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Tag Archives: Humanity

Titan A.E. and Humanity’s ultimate potential

In the 90s, science fiction was trying to become popular again. We hear about popular films like the Matrix, Robocop, and The Fifth Element. But there’s a lesser-known cartoon film released in the late 90s that wasn’t well received, but had great ambition. That film is Titan A.E.

The story is fairly simple. Cale is the son of a genius who invented the Titan, a device that can create a planet via a number of technologies. However, this device scares the energy-based Drej, who then destroy the Earth. Humanity is spread across the galaxy, without a real home. Cale is introduced to Korso, a colleague of his father, who thinks that he holds the key to saving humanity. So, Cale, Korso, and the young Akima must work with a ragtag gang to find this amazing machine before the Drej discover it, and destroy all that the human race hopes for.

Sounds like a great concept, right? The idea of an energy-based alien species has so much creativity. However, the film doesn’t take it to it’s fullest potential. So, why am I talking about it at all? Because it did one thing good, and that was illustrate humanity’s desire to find meaning. Each person desires to have a purpose in their life. Respectively, the human race also is looking for a communal meaning. What makes humanity valuable to the other species? What can they bring to the bigger picture?

We are told that the Titan was one of the turning points for the human race. It’s very existence showed to all other species that humans could build something amazing. However, that scared the Drej. Their ignorance causes them to choose to destroy all that humanity represents. With the destruction of humanity’s homeworld, they lost almost all value. The race, as a whole, became a beggar, trying to maintain life, and not fade into oblivion.

(Spoilers)What is interesting is Cale’s skeptical nature. He believes that humanity won’t have value in the end, even though he saw the amazing technology that his father developed. This belief drives his skepticism, and that causes the friction for the plot. Sadly, it turns out that Korso’s incentives turn self-centered, where he hopes to profit off of the destruction of the Titan, and in following, humanity’s hope.

This continues to aggressively attack what is the driver for all people; the hope that makes us tick.

So, I recommend Titan A.E. For all science fiction fans. It is a fun ride, that illustrates the search humanity has for hope and meaning.

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Posted by on 2011/08/20 in Film

 

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Following Falling Skies: The steal of the “Skitters”

This post is based on major spoilers from the show, so if one does not desire to be spoiled, skip this post.  

The skitters are the enemy.  Plain and simple.  They destroyed the basis for human culture, and decimated our ranks.  They enslaved the children, and wiped out all others.  It’s hard to say that these creatures have any of what we would call “humanity” or “mercy”.  But as we watch, the show reveals a much more layered enemy, which has problems, conflicts, and values.  It turns out that the Skitters are harnessed creatures, created via the harnesses which contaminate the children, and allow them to be used as pawns and weapons.  This includes Ben and Rick, who seem to have recovered to a certain degree, but are still affected by the genetic traits of the Skitters.  They can trace the radio signals that we assume are used by Skitters to communicate.  This gives them unique value for the 2nd Massachusetts.

Here is what is important about the Skitters. Their desire (Or the one placed within them by the currently unnamed third species) is to either A) harness kids, and b) kill adults.  The constant of these two of these elements is either the destruction or theft of the victim’s “humanity”.  This removal of humanity is the worst threat they can do.  Skitters, we are told, “Do not want us there”.  They desire the destruction of the very thing that resists them; the human spirit.  Humanity has no desire to just back down.  And that is what makes this show brilliant. It plays the human spirit against the enslaving race who wants nothing else but to destroy and remove the human race’s spirit permanently.

 

 
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Posted by on 2011/08/14 in Opinion, Television

 

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Following Falling Skies: Hanging on to our humanity

As I’ve been digging through my thoughts and feelings about this first season of Falling Skies, I’ve found myself returning to two major themes: the nature of man, and the nature of skitters.  And as I look at these two opposing forces, I can see the metaphoric principles that are underlying in the conflict.  I found an interview with Mark Verheiden, one of the producers of Falling skies in Entertainment Weekly, where he defined Falling Skies as a show about “people who are trying to hold on to their humanity”.  And that is an excellent definition of the show.  Every conflict, every element, everything that the 2nd Massachusetts have done was to hold onto the humanity that defined them.

In an apocalyptic setting, humanity has everything removed from them that they know and love.  Housing, basic food sources, neighbors, media, even the idea of total security disappears.  So, what do these people have left?  They have themselves, their relationships with friends and family, and the hope that they’ll somehow get out of this.  Now, many people will let one or more of these desires take over themselves, and their very being.  These desires are very good, in and of themselves.  However, when people are left alone in their desires, they have a tendency to become encompassing, and eventually take over the person’s life.  It’s when a person comes into a community of others that they are able to focus and use these desires for the better-ment of all.

We see these themes constantly appearing in Falling Skies.  Tom Mason’s primary desire is to find his son, Ben.  However, being the second in command for the 2nd Massachusetts, and having Captain Weaver limit his choices tempers that desire.  While him his fellow fighters gather around him, and desire to help him find Ben. It also allows for a community to provide a voice into his goals, and make the best possible choices.  In the end, Mason’s goals couldn’t have been reached without the 2nd Massachusetts.

Meanwhile, we have the individual John Pope.  A bit of a loner, he is an Ex-convict, and a loner. He had gathered himself a gang in the earlier months of the invasion, and was then captured by Mason and the 2nd Massachusetts.  But his independent nature has turned his desires towards self-fulfillment.  Pope normally finds that through the slaughter of Skitters, oddly enough.  That makes him a threat.  he relies on no one else, which keeps him in a dangerous position.  The same can be said about Captain Weaver, whose personal desires and drug use have put him in a dangerous leadership position, that makes him sporadic and uncontrollable.  He seems to act independent of other’s opinions,and not relying on others for consolation or advice. His unwillingness to listen to the reason of Tom Mason also hurts his relationship with the whole of the 2nd Massachusetts.  Even though these two men are contrasted in their desires and positions, they are hindered by the same problem, a lack of community

The contrasting character types of Mason and Pope/Weaver act as the base for how humanity can act.  Humanity has always been designed with the need for community.  If a person neglects this need,  they will likely become lonely, narcissistic and random.  Eventually, they will be hard to rely on. However, if one consistently returns to a community, whether it be small or big, they will find far more meaning from what they do.  Canadian Philosopher Rene Vaulier once said that “To work for Community is to work for Humanity”.  This communal aspect is one of the key to the survival of humanity.  If we live without others, we are nothing, but if we live with others, we will find strength, and purpose for one’s life.

 
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Posted by on 2011/08/13 in Opinion, Television

 

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Following Falling Skies: “Sanctuary” Part two

This episode concludes “Sanctuary”, which acts as certainly the the most questionably ethical episode yet.  It turns out that Clayton (I was saying Nelson.  Sorry) was trading kids in for “immunity from the skitters”. However, he always used other people’s kids.  So, when Mike and Hal discover it, they attempt to break the 2nd Massachusetts’ kids out.  However, Clayton isn’t giving up on such an easy source as they were.

(Spoilers)This episode is the not the first episode where man has turned on their fellow man, but it is the first where a mam was willing to work with the Skitters.  Clayton’s choices to work with Skitters, who clearly have different intentions then any human, are troublesome to say the least.  What seems to have had conquered his senses was his desire to “Survive”.  Tom Mason said that this is combat rule #1.  It isn’t that I believe it to be a bad rule; I just believe that it shouldn’t be our only primary drive.  If Clayton had kept in mind that he had a number of principles to live by,  he may have been less willing to give up kids.  If he had remembered his responsibility to both his fellow man, and his fellow squadrons, then he might have chose something different.  I mean, if John Pope is willing to hurt you because of your choice, then you must have done something wrong.

On a side note, we see a new side for Weaver, where he is helpful and sympathetic towards the civilian population, as well as a ailing mother.

We also are introduced to the completely alien personality of Rick, who seems to have been more affected by the Harness than Ben.  I already have strongly bad feelings about Rick and his future.  It’s impossible to predict what he could do next.

 
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Posted by on 2011/08/07 in Television

 

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