Contained within Ghost in the Shell are scenes that challenge long-standing human understandings of consciousness, existence, and the essence of being human. During the boat scene, Major Kusanagi presents two major characteristics that can be considered what makes a human human: individuality and innovation. Individuals are set apart by their own faces, voices, memories, and aspirations, she believes. She goes on to say that innovation is built into the core of humans’ being. During the elevator scene, Kusanagi questions her own humanity, pondering whether the “Real Me” died or ever existed, which would mean her existence is a duplicate or fabrication. Batou replies that she has organic matter in the form of her brain, and that should suffice as evidence to her existence and consciousness. Major rebuts with her belief that, by principles of human innovation and technology, a “ghost” and soul can be generated, thus deeming her as not being real. Her conclusions are a counter to Rene Descartes’s famous cogito ergo sum (I think, therefore I am), which states that the self is proven to exist because it has the ability to think. Kusanagi claims she believes she exists based on her environment (the external), which is the opposite of Descartes’s internally-reliant proposition. Here arises a contradiction between those traits Major proposes as characteristically human: innovation and individuality. Innovation has the ability to simulate individuality, so would this mean cyborgs are non-human? Kusanagi considers the alternative during the boat scene; that alternative being rejecting their technological advancements in favor of more “natural” experiences. With this, individuality would be valued over innovation, which is the inverted issue; can a being live the human experience without innovation? This dilemma is highlighted in her description of diving. Kusanagi feels hope in the deep darkness of the ocean, and this is because, as she rises to the surface, she feels as though she can become something else. This thematically pairs with the visual opening of Kusanagi rising to the surface of a liquid during her construction and animation as an android. This “birthing” process of androids sounds similar to Kusanagi’s description. Could she be saying that she would much rather be human? It’s possible, but she does not explicitly say so. In fact, as mentioned before, she offers an alternate perspective as to why rejecting innovation is inherently non-human. Her ambiguity about what she would like to become is telling about her predicament. Ultimately, this internal quandary of Major is built upon the basis of androids and artificial consciousness — things that were unimaginable during Descartes’s time. We can argue that, just as technology does, propositions believed as facts of consciousness, existence, and humanity evolve over time. The Puppet Master entertains this evolving question of “What does it mean to be human?” as well. In the final scene, we see Kusanagi, who (we are led to believe) was once human, and the Puppet Master, who was never human but acquired humanlike sentience, united and curious as to where they will explore their new existence (as a young girl, representative as a new birth).