Wednesday, June 08, 2011

雙百人 / 變人: 長生不死 / Bicentennial Man: Immortality

This is in response to the article entitled "重溫" that was posted on June 8, 2011 by my blogger friend "Space". He is looking for a transcript of the speech given by the robot toward the end of the 1999 movie "Bicentennial Man". I listened to the YouTube video and came up with the following:

This is the dialogue btwn the young robot and the World Congress in his first attempt to partition to become a human so he can legally marry his love Portia, a human.

(The robot Andrew Martin asks the Speaker of the World Congress.)

- Are you not in some way artificial at least in part ? Well then, I am human in part too .... this part.

(The robot points to his heart ! But the World Congress decides that because he is an immortal robot, he cannot become a human who is mortal. The Speaker of the Congress explains.)

- Society can tolerate an everlasting machine ... but an immortal human would create too much jealousy and anger.

Feeling dejected and sitting alone in his apartment, Andrew realizes immortality is what defines a robot, but also what bars him from being a human.

- People grow thru time, but for robots, time is endless. .... There is only one thing to do ...

(Andrew finally realizes mortality is a human condition, but is also a condition to be human.)

Time passes. Many years later, he tries a second time to partition. An aging robot gives his speech at the World Congress and Human Rights for Robots. He addresses the second President of the Congress.

- I always try to make sense of things. There must be some reasons I am as I am. As you can see Madam Chairman, I am no longer immortal.
- You have arranged to die?
- In a sense I have. I am growing old. And my body is deteriorating. And like all of you, I will eventually cease to function. As a robot, I could have lived forever. But I tell you all today, I would rather die a man, than to live for all eternality as a machine.
- Why do you want this?
- To be acknowledged for who and what I am - no more, no less. Not for acclaim, not for approval. The simple truth of that recognition. This has been the elemental drive of my existence, and it must be achieved. I am to live or die - with dignity !!
- Mister Martin, what you are asking for is extremely complex and controversial. It will not be an easy decision. I must ask for your patience, while I take the necessary time for the determination of this extremely delicate matter.
- And I will await your decision, Madam Chairman. Thank you for your patience.

(He turns to his love and wipes a tear off his eye.)

On their death bed, the couple are waiting for the moment to arrive. Andrew asks the attending nurse.

- Is it almost time?
- In a few minutes.

(The nurse left. They look at each other. Portia breaks the silence.)

- It doesn't matter what the World Congress says. Why do you need their approval ?
- Old habit. I started my existence as a robot. I do like to be told certain things.

(They reach out for each other's hand; their fingers entwine, and they smile to each knowingly. The nurse announces: It's time. The wall monitor shows the World Congress in session.)

- Ladies and gentlemen, Ms. Marjorie Bota, President of the World Congress.

(The President speaks.)

- According to records of the NorthAm Robotics Company, the robot, also known as Andrew Martin, was powered up at 5:15 pm on April 3, 2005. In a few hours (?), it will be 200 years old, which means that with the exception of Methuselah and other biblical figures, Andrew is the oldest living human being in recorded history. To rectify (?) this proclamation, that I validate his marriage to Portia and acknowledge his humanity.

(On their death bed, Portia listens and smiles. She turns and wants to talk to Andrew, but he is already gone. The nurse checks his pulse and says.)

- I am sorry he didn't see it.
- He didn't need to.

(Portia looks at Andrew's peaceful face and asks the nurse.)

- Can you do me a favour ? Would you mind unplugging me ? It's an order.

(The robot nurse obliges and powers down her life-supporting system.)

- Thank you Galatea.
- It's what the great Andrew Martin used to say: It's glad to be of service.

(The nurse left. Portia turns and looks tenderly at Andrew. Holding his hand, she says ...)

- I will see you soon.

(Their fingers still entwined, she waits for her moment of death to come.)


* The June 8, 2011 article entitled "重溫" by my blogger friend "Space":

* Meme -- 教學與反省 一個生物老師的教學日誌: 文章由 Yukie 撰寫


Bicentennial Man (雙百人,電影譯作變人)為科幻作家以薩艾西莫夫 (Isaac Asimov, 1920-1992) 為紀念美國開國二百年而寫做科幻短篇小說,因此短篇名稱取為《雙百人》。艾氏晚年在出版商撮合下,與另一名科幻作家 Robert Silverberg Bicentennial Man發展為長篇小說《Positronic Man(正子人)(葉李華,1999)電影 Bicentennial Man 即以艾氏二篇小說為藍本拍攝而成。












如同葉教授所言,《正子人》雖為科幻小說,然而『科幻』僅是它的形式,小說本身的關懷仍在『人』本身,便如金庸筆下的小說,雖為武俠類型小說,但『武』祇是錦上添花之素材,小說的重心與焦點乃在『俠』字 - 對人的關懷,因而我將《正子人》推薦給我的朋友,另在電影『變人』上映時迫不及待的前去觀賞。在影片放映中,我理解到『變人』其實還有其他的涵義,它不僅是討論了什麼是人的問題,它也可以看為黑奴解放科幻版 -- 將故事設定的時間點往前推數百年,將安德魯角色由機器人改換為黑奴,這個故事架構不會有太大的變動。




在這段有關『財產宣示』的片段後,接續上演的是二小姐的玻璃玩具被摔壞,安德魯想辦法自學木工技巧,以木頭雕了一匹木馬給二小姐這一段。我腦中仍然浮現起一位黑奴被主人發現其藝術造詣,因此主人將這位黑奴的工作減少,以便他在藝術方面繼續發展的畫面。之後浮現了另一個較大的瞭解:這位黑奴所在的家庭必需有相當的經濟資本,唯有經濟的支援,主人才有能力購買一位黑奴 / 機器人做為幫傭,唯有相當的經濟資本,才能讓原先要幫傭的黑奴放著工作去發展自己的能力,而所積留下來的工作,主人可能需要蓄養另一位黑奴才能完成。另一方面,除了經濟資本外,主人還需要有相當的文化修養,他才能欣賞一件藝術的創作更勝於家務的勞動。

因此,這位幸運的黑奴 / 機器人必需幸運到足以同時擁有經濟資本與文化資本二種資源,他才能有機會去發展自我能力。此外,從『變人』中我們可以不時的觀察到,安德魯之所以為安德魯是因為他有著喜愛他的『家人』,而這些家人發揮了他們的社會影響力,包括請好朋友當律師,為安德魯打官司;請銀行界的好友為安德魯 ──史無前例地 ── 開設機器人個人帳戶;因身為機器人,仍然有許多時候受到人類的欺負,此時有安德魯自旅行中認識的好友幫他做完全的改造,讓他外表像個真正的人,使人們再也分辨不出他,無法欺負他……等等,都可以感覺到『社會資本』在其中所扮演的角色,安德魯幸運的利用 / 被提供豐富的社會資本,使他個人的奮鬥得以繼續進行下去。在此時,社會資本便有如阿基米德的槓桿,讓安德魯以『努力』為支點舉起了他的地球(雖然過程是費力的)


雖然在變人中探討『什麼是人』『科幻黑奴如何獲得人的地位』等議題,但是整部小說 / 電影中女性仍然失去了聲音,作者與導演將目光放在弱勢團體,卻捨去了女性,這一傾向在改編自小說的電影中特別顯眼。

電影中的女機器人加樂提雅一開始便是以一個吵鬧而無大腦的女性機器人出現,甚至因為過於吵鬧,安德魯以電鑽將之釘在牆上。這樣的描述複製了社會上對於女性的想像:『女性是吵雜不休的、女性是不聰明的』,對於一部探討『何謂人』的電影竟然出現此種場景真是讓人心酸難過。即便是到了結局,加樂提雅也改變成一位完全的人形機器人,她還是沒有脫離這個社會對於女性的想像:在結局裡她成為一位護士,而護士在傳統上被視為是女性的工作。於是女性被排除在『人』之外了,她們祇要不要吵鬧就好,如果要工作的話,也祇有護士適合女性,她們不需要有太多的想法,她們所需要的是一切遵照男性的規則走!!導演可以接受一部機器有自我的發展、去追逐自我的生活,但是女性,抱歉,妳們是次等的人類,妳們不需要有自我。於是我對於電影仍有許多的期盼,希望有其他人重拍此部電影,將女性的議題重新來過,甚至將安德魯以女性機器人的角色出現,將整部小說重新改編再現 ── 安德魯所對應的有色人種雖然受到歧視,但是有色人種中的女性受到更多的歧視,如果以女性機器人的角度出發,或許可有更多的議題發揮!!



(微豆: 我要給這位生物老師的文章一個讚!)


新鮮人 said...


啤酒花™_J said...


Haricot 微豆 said...


無錯,人是感情動物,正是:『人非草木,誰屬無情』。就算是看破紅塵,不談「情」的出家人,他∕她們仍会有「感」(例如: 感受丶靈感)。

Haricot 微豆 said...

啤酒花™_J: 希望双面人不会長生不死!!

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