Sunday, April 12, 2009

What is a Terminator at heart?

I'm watching the season finale of the Sarah Connor Chronicles, and I'm not sure I agree with something Cameron said. (This is Cameron the Terminator, not Cameron my son.) She said that Terminator's hardware and software are made to do one thing, kill humans. And John says but not you. She says no, not anymore. But at her core she is still the same. And John asks if that means she wants to kill him and she says yes.

But does that really work? You could say that at heart a human wants two things - to eat and mate. Those are our most basic biological imperatives. And water, we have to have water to survive. Food and water for most basic survival, mating for most basic reason for life at all, to create more life.

But how many of us have to constantly fight back the urge to leap onto a robin on our lawn and rip its heart out? Not that many. An enormous number of humans choose a vegetarian diet, turning their backs on the carnivorous side of their omnivorous nature.

Fewer people choose celibacy I think, but we can choose it. Others choose temporary celibacy, when their partner is ill, or out of town, or exhausted, or a host of other reasons.

Is Cameron's urge to kill humans any stronger than any of the basic urges we habitually repress? Might a Terminator, especially one that is being stimulated in other ways, not in fact be capable of finding killing disgusting, just as a vegetarian may be repulsed by meat?

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