RIP, Roy Batty

I’ve… seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those… moments will be lost… in time… like… tears… in rain. Time… to die.

Rutger Hauer, Roy Batty from Blade Runner, died last week.

Despite all the contributions that make Blade Runner a classic – the imaginative creation of LA of the future, the direction of Ridley Scott, the atmospheric music of Vangelis, the story of Philip K. Dick, the script of Hampton Fancher and David Webb Peoples, the acting of Harrison Ford, Sean Young, Rutger Hauer and others – I’d argue that it was the final words of Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty, that are primarily responsible for Blade Runner’s status.

Roy Batty’s words resonate because of everything that leads up to the moment on the roof – the parallel experience of Roy Batty and Deckard, the injured hands, the broken bodies, the loss of loved ones, the desperate scramble for life.  The words resonate, somewhere deep inside of us, in a way that is hard to articulate.

With a few brief words that appear nowhere else in the movie – Attack ships on fire, the shoulder of Orion, C-beams, Tannhäuser Gate – Roy Batty tells us of the uniqueness of his replicant experience, full of beauty, awe, richness and longing. Just like any other human being, unable to fully share with another, one’s experience  of the mystery of consciousness.

Then, with the next sentence ,  “All those… moments will be lost… in time… like… tears… in rain,” Roy Batty yokes his experience to our human experience of the universe, finite, yet infinite; unique, yet part of a multitude; universal, yet distinct.

Finally, with, “…Time to die”, Roy Batty accepts his fate, spares Deckard, and like a human, goes from Form to Emptiness. Like a human at the time of their passing, unable to control the transition. Something left behind, something going away.  Neither sufficient by itself, each part necessary, the whole greater than the parts.

Truly, “more human, than human.”

Thank you, Rutger Hauer/Roy Batty, your moments will never be lost in time, because you showed us what it means to be human!

Lessons from Nalin Dog Sharma

I didn’t grow up with a dog, so living with Nalin over the last two years is my (and our family’s) first experience with a dog. And over this time, I have learned some lessons from Nalin.

  • Love: When I (or someone else) come home, there is Nalin wagging his tail. He never fails to be demonstrative with his affection. If I don’t pet his ears, don’t scratch his chest, don’t stroke his fur, he will nuzzle me on my leg, boop me with his nose, as if to say, “I’m looking for some love from you.”
  • Patience: So many times, Nalin is ready, and I am not. To go out for a walk. For his food. Because he has to go about his business outside. I’ll tell him, “Wait,” and he will sit down until I’m ready. He does not bark, he does not run around like a crazed animal, he does not indicate he wants his way NOW. He sits there, trusting that I will do what he wants, waiting for me to get to it.
  • Acceptance: I see his belief in his human family. His automatic assent if I ask him to jump into the back of the SUV for a trip; he doesn’t run away inside, or pull away from the SUV, he’s ready for whatever comes next. It may be a trip to the park, to the groomer, or some errands that I’m running – no matter, he wants to be part of it.
  • Focus: In the morning, when we sit down to breakfast, he is sitting at the other end of the kitchen. There he is, on the ground, relaxed but fully alert, watching only me. Nothing else is important. He’s looking for a sign, any sign, even a raised eyebrow, that I may have a treat for him. If I make a gesture, he is right beside me with a wagging tail, ready for whatever I have to offer.
  • Joy: When we go to the park, Nalin knows where we are headed. He pulls on his leash with all his might, head down, panting, ready to run free. He knows what is coming next. And when he starts running, his ears flopping up and down, his body bouncing from sheer joy, he does it with full abandon, taking in the grass, other dogs, the bouncing ball, shouted instructions, his full presence in just that single moment.
  • Wonder: Knowing that I can communicate with another species is such a source of wonder. I can see him in all his facets – thinking, wondering, asking for affection, tired, playful, sleepy. Nalin reminds me of the mystery and wonder of life and living beings, of the shared ability to be aware of the world around us, despite our differing positions on the tree of life.

By his presence in our lives, Nalin has opened up a new world to me, and I am a better person for the experience!