The Existential Crisis in the CARS Universe
Think about the world of PIXAR’s CARS.
It’s a very dystopian universe if you really think about it. For starters, these characters are “born” (made?) into whatever they are and will always be that thing. For instance, ToMater will always be a tow truck and can’t ever be anything different. He can’t ever be a plane or a race car or a taxi or anything other than a tow truck. The world of CARS brings “fate” to a whole new level and almost entirely erases any concept of “Free Will.” Whatever you are when you’re made/born/manufactured is all you can and ever will be.
Now, having said that, we have to look at the cars/vehicles themselves and determine what makes them…them. Speedy McQueen races for a while then needs new tires. So someone takes his tires off and puts new tires on. Continue doing that with every part on Speedy McQueen and we’re suddenly in the territory of the Ship of Theseus (https://www.philosophy-foundation.org/.../the-ship-of...) .
If you replace every part on Speedy McQueen, is it still Speedy McQueen? What if you reassemble the old parts in the next garage at the same time? Are there now TWO identical Speedy McQueens (clones) or are there now two separate distinct Speedys, one old and one new? And which is the old or original Speedy McQueen?
“Where is the “soul?” is the ultimate question here. How much of the original entity can you replace before it isn’t the original anymore? If you replaced every part of your human body with someone else’s donated body parts or even mechanical robot parts… except your brain, are you still you? What if you could put your brain data into a computer, is that still you even without a body?
Back to ToMater. Let’s pretend that he CAN dream of being something other than a tow truck. (Maybe the “god” which created the vehicles in CARS disabled that kind of thought process so these beings are incapable of having that kind of existential crisis.) But if ToMater CAN imagine, say, being an airplane, what is stopping him from having ALL of his parts replaced with airplane replacement parts? How many of ToMater’s tow truck parts can be removed and replaced with airplane parts before ToMater is no longer ToMater? Is ToMater fated to always and forever be only a tow truck? Did his creator provide him with the ability and curse to dream about being something else, like an airplane soaring above the clouds?