This is very probably my favorite part of this visionary anime. It was produced in 1995, based on the original manga published between 1989 and 1990, well before the diffusion of the internet and its implications. The manga itself is based on “The ghost in the machine”, a non-fiction work in philosophical psychology written by Arthur Koestler and published in 1967 (Wikipedia) which now is on my “must read” list.
Master of Puppets: You will not find a corpse, because I have never possessed a body.
Nakamura: Why are his sensors on? What the hell is this?
Technicians: All external controls are turned off. The body’s using its own power source.
Master of Puppets: I entered this body because I was unable to overcome Section 6’s reactive barriers. However, what you are now witnessing is an act of my own free will. As a sentient life-form, I hereby demand political asylum.
Aramaki: Is this a joke?
Nakamura: Ridiculous! It’s programmed for self-preservation.
Master of Puppets: It can also be argued that DNA s nothing more than a program designed to preserve itself. Life has become more complex in the overwhelming sea of information. And life, when organized into species, relies upon genes to be its memory system. So man is an individual only because of his intangible memory. And a memory cannot be defined, but it defines mankind. The advent of computers and the subsequent accumulation of incalculable data has given rise to a new system of memory and thought parallel to your own. Humanity has underestimated the consequences of computerization.
Nakamura: Nonsense! This babble offers no proof at all that you’re a living, thinking life-form.
Master of Puppets: And can you offer me proof of your existence? How can you when neither modern science nor philosophy can explain what life is?
Aramaki: Who the hell is this?
Nakamura: Even if you do have a ghost, we don’t offer freedom to criminals. It’s the wrong place and time to defect.
Master of Puppets: Time has been on my side, but by acquiring a body, I am now subject to the possibility of dying. Fortunately, there is no death sentence in this country.
Aramaki: What is it? Artificial intelligence?
Master of Puppets: Incorrect. I am not an AI. My code name is Project 2501. I am a living, thinking entity who was created in the sea of information.