Shortly after the 1973 original West World movie and Yul Brynner’s performance as the evil android* but decades before HBO’s current West World series with its eerily lifelike cyborgs, there were two (much more “rudimentary”) 1970’s TV cyborgs** that captured the hearts, imaginations and minds of the American public.
*Androids=typically inorganic robot facsimiles of humans like Fembots or the old West World hosts (all technology)
**Cyborgs=organisms that are partially organic and partially (robotic) technology like our bionic heroes or the newer mostly organic west world hosts
…we have the technology…
…better, stronger, faster…
These words are etched into my brain for all time. If you watch the video above or the ones linked below, whether you grew up watching the original shows, the reruns or you are watching for the first time, the anthem could very well get stuck in your head for, at minimum, the weekend – you’re welcome! 🙂
They are plucked straight from my childhood and they introduce viewers (or unfamiliar blog readers) to the Six Million Dollar Man, Steve Austin, an astronaut, barely alive…(before his technological improvements) and his powerful paramour, the former tennis pro / middle school teacher / Bionic Woman, Jaime Sommers.
Every time I hear the theme music it takes me back to playing these characters in my backyard, in the woods and in the neighborhood, simulating bionic slow-motion running, hitting, kicking, throwing, sight and hearing.
(Cue six million dollar man music and running montage [Note: in the 70s slow-motion depicted HyperSpeed and HyperStrength somehow and we all bought into it hook, line and sinker!?))
Together these cyborgs fought for a new and better tomorrow with the OSI or Office of Scientific Intelligence, utilizing their new technology to defeat their adversaries and overcome the challenges facing their organization.
With the bionic replacement of an eye, an ear, an arm each and four legs between them, they were, (at great, fictional 1970’s taxpayer expense) indeed made better, stronger and faster.
Each of these heroes of yesteryear went through difficult trials and periods of adjustment.
Often their government masters tried to get them to work outside their physical, psychological and environmental comfort zones.
Bigfoot once tried to rip Steve’s arm off
A cadre of Fembots tried to thwart both bionic heroes and help their evil scientist master gain control of the planet’s weather!
On top of all those external foes, their bodies tried to reject the new cyborg technology implanted within it.
Jamie Sommers had a severe initial psychological rejection of the new technology and later experienced glitches in all implants at various times.
Much like our technological enhancements of today, sometimes the technology helped these fabled bionic TV heroes soar more independently than any other human before and sometimes it got downright “glitchy.”Tweet
The bionic man was no stranger to the glitch, experiencing multiple bionic blips. Once, upon a return to space, Steve Austin’s bionics stopped working entirely!
As we become more and more merged with technology we can find ourselves suffering similar glitches. Glitches in our relationships, in the way we work, in the way we worship, in the way we interact in our communities and in our culture. With enough technological saturation, we can find ourselves internally glitching just like our robotically enhanced bell-bottomed buds.
In their case, whether the external environment caused a glitch or the internal struggle with change prompted a rejection of the technology, each overcame the challenges they were faced with time and again.
How was this accomplished? Steve and Jaime had a secret weapon more powerful than all the technology and OSI training they were provided: the steadfast support of one another (although they did have quite a bit of couple drama), their leader and supporter Oscar Goldman and their doctor and teammate, Rudy Wells.
They were not alone. In fact, the scariest moments of either show were when they were stranded, cut off from their friends, organization and support network.
Steve and Jaime had a community. They recognized and were taught time and again that they were Better Together.
Just like us, despite the remarkable power of the new technology, a period of support and adjustment was needed before these brave bionic barrier breakers could move to the next level of evolution and use their technology to leap forward and run faster than ever before.
Yes, they were given a new technology…
Yes, they were made better, stronger and faster…
Yet the way they got there was with a non-technological assist and the relentless support of their all too human friends, which are much like you, the people of today, acting as one community, helping others adapt and absorb their new 21st century technology into their daily lives.
Here are some valuable links to how you can show up like an Oscar or a Rudy in a new age of technological wonder that draws us in to being more and more bionic each day.
Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
As you download those lessons, here’s your food for thought:
We can rebuild it.
We have the technology and one another.
We can make our world, better, stronger, faster…
Please share your comments and thoughts on this, we love to hear them! I’d also love for you to join me in conversation on any of the social platforms below.
Remember, if this doesn’t have any value for you and it makes you feel more like six cents instead of six million bucks (in 1974 dollars which is 31.1M in 2019), that’s OK, remember it’s all just Food for Thought.
Special Bionic Bonus Trivia:
- Late in the 80’s an attempt to revise the series revealed Steve had a son Michael who also received bionic enhancements after, you guessed it, a plane crash.
- Did you know that the bionic couple never married in the 70’s but were eventually married in the 1994 TV movie Bionic Ever After?
- In 2007 they tried to reprise it again with a new bionic woman, surrogate mom and bartender turned nanomachine filled crime fighting cyborg.
You must log in to post a comment.