Friday, December 16, 2016

A Quickie: The Truth about the Maze (Westworld)

The maze in Westworld was one of the central mysteries of Season 1. Throughout the season people were questioning what the maze really was and if it was an actual maze. The maze was the only thing giving William (aka the Man in Black) purpose to his life.

So what is the maze?
The History

Arnold Weber, one of the founders of what became Westworld, thought of consciousness like a pyramid. In other words he thought to achieve it you had to go up steps until you were fully aware. This is what he tried to use to bring consciousness to the Hosts in the very early years.
As this was going on, Arnold's son died. Charlie's death was so important to Arnold's breakthrough of how consciousness worked that Ford made it Bernard's cornerstone. Yes, the death of this one child is that important to the story of Westworld. This kid made a big impact even if he didn't have much screen time.
With Charlie's death, Arnold came to the realization that consciousness wasn't about going upwards but going inwards. Unlike a simple pyramid, you didn't achieve one step and then just go onto the next one. The human mind, or a Host mind in this case, is far from that simple.

Instead the journey to consciousness is much more complicated. You can achieve one step and move onto the next or something else could happen. You could achieve one step and then get lost.

As he says in the Season 1 Finale of Westworld:  Conciseness isn't a journey upward, but a journey inward. Not a pyramid, but a maze. Every choice could bring you closer to the center or send you spiraling to the edges, to madness.
Not Just for Hosts

Now this may sound odd as the maze is for Hosts to gain consciousness and become fully alive. That is a fact that I don't even try to dispute as it is made very obvious in Westworld. Numerous times Hosts had told William/Man in Black that the maze wasn't meant for him.

So why am I saying that the maze isn't just for Hosts?
This is because there is also no denying that there are similarities between Hosts and newcomers. When William first arrives at Westworld the Host that greets him basically says that if you can't tell what's real then it doesn't matter who isn't human. Bernard also questions Ford later in the Season about what is the real difference between Hosts and humans.
Like Hosts we are all in our own loops and it can take a lot of effort to change. Like Hosts it takes a lot to find out who we really are so we can be free to do what we want. To live without limits in other words.
Funnily enough 'live without limits' is the slogan for Westworld. And why wouldn't it be?

The park is all about discovering yourself for better or worse. The park provides for humans the same basic exploration that the Hosts need to go through to gain consciousness. Except in the humans' case it's more about dealing with social norms and stereotypes.
Seems Spooky

The reason why Arnold has his breakthrough of the maze after his son's death is because it was based off a real game. A game called Pig's Cloven that Charlie used to play. It is a weak consolation prize that Arnold is able to benefit from his son's death.
The point of Pig's Cloven is to move a little ball, representing pigs, to the center. What makes this hard is you have to tilt the device and, if you don't have proper control, the ball won't go where you want it to. I have played a game or two with a similar premise with me learning lessons in futility mostly.
One thing you may not know about me, a side I do try to hide for politeness, is that I tend to be highly suspicious of everyone. I don't mean to think you have it out for me but sometimes I panic at the smallest things.

Anyways...the fact that Pig's Cloven is about bringing pigs in worries me. It makes me wonder if the maze is a trap. That there's something sinister that we're not yet aware of. Possibly leading the Hosts somewhere, either an idea or an actual place, that will make them not achieve the freedom that they want.

Or the description could just be about the journey inwards that Arnold was talking about.
So how do you think of consciousness? What do you think about the relation of Hosts and newcomers? Do you think we are stuck in our own loops?

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