In preparing myself for this blog entry, my mind has been taking so many different directions concerning clones, clone psychology, and human nature in general. I have always been fascinated by the idea of cloning, as it exists naturally in multiple births, in our own scientific world (Dolly the Sheep being the most famous example), and as a factor in our beloved Star Wars saga.
Consider a quote I found from the website AnimalResearch.Info: “…clones are all around us and are fundamentally no different to other organisms. A clone has the same DNA sequence as its parent and so they are genetically identical.”
Genetically identical. What about morally, mentally and emotionally identical? This is where the question of nature vs nurture begs to be asked, and how much does “genetically identical” actually influence WHO a person REALLY is?
Some of my favorite characters in Star Wars are clones. All of the clones. Some clones more specifically than others. Why do I pick out certain clones to like more than others? Aren’t they all the same? What should it matter? Just like droids: there are thousands of R2 Units. They are all “genetically identical” (of course referring to their assembly). Why is R2D2 so special? As a general rule, clones seem to hate droids. Clones cannot stand to be compared to droids, but if we’re just considering “how they’re put together,” is there really any difference between these two groups? In trying to answer these questions, my mind always seems to follow certain conclusions:
No matter how much we may be “identical” to another person, we all strive to assess our own individuality. It is a basic element of human nature, of personality, and of self-esteem. It can be argued that since the clones were “genetically altered,” they were less susceptible to the desire to be an individual. They were designed to be of a “hive mind,” if you will, bowing to the needs and desires of their superiors. I don’t buy into this 100%, just as the clones themselves, in some cases, didn’t buy into it 100%.
Clones are different from droids because they are HUMAN. To be human means to be so much more than any “programming” can possibly influence, no matter how hard one tries to manipulate it.
There are so many examples of this in both the EU and in the Clone Wars series. I was obsessed with the Clone Commando series of books focusing on Omega Squad by Karen Traviss. I’m not even joking when I say obsessed. My mind went over the stories again and again, and in the midst of reading the books, I would seriously dream about the Commandos and their adventures. My mind worked overtime trying to sort out the human element versus the call of duty. The emotions versus the “mechanics.” I would love to re-read the series again, but part of me is still so haunted by the dreams I had, that I actually hold myself back! Maybe one day I will revisit – and relive – those stories.
So, not surprisingly, most of my favorite Clone Wars Series arcs have to do with clones. One example is “The Deserter,” Season 2, Episode 10. This episode deals with Cut Lawquane, a clone trooper who decided to leave the Republic Army after an attack on his squad left him as one of the only survivors. One of the things he said was “I chose to exercise my right not to kill.” What I also find to be very interesting is the fact that he chose to be a farmer. Many Mandalorians, Fett legacy included, were farmers. Nature or nurture?
Another thing that stuck with me from this episode was when Cut asked Rex his operating number. Rex replied “I have a name, just like you.” If Rex was SO dedicated to just being a clone and doing his Republic duty, why did he feel the need to so poignantly emphasize the fact that he had a name?
In many, many episodes of The Clone Wars we see clones with different haircuts, tattoos, names instead of numbers…why? Shouldn’t they just be content to do their duty and be a number?
The new episodes on Netflix (thank the Maker) also encompass the clone struggle for individuality. I won’t delve into them here for fear of spoilers, but let’s just say there’s lots to think about! It really makes me ponder my own individuality, my struggle to belong, to be needed, to find purpose in my life and my service to others.
There is so, SO much more I want to say, and I could go on for a very long time, but I’ll end here for now. Suffice it to say I am enthralled by this subject! I also have some thoughts about the long-term effects of cloning in Star Wars, from a social standpoint as well as a physical one. Back in the day, I wrote an entry on the Hyperspace blogs concerning this. Maybe I’ll revisit these thoughts in a future entry here.
As Weird Al Yankovic’s song suggests…I think I’m a clone now…
I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas! If anyone has suggestions of a topic you would like me to cover, or if you have a question or comment, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org