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The power of an external force

Do you know why in every sci-fi space wide big story people from Earth are always able to change the fate of entire planets?

When left unchecked (like in multi seasonal TV shows) this ability that humans have to be seen as saviors can even reach an even go above galactic scale but why is that?

I always found it odd that every time a human spaceship or a group of humans reach a new planet, they are able to change the course of their political structure.

In some cases, like in Stargate, they are able in less than a decade to change the political structure of an entire galaxy.

For thousands of years power had been held by a group of fascist dictators and then, with the arrival of a civilization (Humans) that is not even as advanced as their own, a rebellion started and the government was overthrown.

I always thought it was just lazy writing, the inability to write something that didn’t involve humans or just having humans act like white saviors.

After all, making humans the center of a great story really catches the attention of the reader.

It is easy to see the hero as a hero if you fully understand the story they are going through and which better hero’s story can we sympathize with that a person that lived our own history?

But then it struck me. It has to do with what I’ll call for the purpose of this post: The power of an external force, that for no coincidence is the title of this post as well.

They say that when you introduce a new predator into an established environment, the environment faces a crisis and it is pretty much true.

You insert an external, previously unknown force and the environment requires time to adapt. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t but when it does the adaptation is great.

But what happens when we are not speaking about preys and predators? Many of you can argue it is always a matter of preys and predators but in this case we simply introduce a group of humans that enter the galactic scale and encounter the alpha dude with the big stick.

In a show like Stargate it is simply understood because this whole concept is spanned into 8 seasons (the last two season are against a new enemy so it doesn’t count for the topic of this post)

The point being that this fits perfectly with the concept of evolution and how it all came together, how ecosystems become civilizations. For billions of years there had been a status quo that came along and with this came civilization all the rules written and unwritten that we have to follow. With the status quo came the concept of leadership, classes, riches, poor and most importantly nations and relationships between them.

Breaking this relationship means war, keeping this relationship means piece.

But let’s see how this concept is seen in science fiction when we can interact with worlds that are very distant but not very different. nine times out of ten this world is just either very primitive or very futuristic but (in both cases) with a conservative point of view that doesn’t allow them to change. After all everybody in the galaxy knows that the Goa’uld cannot be challenged, let alone defeated.

But wait, there are these four dudes that just came out of the Stargate. Since the moment that humans reached Abidos in the first legendary Stargate movie, the equilibrium of powers in the galaxy started to stutter. They came through the gate and they showed that the gods can be challenged and even killed. It was only thanks to this event that the resistance started to float and fight.

The bubble into which the galaxy lived had been broken by those little puny humans that came from a planet that wasn’t even remotely advanced as the Goa’uld were but they were different, they brought wisdom and weapons that were somehow more effective than the very futuristic ones that had been used up until that moment.

In the case of Stargate or Star trek, this change, this external force is most of the times, if not always positive but is not always like that. Sometimes the differences between civilizations and lifeforms are so vast that this force clashes and gets annihilated.

On one side of the spectrum there is an example in the movie “The Arrival” in which an alien species actually came to us and made us question fundamental problems.

Are we alone? Surely we are not since they are here but what is the fundamental change that made us see the universe in a different light.

It is the fact that the Heptapods have a language that is actually refractory to time and it can actually be used to communicate within the flow of time.

From another science fiction movie like Contact we have Nazis that unwillingly send a transmission of Hitler opening the olympics across space. An alien species receives this communication and everything that it sees is a guy with weird mustaches that is talking gibberish on the stage of a sports event. It seems very pacifist to an outsider. We humans of course know very well who Hitler is and what he had done but an alien doesn’t know so it uses that very precise message to communicate with Earth, leaving humanity in pieces and fracturing the very stable political system and belief system that made us together.

Now that I spoke about science fiction for the whole post, let’s talk about the very, more human and terrestrial event that allowed me to create this post. A few days ago a colleague of mine convinced me that there was an incredibly faster way to get from my house to my workplace and at the beginning I didn’t believe him but apparently, at the end, he was right.

It is wonderful how for years I took this incredibly long road that made me go all around the city just to get to work, let alone simply reaching the city center.

Years ago I wrote a post about how a seagull made me change my route to work. It annoyed me so much that the day after I decided I would have tried a different way. It was refreshing. This time was a colleague, next time can be a friend. Can’t really wait to see.

-ldmarchesi


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