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View Full Version : General Observations and the Tower of Babylon theme



Shak53
November 30th, 2010, 08:16 AM
1. Rush, for a man who is supposed to be intelligent, posed a false dichotomy. I can think of two other possibilites at this very mooment: 1. God wishes for the people to suffer at the end for some reason (to serve a higher purpose that nobody understands yet) and 2. that God likes to see people suffer.

Don't get me wrong. I sympathize with Rush's agnostic view on the matter, and it was agnostic up until this very scene (if you paid attention to what he was saying). I incline more to the alien view and I fully expect that thats' where the writers will go as there is very few in the science fiction genre which treats theism favourably.

Now, it sounds to me that Rush was just frustrated at Caine's blind faith and presumption. I agree, but is it really necessary to be so cruel about it? Seriously?

2. And it wasn't just Rush. Eli, Young, and Wray were similarly mean-spirited and hostile re: that (blind) faith (memorable moment again) There was no reason for it. It reminds me of some of the negative stereotypes of atheists.

3. What with Greer's paranoia and lack of impulse control, Young's demonstrated inability to handle the stress of the job (demonstrated in so many extreme ways!), Rush's obsessive desire to rebuild the Tower of Babylon, and Chloe's blackouts, I'm beginning to think that most of these characters are mentally unstable.

4. Eli quoted Arthur C. Clarke like he was holy writ. I almost expected Caine would quote back some obscure religious work. Clarke's comment only makes sense if we presume that the less advanced race is superstitious and just as presumptuous as Eli (except in the other way - favouring the supernatural. Eli favours the philosopically materialist conception of the universe.). So, Eli's comment contributed nothing except for a "you're a poopyhead" or "Arthur C. Clarke thinks you must be irrational, and I like to think you are, therefore, you are"

5. Yet, Caine's group is irrational. Such blind faith, but I expect more to be revealed as the show continues on. I wouldn't be surprised if we find out that Caine was justified in trusting the aliens to take care of them, but that they still are just aliens and not gods. Interestingly enough, I'm not sure that an advanced race that operates outside our universe (the laws of which supersede our own), is much different in substance from "gods" to begin with. I don't expect SGU to go in this direction, though. It's a little too obvious (at least, for me). No, what I expect is that they want to turn the Destiny crew into mini-gods (of a sort).

6. Which relates back to my Tower of Babylon comment. I watched the episode where Rush revealed to Young this message or footprint in the beginning of the universe. He described it in much more grandiose words than he did in later episodes - re: the nature of reality and how it would be a source of power.

I suspect that the Stargate franchise has been anticipating this metaphorical building of a new Tower of Babylon (Eli's reference to the song "Stairway to Heaven" was perfect!) direction for quite some time.. note: the Goauld (snake creatures which possess people pretending to be gods - in the Bible, demons [the devil is portrayed as a serpent] are said to pretend to be gods for much the same reasons as the goauld did in Stargate), the Ori and implicit slamming of monotheism, and perhaps the ascended beings as somehow, the enlightened few who have reached...well, we never quite got the message of "what" other than some secret higher level of existence.

In the story of the Tower of Babylon, people tried to create a tower to reach heaven. They didn't want to do this to worship God or anything. It was a humanist attempt to "gain a name for themselves"..to do something grand and godlike, to try and almost render themselves equal to god, perhaps to become as gods themselves.

Rush is not building any literal towers. It's metaphorical. Rush is metaphorically trying to get to the seat of creation, figure out how this thing could exist (that shouldn't according to his current understanding of the laws of physics), so that he can gain a name for himself, so that he and they can gain power and knowledge. Is this not what he said or implied?

Because once they do..they can do anything they want. As Eli would say, "magic"...except not magic..sort of. Just some absurdly high piece of technology or something.

Considering how unstable the crew of the Destiny is, I shudder to think how they would misuse such power if they were to ever discover and wield it.

Anyways, I've been reading this forum and watching this show. I'm surprised no one else picked up on the Tower of Babylon theme. It veritably screams out at me.

Perhaps, folks have picked up on it but are unaware that it is biblical in origin (but meant to slam the biblical account, rather than promote or illustrate it).

I still love Eli's "Stairway to Heaven" comment regarding this cosmic sign. That is almost what the Tower of Babel would look like according to some authorities...a ziggurat.

I can't be the only one who sees this. Maybe it's so obvious that nobody else felt a need to express it.

Naonak
November 30th, 2010, 01:14 PM
3. What with Greer's paranoia and lack of impulse control, Young's demonstrated inability to handle the stress of the job (demonstrated in so many extreme ways!), Rush's obsessive desire to rebuild the Tower of Babylon, and Chloe's blackouts, I'm beginning to think that most of these characters are mentally unstable.
I'd disagree with labelling Greer, Young and Chloe as "mentally unstable".

Chloe's being taken over by some alien virus, for crying out loud.

Greer's only really been distrustful of Rush and Wray, when they were actively plotting against Young (or he had a space tick pumping him full of crazy-juice). While he's certainly aggressive when he needs to be, on the whole he's not out of control. He lost it with Rush on the desert planet in Air III, but one incident isn't enough to condemn him.

Young may very well be unable to truly cope with the stresses of the situation, but I don't think you can put that down to "mental instability". As he and Jack discussed, Young turned down command of the original mission because "his heart wasn't in it any more". He's weary, tired of losing people, even before the show started. Everyone has their limit to how much they can take, and he's reached his.


Re: the Tower of Babylon. There may be some similarities, though we're not really sure what Rush's motivations are, but I doubt it's intentional.

Gatefan1976
November 30th, 2010, 03:15 PM
Hmm, I see more of a "Prometheus" type angle to Rush' "quest", but that may be more to my own background.

Good post by the way Shak53!

xxxevilgrinxxx
December 2nd, 2010, 10:28 AM
1 & 2) I don't think Rush, Wray, Young or Eli were being mean and or mean spirited at all. I don't think Rush believes much in a god so I doubt he'd be wondering what any such entity intended for Caine or anyone else. As for the rest, a belief that Caine got those people killed isn't mean-spirited and in fact, given the fate of the people left behind, there's considerable reason behind it.

3) I don't see Greer as paranoid at all; he's been practical and it's not paranoia when people really are following you (to use the old joke). Not trusting people who continue to lie to you is smart. Young and stress - yep, the man's got stress, anybody would. Is he handling it in comic book hero fashion? Of course not, but he's not curled up in a ball in the corner unable to do anything either. he's pulled himself together. And we're walking :) Chloe's blackouts aren't a matter of any mental instability but a matter of an "infection" for lack of a better term. And as much as I like to ride rough shod over Rush on occasion, I think he's about as mentally stable as any of them right now. My not liking the way he thinks from time to time doesn't really change that. I'm really not getting the tower of babylon reference.

4) Eli is known for making "geek" references and for scifi types, Clarke may as well be holy writ. Whether Eli would stretch it as far as you seem to be stretching it, I don't know but I haven't seen that in his character to date.

5) I suppose it comes down to a matter of faith. If you're Caine, or like Caine, clearly you'd believe that it's rational to think that alien entities you've never met and know nothing about would of course help you out. As you've used the term "irrational", I would have to say that, yes, to believe such a thing is completely irrational as in contrary to reason. We don't know these aliens or even know of them and have no reason to believe they will do anything in our favor - ergo, it is irrational to believe what Caine believed.

In reading the remainder of your post, I see now what you're intending with the tower of babylon idea but I believe that the SG writers have factored in another series of beliefs altogether and that can be hinted at in the name of the base the group left from (Icarus), the name of the game that Eli solves (Prometheus) and in the ship's name - Destiny.

I started a post ages ago on this so it saves me looking it up and retyping again (yay!), and I think that you're on the right track in tying the story to mythology, it's just that I believe the writers are using a different mythology:

http://forum.gateworld.net/showthread.php?75552-Icarus-Prometheus-and-Destiny