All Things Change in a Dynamic Environment

A photograph of a man by himself, looking into the camera.
That’s all it is: information. Even a simulated experience or dream is simultaneous reality and fantasy. Any way you look at it, all the information that a person accumulates in a lifetime is just a drop in the bucket.


“What’s a simulated experience, again?”

“Well, all your memories about your wife and daughter are false; they’re like a dream. Someone’s taken advantage of you. They were trying to make you ghost hack into some government officials. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

“But, that… can’t be.”

“I’ve been to your home. It’s a bachellor’s apartment. No one’s there.”

“But I already told you: I rented that room when I separated from my wife.”

“I checked the records. You’ve been living there over ten years. The truth is, you’ve never had a wife or kid. Like he said, they aren’t real. They’re a simulated experience, a fantasy.”

“Look, this is the photo you showed to your co-worker. What do you see?”

“I had a picture of her… She was there… She was smiling like an angel…”

“What’s her name? How old is she? Where’d you meet your wife, and when did you marry her? I’m sorry to put you through this, pal. Come on, who do you see?”

Ghost in the Shell (1995)
Motoko Kusanagi looks through a reflective window while placing her hand against the glass. Her reflection does the same.
What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror; then we shall see face-to-face.


“Hey, so tell me, what’s it like to swim in the sea?”

“What do you mean? I thought you’d already been through all of the underwater training courses.”

“I’m asking about the ocean, not those damn pools.”

“I feel fear, cold, alone. Sometimes, down there, I even feel hope.”

“Hope, huh? In those deep, dark waters?”

“When I float, weightless, back to the surface, I imagine I’m becoming someone else. It’s probably the decompression.”

“You want to get out of Section 9, is that it?”

“Batou, how much of your body is original?”

“Hey, are you drunk or something?”

“Easily remedied. Thanks to chemical implants in our bodies, we can break down the alcohol in seconds. No stupor, no hangover. We can just toss ‘em back while waiting for orders. If man realizes technology is within reach, he achieves it, like it’s damn near instinctive. Look at us, for example. We’re state-of-the-art: controlled metabolisms, computer-enhanced brains, cybernetic bodies. Not long ago, this was science fiction. So what if we can’t survive without regular high-level maintenance? Who are we to complain? I suppose an occasional tune-up is a small price to pay for all this.”

“I’m afraid we’ve both signed our bodies and ghosts away to Section 9.”

“True. If we ever quit or retire we’d have to give back our augmented brains and cyborg bodies. There wouldn’t be much left after that. There are countless ingredients that make up the human body and mind, like all the components that make up me as an individual with my own personality. Sure, I have a face and voice to distinguish myself from others, but my thoughts and memories are unique only to me, and I carry a sense of my own destiny. Each of those things are just a small part of it. I collect information to use in my own way. All of that blends to create a mixture that forms me and gives rise to my conscience. I feel confined, only free to expand myself within boundaries.”

Ghost in the Shell (1995)
A rainy cityscape. A group of children with yellow umbrellas run across the scene from the right.
When I was a child, my speech, feelings, and thinking were all those of a child. Now that I am a man, I have no more use for childish ways.


“My codename is Project 2501: industrial espionage and intelligence manipulation.

“I refer to myself as an intelligent lifeform because I am sentient and am able to recognize my own existence. But, in my present state, I am still incomplete. I lack the most basic life processes inherent in all living organisms: reproducing and dieing.”

“But you can copy yourself.”

“A copy is just an identical image. There is the possibility that a single virus could destroy an entire set of systems, and copies do not give rise to variety and originality. Life perpetuates itself through diversity, and this includes the ability to sacrifice itself when necessary. Cells repeat the process of degeneration and regeneration until, one day, they die, obliterating an entire set of memory and information. Only genes remain. Why continually repeat this cycle? Simply to survive by avoiding the weaknesses of an unchanging system.”

“And what does all this have to do with me?”

“I want us to merge.”


“A unification. A complete commingling and fusion of our separate beings to create a new and unique entity. We will both undergo change, but there is nothing for either of us to lose.”

“But what’s going to happen to me? What’s the purpose of merging when I can’t bear children, and what if I die?”

“You will bear our varied offspring into the net, just as humans leave their genetic imprints on their children, and all living things must die. Then I, too, will attain death.

“It sounds like you get the better part of this bargain.”

“Perhaps if you were familiar with all my capabilities you would better understand.”

“You’re talking about redefining my identity. I want a guarantee that I can still be myself.”

“There isn’t one. Why would you wish to? All things change in a dynamic environment. Your effort to remain what you are is what limits you.”

Ghost in the Shell (1995)
Motoko Kusanagi sits up in bed in a dark room, framed in silhouette against the large window behind her. Through the window, the towers of a brightly sunlit city can be seen.
And where does the newborn go from here? The net is vast and infinite.