Sunday, June 23, 2013

Robot Buddha Theology

Just watched a fabulous indie movie on Netflix, Doomsday Book, second part.
It's about a Robot who achieves Nirvana and becomes The Buddha.
A technician from the manufacturer is called out to check to see if it's functional, and it is. He's greatly troubled and files his report up the chain, but none of the other managers are, because they don't understand the implications.
Then a woman comes to the door asking him to fix her robotic dog. She smokes, screams, acts like a toddler, and when he doesn't fix it perfectly she throws it in the garbage and forgets about it.
The CEO of the company comes out to the monks and tries to explain what the problem is: the machine, which has been created to be their servant, has become their master. In a wonderful twist, he's bound to a motorized wheelchair because of his age. He gives it up and accepts a cane, but that's still a tool which has changed him.
The robot has no passions. It has no desires. No compunctions. It is not bound to do anything. It has literally achieved what those monks wished they had. The CEO must terminate it, it has undermined all of what it means to be human, and the monks don't realize it. Then in a tense scene the technician throws himself in front of the robot to save it's life, but it says that it will shut down, it's causing conflict that keeps men from nirvana. He lectures them that men are born into Nirvana and then forget what they had, then turns off.
That's what the woman was about. She was a full grown baby who had gone most of the way there, in being able to forget about her situation, and flaunt the rules.
The technician returns home and realizes that the simplest machines have zen. He repairs the robot dog because it is also the Buddha.

How far this is from the Biblical account!
Babies are born needy, sinful, selfish, and demanding. I know. The robot is free of passions, but this is why it's useless, and far from God.
Our passions and needs, our weaknesses are given to us for their fulfillment. We feel thirst that God may satisfy it with water. We feel tired that God may give us sleep. We are fallen that we may receive from Him grace. Our wants and desires are the occasion for developing a thankful heart, which is what God wants out of us. We feel the brokenness of this world and it's failure so that we may long for heaven, so that we may receive it and be thankful.
And humans have a worth born out of being created in God's image and redeemed by the blood of the savior which far transcends the value of a machine programmed to feel needs. We are intrinsically valuable because we were so made.
Great movie, terrible implications. Great for getting you to think, even if it's about bad theology.


David said...

You understood that movie way more than I did. ha ha

Phil said...

Did you find that movie on your own too? I'm becoming something of a movie snob. I can't tell if I'm getting older and wiser, or most of the new stuff is produced by morons.
I loved that second short though. Absolutely guts buddhism. Thought the tech being a robot himself and missing nirvana was a nice twist.


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