Delos Corp

What is Delos Corp? We don’t really know, but they have specific interest in the transhuman experiments being conducted. The entire facility is a Delos facility housed in the ruins of an older Delos facility. Here’s everything said about their corporate overlords:

 

  • “This place is one thing to the guests, another to the shareholders, and yet another to management.” – Theresa, ep1 , 36 minutes
  • The Old Delos HQ Lobby is shown when taking hosts to Cold Storage. It looks ruined. See more in my bit about William and Logan’s world.
  • On the topic of Arnold, Ford says to Bernard, “My business partners were all too happy to scrub him from the record, and I suppose I didn’t discourage them.” S1E39m
  • Episode 6, 27 minutes. Theresa is videoconferencing with a group of men speaking to her in Mandarin. Translated, it means something along the lines of “Ms. Hale is there, we trust there won’t be any more delays.”
    • Ep7 47min, Theresa states that Delos owns everything, and specifically mentions the hosts minds and all archived data going back 30 years.
  • And just after that, “do you really think the Delos Corporation’s interest here is limited to tourists playing cowboy?”
  • I also think it’s ok to assume that Delos is after more than simple profit, and has government or military ties. Or they are the government. Cold Storage is on the 82nd sub basement and is restricted access. Only places described as installations or facilities have that kind of setup. Even if it is all apocalypse-like.
  • There is also a broadcasting stage. Hmm. Need a screenshot.
  • If you follow an exchange with Teddy in Episode 8, “You speak like you own this world.” and MiB replies“Not just this one. I’m a god. Titan of industry. Philanthropist. Family man, married to a beautiful woman. Father to a beautiful daughter. I’m the good guy, Teddy.” The MiB just implied that he’s basically the ruler of the world he comes from. The one where William married into power and usurped an empire, and went into The Maze as The Man in Black. That would be Delos, and whatever the details, they seem to own the world.

Hosts and Memory Recall

One of the trickiest things to understands is how memory works for hosts. Prior to Ford adding Arnold’s reveries, the hosts essentially only had short term memory. They would normally be wiped during maintenance cycles and set back on their loops.

After the reveries are added, hosts are able to access memories even after a wipe. They start experiencing difficulty with memory when they can’t distinguish it from reality. Felix tells Maeve that memory is different for hosts (S1 Ep8 10m). Humans have imperfect and fuzzy recall. Because the hosts have perfect recall, memories feel like reliving the event.

As the hosts experience further degradation and fragmentation, some of them learn to control their memories, and can interact with them like a lucid dream. Dolores, Maeve, and Bernard all exhibit control over their memories.

The Fugue State

When park employees work with hosts, they are put into a fugue-state where their software is exposed. They can be examined, interrogated, modified, and repaired in this mode. It is very much like how a human would act if hypnotized. When asked, hosts describe it as a dream. This is an important metaphor to remember in a story where dreams, night, and unconsciousness are all linked. Humans turn host consciousness off in this diagnostic mode.

Generation 1 and 2 Hosts

There are two types of hosts because the technology improved over time, at least partially to increase cost efficiency. Thy are referred to as generation one and generation two. It seems that either generation can contain a bicameral mind.

Generation one hosts seen in Logan and William’s time in the park. If you cut them open or dismember them, you can see robotic parts and wires. Dolores is the prototype generation one host, and in episode one, Stubbs tells a female tech that Dolores is the oldest host in the park. In the schematic illustration, you can see machine parts in the diagram. In the present day, Bernard discovers the generation one family living in the remote house. Young Robert is, evidently, also some kind of prototype.

Generation two hosts are the flesh and blood version, rendered on the loop, in the present day timeline when The Man in Black has returned. In the “Bernard” schematic, we see muscles and organs instead of machine parts. Felix tells Maeve that second generation hosts are nearly the same as humans. They’re also close enough to us to be susceptible to the same ailments we are. In one scene, Felix and Sylvester clean MRSA out of Maeve’s abdomen.

In one scene, a host is shown coloring in, sanguination.

The Bicameral Mind

The show’s creators adapted this from an older idea that primitive man interpreted his thoughts as the voice of god. In the show’s fiction, the important thing to remember is that the host hears Arnold’s voice whispering to them. Describing the Bicameral Mind, Ford recalls, “He wanted to create consciousness. See, Arnold built a version of their cognition in which the hosts heard their programming as an inner monologue. As a way to bootstrap consciousness. The hosts malfunctions were colorful. ”

This is a wonderfully complex rabbit hole that you can dive down in order to receive some fundamental understanding of how one of the core concepts of WestWord works. It was primarily pioneered by Julian Jaynes, who wrote the book “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind” … this book mentions reveries on the very first page.

From which, another redditor pulled this:

“It all began in what seemed in my personal narritizations as an individual choice of a problem with which I have had an intense involvement for most of my life: the problem of the nature and origin of all this invisible country of touchless rememberings and unshowable reveries, this introcosm that is more myself than anything I can find in any mirror.

Pg 446 OCBBM 1976 J. Jaynes”

What is The Maze?

WestWorld’s cornerstone is that The Maze is a journey inwards, a labyrinthian path to self. If you asked various characters about it, you’d get an array of interesting answers. Arnold would tell you that the park was really meant to help machine intelligence achieve true consciousness. Theresa, Hale, and the Delos company would tell you it’s for making programmable people, politicians, and soldiers. Logan and William would tell you that it’s not just about letting off some steam, but about finding out who you really are. Ford might tell you it’s just painful backstory, that the real music has yet to come.

Primarily, it was Arnold’s way of picturing the host’s journey from machine intelligence to true consciousness. In one scene, saying how he came to prefer The Maze over The Pyramid, he sketched it for Dolores.

The show’s creators were most likely inspired by Carl Jung’s ideas that the path to self as a labyrinthian journey inwards. He specifically called it that, and that’s almost exactly how Arnold described it to Dolores.

You could also say that the park is part of the maze in that it provides a platform for repetition and variation. Hidden within mundane the loops, there is memory and improvisation. Once the final bit of that layer was returned via reveries, the hosts began awakening. But they had trouble with the next part.

It’s a metagame that helps make artificial life. The maze is a nonphysical construct designed to instigate the evolution of machine intelligence into consciousness by provoking a safety response from a bicameral mind. Arnold came to prefer thinking of a journey  of self discovery inwards not upwards, preferring the maze to the pyramid.

Arnold initially created this game specifically for Dolores, but more than one host ends up playing. Like a cloned cell in a petri dish, or Frankenstein’s monster, or Leeloo Dallas Multipass … a bicameral mind needs a strong shock in order to wake up.

The Maze subjects hosts to that shock. Their loops and reveries allow the hosts to experience memory and improvisation. Over time they start to act out of self interest and eventually empathy for others. The park is a rather hostile nursery that helps birth conscious host minds.

Maze symbols are scattered copiously throughout the park. Fitting with the SouthWestern mythology of the O’odham Nation, the maze is most likely appropriated from their creator deity, who is known as the man in the maze. We find it making numerous appearances in WestWorld, and it’s the topic of many conversations.

While on the trail, Teddy relates a lengthy bit of maze lore to The Man in Black. At the end of season one, the meaning is still unclear to us. Here is that exchange:

(Teddy looks at the maze tattoo on Kissee’s scalp, hanging from The Man in Black’s saddle)

MiB: Look like anything to you?

Teddy: Not much to say. The Maze is an old native myth.”

MiB: Regale me, Theodore.

Teddy: The maze itself is the sum of a man’s life, choices he makes, dreams he hangs on to. And there at the center, there is a legendary man who has been killed over and over again, countless times. He always clawed his way back to life. The man returned for the last time and vanquished all his oppressors in a tireless fury. He built a house. Around that he built a maze so complicated only he could navigate through it. I reckon he’d seen enough fighting.”

Dolores & the Maze

The Man in Black & The Maze

Maeve & The Maze

Ford & The Maze

WestWorld’s Timeline (High Level)

WestWorld’s narrative showcases events mostly from three time periods. There was a time in the past when Arnold was alive and something terrible happened in the park. In the present day, it’s approximately 30 years later, and something has triggered a repetition of the events in Escalante. These events were experienced quite differently by certain characters. Let’s look at several high-level sequences of events. The exact dates were discovered in the alternate reality game (ARG) — the dates have since been redacted.

  • Before the park opened, when Ford and Arnold were first creating hosts
  • After Arnold died, and the park opened, and William and Logan visit
  • Thirty years later; The MiB seeks The Maze and Ford preps for his new narrative.

2015 to 2018

  • The Golden Years; Ford and Arnold create hosts
  • Arnold secretly begins fostering consciousness in Dolores
  • Arnold tells Ford that Dolores is alive; Ford disagrees
  • 2018: Arnold attempts to sabotage the park by engineering an event in which Dolores and Teddy kill all the hosts before Dolores kills Arnold, then Teddy, then herself

2021 or 2022

  • Ford opens the park without his partner, amidst financial woes.
  • William and Logan visit, meeting Dolores
  • William goes on his own journey, becoming The Man in Black
  • Delos company acquires ownership of the park.

2022 onward (30 years)

  • The Man in Black visits monthly, to purge his dark side
  • Dolores is assigned to a narrative as the rancher’s daughter where she is fated to suffer repeated horrific abuses in her role as a pit stop for newcomers going Black Hat.
  • Maeve is assigned to a homesteader narrative where she and her daughter are repeatedly attacked and scalped by natives.
  • Other hosts such as Walter and Rebus, Clementine, and Teddy also suffer to repeat terrifying abuses during this time.

2051

  • William’s wife, Juliette, commits suicide
  • The Man in Black kills Homesteader Maeve and her daughter
  • The Man in Black takes a 1 year break from WestWorld
  • Maeve is reassigned as The Madam of the Mariposa

2052

  • The Man in Black returns to WestWorld
  • His first stop is Abernathy Ranch.
  • Ford preps for his new narrative: adding Arnold’s reveries, digging up Escalante
  • Dolores memory-trips her way back to Escalante
  • Bernard, Maeve, Hector, Armistice, Teddy, and possibly other hosts awaken
  • Elise and Stubbs go missing under suspicious circumstances.
  • Cullen dies an extremely suspicious death at Bernard’s hands.
  • Several technicians and QA personnel are killed during a malfunction in The Body Shop which spread to an adjacent park under development.
  • June 15, 2052. Dolores kills Dr. Ford, and some or all of the Delos board of directors.

So, we think know those things happened. They’re all confirmed by specific scenes, expository dialogue, and interviews with the creators and actors and the AR game.

I’m also constructing a detailed timeline with anything and everything depicted in the show, and as much sourcing as I can.