December 23, 2004

David Brin on Accelerating Change, and the sins of George Lucas

I just listened to SF author David Brin's talk, "What Limits Our Ability to Cope With Accelerating Change?", at this fall's PopTech conference. That led me to his Salon essay, "Star Wars despots vs. Star Trek populists", which condemns the values promoted in George Lucas' stories. Interesting stuff.

Above all, I never cared for the whole Nietzschian Übermensch thing: the notion -- pervading a great many myths and legends -- that a good yarn has to be about demigods who are bigger, badder and better than normal folk by several orders of magnitude. It's an ancient storytelling tradition based on abiding contempt for the masses -- one that I find odious in the works of A.E. Van Vogt, E.E. Smith, L. Ron Hubbard and wherever you witness slanlike super-beings deciding the fate of billions without ever pausing to consider their wishes.

Lucas' quote, "But there's probably no better form of government than a good despot." is very similar to a notion I've always held, of the 'benevolent dictator'. Brin argues that this is dangerous foolishness. I guess I'm gonna rethink.

Posted by jackhodgson at December 23, 2004 12:14 PM