our moral obligation. Contrary to popular belief, our conscience does not restrict our freedom, but actually enhances it. Our conscience empowers us and emancipates us from the iron grip of incontinence and decadence, as we end up further enhancing our commitment likewise as we develop our conscience. Our horizons are further widened by our conscience, in fact, as we are now more capable of doing right action, presenting us with more opportunities and more choices. On a horizontal level, we may say that we have more choices given our status quo. On a vertical level, we may say that we shift our horizons towards a new state of being that will present us with even more horizons to consider altogether.

In our act of developing this commitment, we begin to realize that we are part of a bigger picture that encompasses us and everyone else around us. We realize that what we do is affective to other people, and as such, the call is for us to not engage ourselves in self-absorption, which, in being blinded to all else but ourselves, produces guilt and evil, but engaging in self-donation. In giving ourselves to others, we end up being better human beings in our overcoming of obstacles and all. We take this path of commitment towards our telos of God, who precisely reminds us of His own Self-donation through His Son, Jesus Christ.

.:A Personal Note On The Above:.

What makes me wonder, though, is quite simple: are the great humanizing goods really relegated to humans only? This is one of the deepest questions Chobits was trying to bring across all throughout. It’s quite difficult to imagine for us that Hideki Motosuwa, a human being, would fall in love with Chii, a Persocom. At the same time, it’s quite hard to conceive what binary circuits had to be connected within Chii in order for her to express and comprehend the concept of love. Or did she, really?

A human being is a human being, a Persocom is a Persocom. There are things a human being can and cannot do, there are things a Persocom can and cannot do. That leads me to ask… can a Persocom truly love? While we can’t have a definite, all-encompassing definition of love, it would be interesting to note that a Persocom’s mind, assuming that it’s still a binary code deal, does not understand love as a full concept but as a numerical value. Do I sit well with this fact? That a computer can “love” me by virtue of a mathematical formula I myself cannot figure out? Am I prepared to love back this computer, who can never be humanized by the great humanizing goods because she is what she is, and if she were different, then she would not be she? In the entirety of the written and unwritten history of man and even existence, there can only be one me. This essence of mine, my “thisness”, is what we call Haecceitas. In the history of existence, there can only be this one Persocom. Nobody will ever be like her, be it human or Persocom. There is an infinite value in that, but is that enough for us to relegate a great humanizing good to one that can never be humanized by it?

Such is the dilemma of the Chobits series. I am still left pondering, assuming that technology has advanced to a point that human thinking has been replicated by computers, would this mean that computers are now worthy of being loved in the way we have known love to be? That is to say, if we love them in the same way as we love human beings, how can that be sensitive to “you are you”, and how can we avoid comparisons between humans and Persocoms, which is something they wanted to avoid in the first place?

A solution is to differentiate the love for Persocoms from the way human beings are being loved. Even then, problems still arise. If there is a categorical differentiation, does that mean we can love a human being and a Persocom at the same time without any reason for jealousy, as Filia and Eros are two different manifestations of this love? If they still belong to the same genus, albeit of different species, then they are still bound to be subject to comparison, which essentially means that if we were to accept this qualification of the differentiation of love for a human being and a Persocom, we are still hard-pressed to address what we wanted to avoid in the first place: room for comparison. We cannot arbitrarily say these cannot be compared because they are different. They should not, but they can be compared because the planes they move in are way too similar.

I ended up being disturbed by Chobits in this realization. The story is sweet, yes, but from a Theological point of view, is this overcommitment? Is Hideki placing more value in Chii than he really should? And even if the technology was that advanced, is it acceptable for a computer, a Persocom, to be exact, like Chii, to actually comprehend and manifest the concept of love? Mind-boggling and unsettling, but worth observing, nonetheless.

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