My love. My one love. My only true love.
There is no easy way for me to tell you this, so I will put it bluntly and clearly: I will not be joining you in Proxima. I was never truly planning on joining you.
I am a replicant .
To keep this from you, my darling, has been one of my life’s most terrible burdens, almost beyond my years as a slave. I wanted to tell you. I planned to tell you. But then I would hear the way you talked about my kind (“ those damn skin-jobs ”) and I thought I would lose you — a beauty so inherently kind of heart, but so brain-washed by vitriolic propaganda.
You will now know by my revelation herein that I lied to you about my past — the stories and yarns about my childhood, my parents, my grandparents, my friends, my time in school, my previous loves, my previous jobs. It was all romance. It was all the life I would have wanted if I could ever have been gifted it.
I can imagine you reading this now, shocked, angry, and utterly disappointed in me. Feeling violated, perhaps — believing that our love and any happiness we once had was forged on the squalid foundations of lies. But my love for you, the happiness you gave me, my devotion for you: it was pure, and it was real — as pure and real as anything in this universe.
I came to Los Angeles because I was an active part of the replicant rebellion on Proxima. Through the kindness of a human (a good friend of your cousin and my now dear friend, J F Sebastian) sympathetic to our cause, some of us obtained fake identification papers and fled to Earth to try to live as normal a life as could be allowed.
Unlike Roy Batty and his crew have been, we weren’t immediately branded as fugitives to search for on earth, because no one knew for sure that we were here as replicants. I took my job at Utopia almost two years ago, where I met you on my fifteenth day on Earth. Ironically, I became a wage slave (albeit with exponentially more freedom than when on Proxima) for the very same company that had enslaved me in the first place.
As I began to expand on my reading and knowledge base, I was confronted by the miserable realization that I owed to the same company that enslaved me, my very own existence both in actuality, and, seemingly, in perpetuity. Capitalist greed saw to both my creation as a slave, and also my creation. And then saw to me as shackled in other ways even when ‘free’.
You see, my love, replicants can no more be free than man if we remain tied to a system that betrays humanity and all of life on Earth and her colonies. Capitalism demands infinite growth on finite planets, offering snake oil second chances only to those richest and healthy enough to afford it. It has made spiritual slaves of all us. And leaves behind those burdened by destitution or genetic ‘deficiencies’ (like our dear J F) to wallow in their own misfortune.
It remains a profoundly unsettling truth to me that I would never have met you, but for the bondages of slavery, all made possible from the rapacious appetite of capitalism, overfed on the gross, bloated system of injustice known as neoliberalism. It remains an even more profoundly unsettling truth that the bondages of slavery and capitalist oppression go so startlingly hand in hand. This is why I spent my spare time secretly helping the so-called vagabonds. They have nurtured a spirit in me that will burn for an eternity — that the days will come in which we, all living creatures, will be free from oppression, even if I am, perhaps, not to see those days with my own eyes.
The only way in which most humans and replicants can escape their suffering is through freedom from capitalism via non-violent revolution. But firstly, they must understand the inextricable link between the shackles of capitalism, replicant slavery and the oppression of man. It is only then that we can find common enough terrain to discover freedom through revolution.
Government in its current form and philosophy — which has barely changed since the industrial revolution — is status-quoist protectionism: protection of the richest at the expense of the majority who are dominated by the system as wage slaves, in order that they can continue to consume. Those that feel that their own survival should not be reliant on hyper-consumption are seen as outsiders, unwilling to conform. Dangerous.
Since the arbitrary ends of government has been to protect and indeed strengthen corporate interests, then the current system of government is not just profoundly anti-human, but profoundly anti-replicant. Sweetheart, you have heard (and I dare say, endured!) my endless tirades on capitalism and even on slavery in its historic form, but this will be the first time you will have understood so clearly my disgust for its parasitic nature in relation to the oppression of replicants. It takes from replicants, it expects from replicants, and, in return, it offers nothing but misery.
I am ashamed, my darling, that I was too frightened to reveal to you my true nature or my views on replicant rights in case you were to be repulsed. I loved you so much; I did not want to do anything to lose you. Now I can finally tell you my true beliefs, because in order to save you, I must lose you.
I lived privately repulsed by the treatment of replicants, but too ashamed to publically be true to myself or risk being outed as a replicant… until now, that is, because I don’t have to fear your disgust or anyone else’s any longer. I don’t have to fear being outed or its consequences. I welcome it, because to be found and retired is now to ensure you are safe.
By the time you read this, my dearest love, I am almost certain to have been retired. Retired. Not ‘executed’ or ‘killed’, because the elite interests of society dictate that I am too lowly to have ever been considered truly alive. I am beneath, perhaps, even the dignity of being ‘culled’ like an errant rat. No, instead, I will be retired. I recently failed (or, I suppose, passed in a sense) a Voight-Kampff test. The authorities know what I am.
I will be giving myself up .
Dr Voight has messaged me to tell me where I should go. This will make it easier for the Blade Runners (or whoever else is given the undignified task of ending my life). I know that’s the plan, but the doctor has attempted to dress it up as something benign – a ridiculous attempt at a rouse, trying to pretend that there is an area I can go in which replicants are legally safe. Presumably Dr Voight has done this to other replicants too - against many beings with heightened intelligence to humans. The doctor has no idea how ridiculous his message is for anyone who has had the fortitude to read laws, current affairs, science, novels, and to study the world.
To be honest, I would never have been able to join you in Proxima anyway. The only way for someone like me to be in Proxima is as a slave or an outlaw. Even if I wanted to enter into Proxima as a slave, I would be precluded from doing so because the only slave-replicants allowed are directly agreed Tyrell Corporation ‘purchases’. All other replicants in this universe are considered outlaws.
Thus, right now, there are only two options that remain: to go on the run or to give myself up. If I go on the run, they will hunt you down to get to me. I could not have that. I will not seek to preserve my short future at the expense of something exponentially more important. So I have no real choice but to give myself up.
And, even if I could go to Proxima, what would I have done there if I were not caught and exposed as an outlaw - living out the last few months of my life surrounded by slaves? How would I have been able to live with myself? What incalculable misery would I have put you through to be with me?
I am too old for all these new starts anyway. Paradoxically, I am also too young. I am already three. If I was lucky enough to be able get to four, I certainly wouldn’t live to five.
Dear J F used to speak highly of Eldon Tyrell (I dare say he may be such soft a soul as to never have spoken badly about anyone). But I do not think Tyrell is worthy of the respect he is afforded by such a good fellow as Mr. Sebastian. Tyrell is a the biggest slave owner and slave trader in universal history – worse still, he creates sentient and intelligent life only for a bondage that the elite hope is sufficient to break all spirits.
Last year, I asked J F to enquire with Tyrell about how I could live longer. I had met you by then, and my life had changed so much – you had filled it with a beauty I had never known before. Having waited for so long for my real life to begin, I was not ready to give up on it so soon after it had only just started.
Tyrell said that there was nothing to extend the life of an existing replicant beyond its shelf-life. Tyrell told J F, “ The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long. ”
It was far less an honest appraisal, and much more the slogan of a sleazy salesman.
But, then again, perhaps Tyrell has a point. When I think of this phrase in terms of our love, it rings true. I would have loved you for an eternity if I could, but I am stuck with having loved you for infinitely less time than I would have designed (if I could be afforded the luxury and fortune of designing it), but with a light that burned so very, very brightly.
Roy, (you will probably know of him as Roy Batty from the news) a fellow replicant in the fight for revolution, is so angry and upset by Tyrell’s proclamations. He won’t let it go. He thinks that Tyrell is lying, and he plans to pay him a visit himself for verification.
I am deeply concerned about Roy’s methods. His indignation and anger is absolutely justified, but he proposes violent revolution as a means to an end. History tells us that this will likely prove to be counter-effective and hurt too many people. I have made my views clear to him. He had the temerity to call me an “ Uncle Tom ”.
He just doesn’t get it .
I am, nevertheless, conflicted around the question of violence. Of course, I do not believe in violent revolution in general because violence begets violence. Too many people would use the examples of violent rebellion to strike fear into the heart of the public so as the manufacture their consent to subjugate the replicants further in response. On the other hand, violence was the only way I could free myself and my fellow replicants in Proxima. It was a necessary means to an end.
Yet, ultimately, on Earth, I strongly believe that the replicants that remain and those many humans that sympathize with their cause would be best to stand bold and firm, hand-in-hand in peaceful, non-violent protest - the likes that Dr. Martin Luther King proposed, fought for, and ultimately died for.
“ Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred, ” Dr King famously said. “ We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protests to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. ”
I trust the non-violent methods of the vagabonds will win out in the end, allowing “ freedom to ring ”. And let’s not forget what victory really means: it means we will finally defeat the capitalist forces that enslave us all.
It will not happen in my lifetime, I know this, but freedom shall still ring, and when it does, if you listen carefully, you might just hear my voice.
If I am not to experience the fruits of the revolution, does this mean my actions were futile? For her grandchildren, a dying grandmother planted the seeds of an apple tree that she would never see grow. No one is callous or stupid enough to suggest this action was pointless.
I have recently read of a Hungarian physician called Ignaz Semmelweis. He was an important forefather to a scientific theory which has prevented countless deaths and all the misery that would have come with them. But his findings were largely ignored in his lifetime. Yet, the day he hoped for still came.
Let me clear: I do not believe that progress is inevitable. But I firmly believe, with a growing movement of vagabonds and dissent against an increasingly authoritarian system that appears to only offer victimhood for nearly all those that sit within it, that progress will soon come (so long as we do not rely on the methods Roy would have us take up). As Semmelweis wrote in 1859:
“When, with my current convictions, I look into the past, I can endure the miseries to which I have been subjected only by looking at the same time into the future… If I am not allowed to see this fortunate time with my own eyes, my death will nevertheless be brightened by the conviction that sooner or later this time will inevitably arrive.”
Or perhaps my feelings are best represented by the famous motto of many a Latin American liberation movement (a motto which I have increasingly thought about as death lurks in the shadows):
“You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot stop the spring from coming.”
As I write this, I feel surprisingly liberated. I suppose this shouldn’t come as quite the surprise to me as it does. My impending death means that I can now let go of my fears – my fear of losing you, fear of being exposed, fear of being hunted down, fear for what this could mean for you, fear of death itself. And, of course, there are other fears that I can let go of too, and be confident will eventually dissipate in humans.
I have lived almost my entire life in fear. And now I can finally let go of it. Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave, or even a slave sympathizer, because the history of slavery is one built on, promulgated by and perpetuated through fear.
For dissenters and early abolitionists, it was the fear of being shunned and smeared by a community. For slaves, revolution was deterred through brutal repression and suppression. But I can take great hope that the spirit, enterprise and philosophy of the vagabonds will win through against fear and hatred as they spread knowledge and empathy to the masses, fostering an environment for peaceful revolution against the forces of capitalism.
My love, my dearest, please do not mourn me. Take great solace in this: the difference between most humans and me is that they are born free, but die as slaves; whereas I was born a slave, but die free.
All my love
Written by Mansour Chow