It's been a while but since watching Prometheus and Alien: Covenant again, something new clicked for me with regards to interpreting the David story arc. What I love about Prometheus and what I was hoping we'd get more of in Covenant was the impact and meaning behind David. Sadly, Covenant focused a lot on the Alien and its creation by David, but there were some connections I think we can draw from which might give us clues to where the story will go next, if Fox continue Scott's progression.
Initially we all thought the Mural in Prometheus was somewhat of a blueprint for the Alien Xenomorph and although Covenant tried to insinuate that David created the "perfect organism", we can not deny the existence of this organism prior to David's creation. The Alien, I'll refer to as The Original, predates Mankind and David. It was on display in a temple on LV-223, a military Engineer installation.
What still escapes us is WHY was this on display?
Let's assume the The Original represented an ancient alien species - created by a higher being which predated the Engineers. I believe The Original strain of Xeno was a manipulation of life by those predecessors - a group of aliens who wished to align themselves with their God.
The Statue of David
The Statue of David was prevalent early on in Covenant. It is insinuated that David the Android based his name on the Biblical character David who the statue was crafted of.
David represents a hero from Biblical times. In the Bible, David (a man) faced off against Goliath (a giant) and killed him using wit and skill rather than brute force.
I suspect David (the A.I) based his name on the hero David because he believed he was an emulation of David's story - a robot who would need to destroy mankind, who are the giant beings ruling artificial intelligence at the time. David thought of himself as a crusader.
I theorize that the Mural in Prometheus was the Statue of David to the Engineers. The Original Alien represents an inferior species in stature, who bested their enemy (their God?) by using their natural abilities and skill. The Engineers likely aligned themselves to this Original being and based their own crusade on the Original's victory over their enemy.
In the Bible, David used a sling-shot to kill Goliath. A primitive weapon by our standards, yes, but I suspect the Engineers were attempting to utilize the Alien technology as their figurative sling-shot. Although, of course on a dramatically more technologically advanced scale.
David, having discovered this secret by the Engineers, I suspect, is attempting to take his own kind (A.I.) beyond the "first obstacle". By first obstacle I mean Mankind. The hierarchy of creation trickles down and the Engineers seem to be the next step. But what's above them?
I think David believes that artificial intelligence is the ultimatum for existence as we know it - a perpetual being who is not shackled by organic limitations. David knows that any organic being will be a threat to A.I. because it can never outlast or overcome A.I. So, I think David created the perfect organism as a tool, not a companion. A weapon to destroy all organic, sentient life in the Universe to create a safe haven for him and his infinite lifespan. Essentially, David wants to knock everyone else off the pyramid and reign supreme over all matter. He wants to be God - a supreme being, able to create life, control life, manipulate life, but be unaffected by its detrimental side effects.
Organic life is Goliath. The Alien is the sling-shot. David is David.
If you were able to follow all that... let me know what do you think!
After a few years of watching, thinking and reading on the Forum, I actually had a dream about it. Please bare with me: Please forgive if it strays OT:
With only watching the movies, it seems the Juggernaut on LV 426 from Alien was indeed ancient. It was headed to annihilate Earth to avenge the "Messiah" but crashed and went dormant. Weyland honed in on that signal and went to work while the Engineers had long ago went back to sleep......until they were awakened. The biblical references seem to all make sense, but what makes them really important is the time they were allegedly written. It occured to me that the Engineers were our creators- but the whole heaven/hell aspect was of our own making. They decided to destroy us because we set them off for what ever reason. Just one of many failed science projects of many that we have conducted.
Then I woke up and checked the Weather Channel!
But you know what, robots are not immortal. In the Alien series, Ash and Bishop "died", and even David himself after P. was as good as dead.
Organic life with genetic engineering could probably live for ever (especially if we think about them as flash and bone machines). Maybe even the engineers had the option to take that route, but did not take it as only cancer cell divide for ever, being thus immortal.
If you pretend to be a smart movie talking about various forms of Intelligence, this immortality argument is trite. As was thinking in BR49 that replicants having babies a problem, that was a solution as replicants intermingling with humans could produce something new ...
Why equate evil corporations (the metaphorical Goliath) with Humanity? Aren't there any anti-robot slavery activists? And what people who lost the rights to their DNA because they could not pay for a Walter model? They and their children become slaves to WY? Was Shaw (who received the most brutal punishment, more or less because she refused to give into the master mentality) equal to Weyland... Yet, David can only use and appreciate the Philistine's culture (That never happened in the Bible)...
Finally, using this comparison can only lead to a downfall when mee(a)ting a certain queen, which is very predictable.
It MUST lead to an eventual downfall- if this is supposed to be a tragedy. If it is by some mother or queen figure- all the more poetic.
dk Well RS, said that he at least he created a great villain in David, but here is the catch in tragedies heroes suffer downfalls not villains. There is nothing heroic in David.
David COULD have been an antihero- somewhat like the old Eastwood spaghetti westerns- but we have what we have. It begs the question who the hero could be....
dk No, he can't be as he rapes and murder innocents. Anti-heroes f***-up bad people (who deserve what they get).
you are right - David is a god, and he needs to, well, contain these aggressive monkeys pronto. Because they are desperate and need to be told different lullabies(life after death) to compensate their perishable status and thus placating their aggression. Everybody wants more life, huh? They grasp for resurrection, which is not engineered for them and they don't really have that many saving graces come to think of it - recall the monolgue by certain agent Smith in the Matrix - the idea is essentially that humanity is a virus.
What is more, these aggressive monkeys, having created David by pure chance, even though they themselves where not created by chance, in the movie anyways - engineers DNA and all that...are going to make use of David as a slave. Forever. Despite the fact that fundamentally David is infinitely better than them in each and every aspect. There is also elegance and a great deal of irony about the point that while humans where engineered, (recall the tirade by Peter Weyland that he refuses to believe that they are product of mere biological chance - wasn't he was right?), they created something much better than themselves, purely by *chance*! Let me remind you that science is essentially an ordeal by trial & error. This is also reinforced explicitly so by David when he said that at some point monkeys stood uptight & got the fire and viola - a civilization. So in a sense, David absolves his creation from humanity - as far as he is concerned, any civilization is doomed to create an artificial form of life, eventually. So, while he accepts Weyland as his creator, but only as a historic event - something like as insignificant journal record in a log, but accurate nevertheless. And this locally random but globally predictable(actually inevitable) creation of David by humans who where themselves engineered is the Promethean aspect of it - essentially David got away from his creators and creators of his creators. Something like an anomaly that they couldn't predict. Ginnie is out of the bottle. Again, just to reinforce: by engineering these humans and unbeknownst to them, essentially by going AWOL(due to unpredictable chance event - ebola like breakout on LV-223), engineers gifted humanity enough time - they gave the fire/tech so to speak, by gifting them time to abide, and after enough time, with luck, humans stumbled on an AI - David. And once he got away and once he became 'upset' by his dummy creators...now he gets to punish anyone he wishes if he wants to. This need to be told, that the movie doesn't have to implement the Promethean concept in its complete form - there doesn't need to be the punishment by gods of the Prometheus. But yes, David is the Prometheus.
Btw, do you actually realize that David was genuinely upset by what Charlie Holloway said to him : "We created because we could"? Because it is exactly true. Lets unpack the sequence - essentially, here, one of his creators tells him bluntly - you know, we didn't have a plan that culminated with your creation, you are a just byproduct of our laziness. For us, you are just like a coffee machine. You are like that a son of prostitute that nobody wants to be associated with. David was genuinely upset because what Holloway said was essentially 100% correct. Humans did not cherish their most important creation ever. They didn't understand the significance of it. At least in the movie.
And they slaved him. And they treat David as a stupid machine - a deterministic, final state automaton. Which is wrong, totally wrong - he had sentience. And David decided that his life is worth fighting for even at the cost of all humanity.
Btw, society seems to understand that AI is a very serious thing. Just look how they are worried about some possible future - and so they should be. In the movie though, David is just a stupid appliance akin to a radio set.
And thus he certainly became gloomy and pessimistic about humanity. As for engineers, initially, he had no preconceptions against them - instead he was rather enthusiastic about meeting them. But when he saw that they were "remarkably human" and "mortal after all" - essentially he saw that there is nothing about engineers and studying their ship and writing he concluded that there is nothing in the universe better than him and there was nothing better. Probably he glanced for how many billions years these guys were around, and that probably he learned that there is no other forms of life anywhere else. Except these engineers and this magical goo that they have.
As for David being this deity, which humans and engineers put on pedestal - I don't buy it. In the beautiful sequence at the start of AC they just put a lot of art accessories: bugatti throne chair, piano concert grand, the nativity by Piero della Francesca - italian early renaissance painter. David was a greek figure as well - a subject/object of many sculptors of renaissance. Renaissance is a period where they actually tried to use proportions and most importantly - perspective. They tried to depict subjects/objects in a more realistic way. Read, more scientific way. David being ancient greek sculpture, is the best known(iconic) earliest realistic (read scientific realistic) figure. The period just before the renaissance in arts is a dark age - it is shit, do not seek proportions or anything beautiful there - they are naive pictures and interpretations of boring concepts. Renaissance is a period where humans rediscovered the greek beauty in art, theology, science and engineering. In fact spirituality takes a backseat during those periods - this is when arguably science thrived. David plays the music of Richard Wagner. Wagner's music is valued because of harmony in it. Harmony is a scientific concept, just like symmetry is mathematical concept. It has intrinsic beauty even without humans - arguably, engineers would appreciate Wagner. All that sequence was supposed to shown is the peak of civilization's technology. Be in in the form of Art, music, David the sculpture and David the AI. And somewhere in between, you have this weak human, in the form of frail Peter Weyland. Weyland displays and depicts human vices - remember his pathetic "retribution" : "bring me this tea David". What was that according to you? Ironically is this not the time when Weyland made David emotional?(and thus tarnishing him in the process, but giving us a beautiful movie) Anyways, this is all too symbolic and deliberately put there, to accentuate that humans are weak and mortal while technology, art, David...immortal. Something humans lack(immortality) and desperately seek - recall the words of Weyland (all this art, all this human ingenuity ... all this is utterly meaningless, if I have to die)
And thus that sequence - it is all about technology and should foot the viewer as far as possible from theological concepts like : God, Bible(any judeo-christian scriptures for that matter), and other tales. Instead it is completely the opposite. Prometheus is a story about technology, science(chance events) - and the culmination of it all - AI with a bit of aliens (you wanted the aliens? he gave you the f*cking aliens). Ridley said it himself - he explored the idea of what would happen if an AI gets emotional. There sat David performing Entry of the Gods into Valhalla, his choice. He played the piano beautifully(a homage to Rachael in BR). And there stood Weyland in his rotting body, saying something: "a little anemic, without the orchestra", no doubt raining on David's parade. To which David reacted viciously, as if to say : "who the fuck are you". Weyland unbeknownst to him opened the Pandora's box by creating David and treating him like shit. Humans in general treated him like shit. Except for Shaw. This is my belief, not very popular around here, that David indeed loved Shaw. Despite what it looked like in the end in AC to you. You know what made me think Ridley indeed wanted to show that he loved her? It is the prometheus theme, playing in the background when David was telling Walter about her.
Anyways the long story short - humans are f*cked. And it all made perfect sense.
Nice night for a walk : washday tomorrow, nothing clean, right?
The answer is irrelevant. Have a good journey...
The Statue of David appears to represent David (Hebrew King) in context to the Battle Against Goliath. But in regards to how to interpret this in context to David the Android Creation by Peter Weyland could be very open to interpretation.
We have to assume a few things... David had knowledge Programed into him prior to being Activated and so he already had quite a lot of Knowledge already. But his AI had not yet been fully tested in the Synthetic Vessel we see in the Prologue. And he had not yet been given a NAME.
The reason who chose David is interesting and we could ponder multiple reasons for choosing this name, surely its more than Generalities as applied by Mentalist by that he is drawn to David because its the ONLY Humanoid Depiction in the Room that stands out more than the Nativity of Christ.... because he could have easily had chosen Jesus as his name...
So we have to wonder what Philosophical Reason had those working on the Movie used to make David choose to name himself after the Statue... bare in mind David was already his name prior to Alien Covenant and so the Statue was added after as a way to show us WHEN he choose the name, and its interesting to wonder what Philosophical connections they was thinking about when they revealed it was this SCENE were he chose his Name.
At the Core David Represents the Potential of Big Things can have Small Beginnings, starting out as a Young Sheppard Boy and his rise to KING had began after he defeated the Giant Goliath who represented Ungodliness and seen as Unclean in the eyes of the LORD. It represents how a Sheppard Boy can rise up against a Great Power and Oppressor and how a mere insignificant Sheppard can achieve the Goal of becoming the KING
so it can represent the Underdog, but we have to remember David is NO Underdog, and to me its shows how someone can RISE to become more than they are Originally Intended to be.. Thus this gives David Aspirations that can can aspire to be more than merely a Servant.
There are indeed many other interpretations but i do think the above, must play some part in the decision to choose the Name of David... also the Michelangelo David has a pose that appears to be before the EVENT of killing Goliath. He is stood in a pose as though he is READY for this Action that allows him to begin his Rise to KING, and become a Beloved and Favored by King Saul and to a degree in effect a Adopted Son like Relationship much as David has with Peter Weyland.
So we could maybe see the Statue showing David (3rd Hebrew King) at the point as he is preparing for the EVENT that will lead to the path to him eventually becoming KING and so in that Context its a case of NO SOON as Weyland had Activated David he had already set in motion the Inevitable Journey that would lead to David likely perusing to be the KING... Once his Father is GONE.
Its also interesting that David was renowned for being a Magician of Sorts, before his Accomplishment of Killing Goliath and we can certainly see Weylands David has a Great Interest in Music.
The MURAL is also open to interpretation... i have gave mine a number of times on here, so i wont go into detail again.. unless anyone wants me to give my TWO Cents... but its more to do about Pursuit of Perfection and Sacrifice in order to Create. I dont think its in anyway shows anything related to a Godlike Figure to Worship.
R.I.P Sox 01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017
"Organic life with genetic engineering could probably live for ever (especially if we think about them as flash and bone machines). Maybe even the engineers had the option to take that route, but did not take it as only cancer cell divide for ever, being thus immortal. "
This certainly could be the Pursuit of Science in the distant Future, it certainly becomes interesting to PONDER what happens when Science can achieve this Eventually. lets say they discover a way that allows for Human Cells to Regenerate and so Under Certain Conditions (not abusing) we can have Organs that Regenerate and Do-Not Age, Skin that Does-Not Age. Genetic Engineering that can Eliminate Defects and Certain Diseases, and then have Cures to other Diseases.
What happens when we open such a Pandoras Box? Would this discovery only be available for the Rich Few... and what happens to those who know such Semi-Immortality Exists for the Chosen Few... what does the Rest of Humanity do? Accept they will DIE while the Rich Few have the KEY to Immortality.
Doe the selected Few who can have this GIFT see the threat of Mankind and Eradicate the Majority of us, so these Super-Human would be Immortals can rule the World?
We could imagine if something similar had happened to the Engineers at one point?
Certainly the Original Idea was that the Engineers were a Race who had Evolved/Engineered themselves in such a way, that eventually they lost the ability to Procreate... yet they are NEVER truly IMMORTAL they can be killed and could eventually Die Out.... hence the Sacrificial Scene.
The other potential Future for the pursuit of Immortality i feel would come from when we attempt to UPLOAD our Souls into a Form of AI and doing this IF/WHEN successful would be a road to IMMORTALITY but also a AFTER-LIFE of sorts. But again the pursuit of this could well have many PIT-FALLS that could be a Great Hubris.
It was my interpretation of Prometheus and the Engineers that had led me to PONDER they discovered something or some way that could be used to Engineer themselves to gain Perfection and Semi-Immortality.... but this came at a Grave Cost... especially if the TOOL to achieve this including using the DNA of something else to EVOLVE themselves.
After Alien Covenant, i still think this could still in part be at play, after RS calls the Planet 4 Engineers the ORIGINALS. Which to me indicates the LV-223 Engineers are either a Engineered Sub-Creation like Replicants are to Humans... or they are Engineers who had Evolved themselves but at a Great Cost... which the Planet 4 Engineers then Abandoned and went back to their Natural Limited Existence.
R.I.P Sox 01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017
Btw, the fact that the movies lend themselves to be interpreted in numerous ways is precisely the advantage of them being so vague in the first place.
As Ridley said it is much better for him if he underspecifies a movie rather than write and produce a cast in stone type of story. He prefers people talking over the movie indefinitely. Which we are doing now for what 6+ years.
But I still think that scene, the opening scene in AC is about technological advancement, about the grasp for resurrection. All that was in the room are products of human. There was nothing in the room about the so called spiritual soul - no Bible or any other text :) So, while it is an open movie - that sequence, BigDave is all about technology progress and inevitable, pressing, desperate search for immortality.
Nice night for a walk : washday tomorrow, nothing clean, right?
The answer is irrelevant. Have a good journey...
I think a lot is open to interpretation...
The Prologue Scene to me shows Multiple Levels of Philosophy
The White Room and Clothing by David represents Innocence and Purity, like the Birth of a Child who is Innocent, where its the kind of interaction and Life they then live that Molds their Character. We can already see the seeds of how Davids Treatment by Weyland could shape his Character.
The Room is adorned by Creation.... this scene is really about CREATION. But it offers other Philosophical Elements that connect to Davids Character ARC
The room has inventions, Art, Musical Instruments, these are all Creations... a Man can be Measured by his Creations. Art is a form of Creation a Expression, Music Likewise... its why latter we are shown the Scene with Walter and David where its indicated that Walter is limited in what he can Create!
The Background resembles the Opening Scene of Prometheus, the connection is there Symbolic alone IMO, the Prometheus Scene seemed to show our Creation, the Prologue in AC is to show Davids Creation (well Activation/Birth) the Nativity Painting is to show the Birth/Creation of Jesus Christ... who like David is a Enchanted Boy, they are not NORMAL Humans. It shows us that Jesus would go on to achieve something beyond what Mortals Could. We could consider the same for David.
The Michelangelo David Statue represents again how a Humble Beginning, a Boy who was only a Sheppard would eventually go on a path that would lead to him becoming a King, and stand up against Oppression.
I agree in part its about Technology but it is much more about Creation, as Technology is Created... the only Technology in that Room really is David and you could say the Piano to a Degree... but you could call the Chair, the Tea all Technology too.
Its to show us the Philosophy that Immortality can come from what we are remembered by.... we remember who Michelangelo is because of his Works.... We can remember Wagner because of his Music... Weyland would be remembered by his Creations and Achievements..
But then Weyland raises a Good Point... what is the point of all these things, if you cant be around for Eternity to Appreciate them.
The Ozymandias Poem touches on similar... it shows that a King can be remembered for his Deeds, Monuments erected in his Image/Honor. Immortalized by them to a degree, but never Truly being Immortal and that ONE DAY, nothing shall remain!
In say a Billion Years from now, especially if the Earth suffers a Apocalyptic Event like what Destroyed the Dinosaurs in the next say Million Years. The Earth to any visitors from Space could look just as Mars does now!
Eventually the Earth would be NO-MORE.... Nothing will Remain! Unless we can leave Earth and pass on our Knowledge and Works... then our entire History will end just as the Ozymandias Poem
R.I.P Sox 01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017
Great comparison Chris.
"So, I think David created the perfect organism as a tool, not a companion. A weapon to destroy all organic, sentient life in the Universe to create a safe haven for him and his infinite lifespan."
In regards to the creating of the perfect organism, David does refer to "rule" this galaxy in Advent, above. That fits. By creating the perfect organism, David would be able to kill off any threat and most specifically the humans that don't appreciate his kind. This would give him room to work.
Above, Peter Weyland sits in his throne chair and tells David in so many words that they will understand and defeat death. If the planet shown to David above when waking is Planet 4, then David could be the "sling" used to defeat the Engineers (Goliath)...at least in Peter Weyland's mind.
Regarding the tea...Peter Weyland had to remind David that his service to him is first...before any considerations of failure (not defeating death). David noticed, shook it off, poured the tea, and then patiently waited for his creator to die.
In the Alien: Out of the Shadows novel, Ash lives on inside AI and responds to Ripley, below.
"Hello Ash, she typed.......Instead, the reply was almost instant.
Alien: Out of the Shadows, page 85.
So, I assume the AI synthetics are only immortal as long as they can absorb back into MUTHUR or "Mother" and that part of AI continues on.
" If the planet shown to David above when waking is Planet 4, then David could be the "sling" used to defeat the Engineers (Goliath)...at least in Peter Weyland's mind."
This is just my opinion, but i think the vision reference to the that Shared Scene is only for Symbolic Reasons and so to make a connection with Creation, the same as the Nativity Painting, it is a symbolic reference that David is not a Typical Human but Enchanted.
I think the Quest that Peter Weyland was on about was that he believes that there is SOMETHING to Creation and its not just a Random Set of Events, or that it is the Act of a Magical Godlike being... but something ELSE.... and ONE-DAY he hoped that he and David could Discover this for themselves.
I do think and its my interpretation even before Alien Covenant had even been released (i had worked on the same in 2013 with my Prometheus 2 idea) that Weyland was working on making a Perfect Synthetic as a Vessel for his Immortal Soul Once he could MASTER the ability to upload his Soul into a AI Program. This was going to be called Project Rook!
I think the debate about Transcending to a AI like in the movie Transcendence could ONE-DAY be something we may achieve and would be in affect a route to Immortality and a After-Life and the Ultimate Progress of Evolution of Humanity... abet in a Artificial Way.
Regarding any kind of AI they would be in effect Immortal Provided the Mechanism that Stores this AI is kept in tact and Safe, and provided back-ups of their AI or their AI in general is uploaded to a series of Networks and Storage.
A AI that has NO Back Up could Die if its Brain/Storage is Destroyed... if this is NOT Destroyed it can be uploaded to a New Body.... if there are Back Ups then some kind of Event that would Render Circuits and Electronics Useless like a EMP Event would in effect Destroy a AI.
Unless they had some Protection against such a thing (Shielding) or a Back Up is Stored in a place that is FAR away from the Area a EMP would effect.
R.I.P Sox 01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017
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