Thursday, February 24, 2011

Caprica is religiously unrealistic


Jewish date:  20 ’Adhar Ri’shon 5771 (Parashath Wayyaqhel).

Today’s holidays:  Feast Day of St. Huey Newton (Church of the Subgenius), Thursday of the Seventh Week of Ordinary Time (Roman Catholicism), Feast Day of Charles Stansfeld Jones (Thelema), 1st and 2nd finding of the Head of the Forerunner (Greek Orthodox Christianity).

Please forgive me for taking forever to post again.  I do not begin working until next Wednesday, and being unemployed while trying to adapt to a new country (including ulpan, which is Hebrew language classes) does not make for the most regular schedule.  I expect to be very busy starting Wednesday, trying to adapt to the new job on top of twice-weekly ’ulpan, but at least I should have a better idea where I can fit things into my schedule.

Another reason for the delay is that I have been working slowly on yet another review, which I present below without delay.



Caprica (TV series)Image via Wikipedia
Caprica ended a while back, with the last episode broadcast in January, and the series being formally cancelled months earlier in October.  Still, considering the popularity of Battlestar Galactica (the reimagined series, its parent show), coupled with its constant religious themes, I feel the need to comment on Caprica one last time, this time as a whole rather than on a per-episode basis.  (Somehow it feels like I am going to be haunted by it if I do not.)  Though I will admit a lot of emphasis on the last episode, in which is the conclusion of most of the major plot threads.  Here goes nothing...

One thing first:  BEWARE OF SPOILERS!

Caprica is religiously unrealistic.

The Twelve Colonies have billions of human inhabitants.  No two humans believe or behave in quite the same way, so one would expect a great deal of religious diversity.  Here on (the real) Earth, with around seven billion humans, we have everything from atheism to deism to monotheism to polytheism with emphases being placed on everything from morality to sexuality to ritual to doing drugs.  Even what are conventionally considered single religions often display considerable internal variation. 

How many different religions are depicted in Caprica?  A mere two or three.  The Capricans and the Taurons seem to believe in variations on a polytheistic religion, and the Soldiers of the One believe in a monotheistic religion.  Obviously in 18 episodes one cannot see the full range of religious diversity of billions of people.  But there are not even hints that there might be more religions in the Twelve Colonies.  Even taking into account non-belief and weak belief, I find this lack of diversity disturbing.

Also disturbing is what two or three religions the writers did depict.  Practically nothing of what Caprican religion is like other than a never-explained polytheism with some of the trappings of the ancient Greek religion is given, period.  The Tauron religion seems to have a mafia-style moral code with notions of retributive vengeance and planned suicide.  Violating this code can also (and in fact do) get a Tauron killed by other Taurons.  Do note that most of the Taurons who appear on screen are part of the Tauron mafia or closely related to those who are.  Whether their beliefs and practices are representative of normal Taurons or just a twisted version adhered to by criminals is anyone’s guess.  Likewise horrible are the Soldiers of the One, which are nothing less than a cult in the pejorative sense of the term.  This terrorist group has a base on Gemenon for training (not always willing) conscripts to be soldiers, and they think nothing of executing those who fall short of their standards.  And these are the nice ones.  Granted, there are religions which have gone down horribly wrong paths, but when the choices presented for religions are something extremely muted to the point of being almost absent or something demanding an intervention (or a prison term or execution), a disaster has occurred in the process of writing.

Another thing gone horribly wrong in the writing is Sister Clarice Willow, the main antagonist.  Clarice is a self-centered psychopath.  If the writers knew what they were doing, they would have made her the center of a personality cult, as then they could have drawn on the behaviors of real-life psychopaths who form personality cults around themselves.  Instead, Clarice is trying to climb her way up through the ranks of the Soldiers of the One.  For someone without a cadre of followers who obey her without question, she behaves openly (so far as her superiors are concerned) very dangerously, pursuing an agenda which many of the Soldiers of the One do not subscribe to.  Clarice displays no real empathy with other humans and behaves with a complete lack of morality (even according to very lenient moral codes) or concern for anyone else.  Add in her propensity towards violence and murder, and it is little wonder that others among the Soldiers of the One try to kill her as an act of self-preservation.  As a long-term villain, she is unappealing; her lack of conscience makes her practically inhuman and something that ordinary people cannot identify with.  As a religious character, she has long-ago crossed into a dangerous fanaticism utterly lacking in self-criticism.  She thinks she knows what God wants (without ever giving any real reason) and will do anything to fulfill it, even murder.  Everyone knows that there are religious people who go horribly wrong like Clarice (Islam these days produces a lot of them), but the writers have created a yawning plot-hole by failing to depict in any way, shape, or form how she became such an abomination.

Making Clarice even worse and driving much of the plot of Caprica is her lack of wisdom.  She is highly intelligent and ambitious, but she somehow lacks the good sense to make sure she can deliver before making promises.  (She is not alone in this.  Daniel Graystone, another important highly intelligent and ambitious character, also makes the same error.  He acts immorally to accomplish his goals, too, come to think of it.  But I digress.)  Clarice intends to create an artificial afterlife so that the faithful may live on digitally after death (incorrectly called “apotheosis”).  Zoe Graystone’s creation of a virtual duplicate of herself proves this is possible, and Clarice spends much of the series working towards creating and promoting her virtual Heaven—and the promotion starts well before she has what she needs to even begin to keep her promises.  To say the least, this is an extremely stupid thing to do.

Putting this blunder aside, as an afterlife, Virtual Heaven is at best a stopgap.  Yes, it may be wonderful and allow a form of survival after biological death.  But it is really only an extension of this life, not the fulfillment of the promise of another life.  Virtual Heaven takes place within a computer system.  Computers are composed of matter, and they are subject to all the weakness of material objects.  If enough goes wrong with the Virtual Heaven system, Virtual Heaven comes to an end.  Computers can be repaired, and Virtual Heaven could be transferred to a different system.  But entropy ensures that everything breaks down in the end.  Even if the chances of things going catastrophically wrong at any step are tiny, let enough chances occur and statistics makes it virtually certain that eventually something will go wrong which will bring Virtual Heaven to a very real end.  Even if Virtual Heaven does beat the odds, sooner or later the Universe as we know it comes to a real or effective end.  As long as life occurs in the Universe, so does death, too.

Noteworthily wrong is the objection given to Virtual Heaven by Zoe II in the last episode (thus ending  Caprica with a major religious blunder, just as the rebooted Battlestar Galactica ended with a major religious blunder).  Much of the action in Caprica takes place in the virtual world (or “V-World” for short).  A big deal is made of the lack of morality in V-World by multiple characters, including Zoe II.  Since V-World is not considered reality (at least in the same way as physical reality), in it people often act in ways that would never be allowed (or should never be allowed) in physical reality.  The pilot episode features a virtual club where anything goes, and a sizable fraction of the rest of the series occurs in the criminally-themed game New Cap City.  Zoe II is worried that Virtual Heaven would turn physical reality into a game.  Since everyone would be guaranteed to go to Heaven, all motivation for good behavior would be removed.  There would thus be nothing to keep people’s behavior in line, and physical reality would degenerate into a game where people behaved as they wished with impunity.  Because of this, Zoe II destroys Virtual Heaven.

Zoe II’s objection is problematic because it assumes that going to Heaven is the major factor behind morality.  There is no question that Heaven and Hell in one form or another have been frequently used as motivation to get people to behave.  But clearly they are not enough, as believers do their fair share of stumbling and being hypocrites.  Furthermore, not believing in Heaven and Hell does not automatically make one an immoral person; atheists have done their fair share of crimes (including oppressive communist governments), but they are not noted for crowding our jails.

But what Zoe II is really missing is what would likely happen if there were a Virtual Heaven.  Do note that in the real world there is a constant struggle for free and open systems to remain free and open.  Under ideal circumstances, a Virtual Heaven would be made available to everyone unconditionally.  But whenever there is a new technology, someone inevitable wants to make money from it or gain power from it.  The real threat is actually the situation in the last episode of Caprica.  Claire Willow stands as the gatekeeper to Virtual Heaven; to get in, one has to satisfy her.  The people who get to go to Virtual Heaven in the final episode are suicide bombers, carrying out Claire’s plan.  Clarie has discovered a new form of blackmail:  people often hate death, and if they want to continue living after a fashion, they have to do what she wants—no matter what she wants.  In effect Claire threatens to usurp the divine prerogative of dictating how people should behave.  Now, one might object that since Claire proves that a virtual afterlife is feasible, other characters will be inspired to reinvent it—and such an objection would indeed be valid.  But the threat would still exist; unless it were mandated that everyone gets a virtual afterlife or there were virtual afterlife providers who let everyone in, one would still have to satisfy gatekeepers.  Considering that businesses are conventionally profit-driven, the possibilities for abuse are huge, not just in overcharging the living but even in forcing the quasi-dead to do one’s bidding.  After all, if one can easily deactivate a simulated person or turn Virtual Heaven into Virtual Hell, one has the power of blackmail over him/her.  The writers should be ashamed that they did not deal with this at all.

Another topic which gets insufficient attention is the status of artificial people, whether simulated people or robots.  Zoe II and Tamara Amanda II are by default treated as equals to physical people.  They act independently and answer to no one, not to mention they look and act human.  Not to mention that Zoe I and Tamara I are both dead, allowing their virtual copies to be treated as their continuations.  But Daniel Graystone, during a period of separation, creates a simulation of his wife Amanda.  (He has issues and problems.)  While the goal of Amanda II is to replicate the original, he never truly treats her as his equal.  (And to be explicit, your humble blogger does think husbands and wives should be equals.)  Even worse is the treatment of the Cylons, who never get treated as anything more than glorified tools, even though they save the day in the final episode.  Even though Cylons are (supposed to be) intelligent beings, why Zoe II is eventually treated by Daniel and Amanda as practically their own daughter while Cylons have to be slaves is never explained, even illogically, by anyone.  Though this failure may simply be due to the series being cancelled.

The last episode ends with a series of previews of an intended second season.  (Or perhaps these “previews” are meant to stir up enough interest and demand so that Syfy changes its mind about the cancellation.)  Daniel is giving an interview, talking about the quick adoption of Cylons in the Twelve Colonies, but emphasizing that Cylons are tools and nothing more.  Contrasted with Daniel is Clarice, who is in a vast chapel preaching to Cylons.  Not only does she recognize them as the equals of humans and children of God, but she prophesies that they will one day rebel against humanity.  Whether or not Clairice has any communication from angels or is just fooling herself, she may well give the Cylons the idea of genocide.   Clarice also visits Gemenon to see the Blessed Mother (the head of the Soldiers of the One), only to find the position usurped by Lacy Rand, a friend of Zoe I who joined the Soldiers of the One to help Zoe II and got shipped off to Gemenon; this clears up a plot thread left hanging in the final episode.  Finally, Daniel and his wife Amanada succeed in giving Zoe II an apparently flesh-and-blood body—resurrection of the dead, after a fashion.  Arguably Daniel Graystone is appropriately named, since resurrection in some fashion is mentioned in Daniel 12:2.

In summary, the writers screwed up royally with respect to religion.  Out of the vast multitude of religions that would be believed in and practiced by billions of humans, the only ones that get much attention are a religion of gangsters and a cult of terrorists.  The chief antagonist belongs to the terrorist cult and is probably the most psychopathic and quite possibly insane member thereof, working on a scheme which is not what she purports it to be and which is objected to for the wrong reason.  Your humble blogger is disappointed with this series and relieved that it has come to and end.

WARNING:  All this has happened before, and all this will happen again!  Reportedly yet another series, Battlestar Galactica:  Blood and Chrome is in the works.  I pray that the writers handle religion better this time.
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Sunday, February 6, 2011

A theological review of Tron Legacy


Jewish date:  3 ’Adhar Ri’shon (evening) (Parashath Teṣawweh).

Today’s holidays:  Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Roman Catholicism), Feast Day of St. Tlaloc (Church of the SubGenius), Feast Day of St. Photios (Greek Orthodox Christianity).

Funny Pictures - TRON Cat
Tron Cat is saddened by the writing quality of Tron Legacy
This is my first post on this blog in about two months.  During this time I have moved out of the absorption center in Ra‘ananah to an apartment in Giv‘ath Shemu’el.  This took a lot of time and effort, as I had to not only find the apartment, but also get everything properly set up.  Also taking up time is that Tron Legacy came out, and besides seeing it twice in theaters, I spent a lot of time working on a review which is somewhat different from any I've done before.  In retrospect I should have actually done a joint review of both Tron and Tron Legacy, considering the large overlap between the two films (and I might actual do something like that when Tron 3 comes out), but I want to actually get this out of the door, so to speak.  Those of you who do not know Hebrew, please scroll (way) down to the English text after all the Hebrew.



ביקורת תאולוגית של טְרוֹן:  המורשת
מאת אַהֲרֹן שְׁלֹמֹה אֵדֶלְמָן

אזהרה:  הרבה ספוילרים!  גם אולי הביקורת הזאת תהיה קשה להבין לאלה שלא ראו את טרון.
לפני שלוש שנים כתבתי ביקורת תאולוגית של טְרוֹן, הסרט מדע־הבדיוני המפורסם והטיפשי מדִּיסְנִי.  התאולוגיה שלו תאולוגיה מעולה לסרט כל כך גרוע.  עכשיו יש המשך לטרון, טרון:  המורשת, אני חייב לכתוב ביקורת תאולוגית עליו.  לשם למידת עברית אני כותב את הביקורת הזאת בעברית—ולגרסה שראיתי יש כתוביות בעברית—ומתרגם הביקורת שלי לאנגלית.

ההבדל הגדול בין טרון:  המורשת ובין טרון הוא כי הגרפיקה של טרון:  המורשת טובה מהגרפיקה של טרון.  העלילה של טרון:  המורשת דומה לעלילה של טרון יותר מדי.  גם כטרון, טרון:  המורשת הוא סרט טיפשי מאד והרבה מהאנשים בו עלולים להתנהג טיפשית מדי.  גם הכותבים של סיפור טרון:  המורשת לא ידעו די אודות מחשבים, ואילו רציתי לכוח־ידי להיות אכזרי וסדיסטי בלי צורך בתאר איך הוסיפו טעויות חדשות לטעויות של טרון.  אבל זאת ביקורת תאולוגית; לכן אכתוב על תאולוגיה.

אלוהות וטוב ורע:  התאולוגיה של טרוןהמורשת ממשיכה ישיר מהתאולוגיה של טרון, אבל יש בחינות חדשות.  עוד ה״משתמשים״ למתוכנתים כאלים, והטוב והרע למתוכנתים הם הטוב והרע בעיני ה״משתמשים״.  קֶוִין פְלִין (הגיבור האנושי של טרון) במיוחד נקרא ״הבורא״.

(שימו לב, בבקשה, שהכתוביות העבריות מבדילות בדרך שהדיבור האנגלי לא מבדיל.  התרגום הרגיל של ״program״ הוא ״תכנית״.  אבל התרגום לפי הכתוביות הוא ״מתוכנת״.  אולי המתרגם רצה לומר שהמתוכנתים לא תכניות רגילות.  או אולי הסיבה היא ש״תכנית״ היא גם התרגום של ״plan״ והוא רצה להפחית מבוכה.)

אחר טרון, קווין פלין, כאל, ברא את ״עולם הרשת״, עולם וירטואלי, במחשב חדש עם המתוכנתים טְרוֹן וקְלוּ 2.  (נראה שקווין פלין, כאל טוב, אומנם החיה לפחות אחד מהמתוכנתים הנהרגים על ידי המתוכנתים הרשעים ה־MCP וסָארְק.  או לפחות קווין פלין כתב גרסה חדשה של קלו.)  הבורא ירד לתוך עולמו החדש וראה כי טוב.  קווין פלין ציווה את קלו ליצור מערכת מושלמת בעולם הרשת ואת טרון לשמור אותו.  הבורא ירד בכל לילה בעולם שברא ליצור אותו.  

בטרון, ה־MCP הוריד קווין פלין לתוך מחשב נגד רצונו.  לעולם לא היה כמוהו בעולם הדיגיטלי, וכשהמתוכנתים שם הכירו שהוא היה ״משתמש״, יראו ממנו.  אבל כשקווין פלין ברא את עולם הרשת, ירד בו בכל לילה, אפילו בלילה הראשון.  והוא היה שם כמשותף עם טרון וקלו.  אנחנו צופים שאלים הם גדולים וחזקים ונשגבים מאיתנו, והנה ברור לכל מתוכנת שעיניו בראשו שקווין פלין (לא כבתאולוגיה נורמלית) היה רק איש.  לכן קלו ראה כי היה לבורא פגמים והוא לא היה מושלם.  קלו היה מתוכנת ולא אדם, והוא, כתכנית, עשה כדבר מצוות הבורא ולא ככוונתו.  לכן הוא עשה הרע בעיני האל שלו, אף רע מה־MCP, ומרד בבורא, ותקף בטרון.  הבורא ברח מפני קלו.  קווין פלין לא יכל לחזור לעולם הפיזי, כי קלו שמר את השער לעולם ההוא עד שנסגר ואי־אפשר לפתוח אותו מפנים.  קלו מלך בעולם הרשת עשרים שנה, והבורא גר בשולי העולם.

בטרון, ה־MCP מרד ב״משתמש״ שלו, אֶדְוָארְד דִּילִינְגֶּ׳ר, וסחט אותו, ולחץ במתוכנתים הרבה במחשבים הרבה.  אבל בטרון:  המורשת, הבורא הגביל את עולם הרשת למחשב אחד.  כשקלו מרד בבורא, לחץ את כל המתוכנתים בעולם הרשת ורצח את כל האלגוריתמים האיזומורפיים (איזואים) שמצא קווין פלין בעולם הרשת ואין מישהו שברא אותם, כי קלו לא חשב שהם מושלמים.  קלו לא יכל להרחיב את המלכות שלו למחשבים אחרים.  לכן לא רצה למלוך במחשבים אחרים, אבל לעלות לעולם הפיזי ולכבוש אותו ולטהר אותו מכל הפגמים שלו.  אבל קלו לא יכל למצוא את קווין פלין וכעס כי הצטרך את דיסק הזהות שלו כדי שילמוד איך לעלות לעלום הפיזי.

בכל דת, אלים הם חשובים מהיצורים הנבראים על ידיהם.  קווין פלין יכל לעצור את קלו ב״התמזגות״, אבל אם יעשה כן, שניהם ימותו.  קווין פלין היה חשוב מכל שבעולם הרשת, לכן יש לומר שטוב שיחיה ורע יקרה לכל שהוא ברא משהוא ימות וטוב יהיה לעולם הרשת.  אבל יצר הטוב שלו הפריע לו, כי באמת לא האמין שהוא כל כך עליון על כל שברא, והתאמץ למצוא שלום אישי במדיטציה (״זֶן״) ולא הצליח.  וקווין פלין שנא מה שקלו עשה לאיזואים, והחביא ממנו את האיזואית האחרונה, קְווֹרָה, ולימדה והיה לה כאב.

קלו עשה עוד רע ועבר לא רק ב״משתמש״ שלו, אבל גם בבן־אדם אחר. קלו שלח הודעה במרמה לביפר של אָלָן בְּרַדְלִי, חבר של קווין פלין, למען ירד לעולם הרשת וקלו ילמוד ממנו איך לעלות לעולם הפיזי.  ואלן היה נבוך, כי לא היה בעולם הפיזי שידע מה קרה לקווין פלין לפני עשרים שנה, והכול חשב שהוא בהסתברות מת.

בן היה לקווין פלין, ושמו סָאם.  סאם כעס תמיד כי הוא לא ידע מה קרה לאב שלו.  אלן הלך אל סאם ודיבר לו על ההודעה שקיבל ממשרד קווין פלין, אף על פי שהמספר נתוק לפני עשרים שנה.  אלן שכנע את סאם לחקר, וסאם הלך אל ״פלין״ אולם משחקי וידאו של האב שלו.  סאם מצא שם את המחשב של עולם הרשת וירד בו מקרית.  בכמעט כל שאר הסרט, קלו והעבדים שלו נלחמו בסאם ובקוורה והתאמצו לגנוב דיסק הזהות של קווין פלין.

לא רק קלו והעבדים שלו בגדו ב״משתמשים״.  המתוכנתים גֶּ׳ם וקַסְטוֹר/זוּס (יש לו שני שמות) גנבו את הלב של סאם והתאמצו למסור אותו לקלו.  אילו קוורה וקווין פלין לא באו להציל אותו, בהסתברות נפל לידי האויב הגדול שלו.

״צלם אלוקים״:  כבטרון, בטרון:  המורשת כל מתוכנת נברא בצלם ה״משתמש״ שלו. (עיין בראשית א,כז.)  הצלם לא רק בתואר הפנים ובקול.  קווין פלין כתב את קלו ורצה אותו להיות גרסה דיגיטלי של עצמו, כי היה אי־אפשר לו להיות בעולם הרשת כל הזמן.  לכן קלו הקביל את קווין פלין.  שניהם יצרו את עולם הרשת.  קווין פלין מלך בחברת אֶנְקוֹם, וקלו מלך בעולם הרשת.  קווין פלין שמר הסודות של התכניות שלו מכל אדם, אפילו החברים שלו, וקלו שמר הסודות של התכניות שלו מכל מתוכנת, אפילו המשנה שלו.  קווין פלין אמר לבני־אדם בנאום שהעתיד שלהם במחשבים, וקלו אמר למתוכנתים בנאום שהעתיד שלהם בעולם הפיזי.  אומנם, קווין פלין אמר לסאם וקוורה שקלו ועצמו כאיש אחד, וכשסאם נפגש לקלו בפעם הראשון, הוא חשב לו לאב שלו.

ההגדרה של ״מושלם״:  אין מישהו שהגדיר מהו ״מושלם״ בטרון:  המורשת.  זאת טעות גדולה לקווין פלין, כי אנשים שונים משתמשים בהגדרות שונות של ״מושלם״.  למשל, יש חושבים שהמשמעות שלו ״אין לו צורך לדבר אחר״, ואחרים חושבים שהיא ״אין לו שום פגם״.  זאת בעיה גדולה, כי יש הרבה סברות תאולוגיות כוללות ״מושלם״ (״ה׳ הוא מושלם״, ״העולם הוא מושלם״, ״גוף האדם הוא מושלם״), ולעתים קרובות לא ברור מה ההגדרה הנכונה בסברה.  לכן קל מאוד לא להבין מה המשמעות הנכונה לכל סברה מבוססת על ״מושלם״ ולא לדעת אם סברה בת־תוקף או לא.  לעולם קלו לא שאל את הבורא מהו ״מושלם״, ולכן עבר בו.

נסים:  ״נס״ הוא התרגום העברי של המילה האנגלית ״miracle״ לפי הכתוביות, אבל ״נס״ רק כערך תרגום.  המשמעות הבסיסית של ״miracle״ היא ״פלא״; זה דבר שאנחנו מתפלאים עליו, ואולי נאמין שזה מעשה אל.  המשמעות הבסיסית של ״נס״ היא ״דגל״, דבר שנראה ממרחק גדול; עצם הדבר הוא שאנחנו רואים שהוא אות מאל.  קווין פלין קרא את האיזואים ״miracle״ וודאי התפלא עליהם.  אבל לעולם לא אמר שהוא מאמין באל גדול מבני־אדם; לכן ״נס״ הוא לא תרגום טוב שם.

כיבוד אב והכרת הטוב:  חדש בטרון:  המורשת נראה כיבוד אב, מצווה נמצאה בדתות ממשיות (למשל יהדות (שמות כ,יא; דברים ה,טו) וקונפוציאניזם).  בחלק גדול מהסרט, סאם נלחם להוציא את האב שלו מעולם הרשת.  אף על פי שקוורה ממש לא היתה הבת של קווין פלין ולא עובד אותו כאילו הוא אל, היא כיבדה אותו כאב ונלחמה להציל אותו ואת הבן שלו.  אולי הסיבה היא הכרת הטוב, כי הוא הציל אותה.  או אולי הסיבה היא כי היא אלגוריתם, והמהות של אלגוריתמים לפתור בעיות.

תשובה:  גם חדש, נראה תשובה בטרון:  המורשת.  רִינְזְלֶר, אחד מהעבדים של קלו, כמעט בסוף הסרט שב מהדרך הרע שלו ורב בקלו.  אף על פי שקלו ניצח, רינזלר מת נלחם לשם ה״משתמשים״ בזהות הישנה שלו:  טרון.  גם קווין פלין שב והתנצל לקלו, מודה שעשה הרע לצווה אותו לעשות דבר אי־אפשר.  כשקלו מיאן לקבל את ההתנצלות, עשה ״התמזגות״ ומת עם קלו כדי שסאם וקוורה יוכלו לעלות העולם הפיזי.

שכר ועונש וקרמה:  אין ספק שיש שכר בטרון:  המורשת, לפחות על ידי קווין פלין.  אלן ברדלי עזר לקווין פלין בטרון, ואחר זה קווין עשה את אלן לחבר הדירקטוריון של אנקום.  והמתוכנתים הנאמנים טרון וקלו, קווין פלין נתן להם את הכבוד שיעזרו אותו ליצור את עולם הרשת.

כבטרון, נראה לי שיש סוג קרמה בטרון:  המורשת.  קלו עשה את הרע בעיני האל שלו, וקווין פלין ברח מהחובות של אלים.  ואף על פי שקווין פלין עשה תשובה כמעט בסוף הסרט, הוא וקלו מתו יחד.  ג׳ם וזוס/קסטור בגדו בסאם והתאמצו לתת לו בידי קלו, וקלו המתו את שניהם.  סאם וקוורה רצו להציל את קווין פלין ונלחמו בקלו.  הם עשו את הטוב לבורא, ושניהם עלו לעולם הפיזי.  שם סאם כיוון למלוך באנקום, ויש רמזים שיתאהבו סאם וקוורה (סוף טוב).  גם כטרון, אין מסבירים את המנגנון של קרמה.

מקור חיים נבונים במחשבים: כבטרון, בטרון:  המורשת אין מסבירים איך מתוכנתים היו לחיים נבונים.  וטרון:  המורשת גם לא מסביר מקור האיזואים.

האלהה:  בטרון, האדם קווין פלין ירד לתוך מחשב להיות כמתוכנת.  ההפך קרה בטרון:  המורשת:  האלגורתם קוורה עלתה מתוך מחשב לעולם הפיזי להיות כאדם.  אף על פי שאני לא יודע אם יש דת טוענת גנבת אל, יש מהם (למשל, דת היוונים העתיקים ומורמוניזם) טוענים שאדם יכול להיות לאל.

מיתה של אלים:  קווין פלין מת (או לפחות נראה לסאם ולקוורה שהוא מת).  לא ידוע לי דת מצויה שלפיה אל מת.  אבל קראתי שיש אתאיסטים נוצריים(!) שמאמינים שהיה אל והוא מת.

בעיות אחרות:  1) אנחנו לא יודעים ממי קווין פלין ציווה את טרון לשמור את עולם הרשת.  ההוא פחד מ״משתמשים״ אחרים?  ההוא פחד ממתוכנתים רעים?  2) קווין פלין האמין לפני המרד של קלו שהאיזואים יעשו מהפכה בכול, אפילו בדת.  לעולם לא הסביר את האמונה הזאת.  הנה האיזואית קוורה נראה מסוגלת (אם אפשר לומר שיש מסוגל בסרט הזה), אבל היא לא היתה כל כך חריפה לעשות מהפכה בשום שדה.  ולעולם קוורה לא הראה שהיא ידעה שום דבר אודות הדת.  3) כשקווין פלין ברא את עולם הרשת, למה לא שם שמירות במערכת כדי שלעולם לא מתוכנת חזקה ממנו?  ולמה לא עשה את המערכת בדרך שאפשר לפתוח שער לצאת אפילו מתוכה?  למה לא למד ממה שעשה לו ה־MCP?

גלוי לכול שעושי טרון:  המורשת חשבו ועבדו הרבה למען תהיה גרפיקה מדהימה, אבל גם שלא חשבו ועבדו הרבה בכתיבה.  התאולוגיה של טרון:  המורשת מעתיק את התאולוגיה של טרון.  בחינות חדשות (יותר ב״צלם אלוקים״, ההגדרה של ״מושלם״, נסים, כיבוד אב, הכרת הטוב, תשובה, האלהה, מיתה של אלים, שכר ועונש) נוספות לתאולוגיה הישנה.  אבל יש בעיות לטרון שטרון:  המורשת לא פותר אותן.  עוד אנחנו לא יודעים אם יש באמת קרמה או איך מתוכנתים הם נבונים—ועכשיו גם איך היו האיזואים.  ואני מאוכזב שלא התאמצו לפתור את הבסיסיות האלה.  אני קווה שאם יהיה טרון 3 הכותבים יפנו אל הנושאים האלה.

סיווג תאולוגי:  C+ (מפני האכזבה).

A theological review of Tron Legacy
by Aaron Solomon Adelman 

Warning:  Lots of spoilers!  This review might also be difficult to understand for those who have not seen Tron

Three years ago I wrote a theological review of Tron, the famous stupid science-fiction movie from Disney.  Its theology is excellent for such a bad movie.  Now there is a sequel to Tron, Tron Legacy, I am obligated to write a theological review.  For the sake of learning Hebrew I am writing this review in Hebrew—and the version I saw has subtitles in Hebrew—and I translating it into English.

The biggest difference between Tron and Tron Legacy is that the graphics of Tron Legacy are better than the graphics of Tron. The plot of Tron Legacy resembles the plot of Tron too much.  Also like Tron, Tron Legacy is a very stupid film, and many of the people in it are liable to act too stupid.  Also the writers of the story of Tron Legacy did not know enough about computers, and if I wanted to, I could have been brutal and needlessly sadistic in describing how they added new errors to errors of Tron.  But this a theological review; thus I shall write about theology. 

Godhood and good and evil:  The theology of Tron Legacy follows directly from the theology of Tron, but there are new aspects.  The “Users” are still like gods to programs, and and what is good and evil for programs is what is good and evil in the eyes of the “Users”.  Kevin Flynn (the human hero of Tron) in particular is called “the Creator.”

(Note, please, that the Hebrew subtitles make a distinction which the English speech does not.  The usual translation of “program” is tokhnith.  But the translation according to the subtitles is methukhnath (“programmed”).  Perhaps the translator wanted to say that the “programs” of the Tron universe are not ordinary computer programs.  Or maybe the reason is that tokhnith is also the translation of  “plan” and he/she wanted to reduce confusion.)

After Tron, Kevin Flynn, like a god, created the Grid, a virtual world, in a new computer with the programs Tron and Clu 2.  (It seems that Kevin Flynn, like a good god, indeed resurrected at least one of the program programs killed by the wicked programs MCP and Sark.  Or at least Kevin Flynn wrote a new version of Clu.)  The Creator descended into his new world and saw that it was good.  Kevin Flynn ordered Clu to create a perfect system in the Grid and Tron guard it.  The Creator descended every night into the world which he created to form it.

In Tron, the MCP brought Kevin Flynn down into a computer against his will.  Never was there anyone like him in the digital world, and when the programs there recognized that he was a “User”, they were in awe of him.  But when Kevin Flynn created the Grid, he descended into it every night, even the first night.  And he was there like a partner with Tron and Clu.  We expect that gods are greater, more powerful, and more sublime than us, and behold, it was clear to every program who was not blind that Kevin Flynn (not as in normal theology) was only a man.  Therefore Clu saw that the Creator had flaws and was not perfect.  Clu was a computer program and not a man, and, as a computer program, he did according to the word of the command of the Creator and not according to his intention.  There he did evil in the eyes of his god, even worse than the MCP, and rebelled against the Creator, and attacked Tron.  The Creator fled from Clu.  Kevin Flynn was unable to return to the physical world, for Clu guarded the gate to that world until it closed, and it is impossible to open it from within.  Clu ruled in the Grid twenty years, and the Creator dwelled at the edge of the world. 

In Tron, the MCP rebelled against his “User”, Edward Dillinger, and blackmailed him, and oppressed many programs in many computers.  But in Tron Legacy, the Creator limited the Grid to one computer.  When Clu rebelled against the Creator, he oppressed every program in the Grid and murdered all the isomorphic algorithms (ISOs) Kevin Flynn found in the Grid without anyone creating them, for Clu did not think they were perfect.  Clu was not able to expand his kingdom to other computers.  Therefore he did not want to rule in other computers, but to ascend to the physical world and conquer it and purge it of all its flaws.  But Clu could not find Kevin Flynn and was angry, for he needed his identity disc so he would learn how to ascend to the physical world. 

In every religion, gods are more important than the creatures created by them.  Kevin Flynn was able to stop Clu by “reintegration”, but if he would so, both of them would die.  Kevin Flynn was more important than anything in the Grid; therefore thus one may say that it would be better that he should live and evil should happen to everything which he created than he should die and there will be good to the Grid.  But his conscience bothered him, for he really did not believe himself superior to all created, and he tried to find personal peace through meditation (“Zen”) and failed.  Kevin Flynn hated what Clu did to the ISOs, and he hid from him the last ISO, Quorra, and taught her, and was like a father to her. 

Clu did further evil and transgressed not only against his “User”, but also against another human.  Clu deceptively sent a page to the beeper of Alan Bradley, a friend of Kevin Flynn, so that he would descend into the Grid and Clu would learn from him how to ascend to the physical world.  Alan was puzzled, because no one in the physical world knew what happened to Kevin Flynn twenty years earlier, and everyone thought he probably died. 

Kevin Flynn had a son named Sam.  Sam was always angry because he did not know what happened to his father.  Alan went to Sam and spoke to him about the message he received from Kevin Flynn’s office, even though the number was disconnected twenty years previously.  Alan persuaded Sam to investigate, and Sam went to the Flynn’s, his father’s video arcade.  Sam found there the computer of the Grid and descended into it accidentally.  In almost all of the rest of the film, Clu and his servants fought against Sam and Quorra and tried to steal the identity disk of Kevin Flynn. 

Clu and his servants were not the only ones to commit treachery against the “Users”.  The programs programs Gem and Castor/Zuse (he has two names) tricked Sam and tried to hand him over to Clu.  If Quorra and Kevin Flynn had not come to save him, he would have probably fallen into the hands of his greatest enemy. 

“The image of ’Elohim”:  As in Tron, in Tron Legacy every program is created in the image of his/her “Users”.  (See Genesis 1:27.)  This image is not just in the form of the face and the voice.  Kevin Flynn wrote Clu and wanted him to be a digital version of himself, for it was impossible for him to be in the Grid all the time.  Therefore Clu parallels Kevin Flynn.  Both have formed the Grid.  Kevin Flynn ruled over the company Encom, and Clu ruled over the Grid.  Kevin Flynn kept secrets of his plans from all humans, even his friends, and Clu kept his secrets of his plans from all programs, even his lieutenant.  Kevin Flynn said to humans in a speech that their future was in computers, and Clu said to programs in a speech that their future was in the physical world.  Indeed, Kevin Flynn said to Sam and Quorra that considered himself and Clu like one person, and when Sam met Clu the first time, he thought he was his father. 

The definition of “perfect”:  No one defined what is “perfect” Tron Legacy.  This is a big mistake on the part of Kevin Flynn, because different people use different definitions of “perfect.”  For example, there are those who think that its meaning is “it has no need for something else”, while others think it means “it has no flaws”.  This is a big problem, because there are many theological arguments which include “perfect” (“HashShem is perfect”, “The world is perfect,” “the human body is perfect”), and often it is not clear what is the correct meaning in an argument.  Therefore it is very easy to not understand what is the correct meaning of any argument based on “perfect” and to not know if the argument is valid or not.  Clu never asked the Creator what is “perfect”, and therefore he transgressed against him. 

Miracles:  Nes is the Hebrew translation of the English word “miracle” according to the subtitles, but nes is only an approximate translation.  The basic meaning of “miracle” is “wonder”; this is something we wonder about, and perhaps we believe that this is the work of a god.  The basic meaning of nes is “flag”, something which is seen from a great distance; the essence of the thing is that we see is a sign from a god.  Kevin Flynn called the ISOs a “miracle” and he definitely wondered over them.  But he never said that he believes in a god greater than humans; therefore nes is not a good translation there. 

Honoring one’s father and gratitude:  New in Tron Legacy is honoring one’s father, a command in real religions (e.g., Judaism (Exodus 20:11, Deuteronomy 5:15) and Confucianism). In much of the movie, Sam fought to bring his father out of the Grid.  Although Quorrah was not really Kevin Flynn’s daughter and did not worship him as if he were a god, she honored him like a father and fought to save him and his son.  Perhaps the reason is gratitude that he saved her.  Or maybe the reason is that she is an algorithm, and the nature of algorithms is to solve problems. 

Repentance:  Also new in Tron Legacy is repentance.  Rinzler, one of the servants of Clu, almost at the end of the film turned from his evil ways and fought with Clu.  Although Clu won, Rinzler died fighting for the “Users” and with his old identity: Tron.  Kevin Flynn also repented and apologized to Clu, admitting he did wrong to command him to do something impossible. When Clu refused to accept the apology, he “reintegrated” and died with Clu in order that Sam and Quorra would be able to ascend to the physical world. 

ֳReward and punishment and karma:  There is no doubt that there is reward in Tron Legacy, at least by Kevin Flynn.  Alan Bradley helped Kevin Flynn in Tron, and afterwards Kevin made Alan a member of the board of Encom.  And Kevin Flynn gave the loyal programs Tron and Clu the honor of helping him create the Grid.

As in Tron, it appears to me that there is a kind of karma Tron Legacy.  Clu did evil in the eyes of his god, and Kevin Flynn fled from the obligations of gods.  Even though Kevin Flynn did repent almost at the end of the film, he and Clu died together.  Gem and Zuse/Castor betrayed Sam and tried to give him into the hands of Clu, and Clu killed both of them.  Sam and Quorra wanted to save Kevin Flynn and fought with Clu.  They did good to the Creator, and both ascended to the physical world.  Sam there intended to rule over Enron, and there are hints that Sam and Quorra will fall in love (a happy ending).  Also like Tron, no one explains the mechanism of karma. 

The origin of intelligent life in computers:  As in Tron, Tron Legacy does not explain how programs became intelligent.  And Tron Legacy also does not explain the origin of the ISOs. 

Apotheosis:  In Tron, the human Kevin Flynn descended into a computer to become like a program.  The opposite happened in Tron Legacy:  the algorithm Quorra ascended from out of a computer to the physical world to become like a human.  Although I do not know if there is any religion which claims the kidnapping of a god, there are those (for example, the ancient Greek religion and Mormonism) which claim that a human can become a god. 

The death of gods:  Kevin Flynn died (or at least it seemed to Sam and Quorra that he died).  No common religion is known to me according to which a god died.  But I have read that there are Christian atheists(!) who believe that there was a god and He died. 

Other problems:  1) We do not know from whom Kevin Flynn ordered Tron to guard the Grid.  Did he fear other “Users”?  Did he fear evil programs?  2) Kevin Flynn believed that before the rebellion of Clu that the ISOs will revolutionize everything, even religion.  He never explained this belief.  The ISO Quorra appeared competent (if one can say that there is anyone competent in this film), but she was not so brilliant so as to make a revolution in any field.  And Quorra never showed she knew anything about religion.   3) When Kevin Flynn created the Grid, why did he not put safeguards in the system so that no program could ever be more powerful that him?  And did he not make the system in such a way that it is possible to open a portal to leave even from the inside?  Why did he not learn from what the MCP did to him? 

It is obvious to all that the makers of Tron Legacy thought and labored much so that there would be astounding graphics, but also they did not think or labor much in the writing.  The theology of Tron Legacy copies the theology of Tron.  New aspects (more on “the image of ’Elohim”, the definition of “perfect”, miracles, honoring one’s father, gratitude, repentance, apotheosis, death of gods, reward and punishment) are added to the old theology.  But there are problems of Tron which Tron Legacy does not solve.  We still do not know if there is really karma or how programs became sentient—and now also how the ISOs came into existence.  And I am disappointed that they did not try to solve these basic problems.  I hope that if there will be a Tron 3 the writers will address these topics.

Theological rating:  C+ (due to the disappointment).
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