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"Maybe where you're from all the children play walk through the walls. I never learned it."
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March 02 2008

"Dollhouse is going to be an awesome show". More comments from producers Craft and Fain regarding Joss and Eliza's new show.

I can sum up Dollhouse in a few words: it's The Matrix meets The Bourne Identity. Or as somebody else said here on another thread; "The usual Joss hodgepodge", which made me laugh out loud. He should use that terminology in the press calls.

I have a Dollhouse story, also. Something which I've been debating in my mind has been why would somebody volunteer themselves as an Active. I'm not having the best personal time at the moment. I've tried various things in my life, from writing to music, all that kind of thing. I suck at them. I've tried my hand at a career in IT; I suck at it. I've tried my hand at family; they're gone. I'm tired and weary that I struggle to connect to people in a meaningful way, and lack talent. I actually got up this morning and said 'I'd put myself in The Dollhouse'. And I meant it. I'd love to be used, and be knowledgeable. I'm not sure what that means. Possibly that I'm me.
((Hugs gossi)) It will get better, it always does, eventually. And a new Joss show on the horizon definitely equals some kind of better.
Damn, than was a lame attempt at sounding more OT :_)

As for the (general) question "why would someone volunteer themselves as an active", I trust Joss to provide us with a reason to believe.
(That was better) ;-)
Hang in there gossi man, whatever it is you'll find it. With something like writing though, as someone clever said, you need to write a million words of rubbish before you get to the good stuff so maybe stick at it ?

(and it's also worth remembering that a lot of people, by definition, are only average or below at what they do, maybe the key is to find something you can enjoy even without earning the next Nobel Prize at it ? Follow your bliss as they say ;)

Re: why do it ? I guess it's sort of suicide with benefits. If you just want to be ended but, instead of wondering about an afterlife, you want a guarantee that you'll continue on in some form then becoming a doll is about the best option. Or if you can sign up for a set period and there's a large payout involved then you may have folk that are so desperate for cash they choose to do it (so there could be a kind of 'Drive' style mix of reasons for doing it).

(which opens up the possibility of "lifers", kind of like the guys that went back to Vietnam time and again because it was the only place they felt like they fit any more)
Gossi, stay in there - you've provided some great support of the fandom - I hope the re-structuring of your life will help and you have friends world-wide!

back to the Dollhouse, I'm (more than) a little concerned that this show will re-use Buffy/Angel themes/actors/producers/storylines(within the 'verse) - I hope that I'm wrong, but I'm in the minority who didn't feel like I was in the demographic for watching Buffy/Angel and didn't really enjoy watching (I'm also the minority who enjoyed the Original Buffy Movie for what it was!)

I put my faith in Joss - "In Joss, we Trust" (or someday there may be a metal spike under my chair when I least expect it ;-) )

Here's to hoping for the future (everyones)
Hang in there, gossi.
Ah, now it's getting interesting, in a world where people sell their kidneys and what not to get money for their families, I'd suspect there would be no shortages of volunteers for 'actives', if the money would be good enough of course, but is it part of the deal that the original personality is stored somewhere and restored at the end of the contract ?
Or even better what if the payment would not be money but some new 'special' skill(s) ?

Looking forward to what the writers will be doing with this, lots of different directions to go.

[ edited by jpr on 2008-03-02 15:27 ]
Hey gossi, hang in there. All things are better with DVD 'reruns' - a little Buffy a day keeps the psych nurses away... :-)

I've actually been (mentally) pegging Dollhouse as Pretender meets Alias. Really hoping more for 'gestalt' than 'hodgepodge'...
I hope one of the questions asked is.. is it really the same person from someone who enters the Dollhouse to when they become active? Cause like Darla said, memories make us who we are. If the Active's memories are wiped clean after entering the Dollhouse are they really the same person at all who went in there? I've been trying to wrap my head around it and it's weird. Probably why I wouldn't go into the Dollhouse, because when I woke up I wouldn't be me, would I even exist? So many thought provoking questions! And the show hasn't even started yet!
Hang in there, gossi. Things will get better. :)

I'm as excited now as I was when I first heard about Buffy Season 8. The prospect of having new actors in the Whedonverse as well as getting to see old faces is something I'm truly looking forward to. Can't wait to find out when we're finally going to see the show!
gossi my dear, I totally get what you're saying. It is very tempting to just shut off and ignore the world at times. I've been there babe, and I get it. You're a lucky guy since you have so many folks here that love you (including me)!

A friend of mine who is auditioning has decided it's Bourne Identity meets Heroes meets Alias meets Joss. Sounds good to me!
I find myself disbelieving that you suck at the things you say you suck at, Gossi. Seriously. Lots of people who say they suck at writing and music (myself included) just haven't been able to realize their vision. The stories they write aren't as good as the stories they conceive, the songs they record don't sound as good as the ones in their heads.

The problem (as well as the solution) is that this is true of the most successful writers and musicians as well. U2, for example -- still trying to get it right. The discontent is an essential part of the art.

As for connecting with people, you just did. Carry on.

ETA: I wonder if Eliza can sing or play? It would be kind of cool if Echo could be programmed to be a musician.

See? On topic, I am.

[ edited by Pointy on 2008-03-02 16:45 ]
Sorry to hear you're down, gossi. But it will pass, so don't sell yourself into indentured servitude. You've certainly brought laughter into my life more than once, so I wish you all the best.

Maybe the dolls' lives look glamorous from the outside, maybe they don't know what they're getting into (after all, the description said "ostensibly" volunteer), or maybe it's the money/skills... Do we really have to wait for fall for this?
And don't forget, Gossi, that you still can use the world's biggest condoms.
gossi, you don't need to become an active to be a hilarious, interesting person who connects with people, 'cause you already are. You're just a bit lost right now, but I know you can find yoursel
"Intricate" is good. I like the non-pandering-to-an -audience sound of that word a lot. And I sincerely hope it will not be a cast of seeming thousands like Lost was (no matter how much I love the show) and sometimes still is.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2008-03-02 17:41 ]
gossi Dude, there's room in my boat for ya. Try being a 33-year-old female who has never been on a date. Ever. (And...go ahead and follow that to its logical conclusion.) Not to mention perpetually unemployed, with friends in several states that have never been actually physically met; the only friends.

Reading all these comments & theories reminds me of a story I wrote some years ago, called "Hide" - a race of aliens had come to Earth and "hired" people down on their luck to play a deadly game of hide & seek - survive the hide and you'd be rewarded (Food, clothing, shelter, etc). But you had to remain physically and mentally fit, because each time you survived a hide the next one got progressively harder.

So ok, we're wondering "Who would volunteer to be a 'doll' and why?" What about "Who would hire a 'doll'?" - are those people only looking for pleasure/a thrill? Or, using my second fic idea for an example, what if they're trying to right a personal wrong and lack the means to actually do it? (Rich dying father tries to reconnect w/estranged daughter.) And can the "dolls" be used for illegal activities, or does that void the contract? Is there a contract? Is there an exchange of money? Or does the person doing the hiring make some other kind of deal?

Shadow picks up an errant F and hands it to Dizzy - I believe you dropped this.
heh, thanks shadow. I was wondering where I left that.

I think anyone who has ever felt lost, cast aside, and/or unseen and unappreciated could understand wanting to become a doll. I certainly can relate to the desire to give up on this current life that doesn't seem to be leading anywhere and put it the hands of people that could make me interesting, talented, and wanted. And I think most everyone has felt this way at some point.
Ah, crystalsinger beat me to it... I'm definitely imagining the new show as a Jossian The Pretender meets Alias. (I have no doubt it will be an entirely new thing altogether, as his shows tend to be, but in the meantime, my little brain keeps dropping it into familiar territory.) By-the-by, I never got hooked on The Pretender, but when I did catch it, I thought it was super cool. Not perfect... but a pretty sweet premise. Kind of a Dollhouse meets Touched By an Angel meets Jekyll. (How's that for an endorsement?!?) But if you like this sort thing it's a worthy rental...

And gossi, Echoing (See! On-topic!) others above when I say I get that feeling, I'm so sorry you're feeling it, and that you've a boatload of support here. I'm particularly fond of the (as usual) sage counsel of Saje above, re: following your bliss and know that I'd be happier were I taking this important advice. From where I'm standing, you seem to have found a sweet-spot between talent and enjoyment in this space. Wishing you clarity and creativity on the path to making that your life's work.

In the meantime, consider dropping by the flickr Whedonesque group for a pint. It tends to be W-esque-informed but more off-topic socializing, with a side of lovely rallying-behind-friends. I can't begin to tell you how much the connections I've made over there have meant to me in tough times... and this from a girl who has no prior or other experience with online groups, forums, postings, etc. Recommend it to all-comers, and we'd love to see you there, gossi.
gossi, you're admired hugely round this place. For good reason, may I say.

I'm starting to get really rather excited about Dollhouse, though. Lots of interesting questions. Joss is good at those.
Hmm, to me Dollhouse sounds like The Island meets Paycheck... But Iím sure that in the end it will be, apart from maybe some tiny little similarities, something completely different (and better). ;-)
I feel like I have been in the Dollhouse with Joss' never ending flu. My memory gets wiped clean all the time. I cannot wait though for another trip down Whedon Lane.

An Gossi-I look forward to what you have to say. We are all in this together. I am right there with you...
The idea for "Dollhouse" sounds good. Just one question, and I'm sure this will be Eliza's dilemma...what if they decide to "retire" any of the Dolls for any reason? I suspect the Dollhouse is like a Roach Motel, if you know what I mean. In any case, this could be the hottest TV panel at Comic-Con
Do people take the dolls (who aren't being hired for espionage) out into the real world or do they enter a large complex with various rooms and scenarios (for some reason I'm thinking Minority Report meets S3 Angel episode Couplet with various fantasy rooms)? If that is the case, could people use the dolls for real fantasy scenarios such as robots, space exploration, vampire slayers... If the Dollhouse is illegal there must be the prospect of dolls being sold to people who fantasise about killing or hurting people... it could get pretty dark.
Stay cool, gossi. You're one of the people I always look forward to seeing on here. :)

I've actually been (mentally) pegging Dollhouse as Pretender meets Alias.

Meets Memento, too.

If the ideas I've been seeing here pan out, this show is going to ask a lot of questions about identity and what that means. It's like being in philosophy class all over again. ;)
I'm trying my hardest not to peg it as anything just yet, as I'm hoping to be completely surprised and enthralled and enchanted from the get-go. I'm really looking forward to that high-school "home on a Tuesday night at 8 every week for Whedon" feeling. It'll be so fantasic!
Saje has some excellent thoughts for you there, gossi. Being really good at something worthwhile is really just a some-time accidental by-product of doing something you love to do, need to do, and/or think is very worth the doing. The good way to "lose yourself". There is nothing especially praiseworthy about a talent a person is born with, unless they do something with what they've got, it's just like being pretty, or the like, no?

Of course, we all want to feel respected...but you are respected, you know.

I can see any number of reasons why a character might be tempted to volunteer for a dollhouse sort of thing- depending on how it was presented, and how strong the motivation for self-deception. Besides the promise of a reward big enough to do something really important, a person might want to experience being someone else entirely, because life is short, after all. I can see someone arguing that total abandonment of the self was a good thing, somehow. Or it might just seem an adventure .

[ edited by toast on 2008-03-02 21:53 ]
cookiepartier is me. Except not really; that'd be weird. I'm all British and sarcastic. Occasionally with a beard.

Anyway, I just wanted to apologise for managing to hijack the thread there. The Love Thread appears to have got a successor with The Rubbish Thread here. All well wishes and kicks in the arse have been read and taken aboard. Now, I must be off, there's a beard that needs growing!
I dislike the "Show A meeting Show B" categorizing. I don't think it does new concepts justice.

gossi-- it occurs to me that you might like being a research or reference librarian. Use, knowledge, and computer wisdom all in one. In the U.S., they are secretly superheroes who fight subversive privacy-invasion laws.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2008-03-02 22:11 ]
Word Sunfire Word
I dislike the "Show A meeting Show B" categorizing. I don't think it does new concepts justice.

Yeah, "The X-Files meets My So-Called Life" sucked. Oh, hang on, that was "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". Don't knock it until you've pitched something - then you'll be grateful of the shorthand.

it's Bourne Identity meets Heroes meets Alias meets Joss. Sounds good to me!

That's better!

Sarcasm aside, I really hope it's nothing like Heroes or Alias - I just don't see this concept embodying superhero myth at all.
Watching Bourne Identity right now. I've never seen it, so I had to see what all the fuss was about! If Dollhouse is anything like this...yay, I'm sold. Plus MATT DAMON.
Hey gossi, all what people said to you in this thread. AND:
Perseverance, spirit and courage.

I think the biggest difference between professional artists and "I suck at it" hobbyists is the above three. Success and failure doesn't come into the equation. Neither does talent I sometimes think. (errrm. sorry. Been down myself lately. Being an freelance musician sometimes sucks. You got to work with the weirdest people) What I mean is, if you think something is worth doing or fighting for, do it. It sounds very zen but sometimes the way is really the way: YOUR WAY.

And of course (to be back on topic) there's the big attraction to an actives role in the dollhouse: No responsibility for your actions.

But from what I gathered Eliza's role is a "rebel": I have this weird feeling that maybe those people are not really in the dollhouse of their own volition. Or if they are, they've been brought there through nefarious scheming.

I see no other way the word rebel/rebellion makes sense
well gossi, I'm sarcastic, usually with a beard, and *in* Britain at the moment, so if it's true that we are one and the same, now's the most likely time for it ;-)
Is one of you evil, skanky, and possibly gay?
"Itís a show about what it means to be human."

I love that. There is a book by a neurologist Oliver Sacks, which I also love, that questions the very same thing but from a neuropsychological perspective. In fact there's one chapter on a fellow with debilitating amnesia (it's not just a plot device!), both retro and anterograde (thus he cannot recall the past nor form new memories) in which the doctor questions his very soul: here he's concerned with the the 'inner narrative' that makes us human, and what it means to lose that, to be lost of self. To me it has pangs of Echo (or what little we know of her thus far)..

This narrative need, perhaps, is the clue to Mr Thompson's desperate tale-telling, his verbosity. Deprived of continuity, of a quiet, continuous, inner narrative, he is driven to a sort of narrational frenzy - hence his ceaseless tales, his confabulations, his mythomania. Unable to maintain a genuine narrative or continuity, unable to maintain a genuine inner world, he is driven to the proliferation of pseudo-narratives, in a pseudo-continuity, pseudo-worlds peopled by pseudo-people, phantoms.

...It is comic, but not just comic - it is terrible as well. For here is a man who, in some sense, is desperate, in a frenzy. The world keeps disappearing, losing meaning, vanishing - and he must seek meaning,
make meaning, in a desperate way, continually inventing, throwing bridges of meaning over abysses of meaninglessness, the chaos that yawns continually beneath him.

It's tempting to quote the whole damn thing but I'll spare you all - strongly recommended as a book in its own standing though, fascinating to read into the physical base of neurology (to me anyway) and what it means for the soul (for everyone, I imagine). The ideas aren't novel, though, and I'm thoroughly excited to see where Joss takes us through these characters: he understands humanity beyond all others.

Gossi, you connect. You're connected.

[ edited by embittx on 2008-03-03 04:41 ]
...been debating in my mind has been why would somebody volunteer themselves as an Active. I'm not having the best personal time at the moment. I've tried various things in my life, from writing to music, all that kind of thing. I suck at them. I've tried my hand at a career in IT; I suck at it. I've tried my hand at family; they're gone. I'm tired and weary that I struggle to connect to people in a meaningful way, and lack talent. I actually got up this morning and said 'I'd put myself in The Dollhouse'. And I meant it. I'd love to be used, and be knowledgeable. I'm not sure what that means. Possibly that I'm me..."

Amen to that, gossi...Amen to that. Definitely thought you were reading my mind when I was reading this, though I am a couple of steps behind on the path since I am in the middle of trying to be an IT person for the US' largest telecomm company, Verizon. May I take you on as my wisened master who has walked the path and now can teach young grasshoppers?


And to keep this post on-topic, I think that Joss has a chance to start asking questions about Very Big Ideas concerning the nature of identity, free will and empowerment with Dollhouse. Like gossi, I know I would love to be a Doll right it seems from the outside-looking-in perspective that probably caught Echo and her fellow Actives. With a deceptively simple choice, one can become everything a person dreams about being when they are little. Sports star...astronaut...award-winning thespian...mother/father and part of a loving family...imagination is the limit. And also the supposed slave master, I would expect :(
Watching Bourne Identity right now. I've never seen it, so I had to see what all the fuss was about!

The Bourne films together make one of the great film trilogies. But I also kinda hope there's only Bourne-esque elements in Dollhouse. I think the most intriguing angle of this new show is its possibility to be ANYTHING. So spies - cool, maybe. Action - sure, definitely. But I don't want it too easily pegged.
Yep, to those that say "The third film was just more of the same" I say "Betcha" ;). The three films are basically one story told over 3-4 years and 'Ultimatum' has one of the nicest "Wow" structural moments i've seen in a mainstream Hollywood film.

The thing that strikes me about 'Dollhouse' is, it is an action show. One week. Then the next week it's a romance. Then it's a mystery. Then ... The possibilities are pretty much endless so on one hand, each and every episode will be extremely easy to peg, on the other the show is in a category by itself.

With a deceptively simple choice, one can become everything a person dreams about being when they are little.

Guys, I empathise with your personal situations, we've all been there at some stage but it has to be said, this is NOT what a doll is. As an active you aren't achieving your dreams because you don't exist. This is not like Neo learning Kung-Fu this is a complete loss of [nearly] everything that makes you who you are. It's more like someone else fulfilling your dreams and even then only getting to enjoy it for a day or so before it's taken from them (they're wiped between each "mission").

Which raises the question of which is more fulfilling, the experience of doing something or the memory of having done it ?
Saje hit the nail right on the head with, essentially, what I was going to say. The person that initially came into the Dollhouse isn't the one doing all these things. It's a nameless, faceless shell, that periodically gets implanted with, and then relieved of, various fabricated personalities. The person that came in is, I assume, stored in a database of sorts (that is, if their original personalities are restored after some kind of previously negotiated time period).

I don't expect that these people would volunteer in order to fulfill dreams or for a thrilling experience, because as far as they know, all they experienced was some form of prolonged sleep.

Unless, of course, they are granted the memories of their assignments after being released. I don't think this would be the case, but it's a possibility, and would give merit to the "thrilling experience" theory of why one might sign up for induction into the Dollhouse.

Another possibility, is that they EXPECT the experience, thinking that they will be implanted with abilities, while still being themselves. A person, lacking complete knowledge of the Dollhouse operation, could believe that their memories will remain. That they themselves will be performing the actions, after the implementation of necessary skills and information.
Which raises the question of which is more fulfilling, the experience of doing something or the memory of having done it ?
Saje | March 03, 11:41 CET

The experience, no contest.
Definitely couldn't just let that one lie. ;-)
Here's an example to try to illustrate. I like the outdoors and have often sat around with friends reliving "great adventures" we've had. But the thing is "great adventures" in the [UK] outdoors are, at the time, very often wet, cold, generally uncomfortable and occasionally actively dangerous (it's not always like that, sometimes there're midges too ;).

I'm sort of cursed with the ability to always remember (roughly) what it was really like so I have this slight dissonance when we have our nostalgia sprees between my enjoyment of having done it and my memory of being pissed on in gale force winds for 24 hours straight in the Lake District ;).

(so sometimes I think it's the memory rather than the actual experience - in fact i've compared outdoors "adventures" to giving birth in that if you really remembered the feeling of doing it, you may never do it again ;)
I know what you mean Saje, I walked across the Cairngorns many years ago and while I can happily recall the high points of the week I am always aware at the back of my mind the effort of every single step up a steep hill while carrying a sixty pound rucksack. The fact that that was only a couple of hours out of a week makes it easy to minimise.
What if at the end of their contract the actives could have the highlights re implanted? Like Arnold in Total Recall they could have the happy memory of the exciting and glamorous missions, without the ones that involved torture and cruelty to small animals. Or climbing steep hills in the pouring rain (did I mention the rain?) carrying a sixty pound rucksack.
Can't relate to your "outdoor adventures" analogy, Saje and zz9. I live in Hawaii where outdoor adventures are at worst, sweaty and having the potential to wreck both knees and a foot on lava rock (now there's one case where I prefer the memory to the experience), but are mostly just glorious.;-)

And it occurs to me that it's a good thing Joss is probably hard at work at the keyboard, since we're already dissecting something that has yet to air so much as a trailer.
Well I guess you guys who aren't spoiler-phobic have been reading sides, so you know a lot more than I do.

[ edited by Shey on 2008-03-03 13:41 ]
Yeah but you guys probably have creepy crawlies etc. that can actually kill you Shey so y'know, swings and roundabouts ;).

(I haven't read the sides either, even scrolled very quickly past the quotes, while squinting, with one eye shut ;)

(did I mention the rain?)

Well you mentioned the Cairngorms zz9 so rain's kind of a given ;).

(one trip around Aviemore I was wading through knee deep snow one day and getting sunburnt the next. As they say of Scotland "If you don't like the weather, wait a few minutes" - hiking up there's a delicate balancing act between not being killed by Winter and not being driven mad by the dreaded Scottish midge ;)
But surely if you have the experience but not the memory you won't remember doing it so the experience is useless (for yourself. Obviously it's not useless if its saving peoples lives etc.)? And if you have the memory but not the experience you'll remember doing it so you will actually have the experience even if you physically didn't do it?

Ah but the experience matters at the time you experience it. I guess I mean memories of actual experiences too because as you say Leaf, if you have the memory then as far as you know, you've had the experience.

It relates to whether experiences have intrinsic worth or whether they're only cool because you know you experienced them. For instance, you might want to pass through the event horizon of a black hole (it's certainly one of the more exotic suicides ;) but a) you could never relate your experience to anyone else and b) you'd die quite quickly in the process - it'd still be an amazing experience but would it be amazing enough in and of itself ? Or if you've seen the flawed but beautiful 'Sunshine' then consider Kappa's experience at the end and, more importantly, what he said about it beforehand.
But the thing is "great adventures" in the [UK] outdoors are, at the time, very often wet, cold, generally uncomfortable and occasionally actively dangerous (it's not always like that, sometimes there're midges too ;).


At moments like that I always try to remember the words of my guru "an adventure is more than a pony ride in May sunshine."

Of course my guru is a short, fictional creature with hairy feet.
The experience, no contest.

Now I would say the opposite. Don't we construct ourselves out of our memories? I mean, if I don't remember it, it may as well have happened to someone else. It's like blindsight--if it's not in your consciousness, it's not really sight. Not that I think we should all just move into the Matrix or anything.

And the tendency for painful memories to dull is so important...who would ever have a second child?
It's like blindsight--if it's not in your consciousness, it's not really sight.

Except when it comes to not walking into stuff ;).

My hope is that the whole Volunteer angle is just propaganda from the Dollkeepers to reassure the public, whereas in fact the volunteering is more forced rehabilitation/ reprogramming/ social control of "unacceptables".

All that For-The-Greater-Good stuff.
Don't we construct ourselves out of our memories?

Not if we're sensible?

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind, by the way, is required viewing to debate in this topic. Well, okay, it's not really - but everybody should see it.
I saw Eternal Sunshine, but I've forgotten all the important stuff. Does that count?

By the way, didn't Philip K. Dick cover it first in "I Can Remember It for You Wholesale"?
I used to love 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' but we grew apart and the eventual break-up was so painful I ... What was I talking about ?

We're definitely mostly composed of our memories I reckon, in fact, if you see your brain as a sort of network then its current state must result from all its previous states (otherwise there's a disconnect so that "you" aren't you from one moment to the next) and those states are "caused" by a combination of what we remember and current experiences mediated through our genes (i.e. two people can experience exactly the same thing differently because of their different genetic predispositions) all feeding back in a big, weird jumbled loop.

(unless you believe in some sort of "essential self", like a soul which exists outside the physical realm, then all bets are off)
Dollhouse is my butt meets my couch.
Every week.
Just like clockwork.
Honestly in my life right now? Would LOVE to have information and skills just downloaded into my head, Matrix-style so that I don't have to go through or remember 2+ hour troubleshooting calls where I accidentally pooch a customer's equipment or spend 3 weeks of 9-hour days for job training where I have to be up at 5AM for a 7AM start time. Cuz for the same reason that Jim Carrey's character in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind decided to get his memories erased and Ah-nuld's character in Total Recall (and what is it about PKD tales that get turned into action shooters anyhow) supposedly goes in for a download of virtual holiday fun on Mars: cuz you are seemingly getting the cake and eating it too through gaining (or losing) all kinds of experiences without having to suffer (or remember) the consequences that teach said experiences.

Would imagine that such perspectives will be the supposed selling points for people to become Actives in the Dollverse, even if it turns out to be utter merde des vaches: life sucks and you wanna be something more without having to spend weeks/months/years training or going through school to be that Number One person? Sign up and you'll be doing kung fu beside Neo in no time. Been a government-sanctioned killing machine for years? Sign up and you can enrich a life through peaceful means from now on. Done something horrible and want to repent? Sign up and you'll be able to clear the slate in no time!
But it's kind of like... imagine right now, that *actually*, yesterday, you definitely went out and went skydiving, assassinated a country's president, AND romanced a significant other. You don't remember any of that at all. If nobody told you you did it, you wouldn't even think about it or know about it, it's not there in your mind. That's the "experience" you're getting. It'd end up being a wasted period of time in your life.

In fact, they could very well place the dolls back into a normal life scenario with their memories, and have the doll not even know what really went down for the past few years. It's like... not worth it to me because you don't have the memories of it, and so they don't affect the "sense of self" at all.
Exactly, I would be gone and I am all I really have in this world, no unremembered temporary set of skills or experiences is worth losing that (or the illusion of it at least ;). Joss' past fictions highlight the key point for me: after the initial decision (assuming it's voluntary) actives have no choice in what they do and without our capacity to choose, we are reduced.

Everything that happens to us contributes to our us-ness. Like the great 23rd century soldier and diplomat J T Kirk will have said "I want my pain, I need my pain" ;).

It sort of worries me that so many people find the idea of "not being" so attractive to be honest, sounds like a modern malaise.
Way late on this, but my assumption was that once you'd had the experience, you would retain the memory. Thus my "the experience, no contest".

Wish I'd come back earlier (I was too busy having experiences;-)), I'd have dived right into the "Eternal Sunshine" debate. (Would never, ever give up the memory of joy just to avoid the memory of pain).

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