I, Robot: You Gotta Have Heart

By Richard Curran Trussel



1. In the Director’s Commentary on the DVD, Director Alex Proyas and Head Writer Jeff Vintar discuss a back story that Susan’s trauma was likely rape.

2. Beyond the question of whether the glass is half full or half empty lies over 200 years of post-Kantian philosophical insight which recognizes that in some sense the mind actively (though for the most unconsciously) structures and organizes its sense perceptions that become our conscious experience of the world. Philosophers, sociologists, and psychologists argue over how much of our experience is a construct of the mind and whether objective knowledge of the world is even possible.

3. See Philip Clayton, “Neuroscience, the Human Person, and God,” in Bridging Science and Religion, edited by Ted Peters and Gaymon Bennett, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003, pp. 107-120.

4. Thanks to my PHI 214 student (Spring 05) Ashley McPhee for alerting me to this parallel.

5. Keiji Nishitani, “What is Religion,” Religion and Nothingness, translated by Jan Van Bragt (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982). Excerpted in Introduction to Philosophy, Robert Solomon, 6th Edition, Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1997, pp. 299-301.

6. Sonny’s identification with Christ is made in a dialog between Susan and Spooner, when Susan says, “A robot could no more kill than a human walking on water.” Spooner replies, “Well, there was this guy. . .” For his part, Spooner gets Susan’s confession in two exclamations. When the detective slams a metal stool against the safety glass of Lanning’s office, she cries out, “What in God’s name!” (The same phrase she uses when she discovers Sonny’s second heart-processing center.) And when she detects Spooner’s robotic reconstruction, she exclaims in childlike wonder, “Oh, my God!” These are the only instances she utters these phrases.

7. “Who do men say the Son of man is? . . . But who do you say that I am?” See Peter’s Confession in Matthew 16:13-23; Mark 8:27-33; Luke 9:18-22.

8. For a summary of the parable of the poisoned arrow, see the third paragraph at http://www.mtfreethinkers.org/essays_stories/philosophy/Buddhist_philosophy_of_mind.html From the Majjhima Nikaya 63: Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta (The Shorter Instructions to Malunkya). Also, an East Asian motif appears in the opening scene introducing Spooner in his apartment. A samurai sword display is shown not once but twice, evoking warrior virtues of honor, valor and self sacrifice, all part of the bushido code as spiritual path.

9. Debora K. Shuger, “The Philosophical Foundations of Sacred Rhetoric,” Religion and Emotion, edited by John Corrigan, New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 121. ee also Editor Corrigan’s valuable “Introduction: Emotions Research and the Academic Study of Religion,” pp. 3-31.

10. Director Alex Proyas speaks of a more detailed conversation deleted between Lanning and Spooner at the derelict place about Sonny and why emotion must override logic in the DVD Director’s Commentary.

11. Steven M. Parish, “The Sacred Mind: Newar Cultural Representations of Mental Life and the Production of Moral Consciousness,” Religion and Emotion, edited by John Corrigan, New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 151.

12. Quoted by Michael J. Brabazon from Jung’s Collected Works, vol 18, par 1610. See Brabazon’s “Carl Jung and the Trinitarian Self” Quodlibet Journal: Volume 4 Number 2-3, Summer 2002. http://www.quodlibet.net/brabazon-jung.shtml Bradbazon summarizes and critiques Jung’s views on trinity and quaternity, arguing that Jung was inconsistent. The mythic record as well as Jung’s own dream work establish triple formulations as viable symbols of the God-Self archetype.

13. Thus Mary, in a subordinate role to Christ, had a “part with him in the redemption of the human race.” (8) She is, therefore, called by the Church the “the co-operatrix in man's redemption,” (9) “our co-redemptor.”(10) For at the cross, Mary triumphed “utterly over the ancient serpent.”(11) From “Hail, Mary, Co-Redeemer?” by James G. McCarthy, http://www.gnfc.org/coredeem.html retrieved 3/23/05. As Adam and Eve were the first humans who sinned, Christ is the New Adam and Mary the New Eve free from sin’s grip. For a graphic portrayal of the Divine Quaternity which includes the feminine, see the miniature painting from the 15th-century French Book of Hours showing Mary seated with the Holy Trinity encircled in heaven in Man and His Symbols, Carl G. Jung, NY: Doubleday, 1964, p. 226.

14. See Luke 22:54-71; John 18:12-28 for Jesus before Caiaphas.

15. David Stewart, Exploring the Philosophy of Religion, 5th Edition, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2001, p.250. Original Source Will James, “The Will to Believe,” The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy, New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1910, pp. 17-30.

16. “Human emotions—love, hate, sadness, envy, ambition, and the like—pertain to the will . . . For what is the will if not the fount of the affections? And why do we not use the word ‘heart’ instead of ‘will’ . . . For since God judges hearts, the heart must be the highest and most powerful part of man.”

--Reformation theologian Philipp Melanchthon, quoted by Debora K. Shugar, “The Philosophical Foundations of Sacred Rhetoric,” Religion and Emotion, edited by John Corrigan, New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 121.

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