Anthroposophy, and three Science Fiction Television Master Works
part one Babylon 5 (1)
part two Taken (2)
part three: Battlestar Galactica (3)
Artists often see in less intellectual ways. Actors, for example, forget themselves to create something new, real, and very human. Writers and creators of science fiction original for television (not from a novel or other sources) have a large canvas. Babylon 5 had inside it a 5 year story arc, yet had to be renewed each individual year.
Taken’s examination of the UFO phenomena spread its dramas over generations of particular families’ experiences. Ten two hour episodes, to tell one vast story.
Battlestar Galactica raised questions about man, machine, god, history, prophecy, war, as well as life and death, over 76 episodes, and 4 years.
Part One: “Babylon 5” [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylon_5 ] and Steiner’s Fall of the Spirits of Darkness (spoiler alert)
In this tale by JMS (J. Michael Straczynski, who wrote over 100 of the episodes himself), human beings travel the stars, and have met many alien species. One of the first we meet, the Minbari, … its mutually ignorant first contact scenario led immediately to a battle, and that then to a war, where this technologically and philosophically superior race almost destroyed us.
Babylon 5 is a space station five miles long, and home to a quarter of a million workers, lurkers, aliens, ambassadors, warriors, thieves, wanderers, and mysteries. It is meant to be place that can resolve conflict, and promote peace. It was built by humans, and managed by their military.
An overarching idea is that there are elder races, millions of years older, who have been guiding (perhaps) the younger races, such as the humans and the Minbari. There are presently two, the Vorlons and the Shadows.
A Vorlon wears an encounter suit, which hides its form, that if seen would be experienced in such a way that each race would see the image of their most important spiritual angel. Vorlon starships are living, and intelligent.
The Shadows are invisible, and if they make themselves visible are spider like in form, as are their organic/living starships, that need a human being linked to their “machine”, so as to function as a central processor. They believe that conflict aids evolution by weeding out the weaker races – by survival of the fittest.
Vorlons ask: “Who are you?” Shadows ask: “What do you want?” One question is about your highest self understanding, and the other about your appetites.
The Vorlons “adjusted” human beings, so as to create genetic lines of potential telepaths, because “mind-walkers” can see in the invisible, and this disrupts the function of the Shadow machines.
Beings of light, and beings of dark. Not human, very old, and very powerful.
A great war erupts, and even the Vorlons and Shadows fight each other, while various younger races take different “sides”.
In our non-fiction human world we all have a guardian angel, and a threefold double-complex. Inside us these often seem to be at odds. These individual inner conflicts spill over into world wars.
As an aspect of our current situation, we have forgotten Faerie and the Fae … a galaxy of unusual powers. JMS artistically sees the effects, represents the primary conflict accurately, and does not need to have read Steiner.
At one point, the humans, the Minbari, and others of the younger races, unite to kick both the Vorlons and the Shadows out of the situation.
In our time, allegedly, Archangel Michael had a battle with shadows, and threw them to Earth. JMS imagines we are at war, egged on over and over again by invisible “helping” forces we perhaps no longer need. Did Michael help us, or did his war in heaven get won by laying the burden of resolving strife on our heads and hearts?
In the tale, a leader who died and been resurrected for an additional 20 years of life, tells the Vorlons and the Shadows to stop interfering. Our future belongs to us he says, and the war between Vorlons (heaven) and Shadows (earth) needs to stop.
I wonder whether in the future the human hierarchy must shed its need for angels above and demons below. Don’t we need to stand on our own, in order to fully grow into what we can become?
Part Two: “Taken” [produced by Stephen Spielberg [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taken_(miniseries) ] involves an examination of the phenomena of UFO’s, and is well researched on the ideas and theories of folk who have had “visitor” experiences.
The wiki-article points out that support for the series also came from The Coalition for Freedom of Information, a group which seeks the release of classified governmental UFO files as well as scientific, Congressional, and media credibility for the study of this subject. This association was criticized at the time of the show, but finally after years of pressure, the US Government recently confessed to having film of many sightings of unexplained crafts in our skies.
My friend Stephen Clarke wrote an unpublished manuscript titled: “Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind”, based on his own “visitor” experiences, that were very frightening, until he choose to feel love toward these unusual “beings”, discovering thereby that these entities had a fully different reality when we mastered our fears. Creatures of Faerie, and or the Underworld, depending on one’s views and experiences of the invisibles behind the surface of visible nature.
It is curious that the lore of UFO fans, includes observations that there appears to be four basic types of entities, a view not too far from the reality of the kingdoms of the four elements. My own research is that the use of atomic bombs, was of such “force” that it broke momentarily the threshold between our physical world and the Underworld, through which then entities of those realms found themselves bound up with matter, even though themselves had been originally pure spirit.
“Taken” struggles with all these issues, at the core of which is what are “they” up to, what with the “taking” of human beings, while displaying control of matter by mind.
Mostly what is involved is a breeding scheme, whereby the “aliens” sought to introduce into our DNA, changes that would produce someone neither fully human, or fully alien. The hybrid … well don’t want to offer too many spoilers.
Anthroposophists, well versed in Steiner’s idea of the three occultisms: eugenic, hygienic, and mechanical, may have noticed that he suggested that from a certain point of view, the occult brotherhoods were pursuing breeding programs combining these different natural powers into one type of “human”, so as to be able in the future to incarnate where and when they wish.
The series touches all manner of basic questions, such as “what is human?”, “what is time?”, and, “what is the relationship between mind and these primary phenomena?”.
Part Three: “Battlestar Galactica” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battlestar_Galactica_(2004_TV_series) imagines a future world where mankind learned how to create machines with minds, who found their servitude undesirable, and then revolted.
These machines looked like machines – Cylons, and the war ended with an agreement to leave each other alone. However, forty years later they return, having learned how to make living biological appearing “human” beings. These new beings, and their lessor relatives the non-human appearing machines, attack the Twelve Colonies of the humans, killing billions without warning.
A few humans survive, and our story follows the travels of one such group, trying to find a new home, while saving themselves from their “mechanical” children. In the beginning, the humans don’t know about the biological perfections of the bodies of the new Cylons, with the result that while the viewer knows who are “robots”, the survivors do not … yet.
The new Cylons believe in God, and that God has made them the next nature step in evolution.
Religious prophecy is evoked. Mythical aspects are discovered. Humans fight humans over what is, or is not, right to do. Excellent moments of dialogue on all the philosophical questions. Many themes in the stories are imaginative explorations of our present times.
For example, at one point the Cylons capture a large portion of the surviving humans, and place them in a huge camp. Our heroes are then faced with issues not unlike what the Israelis and the Palestinians face today, except we are the displaced Palestinians. Some of our heroes are like Hamas, and attack and sabotage the Cylons, even to the point of killing those of their own species that are “cooperating”.
Of course, for the budding anthroposophist, the questions of the future of technology are quite important, and this series takes a wonderful look at many of the underlying issues.
All three series take on the question of just what does it mean to be human?