Friday, January 06, 2006

Edna's Game

[Quote of the post]
"We may be young, but we're not powerless. We play by their rules long enough and it becomes our game." -Valentine, Ender's Game
"Humanity does not ask us to be happy. It merely asks us to be brilliant on its behalf. Survival first, then happiness as we can manage it." - Mazer Rackham to Ender, Ender's Game
[Song of the post] 2001 - A Space Odyssey

"Individual human beings are all tools, that the others use to help us all survive."
"That's a lie."
"No. It's just a half truth. You can worry about the other half after we win this war."
Colonel Graff and Ender - Ender's Game

Democracy is flawed. What use is freedom of speech if you can't use it? I've just had a ________ day of UYO, and I'm not allowed to say anything about it because if I do I'll have the Sedation Law and the principal and the officers chasing me to the ends of the earth.

Ender's Game, by far, is the most excellent book I've read in a long, long, long time. I can actually tell I'm experiencing the exact same things. Orson Scott Card has insight into the mind of a child, going through the same things I, and I daresay 'we' are living today. ('We' as in students in Singapore in my school)

Ender's Game is basically about a six-year-old boy genius who is forced to join the International Federation to save the world from the third bugger invasion. From that age, he is put through rigourous training, tests of character and skill, and many mind games to test if he is the one who will lead the I.F. command fleets.

Doesn't the education system sound very similar? Training you up for your future job, while robbing your childhood as you go along? Ender's is a very extreme case; how about ours? We have 7 hours of school, plus CCAs, homework time... what time have we left to ourselves, to pursue our dreams, to continue our hobbies? In refining us to gentlemen, global citizens or future leaders of tomorrow, have they overlooked the fact that we are children? That we are human beings and have our limits? And out own lives. What is to become of them?

The answer is survival. One of the most fundamental aspects of nature. They train us, educate us, so that we may take over from them, to succeed the throne when they have moved on. For the future. Nobody looks at the present. Nobody cares about what's going on now. All that matters is that the future is going to be a better place. Sacrificing one for the needs of many. For the greater good.

Another thing. Army training. I understand that being harsh and strict is the only way for disipline, and with disipline you have order, and when you have order you have a killer army, blah blah blah. But the thing about superior officers insulting you. Mocking you when you're in pumping position. It make you hate them more, makes you want to jump up and knock him to the ground. But you can't. Conscience holds you down. Fear holds you back. You just bear it. You can't do anything.

In WWII, the Soviets trained dogs to look for food underneath a tank. Then they would strap a mine to the dog's back and send them into a tank battle. The idea was that the dogs would run under the enemy tanks and blow them up. Grusome, isn't it? Except that the Soviets had been training the dogs with Soviet tanks, so, naturally, the dogs ran under the Soviet tanks.

There's so much more I want to write, but time restricts me, and censorship holds me back. And when you're thinking of all kinds of stuff to blog about when you're coming home at 6:30pm from your UYO, you kinda lose most of it during dinner and the time before you blog. So I leave you with this quote from Ender's Game:

"I am your enemy, the first one you've ever had who was smarter than you. There is no teacher but the enemy. No one but the enemy will tell you what the enemy is going to do. No one but the enemy will ever teach you how to destroy and conquer. Only the enemy shows you where you are weak. Only the enemy tells you where he is strong. And the rules of the game are what you can do to him and what you can stop him from doing to you. I am your enemy from now on. From now on, I am your teacher."- Mazer Rackham to Ender ("Ender's Game" pgs. 262-263, 1994 Special Edition)

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