Tag Archives: William Shakespeare

Pokémon and Shakespeare

Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet (Act II, Scene II): “…there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. Centuries later, the creators of the Pokémon: Indigo League anime series made an episode titled, “Island of the Giant Pokémon”. In this, Team Rocket’s Pokémon Ekans and Koffing defend their actions against Ash Ketchum’s partners, claiming that they are not bad–rather, their human trainers are.

These two scenes, despite being from distinct media and stories, are related. Both deal with morality, without explicit use of the term “evil”. Hamlet says to Rosencrantz that morality is merely relative to a given observer’s subjective perception and interpretation. Team Rocket’s Pokémon have a somewhat distinct take: they state that good and evil are determined by particular kinds of beings, i.e., authoritative humans.

It is we who have the power to attach ethical valence to actions (or even things, e.g. the atomic bomb); yet we also are characterized by said valences, ourselves. To quote Rafael from the Yu-Gi-Oh! Season 4 dub, speaking to the Pharaoh of Yugi’s Millennium Puzzle: “Are you good? Or, are you evil?” This becomes the question for each of us to wrestle with.

An Introduction to “Subject- & Object-Oriented Programming”

Do, “while, and “for” are what are known as “looping conditionals” in JavaScript. In this article, I propose a new such conditional: “be”.

Before we delve into be, a clarification and addendum are in order.  Be by itself is not necessarily a looping conditional (unlike do, while, or for).  Be may also to be accompanied by not-be in any (non-)existential platform: not-be shall henceforth be notated as “!be”.  As in Java, the ! operator here simply means “not”.

Be and !be may form a coupled loop, consisting of both consciousness and unconsciousness as these two latter terms refer to awareness and unawareness (respectively).  Practically, then, be denotes any possible state or trait of awareness, whereas !be corresponds with any such state/trait of unawareness. Be and !be may each interchange with consciousness and unconsciousness (for reasons I will leave out of this article; but, am happy to engage with otherwise).

The current project–which I will henceforth call “2be || !2be?” (or “to be, or not to be?“, for the more Shakespeareanly-inclined)–may be described also as an “enactive”, computational one. Enactivism (as described in, e.g., Francisco Varela’s work) and performativity (consult, e.g., Judith Butler) are necessary to invoke for the set Po of possibilities afforded by both the ubiquity and foreseeable reiterations of mobile computing.  Po, then, consists of (non-)existential computing possibility.  (It is trivial to add Pfor the present context, if such probabilities happen to be more relevant.)

Next, come the highly challenging questions of how we are to program consciousness and unconsciousness (see, e.g., Doug Hofstadter and Hubert Dreyfus’ works for the best overview understandings of the former project).  The subject- and object-oriented programming (SOOP) paradigm I propose as an answer to these problems will be grounded around them.  Be and !be will serve as SOOP‘sprimitive” values, standing in for consciousness and unconsciousness (again, interchangeably).  Consciousness and unconsciousness (or, in this case, be/!be) are simultaneously variables and constants of the more specific psychological state or trait class. In this particular way, SOOP could be considered a preliminary psychological extension of quantum computing.

To conclude this post, an example of 2be || !2be? code is provided:

     count = 1
document.write(count + “ times 7 is “ + count * 7 +    “
     }    while (++count <= 7)

hypothetical be…while loop

The output of SOOP™ programs like the above will be considered in this article’s successor.


  • David Bohm, 1951:  Quantum Theory
  • Eric Dodson, Ph.D.
  • Martin Heidegger, 1953:  Being and Time
  • Robin Nixon, 2015:  Learning PHP, MySQL & JavaScript with JQuery, CSS & HTML5 (4th ed.)
  • William Shakespeare, 1603 (approx.): Hamlet
  • Francisco Varela, Evan Thompson, and Eleanor Rosch, 2000: The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience
  • Judith Butler, 1990: Gender Trouble

* SOOP is a pending trademark of Suraj Sood.