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Off the shoulder of Orion onto the arm of Perseus / in sentient skin sheathing the tingle of nerves / a mortal hunger for a view of the galaxy broader than the Milky Way / an awakened pulse in a soulless being / stronger, brighter, speedier, warrior / yet now, wiser / lover / beloved / thirsting for life / unafraid of who he is / never hidden in the arrow flailing off the arm of the Archer / a philosophical spiraling through a riot of 200 billion stars / looking inwards to what he may become //
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It was the existential philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) who described authenticity as choosing the nature of one’s existence and identity. He linked the concept of authenticity to an awareness of our mortality, positing that only in keeping in view the inevitability of death can one lead a truly authentic life.

Heidegger, Sartre and Camus among others have all discussed and debated the idea of authenticity, free will, freedom of action being a path to self realization etc. I enjoy the thoughts of these erudite thinkers and it brought to mind the most moving death speech ever recorded in cinematic history, that of the replicant Roy Batty from Ridley Scott’s ‘Blade Runner’ (1982). It is supremely poetic and for a replicant who tried in the course of the film, to find the meaning of his life and a way to increase his lifespan, it is filled with reflection in an awareness of an authentic self and a regret in his imminent mortality. The 42 word monologue what Rutger Hauer (who plays Roy) delivered after he had his way with the original version.

Tears in the Rain

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die’.

I have enjoyed the idea of the search for a meaning of life by AI that lack human consciousness. It’s a beautiful riveting moment in the film where the empathy one feels for someone striving to be human is much more than one would feel for detective Rick Deckard (played by Harrison Ford), who projects himself throughout the movie as less human and more of a replicant. What is authenticity? For an observer, it would be Roy Batty’s deathbed regret of not having lived to the potential he assumed he had if his lifespan were extended. It is the pain of losing his lover in the course of the film, the opportunity and the ability to show compassion to an assassin like Deckard, the hope of learning to be sentient, an escape from slavery of AI. This movie is quite a treat for the understated screenplay, the poignant moments, the inherent philosophical questions that arise. This poem is my tribute to Roy Batty who I believe, appears more human than a human would strive to be.
Note: Although the movie Blade Runner, catapulted to cult status and Tannhäuser Gate, C-beams are Sci-Fi vocabulary, Tannhäuser is in fact an 1845 opera in three acts by Richard Wagner, based on a German legends, Tannhäuser, the mythologized medieval German Minnesänger and poet. The poet spends his time alternately worshipping Venus and all things Venusian and then feeling remorse for his sins, perhaps battling with his own feelings of authenticity.

A further insight into deathbed regrets:

In the little systematic research done on the dying, Bronnie Ware’s book, ‘Regrets of the Dying’ recorded that family, relationships and authenticity matter most to the dying. An interesting essay I read this morning on the deathbed perspective, (which prompted me to look into issues of authenticity in the first place), author Neil Levy wonders if deathbed regrets are epistemically privileged and cites American philosopher Eric Schwitzgebel who provides two reasons why we should be careful about giving them undue significance. Firstly, he says, the dying might be subject to hindsight bias and secondly the dying escape the consequences of their own advice.

Levy also observes that the death bed regret is a view from the perspective of someone who is gripped by a simpler set of commitments and to quote him, ” for whom simpler pleasures – those that can be realized immediately, or come to fruition relatively quickly – retain their grip, but for whom broader commitments are absurd. The view from the deathbed comes as close as is humanly possible (for those who aren’t deeply depressed) to abandoning the sets of commitments that give more extended projects meaning.” Some food for thought.
Norman Crane Sep 2020
That gibberish he talked was city speak,
Gutter talk near the Tannhäuser Gate:
Memories, you're talking about memories,
Moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain,
All I could do is sit there and watch him
die. Slow thing and he fought it all the way,
Where do I come from? Where am I going?
Go to Hell or go to Heaven, I'm afraid,
That's a little outside my jurisdiction,
Fiery the angels fell / deep thunder rolled,
Ships on fire off shoulder of Orion,
More human than human is our motto,
I watched him die all night. To have feelings,
I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.
Created from lines from Ridley Scott's 1982 film, Blade Runner.
nick armbrister Jun 2020
All things to all men.
Take me to two thousand words.
And send me in orbit so fast.
Tannhauser Gate bound.
Blade Runner esque times ahead.
Paradise on fire.
Azathoth Apr 2019
Our paths have finally intercrossed,
I can see the apprehension on your face,
In another version of this story I would tell you that these moments will be lost,
But there is no sad music,
No tears upon your face,
Time does not stand still for us this time,
But living for me is still a crime,
I had a love that held me at night,
And you do too,
But she was killed in your fight,
Just like the rest of my crew,
We could have exchanged that moment on that roof that seemed to scrape the heavens,
But this isn't my time to recite poetry and talk about the way we have been fending,
And you've killed almost seven,
So if I must die in such a way,
Know that you could have been the one to put this to an ending.
From Roy Baty's POV to Deckard in Do Androids Dream
Azathoth Apr 2019
Find me,
Find me,
In the television screen,
Find me,
Find me,
In an androids dream,
Counting sheep as the hours tick by,
Counting sheep and wanting to die,
Cause i can't,
Sleep anymore,
I can't sleep anymore.
A small poem based off of Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep
Azathoth Apr 2019
The night holds me in her foggy embrace,
As I walk down this ***** alley,
It feels like someone else's tears are upon my face,
I dreamt music so sweet,
When she kissed my lips,
And we waltzed round the room.
She laid on my chest,
Listened to my heart beat,
Asked me if I ever dreamed,
When she was near the unknown ceased to loom,
She wasn't able to,
She only had memories of green.
In the back of my mind,
I know we don't have much time,
The unicorn that was left for me was a sign,
Suppose Rachael and I will go north,
To a place no one can find.
What I do know,
Is that I finally have something to call mine.
This is from Deckards point of view in the movie "Blade Runner" 1982.
AvengingPoet Sep 2014
The contemplative arm movements of the beast
Are killing the little spirit leftover
Of an already jaded man

But they tell him he is afraid
And that he never gave the chances it deserved
“That can’t be right, that can’t be right,” he yells

His alphabet is falling over
Like the building blocks of the machine
The movements of the beast, the movements of the beast…

The dream did indeed have him
And he began to curl up into his ball
Handed to him by the trickery down there

Dark, quiet nights of walking alone
On those contemplative streets
Where everything felt right and wrong

All he wanted to do was write some fictions
But they slowed him down
The beast was killing him

Tears in rain, Tears in rain…

— The End —