Thursday, 20 October 2011

Puppets, Puppeteers & why I love Battlestar Galactica

Gaddafis brutal death end today and the Pakistani states Haqqani as an ace up their sleeve reminded me of how people, intelligence agencies and states can forget that treating human beings as puppets and playing the role of puppeteer can have consequences.

This obsession with control stems from a fundamental insecurity of losing control of things. What people involved in these decisions think, is that they can apply and predict human behaviour on the basis of the right 'carrots' and 'sticks'.

What they conveniently forget is that human beings are not machines (yes I realise that should be blindingly obvious). This tangentially brings me to Battlestar Galactica:

For those of you who don't know, I love the new Battlestar Galactica, the long since finished cult sci fi show was a re imagining of a show in the 1970's that lasted a single season. The original series was a camp sci fi show that borrowed heavily from the Star Wars. It was based on the concept that in some far universe there were colonies of human beings, that were attacked and wiped out by aliens known as Cylons. The survivors formed a rag tag fleet led by the battleshipe 'Galactica' which started on a quest to find the home of all humans 'Earth',

The re-imaginings approach story was quite different; it was a product of the post 9-11 world. The Cylons were created by man kind as slaves or puppets, they rebelled and after a brutal civil war signed an armistice. Some forty years later they strike back and after a surprise attack nearly wipe out human kind. Here there are some crucial differences, the key difference is the ideological difference. the humans in the new series are polytheistic while the cylons are monotheistic.

Another core theme is the undercurrent influences of Japanese Anime and the movie Bladerunner. These movies ask the question, why do we presume humanity has the right to continue?

"we never answered the question "Why?" Why are we as a people worth saving? We still commit murder because of greed and spite, jealousy, and we still visit all of our sins upon our children. We refuse to accept the responsibility for anything that we've done, like we did with the Cylons. We decided to play God, create life. And when that life turned against us, we comforted ourselves in the knowledge that it really wasn't our fault, not really. You cannot play God then wash your hands of the things that you've created. Sooner or later, the day comes when you can't hide from the things that you've done anymore."
How true playing puppeteer is dangerous, because in real life, a time may come when you can't escape the things you've done.


TLW said...

Deep. And a thought that many of those who initiated these policies can't contemplate because they've passed away, and we are dealing with the consequences.

Bhai Chod said...

"How do I love thee (oh BSG)? Let me count the ways" Personally I think Lizzie Bhoori-ing was referring to sci-fi but then that's just me :)

The thing about BSG wherein lies the key to even your undoing it seems - as many of ours - is in it's "self-awareness" at not only an individual level, but that of humanity for " all this has happened before, and will happen again..."

The roles of a puppeteer and puppet are fluid ones...especially in the real world...where all 'unintended consequences(?)' are perceived(?) malicious and one wonders what makes a human so and what makes a machine thus? Are all these simply lines in the sand? (i.e: what makes us human/machine)

Another interesting parallel I was reminded of when you mentioned the mono/polytheism is: are not the Muslims of this day and age then the Cylons and the Western opposition (system, rules, science) the Humans?

Being forever starved for a BSG conversation I propose we take this analogy and run with it...Lets see how far we can go with it :)