The movie ‘Ghost in the Shell 2.0’ takes place in the future when gender does not matter and almost all of humanity has technological implants. The leading character is Major Motoko Kusanagi, who is a female cyborg officer from Section 9, and her partner is Botau, a male partial cyborg officer also from Section 9.
The Major was created in a cybernetic lab and was given her brain that contained her ‘ghost’ yet that is not very different from the way humans are born. Humans are created in the womb of a woman and their brains are the reason they live. Cyborgs are machines created by humans in their own image and humans are created by God in his image. Is there really such a big difference between the two organisms?
GHOST IN THE SHELL
The leading question throughout the entire film is the Major’s humanity and her personal identity. She questions whether she is ‘human’ and if she could have an identity outside her job. Botau discourages her from questioning her humanity, identity, and then existence. The Major dreams of her creation as if she continues to question why she was created to begin with.
The first time, during the film, of hearing about the Puppet Master is after he hacked into an interpreter’s cyber-brain. Section 9 thought it was to make her kill people at a secret meeting. The major begins to hunt for the Puppet Master only to become more questioning of her own motives. As she is leaving the room with the interpreter, she stops to turn back to her as if she is wondering what it would be like not to have to worry about be hacked.
The Puppet Master hacks a garbage man into believing he has a wife and a daughter only to find out later it was all implanted into his mind to do the Puppet Master’s plan. One day having a family that could be home waiting for you to get off work then the next being told they never existed would be a nightmare. During the movie at 27:22 Botau tells the Major “That’s all it is, information, even a simulate experience or a dream simultaneous reality and fantasy. Any way you look at it all the information a person accumulates in a lifetime is just a drop in the bucket” (Oshii). All that information can then be wiped away from a hacker like the Puppet Master during this time. What happens to a person if he/she no longer remembers who they are or where they came from? Will this change who they are currently? These are just some of the questions that could be passing through the Majors mind.
The Major goes swimming as if to relive her ‘birth’ even though her equipment might fail and she would sink to the bottom of the ocean. “If man realizes technology is within reach, he achieves it, like its damn near instinctive” (Oshii, 30:43) says the Major to Botau. She is talking about her cyborg body yet she is also talking about everything in their world.
There are countless ingredients that make up the human body and mind, like all the components that make up me as an individual with my own personality. Sure I have a face and voice to distinguish myself from others but my thoughts and memories are unique to only me and I carry a sense of my own destiny. (Oshii, 31:22)
The Major is describing the human experience yet she is not ‘human’. Even humans cannot describe how someone else is feeling even though we say we feel the same.
EXISTENTIALISM IS A HUMANISM
Jean-Paul Sartre attempts to “defend existentialism against some charges which have been brought against it” (Sartre, 1160). Sartre explains the existentialism of being human and also assists in answering many of the Majors questions. Sartre expounds that “man has a human nature; this human nature, which is the concept of the human, is found in all men, which means that each man is a particular example of a universal…