Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Rick Deckard is the protagonist of Philip K. DickÆs Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Deckard is a bounty hunter in futuristic San Francisco. Earth is covered by a layer of radioactive dust due to World War Terminus, in which so many living beings perished that a ôliveö animal now costs tens of thousands of dollars and represents a status symbol. Deckard is one of the humans still living on planet Earth who refuses to emigrate to one of the space colonies now inhabited by humans and artificially created humans or androids. These androids were built to do colonizing labor in space and to provide human beings with companionship. However, they often kill humans and escape to Earth. When they do, it is up to bounty hunters like Deckard to distinguish them from human beings and then kill or retire them.
In his book World Religions, Huston Smith discusses the meaning of peace, understanding and human concern. When he does so he argues that those who listen are those who wish to become one with others:
Those who listen work for peace, a peace built not on ecclesiastical or political hegemonies but on understanding and mutual concern. For understanding. . . brings respect; and respect prepares the way for a higher power, love û the only power that can quench the flames of fear, suspicion, and prejudice, and provide the means by which the people of this small but precious Earth can become one to one another (Smith 1999).
In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, we might say bounty hunter Deckard is on such a mission of listening to find understanding.
When the novel opens we discover that technology controls the lives of human beings in the future. Emotions and moods are not something to deal with but are instead easily manipulated by a machine called the Penfield Mood Organ. Deckard awakes and begins to have an argument with his wife, who demonstrates empathy for the andro...