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I can’t with the “droids are p-zombies” Star Wars fan theory. I prefer it when the heroes treat the droids with some amount of respect. They work differently from living creatures but they can still express distress or relief.

My own fan view is that droid experience, and how to relate to it, is a mystery to many people in the galaxy. Just like any system with complex emergent properties.

The idea of p-zombies generally just ticks me off, not just in Star Wars.

“Oh, you wouldn’t get it, Susan, you’re a p-zombie.”
“What the heck? My externally expressed levels of comprehension are indistinguishable from yours. Who put you on the ‘decide who is human’ throne?”

Even more generally, I think treating others badly hurts ourselves (on some weirdo hippie level that I haven’t really figured out yet). Treating “soulless simulacra” badly similarly hurts ourselves. Like, if you print out a photo of your enemy and burn it and cut it, you’re (according to this sorts half–thought-through hippie theory of mine) kinda hurting yourself. Not that hatred can’t sometimes be a healthy emotion to express, it can, but it’s when you plug it into an ersatz violence loop that I’m like whoah, hold on a moment there…

I’m not talking about stuff like the Wiccan three-fold law, the idea that we better be good or we’ll suffer consequences. We hit someone and we’re gonna get hit down the line. That’s not quite what I mean here. Instead, I mean the idea of… We change for the worse when we behave cruelly. We become cruel, and it’s painful to be cruel.

Enh. We’ll have a cup of kindness yet. Somehow.

Update: Diane sent in this wonderful essay by Emmet Asher-Perrin.