ILuvHats

Humans aren't Evil! Really!

18 posts in this topic

Defending Elysium spoilers:

It's always bothered me that humanity would decide to wage war against every other sentient species, as is revealed in Skyward.  What could have actually motivated the decision to start this war?  It's completely insane.  Disregard the fact that even with their vastly superior technology, it should have been impossible for humankind to win.  After all, war breeds technological advancements like nothing else, and the side with inferior technology will eventually catch up technologically given their ability to study and mimic captured tech from the opposing side.  In some wars, the side with lower technology doesn't have enough time to advance before they are defeated, but in a war of this magnitude, when humans are outnumbered so vastly, humanity wouldn't have been able to subjugate every other alien race before they collectively caught up to the humans technologically.  And this is clearly what happened to an extent.  The Krell possess aircraft that can outperform the human aircrafts on Detritus.  Now true, the human aircrafts we see do not display the height of human technology since M-bot is clearly a superior model.  But neither do we have confirmation that the Krell aircraft are the height of their technology, and it certainly shows vast advancements over the ship that was destroyed by a single missile in Defending Elysium.  So I'm guessing that the alien races are currently roughly on par with the humans at the height of their technological advancement.

Anyways, enough of that tangent.  So, disregarding the fact that I don't see how humankind could have hoped to win, what would motivate them to start the war in the first place? I thought of a few ideas, and I wanted to discuss them.  Feel free to respond with additional ideas.

1.  Lack of Resources

This is one of the most common motivations of war throughout history.  Running out of land to continue expansion?  Invade your neighboring nation.  Running out of oil reserves?  Invade a region rich in oil deposits.  Its the kind of motivation that can drive a civilization or nation to desperation, and force them to play their hand and start a war.  However, I don't really see how this could be the reason for the war in Skyward, because the galaxy is HUGE.  There are between 150 and 250 billion stars in the Milky Way alone, and many, many more planets.  Say there are a thousand alien species, and each one is draining resources from a thousand solar systems, which I think are vast overestimates for the size and number of alien civilizations.  That's a million solar systems, which is a fraction of a single percent of the resources available in the Milky Way.  And there should be no reasons for regional shortages of resources to affect humanity because FTL space travel hypothetically means equal access to all the resources throughout the entire galaxy.  So I don't think this is what drove humanity to war.

2.  Xenophobia

Plain and simple.  Humans don't like aliens because, well, they aren't human, and they have trouble understanding creatures such foreign biologies and cultures.  So, they dehumanize them and start to view them as inferior, and if that's the case, then why shouldn't humankind conquer them?  There are some signs of this view spreading throughout humanity during Defending Elysium, where we're told that every attempt to start a foreign exchange program for human children to go to alien worlds was shot down.  There seems to be a generally xenophobic view of aliens at that point in time.  Still, I don't think this was the ultimate reason for the war, because as humans began to spread, they were going to come into contact with other alien species, and as they increasingly interacted with alien species, the more humans would come to understand them.  So, I think this xenophobic view would die out once humans were no longer isolated.  It's up for debate though.

3.  Idealogical Differences

Personally, I think this is the ultimate reason that humanity began an intergalactic war.  As seen in Defending Elysium, every single alien species maintains a peaceful society by permanently imprisoning any members of its society who are dissidents.  It's the culmination of the philosophy "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."  Upon realizing this, Jason was horrified, and I see no reason why he wouldn't reveal this to the rest of mankind.  In a society that prides itself on equal opportunities for all (even if there are NOT actually equal opportunities for everyone), its easy to see why humans would eventually decide to declare war.  It would be a war of liberation, to free the many imprisoned, so called "dissident" aliens from their oppressive societies.  Basically, the reason for the war would be that humanity's authorities decided they had a moral obligation to start this war, and in some ways, it seems justified even to me.  This is the motivation that I support as most likely.

Feel free to share your own ideas, or argue against my opinions.

 

Epigraph:  This is only tangentially related to the subject, but over the course of writing this, I started thinking about the motivations for the aliens.  I do think it's atrocious for any society to imprison individuals because they disagree with the majority, and to imprison them simply because there is the SLIGHTEST possibility they might become violent.  However, I can see why alien societies did this.  Unlike humans, when other alien species developed cytonic abilities, the majority of the species gained access to it over a short period rather than just a few individuals here and there.  Considering the destructive capabilities of mindblades, it would be like if almost every single human on earth had a firearm on them at all times that could not be taken away and could be fired at moment's notice.  It would mean complete anarchy.  Crime rates would skyrocket.  Even a moment of violent disposition could lead to deaths, because there's no gap between wanting to hurt somebody and being able to, since mindblades can be engaged with the merest thought.    Under these circumstances, its actually kind of logical that alien species would go to any lengths to prevent even the slightest chance of violent individuals roaming free.  

Hoowee!  This is a long post.  I'm expecting a few TL;DRs.  Anyways, enjoy.

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14 minutes ago, ILuvHats said:

3.  Idealogical Differences

Personally, I think this is the ultimate reason that humanity began an intergalactic war.  As seen in Defending Elysium, every single alien species maintains a peaceful society by permanently imprisoning any members of its society who are dissidents.  It's the culmination of the philosophy "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."  Upon realizing this, Jason was horrified, and I see no reason why he wouldn't reveal this to the rest of mankind.  In a society that prides itself on equal opportunities for all (even if there are NOT actually equal opportunities for everyone), its easy to see why humans would eventually decide to declare war.  It would be a war of liberation, to free the many imprisoned, so called "dissident" aliens from their oppressive societies.  Basically, the reason for the war would be that humanity's authorities decided they had a moral obligation to start this war, and in some ways, it seems justified even to me.  This is the motivation that I support as most likely.

 

This is the reason in my mind, and from what I remember, it was heavily implied. Justice for the wronged is another very human concept on a galactic scale, as well as helping those in bad situations (I mean, look at the blind and deaf corpse they found from a long time ago who lived to be a pretty good age through care from his tribe), especially people and things that have been treated badly. This includes inanimate and non-sentient beings, so it's no stretch to imagine the outrage once the world learned about entire portions of populations being locked up would lead to a large war of species.

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The aliens have access to a super-advance technology that humans really, really want (FTL and cytonics).  Plus they're basically defenseless against the humans weapons.  I think that's a recipe for a war right there.  

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13 minutes ago, Scion of the Mists said:

The aliens have access to a super-advance technology that humans really, really want (FTL and cytonics).  Plus they're basically defenseless against the humans weapons.  I think that's a recipe for a war right there.  

Do we know for sure that the humans started the war? Since Jason Write knows that humans already have access to FTL and cytonics, if he was motivated to share this, the humans wouldn't need to attack the other species to obtain the "technology". I think it's more likely that once it became apparent that humans would obtain FTL and cytonics, despite not being "civilized", the aliens would wage war preemptively using their years of experience with the abilities to prevent the "uncivilized humans" from using it for purposes contradictory to theirs.

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20 minutes ago, Scion of the Mists said:

The aliens have access to a super-advance technology that humans really, really want (FTL and cytonics).  Plus they're basically defenseless against the humans weapons.  I think that's a recipe for a war right there. 

The humans already have FTL and cytonics.  We see that clearly in Defending Elysium.  There are some technologies the aliens have access to that the humans don't like the devices that can suppress cytonic abilities, but given the humans are already so much more technologically advanced than the aliens, it shouldn't have taken long to apply their superior scientific knowledge and begin to develop technologies designed to interact with cytonic abilities, like M-bot displays.  The aliens had nothing on the humans but their experience with cytonic abilities, which can't be physically taken from them.

7 minutes ago, Ookla the Indefatigable said:

Do we know for sure that the humans started the war? Since Jason Write knows that humans already have access to FTL and cytonics, if he was motivated to share this, the humans wouldn't need to attack the other species to obtain the "technology". I think it's more likely that once it became apparent that humans would obtain FTL and cytonics, despite not being "civilized", the aliens would wage war preemptively using their years of experience with the abilities to prevent the "uncivilized humans" from using it for purposes contradictory to theirs.

I agree that humans wouldn't be motivated to attack to gain technology.  But the aliens are complete pacifists.  The Varvax are stupidly docile, to the point where they take no outrage at one of their ambassadors to the terrestrial solar system being presumably murdered by humans.  All of the aliens have spent centuries imprisoning any individuals showing any hint of being possibly violent, removing these individuals from the gene pool and only leaving the ones who are mellow and conform to society.  Over time, these races became inherently non-violent with a genetic predisposition towards peacefulness, though dissidents probably still arose.  It would have seemed insane to them to start a war.  In addition, when Spensa eavesdrops on the Krell, they are absolutely terrified of humans, indicating they see humanity as the dangerous aggressors.  I feel like this view would a be null if the aliens were the ones who attacked and the humans were simply defending themselves.  IMO, the evidence points towards humans initiating the war instead of the aliens.

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I am curious where you guys get the idea that the humans started the war. 

Jason Write gave us FTL travel, because there was no sense in protecting the universe from us. They were the actual totalitarians. 

It sounds like we were spreading out into space, and it just freaked the rest of the galaxy out. Since their usual modus operandi was to imprison dissidents, that was basically what they did to us. They imprisoned us because we scared them. 

The aliens are pacifists... except when they are genocidal totalitarians. 

Edited by ZenBossanova
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30 minutes ago, ILuvHats said:

The humans already have FTL and cytonics.  We see that clearly in Defending Elysium.  

Only the Phone Company has access to cytonics.  That's actually a huge point in the novella: that the rest of humanity is resentful of the Phone Company and spies on its operatives to try to gain that knowledge.  

32 minutes ago, ILuvHats said:

But the aliens are complete pacifists.  

The hypocrisy of the aliens is that, while they claim to be pacifists, they're actually a totalitarian regime that brutally suppresses any dissent.  

34 minutes ago, ILuvHats said:

All of the aliens have spent centuries imprisoning any individuals showing any hint of being possibly violent, removing these individuals from the gene pool and only leaving the ones who are mellow and conform to society.  Over time, these races became inherently non-violent with a genetic predisposition towards peacefulness, though dissidents probably still arose.  It would have seemed insane to them to start a war.  

In the real world, there's no gene for violence, so I highly doubt it'd work that way with aliens.  Plus, we know that they can't have that much of an aversion to violence, given that they did fight a war and are still killing humans on Detritus.  

I like @ZenBossanova's idea that they were just treating us like a bunch of dissidents, and we fought back.  

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34 minutes ago, ILuvHats said:

The Varvax are stupidly docile, to the point where they take no outrage at one of their ambassadors to the terrestrial solar system being presumably murdered by humans  

The Varvax take no outrage because the humans are “uncivilized”, and they are thought of such because they don’t have cytonics. If the humans developed cytonics, becoming “civilized” and continued their violent lifestyle, which seems likely to me as they’re humans, the varvax and all of the allied alliens might be forced to take action. 

Quote

Only the Phone Company has access to cytonics.  That's actually a huge point in the novella: that the rest of humanity is resentful of the Phone Company and spies on its operatives to try to gain that knowledge.  

Yes, but since members of the Defiant have cytonics, humans must learn of them at some point. Based on the scene in one of the scientists (his name is something like Rikolfr) says the activity in Spensa’s “Writellum” section of the brain spiked when near the keel. Due to the similarity of this name to Jason Write’s last name, I’m of the belief that Jason reveals the use of cytonics to humanity. 

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16 minutes ago, Scion of the Mists said:

In the real world, there's no gene for violence, so I highly doubt it'd work that way with aliens.  Plus, we know that they can't have that much of an aversion to violence, given that they did fight a war and are still killing humans on Detritus.

Okay, yeah.  That was a stupid argument.  

I think I got the idea that humans were the aggressors that started the war from the reference to a “human empire” in Skyward.  An empire usually implies invasion rather than colonization of unoccupied territory.  You both could be right though still.  Maybe the alien races instigated the war, then got completely overwhelmed initially by humans, and that’s how humanity started forming an empire. 

I also think it’s kinda dumb that the Krell would be so scared of humans if humankind didn’t start the war. If you attack somebody, what do you thinks going to happen?  They’re going to fight back!  The fact that the aliens presumably see themselves as victims (not necessarily true, but it’s my headcannon based on what we see in Skyward) irritates me.  But I see your points.  

Edited by ILuvHats
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5 minutes ago, Ookla the Indefatigable said:

The Varvax take no outrage because the humans are “uncivilized”, and they are thought of such because they don’t have cytonics. If the humans developed cytonics, becoming “civilized” and continued their violent lifestyle, which seems likely to me as they’re humans, the varvax and all of the allied alliens might be forced to take action. 

But that was my initial point.  If humans kept being violent towards the aliens, the humans would be the aggressors, not the aliens.  The aliens taking action would be a response to human aggression, in which case humankind would be the ones to started the war, right?

Edit:  Sorry for the double post.  I’m on mobile right now and thought I was editing my previous post, but apparently I’d accidentally created a new one.

Edited by ILuvHats
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20 minutes ago, ILuvHats said:

I think I got the idea that humans were the aggressors that started the war from the reference to a “human empire” in Skyward.  An empire usually implies invasion rather than colonization of unoccupied territory.

Now I see where you are coming from. Empires often consist of conquered territory, but not necessarily. It is possible we did something other than being human, but we don't know that yet. Right now, they are the aggressors. 

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Anyone here read Timothy Zahn's Conquerors trilogy?

Spoiler

Because I could easily see Brandon pulling a similar reversal on us. Zahn shows the first book from the human perspective as a first contact situation goes horribly wrong and the alien ships they encounter suddenly annihilate the human fleet and then proceed to destroy all the lifeboats as well. Other aliens that are part of the Commonwealth with humanity mention that they've heard of this race before and know of them as the Conquerers Without Reason. Then the next book shifts to their perspective and they're convinced that the humans are the terrible conquerers who started the war and they're just defending themselves. Much later on, we find out that both sides are right/wrong, because the aliens really react badly to radio waves and they misinterpreted the attempt to communicate with them as a weapon of mass destruction and the emergency transponders as additional attacks.

Given what we saw of the Krell in orbit, I wouldn't be surprised at all if something similar is at work here. It would be a very Brandon thing to do. I could also see humanity as having genuinely started the war, if only to continue Spensa's more or less unbroken streak of being wrong about her initial beliefs and to give her one more thing to work through. Either way, I expect the ultimate resolution to the conflict is going to have to involve getting the aliens to own up to the fact that whatever started the fighting, continuing to attack the Defiants who just wanted to be left alone only made things worse.

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Given the dissension over whether the humans started the war or the aliens did, I’m thinking about making a poll, because I genuinely want to know what more people believe.   

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it's not just humans vs. an alien coalition - there's another group to consider: the "eyes" in cytospace.

What if neither the humans nor the aliens really started the war, but the "eyes" set the conflict in motion from behind the scenes, like puppet masters?

Since it's Brandon, we can be assured that nothing will turn out quite the way anyone would expect.

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On ‎12‎/‎4‎/‎2018 at 1:06 PM, ZenBossanova said:

I am curious where you guys get the idea that the humans started the war. 

Jason Write gave us FTL travel, because there was no sense in protecting the universe from us. They were the actual totalitarians. 

It sounds like we were spreading out into space, and it just freaked the rest of the galaxy out. Since their usual modus operandi was to imprison dissidents, that was basically what they did to us. They imprisoned us because we scared them. 

The aliens are pacifists... except when they are genocidal totalitarians. 

This is the impression I got too. The Krell saw humanity as violent animals, and treated us as such. We insisted on being treated as responsible sapients, and things got ugly from there.

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are we sure that humans aren't evil? let's ask nightblood. 

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On 12/4/2018 at 11:16 AM, Scion of the Mists said:

In the real world, there's no gene for violence, so I highly doubt it'd work that way with aliens.  Plus, we know that they can't have that much of an aversion to violence, given that they did fight a war and are still killing humans on Detritus. 

I realize this is an old thread, but I wanted to point out that this isn't entirely true. Yes it is true that there is no single gene for violence, but your DNA absolutely does create predispositions for certain behavior. This is how the domestication of animals works, and in fact there is recent evidence by a study through breeding foxes to create a tame population. Here is an article about it! http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20160912-a-soviet-scientist-created-the-only-tame-foxes-in-the-world

So I do believe that it is reasonable to assume that through the culling of dissidents, the aliens have in effect created a genetically "tame" population with few dissidents. And at the same time, being predisposed to avoid aggression does not mean that they "can't" fight a war or kill, for example we would consider dogs to be tame when compared to wolves, and yet dogs can still become aggressive. This would be even easier in an intelligent alien race that is more capable of acting against its natural instincts.

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Has any one seen Young Justice season 2? The Reach tried to suppress the human propensity for violence to create a docile slave race. Maybe the aliens tried to do the same to humans after seeing the human expansion into the larger galactic community. The aliens wipe out the human empire and then try and enslave the rest of the pink war monkeys. And that leads to the current prison planet.

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