Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | March 26, 2014

Divergent, the Movie

Good enough Sci Fi

Good enough Sci Fi

Divergent, the movie, seemed like the convergence of Hunger Games and Ender’s Game. It was good enough to be entertaining Sci Fi. It spun my nerd worldview – which is always good enough for me.

If Ender’s Game had spent as much time developing the significance of lessons learned in training, it could have lived up to the book. Ender’s Game, like Starship Troopers, was a cult book for Army officers. It had great insights on military training, education and leadership.

Like the Hunger Games, this movie has a female warrior. Also, this post-apocalyptic America has another oppressive, evil social order. It’s amusing and super-ironic that Chicago is one place that succeeds after war instead of being the epicenter of the destruction.

The divergence in Divergent is from one faction to another or several. Society is divided into five factions – the Abnegation (selfless), Amity (kind), Candor (honest), Erudite (intelligent) and Dauntless (brave). And, there are factionless – who look a lot like homeless. Factions are more important than family. These ideas probably can be traced back to the unhappy school days of some, if not all, Hollywood writers. Cliques vs. misfits recurs so much it’s too clichéd to even be a cliché.

So, when the writers’ hard times come to life on the screen, so do their biases. Like all the farm folk are simple-minded and kind. Like, selfless people should govern in a natural order.

And, oddly enough in a society that is based on factions working in harmony to create peace and order, there are people without a faction. Doesn’t that go contrary to the whole idea of a society based on factions?

Yet, the basic idea – How should society be ordered? – is a good question. By factions based on personalities is a terrible answer. Tribe was the answer from the end of the Ice Age – and long before – until civilizations started around 4000 BC. Kingdoms worked for the times. Then, around 500 BC a few Greeks in a city-state of 50,000 people asked themselves what is the best way to order society. They wrote it down. Civilized people have been talking about it ever since.

What is best? Depends on where, when, and who is in the society.

When you have a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, heterogeneous society based on a Post-Enlightenment, Judeo-Christian, free market, Western Civilization culture, I believe the Rule of Law works best. The People are Sovereign and delegate authority and power to different branches of government. A system of checks and balances works to limit government power. Most of all, it depends on the culture.

Culture commands. Only one culture can guide a society at a time. No society is multi-cultural. None. Ever. The contemporary political term “multi-cultural” means multi-racial and multi-religious – especially if it can mean suppressing Christianity.

Meanwhile, the climax of Divergent is the fight for power over society. That is good Sci Fi, because all good Sci Fi is history with new costumes and toys on a different stage. We’re in that fight right now – in Virginia and across America.

Past is prologue.

Another girl warrior hero.

Another girl warrior hero.

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