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The Boston Globe



Exploring mortality in ‘Continue?9876543210’

The ending of the classic 1982 sci-fi film “Blade Runner” offers up a memorable concept: a robot’s fear of death. Faced with his imminent demise, rain battering his blood-soaked face, the fugitive “replicant” Roy Batty tells Harrison Ford, “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.”

The scene works because Batty’s existential crisis, of course, mirrors our own. We humans want to believe that our souls will exist after our deaths, but how many of us are completely positive? In our darkest moments we worry, like Batty, that the experiences that make us who we are will one day dissipate into nothingness.

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