Thoughts from Watching Pacific Rim


As the title suggests, I had the opportunity to watch Pacific Rim, a movie that I have been looking forward to watching.  The movie is essentially Hollywood tackling an anime with CG and live action.  The plot takes place in the future, where there is a portal to another dimension in the Pacific Rim.  Through this portal, large monsters are sent to devastate human cities, in hopes to annihilate the human race.  The defense to this, are huge robots that are controlled by two specially trained pilots that fight these large behemoths of alien flesh.  Not only are all aliens eliminated, but the portal is eventually destroyed.

This plot is a lot like current Japanese anime.  There are certain cities that are attacked by an alien race, and humanity fights against them using mech warriors, or a combination of mech and biological weapons.  The main characters are the pilots, and the various dynamics and struggles that takes place with the other human characters.  There is usually a love story.  Just like in Pacific Rim, there are camera shots of the pilots strapping in the robots, and creating a neural link with the machine.  The nature of this link, and limitations of this link varies from anime to anime, but basically it creates an intimate connection between pilot and robot, increasing combat effectiveness.  This movie really was an anime.

But, there is a theme that came up in this movie that I have been ranting about in this blog.

As usual, the world leaders in this movie combined their resources for the common good in order to combat these aliens.  That is the only way these robots were able to be constructed.  The necessity of survival, of the imminent apocalypse, seems to be the only possible motivating factor that can create humanity to unite themselves for the common good.  Also, these aliens that the humans are fighting, are parasites to planets for they consume resources and then move to the next planet.

The first brief point I want to make, is the fact that currently the human race is consuming the world’s resources at a rate in which the world will not be able to sustain.  Population growth, coupled with the advancements of economies around the world, is speeding the consumption of resources.  With our current view of how to handle things, and the necessity for economic growth, the only way to keep this growth continuing is to consume resources from other planets.  Does that sound familiar?  To me it is strange, that we create stories that we enjoy where the antagonist of these stories that are viewed to be evil, are sharing qualities of our current behavior as a society.  I am willing to bet that the majority of people that watch these movies do not make this connection.

I want to make things clear.  I am totally for the use of resources that are available to us.  I see no problem with mastering the material world (however I do have a problem with it being a central value to all things), but when these consumption of resources not only threatens the livelihood of the planet and inhabitants as a whole, by not only the byproducts of consumption but the depletion of these resources entirely, that is when I see our way of life being counter productive.  It is not in the best interest for the human race to deplete resources entirely, especially when various resources replenish naturally.  This is why I think we should move to a value where we consume resources at or less than the rate of replenishment.  Only then, would sustainability be guaranteed.  This statement would force humanity to really think and prioritize how they will use the various resources that are available to them.  This is not necessarily a bad thing.  It would also force humanity to design technology to last as long as possible, and when repair is needed, to be the most resource efficient as possible.  This would have great implications.  For one, the amount of waste that is being disposed of on a continual basis would decrease, allowing for more input per unit of resource.  The bottom line is this would allow for more things to be produced while decreasing the pollution to the environment.

But why is it that humanity has to be threatened with annihilation that we unite?  Is it because the necessity of survival benefits individual interests and freedoms, which is perceived to be the underlying factor that drives humanity to act?  Can humanity unite for a cause, and work for the common good when conditions other than survival are present?  Could a vision exist where people would work for the common good while humanity is in a state of peace and tranquility (for the most part)?

Why do people believe that working for the common good is not possible?

I have some thoughts on this question, but I am sure I will not address all statements.  But the obvious arguments to me would be the record of communism, and that working for the common good is not in our human nature.

I am not an expert on what communism is or how it collapsed.  Although it is something that I think I need to read more about, I do not believe that this philosophy is not the only possible philosophy out there on how to manage the disbursement of resources and wealth.  Also, could different policies been in place to prevent the collapse of the government while still maintaining communism?  I just don’t know.  But these possibilities provide a point that I think people give up on the notion to work for the common good of man too early, because there might be other possible philosophies that have not been authored or attracted the mainstream, and to the possibility that different regulations could of been in place.

I also think that self-gratification and maximization is our human nature is entirely false.  There is mounds of evidence to suggest that humans can develop in an infinite amount of ways.  Temperamental biases (biology), culture, and historic era shape the development of the human mind.  Scientists have done longitudinal studies on infants from various cultures, ranging from the Western cultures to remote villages around the world.  The extreme variety on how these minds develop suggests that the human mind can is completely malleable.  Consider the United States.  When individuals were being stripped of their freedom, they created a national vision that centers around the maximization of individual freedom.  It makes sense.  It was a vision that so many people followed and were passionate about, many people lost their lives for the establishment of this nation.  But to me this is evidence of a few things.  For one, that society can change and unite for a singular cause.  Secondly, that values can change.  I am not a historical buff, but I am sure there were postulates and values in England that were vastly different from the eventual birth of the United States.  Look at different civilizations throughout the history of the world.  Things have constantly evolved, resulting in vastly different people.

This is evidence to the idea that once a civilization or nation state is established, the culture that is produced will alter the development of human individuals.  It is very possible for people to work for the common good, for the motivation for honor.  It is possible for humanity to value the pursuit of knowledge, peace, mastery, and the like over material gratification and consumerism.  I believe if a proposition were introduced and refined over time, and enough support was behind this philosophy, human behavior could change in whichever kind of way.  I think the science of human development strongly supports this claim.

I’m sorry, I am saying the same things again.  I need to stop.  But I really think it is possible for humanity to work for the common good without a comet, or an alien race working towards the extinction of the human race.  I think this could greatly benefit the lives of many people on this planet.  And I am wondering what could be done to make this vision into a reality.  I think the obvious part would be to collaborate with people across the globe on a vision that would benefit the lives of everyone.  What would have to be done in order to make this vision a reality, a vision that is supported by people across the globe?  Secondly, I think a leader has to step up to the plate.  I think this is necessary to guide the people into a direction and due course that shares this vision.

I’m thinking.  One day, I might start a website and forum, collaborating with people across the internet to determine what this could be.

This post was all over the place.  But I am writing what is coming from my mind and my heart.  Maybe one day I will post formal essays, but that is at a later time.

Thanks for reading.


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