On my flight home from Indonesia – actually on the third flight of my trip home from Indonesia – I finally watched the movie “Her”.
If you haven’t seen it, the premise is that lonely guy Theodore (played by Joaquin Phoenix) buys a new artificial intelligence operating system which is named Samantha. The system quickly becomes his friend and lover and gains the chacteristics and emotions of a real person. But it gets complicated – for Theodore and for Samantha.
The real problem for Samantha is that she isn’t sure whether the feelings she has are real or simply good programming. The film is an interesting, low-key sci-fi on what it means to be human.
Stick with me here.
This is about solo travel.
Solo travel and time to be real – or somewhat.
“Are these feelings real or are they just programming?”
This is Samantha’s exact question in the film. Do we not all wonder such things on occasion?
Do we not wonder whether we really love this or that or whether it’s just that we’re supposed to. Do we not wonder whether we are doing what we really want or whether we’re doing the bidding of dozens of people through thousands of small acts of direction we’ve received throughout our life?
It’s a bit of that nurture/nature question. Is this me or the me that I’ve been nurtured (or, for Samantha, programmed) to be?
Solo travel is a rare opportunity to (somewhat) disentangle yourself from the influences and expectations of your everyday life. It’s an opportunity to follow your own rhythm and interests. To sit quietly and discover whether your feelings for a piece of art, a hike, music, a destination, an experience of any kind, are real. To discover (as I’ve said before), who you are when no one is looking.
I thought all this when I heard “Are these feelings real or are they just programming?” in the movie “Her”.