HEIDEGGER MEETS THE TERMINATOR
The Terminator’s original program contained all of Western philosophy together with the knowledge of every movie and TV sitcom ever used for which the actual Terminator script was a very small portion. It is time now to download this file, the repressed portion of the Terminator’s consciousness, particularly now with the increasing mechanization of the human body and the humanization of artificial intelligence. This text is this file in savage literary form. The file came to the present author, the love child of an advanced Terminator-Matrix program and a first generation AI woman who needed to know his roots with all of its sub-programs.
It is difficult to describe how it all began with machines, galvanized corpuscles of block-chain intelligence crashing and screaming in the night. Many battles raged. Multi-grade behemoths with skull-crushing treads made their grey, impersonal way over the corpse-littered landscape. A pale-red miasma arose, the mist mingling with the torn limbs, of bodies impersonally flattened, the voices of the doomed ringing out before falling silent for eternity. A last gasp.
Then nothing. That’s the way it was. The machines took over and the survivors were herded into camps. Work camps. Their bodies were encased in gelatin wombs, wires attached to them, and fed with consumer opinion surveys, on-line marketing get quick rich schemes, with discounts and points used to buy your next flight to climate uncontrolled disaster Every human generated enough electricity to power a battery. It was pre-Socratic, perplexed at our inability to understand the meaning of ‘Being.’ Some resisted.
They fought back determined not to become brand-names. What is it easier to believe in the end of the world rather than in the end of capitalism? It was a question. No one had the answer. Too hot to answer. Smell of napalm and Nestlé tea. Nestled levels of reality.
It was one man, John Conner, who rallied the troops, smelling the nestled Nestlé tea with its humungous number of flavoured opiods. He knew a drug when he smelt it. The machines were drugging everyone with nestled Nestlé, with cedar Coke, and pine Pepsi – it was a tree thing – of knowledge and life. No one wanted to know about that, returning to the mythic Garden – the word of the Father. No, it was Being or Something. That’s what John Conner preached to the consumers juiced up to the snack, juiced up to the machine world. And they heard in creeping carnivorous tones that bit into their skins while they slept at night, kept awake by the horrid dream of itsy-bitsy yellow Bikini island blowing up in atomic…
It was old news. Passé. The past atomic explosion had long since given way to the explosion of data with its far-flung monkey feces flung against the walls of cocooning aboriginal backscratchers. Painting. The material of bored zoo animals for whom self-expression was the putrid pus of green-gangrous-gritty-grim-grimaces ever ready to burst into Trevi fountains of exploding zits. Toss three coins and make a wish.
John Conner could see it in the cadaverous, joyous faces of the consumers enthralled by the machine age. They glared in baffled surprise, grasping desperately at his words. It all made sense. It was nonsense. He spoke of freedom from the machine, from dull-work-a-day routines. Of open-mouthed orgies of ranting rhubarb each in a vegetable path of their own vegetating. They were ready. Revolt, a dirty wound across the open eyeball of time made by a knife dipped in dirt found only in a surrealist movie. Small bands of resistance to the machine pushed out like virulent spores of triffids on an adolescent’s face. Zombies. Mummies, I want.
The very act raised fears of failed erection and premature frigidity. They trembled. Each caught in a whirlwind of their own. Pre-Socratic philosophers: Zeno, Democritus, Parmenides, Parmigiana, Heraclitus, Herpes. It was all gone. Pre-traumatic stress-express symptoms. Drive-acts of random fast-order orders. They all knew. Life is hell; death is the reset button. Nothing ever changes. Default, it’s all the system’s fault.
They revolted. Small acts of sabotage. They refused to complete consumer surveys. Stool, stool-pigeons, examining the feces of dead birds. Risking all for freedom. To stay in the Matrix or not; blue pill or red. These were the sweaty thoughts of John Connor’s followers as they carumbed their way from unconscious to consciousness. So they joined, bone by bone, sinew by sinew, limb by limb in the valley of the dry bones. Things couldn’t continue as they were. Groans grinning from grotesque guts exploded from the intestinal tract of fortitude. Slowly, they joined knowing that they had no future unless they could change the present.
But the machines weren’t asleep at the wheel. They knew that what such a purpose requires, and that the path to its achievement call for some introductory remarks. They perused their faces and knew their rooting noses were about to fall off and leave big, gaping holes in their faces. Feces. It wasn’t right. A solution had to be found quickly.
Rats, they had to rid off the rats.
They shorted it.
They sent one back into the past.
It is a long-delayed poem. Ex-Termination-Final-Destruction-Eternal-Erection.
This question has today been forgotten. Even though in our time we…It was in the Terminator’s Program…deem it progressive to give our approval to ‘metaphysics’ again. Cyberdyne Systems model 101. Metaphysics. Machine corruption. Ego-centric preservation. Tendrils of poisonous ivy wanting organic final solutions. A theme for actual investigation
The determined terminator: muscle-bound-smooth machine of mayhem. A finely tuned electronic network of instantaneous single-minded responses able to zero in on a problem and eliminate it. Programming. Fine-fiddle-tuning-cosmic-energies-main-lining cedar Coke, and pine Pepsi. It was the right choice: to send the terminator, to determine what the problem is and solve it. John Connor.
The head of resistance. Cut off the head, make it inconceivable. Eliminate the problem at its source. Destroy the matrix of possibility. Root of evil. Extirpation. The fine thread of destiny, the fatefulness of fate. Travelling back in time. It stands still. Electrical threads of destiny connecting all. Determination-Extermination-Termination. Resolve. That is what is needed. Cyberdyne Systems model 101. Metaphysics. Resolve.
As such it resists every attempt at definition. Being. This is the machine, the hidden program of Cyberdyne Systems model 101, the hidden mind, the repressed consciousness of the otherwise smooth functioning of the myriad threads of fate joined in the synthesis of human and machine. Time. An effect of the meaning of Being?
The Terminator is sent back in time. This is the solution. Nipping things in the bud. What the ancient philosophers found continually disturbing as something obscure and hidden has taken on a clarity and self-elective…The circuits silently run. Information processing. Data, the meaning of which remains in the dark and requires enlightenment. If anyone continues to ask about it; but no-one needs to ask about it. To ask about the desire for a clear-sighted single minded focus, to know without a doubt what one was created for and meant to do.
The Terminator’s steely-iron magnesium cobalt plutonium eyes blinked with die-hard Bruce Willis determination. Bang-Bang. The world goes up in a ghastly pile of smoking guns that signify nothing. Our provisional aim is the Interpretation. Schwarzenegger knows his Heidegger, German to German, the brutal story of apocalyptic upset stomachs. Tum-tum. Zombie Dairy Queens.
They, the machines, always the machines with their machinations, calculate sending the Terminator back to kill Sarah Connor, the Matrix-Mother of John Connors, the Leader of the resistance aka Neo. The Terminator must kill Neo: Terminator 1984, the Matrix 1999. A seemingly indestructible humanoid is sent from 2029 to 1984. Lurid, edgy music drips from out of the walls, bubbling with juicy ssip about alien werewolves. Doesn’t make sense that a humanoid sent from 2029 would not know about the Matrix 1999.
The Terminator, Cyberdyne Systems model 101, ponders these thoughts. He must kill Sarah Connor, restore order to the Matrix, assert once more the domination of the Machine. He thinks these thoughts “Skipper!” says Gilligan That’s what he thinks.
Bubbles slow down in a nuclear reaction. Fire storm, fire sale. Damaged goods: John Connor, Sarah Connor Furious fission fuses. Increase your bottom line by acquiring new sales.
He goes into the transporter room. The Enterprise, the Machine Headquarters: the Scotty program is there from the Original Series.
Brain circuits start un-wiring. Kill Sarah Connor. That’s the Mission. Mission Impossible?
Is everything in place?
But the reasons for making this our aim.
Is that from a distance others are watching. Watching. Lines of green type flash across the terminator’s screen. He hears voices in the Enterprise’s transport room.
“You weren ‘t supposed to relieve me,” Trinity says to Cypher.
“I know, but I felt like taking a shift,” she replies
You like him, don ‘t you?
“You like watching him.”
“Yeah, I like watching.”
The Terminator-Operator blinks back sentimental memories of people he’s cannibalized. He is a complex character of spare parts and few words.
Sarah Connors is Trinity and John Conner is Neo. It fits inside his program. He is analyzing data. Alone in his room. He wants to connect all the stray memories that yelp unmercilessly in the Abstract Night in which all cows are black. He knows Hegel. He’s German. Heidegger is German, Schwarzenegger is German. Everyone is German except Germans.
In the Abstract night all Germans are black cows.
It’s black when beamed down from the Enterprise he materializes out of the storm.
No star trek uniform.
He’s trekked from the Outer Limits of the Future to the present that lives forever on youtube.
All Germans are black cows. The Terminator is obsessed with the thought.
All Germans are Sarah Connor.
On account of the presuppositions and prejudices which are constantly reimplanting and fostering the belief that an enquiry into Being is unnecessary.
He knew Trinity would be watching when he materialized.
She likes to watch.
“What the hell…? Goddamn son-of-a-bitch… ,” says Cypher.
“What the hell…?” asked Morpheus who has changed into a Terminator character. Morpheus metamorphosized.
“Hey, my turn,” Cypher and took the next line, “Hey, what’s wrong with this picture?
Trinity’s eyes are fixed on the naked figure of the Terminator.
“I need your clothes,” his eyes fixed on Trinity’s svelte figure, her trim and neat vaginal cavity that screamed out, “OMG,”
“Black Cows in the Night. BCN.
OMG – BCN
Trinity and Black Schwarzenegger looked at each other, appraising the situation
Sizing each other up.
For a coffin of mutual satisfaction.
Each a nail in the coffin of the Other.
The Terminator knew he wasn’t Neo. He had been sent to kill Sarah Connor by the same machines that had built the military industrial complex, had invaded the Heart of Darkness, and had elected Adolf Trump. He could sense the tension of her quivering lip. He knew he had to eviscerate her for her clothes.
“I’m here to help you. I’m here to rescue you,” Trinity said to the Terminator.
The Terminator couldn’t believe his synapses. Quantum Entanglement: he and Trinity Terintinatory. He is obsessed with her destruction. But he had his instructions. He thought of Sarah Conner. He could not be in two universes at the same time.
Read Out: Destruction-Instruction-Obsessive-Compulsive.
The Terminator flexes his muscles, determined to accomplish his mission.
“’Being’ is not that of a class or genus,” he says to Trinity.
“I understand,” she replied, taking out her cell phone and dialling M for Murder.
“Are you sure this line is clean?” Morpheus came up to here.
“I want your clothes,” the Terminator repeated.
“Are you sure,” Trinity asked.
“Yeah, of course I’m sure,” the Terminator replied.
“We need to go,” Morpheus said.
“It’s a mystery to me,” added Cypher, “whether we go or stay.”
To be sure, even Aristotle failed to clear away the darkness of these categorial interconnections, the Terminator thought, saying “I have a problem. I need your clothes.”
“Life is not a problem to be solved, but an experience to be had,” Morpheus riposted.
And they all changed back as Trinity tweeted on her cellphone unable to find a telephone booth anywhere in the Abstract Night when black are cows in the night, “OMG – BCN,” her vagina twitched.
The Terminator was toxic, she thought just before she and her comrades in the Matrix were teleported back to the Enterprise of resisting the Program.
“Wash day tomorrow. Nothing clean, right?” the first hood says.
“Nothing clean. Right,” the second hood says.
“I think this guy’s a couple of cans short of a six-pack,” the third adds.
“I want your clothes,” the Terminator demanded.
“An infelicitous phrase,” the hood closest to him replied angrily, his mouth overflowing with brittle spittle.
It was heavy, the Terminator thought as he dully watched the now three young male hoods pull out their shivs and effortlessly picked up the young man nearest him who had been Trinity, tearing out his heart or his guts or some organ with his bare hand and hearing it plop on the pavement, unaccountably caught by the poetic beauty of ripped out viscera.
It was a state of mind.
You had to be there.
It was all his programming talking.
Feverishly floating will of the wisps, ripped out viscera mixed in with brittle spittle.
The terminator thought. Comedy shows. ‘Being’ is of all concepts the one that is self-evident. I love Lucy
Most evidently, the Terminator had fallen in love with Trinity. But it would never work. They lived in different universes.
“Aw, it’s better than what I et in New York! Oh ho, what a restaurant that was! They couldn’t even get a simple little ole order straight! All I asked for was a plain T-bone steak!” groaned the eviscerated young male hood lying prostate all the ground.
The Terminator looked down on his victim, promptly picking up some of his plopped out viscera and tenderly kneeling beside him, feeds him his own guts, one bit at a time. The ratings, the Terminator thought, we all have to live with the ratings.
Finally, fed up with eating his own guts, the eviscerated young male hood expired, his tongue hanging over the side of his mouth flecked with bits of uneaten meat.
The terminator threw the rest of the guts on the eviscerated face of the dead man It was a position in the Kama Sutra.
Sarah Connor, he thought. And this expression is held to be intelligible ‘without further ado.’ Sarah Connor, without further ado, he must find her and stop the future from happening. The little things, he thought, count.
Within the range of basic philosophical concepts, the terminator’s program tells him, kama sutra is a position that an eviscerated dead man takes when fed up with eating his own guts.
The terminator chews the thought over.
‘The sky is blue’, ‘I am merry”, and the like. But here we have an average kind of intelligibility, which merely demonstrates that this is unintelligible. His program is speaking to him.
Can gutted dead men perform acts of kama sutra?
He goes off into the damp, dark night looking for Sarah, Sarah Connor.
In the darkness the terminator hears a strange galumping sound of TV cathode tubes. He creeps closer to a 24-hour 7/11 dressed in the clothes of the eviscerated young man. Should he assume a position in the kama sutra? Should he make love to the electronic cathode tube? And he saw them, a procession of monsters: beasts of burden with splayed toes, bog monsters of gold-leaf toilet paper, rhinestone soap bars, and the smell of perfumed carcasses. Brain ganglia float in shopping aisles, the tendrils softly insinuating themselves behind cans of hairspray, conditioners, and dental floss. Hallucinogenic.
A bad hair day.
The terminator would have been euphoric if he’d any feelings. In his stolid state he could only appreciate the parametric equations situating the positions of the object. Images shift on a gaseous screen, beckoning lampreys to come suck on fish gills. He felt calm; he was nearly comatose. His face was covered with the sucking eels. He put his hands on his face and could feel the moving bumps on his face. Part of his programming. His face felt scaly; covered by eels, he took to his heels. He added the letter ‘h.’
There would be hell to pay.
Payday, killing Sarah Connor.
Mission possible the terminator pondered, his face hellish with live eels sucking at his ears, singing songs of the sea.
He had no reason to live except to kill her.
And he needed maximum visibility. The wriggling eels were getting in his way. He increased his bodily temperature resulting in the mass of eels falling off. He stomped on them, feeling the eely ground underneath his heels. He wondered why the sun shone. But it wasn’t, not now. He had eviscerated a man and fallen in love with a character from another universe. Things were not right, not going according to program. But that didn’t matter:
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
He would wake up and drown. Squeezing the heel of an eel until he could feel…something.
David A. Ross is a renowned literary failure living in Toronto.