Friday, 19 July 2013

Kuato Says, "Open Your Mind"

Kuato the Activist
This lasting image in the Total Recall movie, of Kuato telling the protagonist to "Open your mind", has stayed with me for years.

A baby-sized alien co-existing with a biped is an odd thing to be interested in. Before I read the original story by Philip K. Dick, I always thought that Kuato was a telling addition on the author's life, because Phil Dick was a twin to sister Jane, who died less than eight weeks after her birth, allegedly from an allergy to mother's milk. After I read the original story, there was nothing at all that involved Kuato, or anything that most of Total Recall has, in fact.

Reading the story, it seemed to be more thought oriented than what the movie portrayed. The protagonist was trying to figure out his past and present, his memories (were they accurate?) and thoughts; and the story was basically about a man trying to understand who he was, and who tried to not be defeated by his thoughts.

There is another example of a baby-sized creature in Phil Dick's work, a novel called Dr. Bloodmoney (1965). In this novel the baby is unborn, and from memory it is a twin that speaks through telepathy to a woman that has it inside her. Being a twin myself, I found this very disturbing and fascinating.

The scene in the Total Recall movie, where Kuato drums those three words into the protagonist's head over and over, was illuminating to say the least. As I saw the camera zooming through the depths of Mars, it triggered an idea that the mind can also open up when you perceive an expansive scene for a setting, be it a large world, an area of space (why not the entire universe) and even when an author views in his mind his novel in its entirety.