In A Mirror Darkly...|
Posted: October 1st. 2001
Times Viewed: 9,834
"I trust Tyr to be Tyr."
So says High Guard Captain, Dylan Hunt, and so ends episode five in the sci-fi series Andromeda. Tyr Anasazi is Nietzschean, a member of a biologically enhanced race with human origins but who have embraced the concepts of self-interest, survival of the fittest and violent struggle as a means to sort out who is worthy of respect and prestige. Dylan Hunt is human and the last of the military corps who guarded and guided the interests of the intergalactic alliance of planets known as the 'Commonwealth'. The Commonwealth was held together through diplomatic agreements, the protective police actions of the High Guard and a vision of universal cooperation amongst the member planets and races. The Nietzscheans ultimately betrayed the Commonwealth which they saw as having become too bureaucrat, unwieldy and ultimately too weak to hold the alliance together. All that 'togetherness', they felt had watered down the diverse nature of the individual planets and races. What followed was an intergalactic war which left all sides decimated and fragmented.
While it would seem that the Nietchzscheans got what they said that they wanted- a universe where the strongest now survive by looting, robbing and generally one-upping each other- their power has also been reduced and their own way of life has suffered greatly. Three hundred years later, Dylan Hunt is rescued from a space time warp and vows to resurrect the Commonwealth. Tyr and Hunt now share space on the warship, Andromeda, but they do not share a common ideal on what should happen next. Tyr still believes that only those who have proven themselves to be the stronger (in their own self-interest) have the right to survive. Hunt still believes that all races have inherent worth and the 'good of all' should be the guiding vision. Sound familiar?
The tension that this creates between the two seemingly opposing philosophies is undoubtedly the most compelling element of the series. In the interim periods between encounters with other races and/or planets, Tyr and Hunt engage each other in intellectual and philosophical discussions on the merits of his own position. One could easily imagine such debates taking place in the real world chat rooms and message boards frequented by members of the Pagan and other spiritual/political/ideological communities. Such discussions can become heated and in some ways divisive, but no sociological impact really results from such encounters. However, just as when a physical crisis arises aboard the Andromeda and the result of implemented actions based upon a certain philosophy will now have real consequences, so too we have moved from the realm of mere intellectual cyber-bitchfests. For now whatever actions that the world decides to undertake in response to the terrorist acts of September 11th will have its real life effects. And just as Nietzschean and human struggle with the question of right action, so do we.
There are factions in the world, in our own society and within the Pagan communities who likewise seem to be at odds. Both sides to seem to agree that certain wrongs against the innocent- especially those of a particular heinous nature such as mass murder, child molestation, etc.- need to be made right and the perpetrators need to be stopped. If such acts affect them personally, the emotional and psychological impact of the crime is even greater. The devil, as they say, is in the details.
Those who see such an affront as a moral issue would declare that 'you' have done something contrary to the ethical code as 'we' know it to be. "My moral duty now," says this faction, "mandates that I must repay you in kind. To do less than this would mean that I have 'let you get away it' and that is violates my moral code." However, the down side of that philosophy also must include the realization that the 'other' now has an obligation to again repay ME in kind and 'we' now can expect- indeed anticipate- some form of re-retaliation from you. Hence this philosophy must live with both the continuing escalation of violence (tit-for-tat) and the ever present need to always remain suspicious and wary lest one be caught unprepared for such retaliation. Since such cannot really believe that anyone in their position (and always operating under the assumption that everyone thinks as they do) would NOT retaliate given the chance, attempts at peacemaking are not to be trusted.
On the other side of the philosophical fence, the 'harm none' adherents also have a moral code that they live by. If an affront is NOT repaid in kind by them then they feel that they have lived up to their own code of non-violent response in NOT perpetuating a cycle of violence. However, their own bed of nails is made up from the thorny issues that result when the perpetrators ARE allowed in some form (not giving tit-for-tat) to 'get away with it' and so do not have to pay in kind for what they as the aggressors have done tp others. How justice ultimately can be rendered is deferred to the laws of the land, the courts and those elected or appointed to administer that justice.
You can see why the extremes, the true believers, the Tyrs and the Hunts can be at odds on what the best course of action might be. And it would be easy for either side to resort calling the other names (baby-killer, fluffy-bunny, murderer, unpatriotic) or washing their hands of each other (in effect giving up the argument as a hopeless cause). In the most extreme case scenario, one side (guess which one?) may eliminate the other forcibly and permanently from the process. But in the world of 'Andromeda' at least, this hasn't happened. Why not?
The tension between Tyr's philosophy and Hunt's vision can only be maintained through one mechanism: respect. Through their seemingly endless verbal and intellectual sparring, both have learned to listen to the other's point of view. But more importantly, throughout the varied circumstances and adventures in which they have been engaged, each has acted with integrity according to his own philosophy and moral code. And while they may not agree on tactics or worldview or which philosophy is the better, they can and do admire and respect each other's consistent adherence to do what he thinks is the right thing to do. And what is more, they have found that each philosophy does work under the proper circumstances.
In many ways, this same dynamic is also being played out in our world today and nowhere is this more evident than in the hot discussions on what the proper response to the terrorist attacks should be. Each side has its point. One may not agree with those who take the opposite view, but if they (and we) are indeed operating from a position of integrity according to our moral philosophy or code, we should at least be able to respect the other side for holding true to their own. If we, when challenged, hold fast to our principles and deem it admirable that we do so, then we must look beyond the message of the side and find that same steadfast integrity and admirable quality also resides in them. If we can at least respect each other, though it be an existence laced with tension, we shall probably find something in each other that is worth preserving.
For sometimes, war does work. World War II worked in stopping Germany and Japan from decimating the rest of the world. But peace and mutual cooperation also work, as through financial aid and reconstruction efforts these same two countries have become our allies. Dylan Hunt knows that when an evil cannot be stopped from perpetuating evil by any other means, Tyr can be counted upon to handle it. Tyr has come to understand that sometimes Hunt's cooperation method works to make everyone's position stronger and more secure thus making his own life also stronger and more secure.
There is one big difference however between life aboard the Andromeda and our life here on the earth. If they just can't stand each other anymore, Tyr can always get off at some other planetary port-of-call or Dylan could always jettison Tyr out of some shuttle bay door.
Traveling together through space on our own little blue and green and white spaceship called Earth, we however have nowhere else to go. This is our only spaceship, our only world. We need to honor and respect each other both for our personal differences and in spite of them. In a world where the use of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction is always just a button press away, there is no other real or viable choice to be made. No matter how difficult it may seem, we simply have to find ways to make it all work.
Walk in Love and Light,
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, October 1st., 2001
Photo Credit: Thanks go out to Wvox staff photographer Don "Two Eagles" Waterhawk (Web) for this powerful image. (location: Wendyl and Bill's ritual space in Ft. Meyers, Florida).
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