Battlestar Galactica on the brain

Battlestar Galactica on the brain

In the last few weeks I gorged myself on Battlestar Galactica. Two seasons is a lot to cover and I probably watched too much too fast. The word “frak” has found its way in to my vocabulary. If I start calling radio wireless I’ll know I’m too far gone.

BSG is deeply engaging with very authentic characters all revealing the flaws in humanity. In the story the cylons, a race of machines created by humanity returns to exterminate their former masters because they are flawed. In a sense they are trying to succeed humanity and go further. Some of these cylons are completely biological and nearly identical to humans. Despite the similarities they are considered nothing more than toasters and are sometimes treated as such.

The show makes me think about the flaws of humanity. I think about how our true nature comes out when we are removed from the social conventions that steer us toward more ethical behavior. How many of us would voluntarily act ethically if there were no incentive to do so? How do we know when we have truly changed or that social pressure finally brought about conformity?

Even though I enjoy the show thoroughly it puts me in a melancholy mood. The show is dominated by tragedy with thin slivers of hope. The season 2 finale was particularly disturbing.

It is has been an enjoyable break. I probably should get back to reading, thinking and planning for the fall.

  1. #1 by slaveofone on June 9, 2006 - 8:30 pm

    Frak. I know what you mean… I’ve been working on GSB doing subtitling for the mini-series DVDs and captioning for the episodes on Sci-Fi (including the finale). A bit disturbing and gets to you after awhile.

    In my experience, however, it is not that our “true nature comes out when we are removed from the social conventions that steer us toward more ethical behavior” but that when social conventions are put in place to “steer us” (manipulate/force/cajole us) toward more ethical behavior, this frustrates our natural, God-given and God-established tendencies and produces the opposite effect. Thus we seek after it BECAUSE it has been denied us. Put a sign up saying “no fishing” and you’re more likely to have people fishing than if you didn’t put the sign up. That is because we were created to have dominion and right and liberty and the divine standard has been broken by social convention and legislation. We were not created for Law. Yahweh built no fence around the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Yahweh wanted no king to rule over Israel. If everyone walked around naked and the culture accepted nudity everywhere in everything, pornography wouldn’t exist, sexual crimes would be drastically reduced, women would no longer be afflicted or ashamed of their looks, teenagers would not struggle so much with lust, and marriages would be better and last longer, strengthening the family as a unit.

    If anything, it is social conventions that get in the way of ethical behavior because it disrupts and interferes with the natural flow of consequences and effects. We no longer see the line between what we do and what it means and results in (which would cause change)—we only see the barrier in-between that creates an artificial end result not because of our actions or because of our cause, but because of its arbitrarily placement. Thus, I know that if I do such and such, I will go to jail. So either this makes me want to not do such and such so I don’t go to jail or it makes me try and get away with doing such and such. In no time does this convention allow me to see what such and such actually means in the world, to me, among others and learn from that in order to change. So my objective is to act in a certain way not because it is better either for me or others in that situation and not because my actions mean anything in that situation anyway but because someone might jack me. Is that what you call learning and practicing ethical behavior?

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