Detachment is an interesting concept. Many advocate it. Many others doubt the possibility of its execution. How can one live in a world, love it, and yet not be attached to it?
I saw the Transformers movie yesterday night again (for the seventh time), and was struck by yet another midnightly insight. What is it exactly that differentiates a Transformer from a human being?
I know they are actually giant alien robots who can turn themselves into machines of their choice and there really is no comparison here. But then again, they feel pain and anger just like we do. Also they seem to like certain things about us.
The merciless Starscream for example, chose the form of an F-22 Raptor jet because he considered it the peak of human achievement. Optimus Prime, the leader of the heroic autobots, says humans are a young race and there is goodness in them.
What is it about benevolent aliens that makes them so motherly towards earthlings? I would like to think it is more than space-faring expertise or sheer science. It must be something akin to emotional maturity.
The Transformers in the movie battle each other for power. They actually look as bad as we are, only more dangerous. If we are to get any idea about what it must be like to be an Autobot or a Decepticon, we must take them out of the current frame of reference and look at the bigger picture.
What we have here is a race of aliens whose home world was lost to war aeons ago. They have spent millennia traveling in space and have seen many worlds. They have encountered a great variety of life forms. They have altered their appearances to suit the worlds they have made their temporary homes.
It seems logical that a race of beings much older than us and wiser in the ways of the universe would understand the illusions of physical existence. Any Transformer would tell you that it really doesn’t matter what you look like.
What perhaps defines a Transformer is an awareness. A Decepticon or an Autobot realises that it is not what it looks like or what it is called, but something beyond all that. A Transformer is not attached to appearances.
This does not mean they don’t love appearances. The Autobots not only choose to look like vehicles that suit their moods and personalities, they also ‘learn Earth’s languages from the World Wide Web’. They master accents and mannerisms that appeal to them and integrate them so well that they appear native to the Transformers’ natural behaviour.
I don’t know if you noticed, but the Decepticon called Bonecrusher says a furious and patently Earthly, ‘Bloody Hell!’ moments before Optimus Prime yanks his head out.
Trans means beyond. Form means appearance. As Optimus Prime says in his message in the end of the story, “Like us, there is more to them than meets the eye.” He was talking about you and me. But that was just his opinion.