Casual observations about Self/less

. 2 min read

So I watched the movie Self/less from 2015. Because, you know, the synopsis sounded interesting. And because I thought the experience could be thought-provoking. And because Ben Kingsley is a good actor. Here's what I learned:

  1. The movie is basically Get Out, and
  2. Alzheimer's isn't a disease of the brain, but of the mind.

Self/less is a movie about a multi-billionaire man who, not wanting to die from cancer, buys himself a new body into which his consciousness is transferred. He's told the new body is the result of genetic engineering, an empty vessel, but realizes soon after the transfer is made that the body has been inhabited before.

Now, in order to talk more of this movie, I must get into the events closer to the end of it, so a spoiler alert is in effect.

So one, the movie is basically Jordan Peele's Get Out from 2017. The mind or consciousness living in the new body isn't moved into the old body, so that the minds would switch places in the transfer, but "slides to the background" as I understood it - so that the old mind, the true owner of the body, is suppressed and silenced by medication. As long as the body keeps digesting a certain drug, the suppressed mind, along with its mental and muscle memories, doesn't surface, and the new owner of the body doesn't know there's someone else in the body as well. But if the drug is not regulargy taken, the new mind starts to slide back, and the old mind forth. And if you stop taking the drug altogether, sooner or later the new mind will be irreversibly gone and the old mind will take over permanently.

But where does the new mind then go?

It's still stuck in the body it doesn't belong in. In a way, it cannot die, either, as long as the body is alive. So what will its state be? Will it go to "the sunken place" as in Get Out? Will it fade into oblivion? What will happen to it during the body's lifetime, and after it?

Secondly - the mastermind of the whole transfer has made himself immortal, but couldn't make his wife so, because she had Alzheimer's. But isn't Alzheimer's a degradation of the brain, shown clearly in CT scans? Couldn't the tranfer precisely save her from the disease? The only logical conclusion is that in the movie at least, Alzheimer's is a disease of the mind, something immaterial, something that would be transferred with the consciousness into the new body and new brain and thus couldn't be left behind.

Well, I suppose movie makers can change the characteristics of diseases in movies. They have the liberty to do that. Besides, the movie was entertaining enough as it was.

I still prefer Get Out, though.