real time web stats

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Ender, Talents, and The Death of Individuality and Thought

Ender's Game and the 1970's Tomorrow People series were major inspirations for my book series. I saw the Ender's Game movie last night and I have to say that it was, "inspirational", though the movie felt a bit rushed. The scene's which depicted some of the formative parts of Ender's life were hurried along so that there would be time for the dramatic ending. Another interesting thing was that some of the preview scenes did not appear in the movie. I suspect the movie was chopped to death and that we'll have to wait for the "extended cut" DVD to see the real movie. I think we have become action sequence junkies and we ignore the subtleties of life where the real shaping of our lives occurs. Lately I've noticed that consumers of the arts really want the answers to questions raised in a movie or novel plot rather quickly, not wanting to solve the puzzle themselves. People used to consider solving puzzles entertaining and would spend time on puzzle like pursuits. This new cultural idiom has even progressed to schools, where the imperative of regurgitating answers as opposed to figuring out the answer is at an all-time high.

That's one thing that makes Ender's Game so timely. Here we have a kid who has a number of special talents that are truly a wonder. Yet, developing those talents that can serve the needs of the moment rather than developing the entire Ender becomes the priority. Ender is a war tool and people feel his justification for existence is solely for that purpose — his human and broader intellectual needs are largely ignored as irrelevant. This can be seen in school testing of talented people, where the capability of talents of particular interest to industry are tested and any other talents or learning differences are ignored. 

Book #4, "The Saeshell Book of Time Part 4: The Ceremony of Life” has a subtle quote that addresses this nicely: “For now and forever, the Nexus you will be. Forever will you be tied to the Saeshell family tree. Such is the fate for all Children of Sophista. For as soon as they see how good life can be, they no longer control their destiny.”

You can see this quite clearly demonstrated in Book #1, “The Saeshell Book of Time Part 1: The Death of Innocents”, which is where the article illustration came from. As Stefan’s talents emerge, the concern of Professor Kettil, who really cares about Stefan, is that Stefan not stand out among his peers. Suddenly, his talents have caused him to lose his cherished, peaceful home life where he develops his own talents and to be thrust into a strange environment. Professor Kettil explains to Stefan that “stretching” is beneficial yet the stretching results in the death of “innocent, creative Stefan”. This has a nice analog in Ender’s Game where Ender’s connection to his family and to people he depends on are systematically destroyed. All that is left is Ender, the strategist, whose feelings are required to be deeply submerged. Ender, the complete person, is irrelevant.

No comments:

Post a Comment