Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Kyle XY: A Modern Kaspar Hauser

Kyle XY is an American drama television series about Kyle, a teenage boy who wakes up in the forest outside of Seattle, Washington with no memory of his life up until that point. The series follows Kyle as he tries to understand the mysteries of who he is, such as why he has no belly button or why he has no memory of being a child. Kyle has special abilities, both intellectual and physical. On one occasion he read the entire World Book Encyclopedia during the course of one day. Kyle is in fact a cloned human being. He has no memory of his past because for all intents and purposes he has no past. The company that created Kyle is determined to kill him to prevent a disclosure of the fact that he is a clone. His creators fear that Kyle's special abilities will give away his true nature in the outside world.

The show premiered June 26, 2006 on the ABC Family network; episodes are also broadcast on ABC and available for download from the iTunes Music Store.ABC Family has ordered 10 episodes for the first season, and another 13 episodes for the second season, set to air in 2007, but an exact air date has not yet been determined.

The fictional television drama Kyle XY has close parallels to the actual case of Kaspar Hauser.

The case of Kaspar Hauser was a cause celebre in his time, the early nineteenth century. Imprisoned in a dark cellar, he had been cut off from all human contact except for an occasional glimpse of his jailer (whom he called "the Man who was always there"). When Kaspar was turned loose he was discovered wandering in the streets of Nuremberg, Germany, at seventeen more a baby than a man.

Here are details of an eyewitness account: "He appeared neither to know or to suspect where he was. He betrayed neither fear, nor astonishment, nor confusion; he rather showed an almost brutish dullness . . . his tears and whimpering, while he was always pointing to his tottering feet [he seemed not to know how to walk correctly], and his awkward, and, at the same time, childish demeanor, soon excited the compassion of all present . . . his whole conduct . . . seemed to be that of a child scarcely two or three years old, with the body of a young man."

Kaspar had to be taught to speak and walk properly, to learn the difference between the organic and the inorganic. He showed an intense, passionate wish to learn and displayed unusual powers (he could distinguish colors in the dark, for example). Kaspar seemed asexual and incapable of anger; he showed no indignation at "the Man who was always there." It was as if some instinctual energy had been extinguished. When his teacher and protector, Anselm von Feuerbach, expressed surprise that Kaspar "should wish to return to that abominably bad man, Kaspar replied with mild indignation, 'Man not bad, man me no bad done.'" There proved no way of making up for the emotional deficits, and after a period of wonderful intellectual promise (the observers talked of genius) Kaspar, his mind unprepared emotionally to grasp how much he had been deprived of, gradually regressed into a kind of obsessive-compulsive automaton. His pathetic story (which led to romantic speculation that he was of royal blood) and the excitement of his education and subsequent murder were followed by thousands of readers in the newspapers of Europe. Von Feuerbach, who befriended Kaspar and helped care for him, wrote indignantly about Kaspar's imprisonment and "the cruel withholding from him of . . . all the means of mental development and culture -- the unnatural detention of a human soul in a state of irrational animality."

Even after his release at Nuremberg, Kaspar was subject to states of hypnosis and stuporous sleep.

Von Feuerbach writes: "Having been sunk during the whole of the earlier part of his life in animal sleep, Kaspar has passed through this extensive and beautiful part of it, without having lived through it. His existence was, during all this time, similar to that of a person really dead: in having slept through his youthful years, they have been passed by him, without his having had them in his possession; because he was rendered unable to become conscious of their existence. This chasm, which crime has torn in his life, cannot any more be filled up; that time, in which he omitted to live, can never be brought back, that it may be lived through; that juvenility, which fled while his soul was asleep, can never be overtaken. How long soever he may live, he must for ever remain a man without childhood, and boyhood, a monstrous being, who, contrary to the usual course of nature, only began to live in the middle of his life. Inasmuch as all the earlier part of his life was thus taken from him, he may be said to have been the subject of a partial soul-murder . . . the life of a human soul was mutilated at its commencement."

Kaspar Hauser was eventually stabbed to death in a public park by a mysterious stranger, thought to be his jailer, or an agent in the jailer's employ. It is believed that his jailer wanted the facts of Kaspar's childhood imprisonment to remain secret.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

kyle xy is one of the most popular shows nowdays.Which can estimated with the fan following of the show.I am also a huge fan of this show and was searching foe free download kyle xy and came across you.