Okay, this is not the most in-depth article, but I couldn’t help but think of some of our discussions, and some of your papers, on Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.
Here are some quotes:
It’s hard to say exactly when the idea of a second self came into play. Presumably the recognition of a soul appeared hand-in-hand with human consciousness, and it was probably voiced when we had language to put the idea of a soul into words. That would place the time frame for a soul around 200,000 years ago, when humans experienced a cultural explosion which they expressed in art, clothing, and evidence of religion.
It might also be an evolutionary strategy that takes us away from the anxieties of self-consciousness. Once fully modern humans knew they could die, it probably made sense to pretend that no one really died but that some part of us lived on into the cosmos.
The one question we didn’t quite get to as much as I would have liked to, is the place of death, mortality, in our reckoning of what counts as “the human.”
Further, if we imagine that cultures often have myths–truths, allegories, full-truths, and half-truths–that reflect the human predicaments of their times, how might we interpret one of the most haunting notions donors are concerned with: their fear that completion doesn’t come after the fourth donation. What is the meaning of that horror to Ishiguro’s novel?