Wednesday, 11 April 2018


Tonight, as I luxuriated in the refreshed familiarity of my bedroom, a thought occurred to me.  (You shouldn't find that surprising by the way - thoughts very often occur to me.)  That in turn led to another thought - see? It can be habit-forming - which was this:

Imagine we're living in a world where technology is more advanced that it currently is.  Imagine also that you're 14, and come home from school one day to find a forlorn-faced relative who informs you that your parents have just been killed in an accident.  Well, obviously you'd be devastated, and to those who have actually suffered such a tragedy, I hope you won't find the following scenario too disturbing.

Now imagine that some official comes to see you one day and informs you that, rather than commit you into care, two clones of your parents will be supplied to look after you and any siblings.  These clones look like your parents, talk like your parents, are capable of independent thought, and are practically indistinguishable from the real people they're cloned from.  In this way, the home environment with which you are so familiar can be maintained, thereby hopefully lessening the trauma of your parents' death.

Would this work for you?  It occurs to me that though this illusion of 'continuance' might be comforting to a degree, every so often you'd be reminded that, although these replacements fulfilled the role that your real parents had once served, they were mere duplicates, replicas, stand-ins - fakes even.  Sure, it would be great to have your life continue as before, but this couple were not the ones who had brought you into the world, looked after you, dried your tears as a child, etc., etc., - they were merely imitations.

Of course, the same scenario can be imagined for spouses and children, siblings and pets, but is this concept one that you feel drawn to, or do you reject it completely out of hand as something you'd never entertain if given the choice?  I must confess that the idea intrigues me, though I don't know if I'd go for such a scenario were it within the realms of possibility.

What gave rise to this bizarre idea?  Well, as I said, tonight, as I luxuriated in the refreshed familiarity of my bedroom, a thought occurred to me, which was this:

As regular readers will be aware, I've recently been replacing posters, pin-ups, pages and pictures with newer duplicates. The ones that now adorn my bedroom walls may appear the same as those they replaced, but they aren't the ones upon which I've daily gazed over the last 35-40 years of my life - they merely look like them (though newer, brighter, cleaner and whiter).

There's something comforting about retaining things that have accompanied you through a significant period of your life's journey;  they have silently seen and shared your joys and sorrows, heartaches and hopes, like old friends that have always been there for you.  It suddenly struck me tonight that these pictorial doppelgangers don't share the lenghty history of their predecessors - they only have the same ap-pearance, though not the same 'experience'.

I feel very guilty.  Though it's nice to have my room looking more colourful and less aged, I know that I'd never have replaced my parents with newer, younger duplicates when they began to look old and faded, so now wonder why I did so with my posters and pin-ups.  True, it's not an entirely equivalent comparison, but I still can't help but wonder at my heartlessness in dispensing with those loyal pictorial companions, many of which have accompanied me through nearly two-thirds of my life.  Like I said - I feel very guilty.

H'mm.  I think perhaps I shouldn't think so much.  It hurts.


Norman said...

Hi Kid
I remember in the early days of the Web when comic fans could be found online for the first time one dropped such a thought in my head. He said collecting his run of comics for the second time was not the same. He did not have the original comics he had loved back before he got rid of them. If anyone reading this knows any psychology principle behind this loss and replacement being inadequate I'd be interested. I suspect it's also the fact that the bereavement of loss has occurred and therefore we can't (won't?) have continuity and that leads to this new feeling of loss
Oh, and re the parents? Nope, that would be horribly weird if we knew they had died but then 'came back'...and imagine if they were abusive!
Hope you're keeping well chum

Kid said...

Actually, Norman, in that particular instance, I find myself thinking the very opposite. If I re-acquire a comic or toy many years after having first owned (and parted) from the original, the replacement, in some magical, mystical way, becomes the original in my mind. To me, it's as if I tucked it away somewhere, didn't see it for years, then rediscovered it again.

However, in the case of my posters, I still own the originals, but am taking them down and replacing them with newer duplicates. In some cases, I'm scanning them and printing out new copies, in others (such as covers and pin-ups from comics), I'm scanning spare copies I bought at the same time as the originals, though some are replacements I bought years later.

Obviously, it's much more difficult to view the replacement as the original, when I've just taken the original down from the wall. Now, if it was a replacement poster for one I'd had years ago, that would be a different thing for some strange reason.

Yeah, complicated, aren't I?

Tom Dulski said...

very interesting, I do know exactly how you feel with regards to replacing something with a newer version of it's self. There is a certain amount of guilt involved. as for the clones of your parents are they capable of emotion?

Kid said...

Now there's the thing, TD - are they or aren't they? I used the word 'clones', but whether they're 'grown' from DNA or are simply androids of some kind I never really settled on. Let's say that they're at least capable of behaving as if they show emotion, but the important thing, from the perspective of the children, is that they appear to be exactly like their parents. You can consider any and all options on the matter I suppose, in your deliberation of how you'd regard the situation.

TC said...

For me, having clones of the parents or any other family members would creep me out, and might be worse than simply having to accept the loss of the people.

But then, presumably, I would know that they were only facsimiles. It might work with a baby or with a child who was too young to understand the difference.

As for replacing things, the new object would not have the same sentimental value as the original. The Captain Action figure would not be the same one that I got for my eighth birthday, or the copy of Justice League #45 would not be the same one that I read while visiting my grandparents' house.

Kid said...

It's different for me, TC. The replacement somehow 'becomes' the original - as long as I don't still have the original and haven't had it for years. As for the parents scenario - how about, if many years after their deaths, you just wanted to re-create the family environment you'd known as a child. Would you be tempted to acquire clones/androids/replicants/synthezoids/whatever, just because you fancied having your 'parents' around again?

Oscar Dowson said...

Replacing stuff would be expensive, but I want it all back!

Kid said...

I've got a helluva lot of it back, OD, but still some way to go. Got the Buscema convention poster that was given away with Titans #1.

Colin Jones said...

I'd only want my original items back not a second-hand cast-off that had belonged to somebody else. But each to his own. All my stuff is long gone and that's that - I don't worry about it.

This morning I bought a bottle of Irn Bru, inspired by the previous post's comments. And my local Tesco sells haggis which I'm considering trying - och aye the noo !!

Kid said...

Well, CJ, I suppose I'd like my originals too, but as that's next to impossible, replacements are the only option. The way I look at it, my replacement copy of Whizzer & Chips #1 (for example) may have lain on the counter under the very one I purchased back in 1969. Regardless, it was certainly printed at the same time, on the same presses, and has survived down through the years to the present day. To my mind, that's as good as the original (in its absence) any day of the week.

Never tried haggis - sounds boggin'.

Lionel Hancock said...

What an interesting topic. Cloning people will no doubt come sometime in the distant future . Elvis will be on every street corner before you know it.

Kid said...

Selling 'The Big Issue' probably. (With free Elvis CD.)

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