Sunday, August 30, 2009

Battlestar Galactica and the Limitations of Being Human...

I just finished watching the finale of Battlestar Galactica.  My bro and I have been watching the series together on DVD over the past few years.  We spent all day yesterday watching Season 4.5 from beginning to end. I'm speechless.  I love the show.  Great writing.  Great philosophy. Great production values.  There are so many layers to BSG that I'm sure I could watch it a hundred times and still miss some of its commentary on society, religion, humanity, philosophy, life...all of it.

There are so many great quotes from the series.  But, I must admit that this speech from Cavil, who is often perceived as the villain of the series (I find it hard to cast any BSG character in the role of villain or hero), resonated deeply with me.  From the episode "No Exit", script by Ryan Mottesheard:

    Cavil: In all your travels, have you ever seen a star supernova?

    Ellen: No.

    Cavil: No. Well, I have. I saw a star explode and send out the building blocks of the universe, other stars, other planets, and eventually other life, a supernova, creation itself. I was there. I wanted to see it, and be part of the moment. And you know how I perceived one of the most glorious events in the universe? With these ridiculous gelatinous orbs in my skull. With eyes designed to perceive only a tiny fraction of the EM spectrum, with ears designed only to hear vibrations in the air.

    Ellen: The five of us designed you to be as human as possible.

    Cavil: I don’t want to be human. I want to see gamma rays, I want to hear X-rays, and I want to smell dark matter. Do you see the absurdity of what I am? I can’t even express these things properly, because I have to — I have to conceptualize complex ideas in this stupid, limiting spoken language, but I know I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws, and feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me. I’m a machine, and I can know much more, I could experience so much more, but I’m trapped in this absurd body. And why? Because my five creators thought that God wanted it that way.

I wish I had a better way of communicating my thoughts and feelings, my perceptions and hopes and dreams. As I have often expressed here, I find this language, this body, this mind, this sensory system so very limiting.  I feel so much larger than all of it.  I hear Cavil's frustration.  I feel his pain.  I understand why he shakes his fist at his creators.  I have had many a moment of cursing the sky at the limits of my humanity. And yet, I know, there is no one to blame. It is as it is.  Doesn't make it any easier though.  

tall penguin


Ganga Fondan said...

This quote is fantastic. Really does make me want to see it. so true too. Just Argggghhhhhhhhhhh!
and sometimes ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
and then arggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Glad you shared this.

tall penguin said...

Yes, I think you'd love this series. It will give you lots of Matrix-like aha moments.

xeon said...

This reminds me the fallen star, satan, from Bible who also wanted to be "more"...