Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
Just saw it today. I had not read the novels though so came to it fresh. Without giving away too much I hope it was quite interesting. It depicts youth being trained for war, and how they are programmed to hate the enemy without really knowing anything about them other than what they are fed. Which is rather ironic, since the movie opens with a quote, I don't remember by whom: "In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him."
Another interesting element is that a hero is required, "the one" to save the day. Same for the enemy, they have a Queen who controls the whole deal. All still very egoic-rational, this top-down leader bullshit. Not at all with the P2P wave of distributed leadership and followership. There has to be this special One like Neo in the Matrix, another holdover from a bygone era. It may as well be Christ the savior.
Still another element is a statement on video war games, how while kids learn practical skills they get removed from the real-life consequences of violence. No one dies in Ender's simulations. Sure they get 'killed' or inactivated during games but then they're alive and well at the end. So all the 3-D video game preparation allows for them to be programmed to dissociate from consequences and just focus on strategy and tactics. Without spoiling the end Ender comes to see the repercussions of this gaming.
I saw it the other night -- having read all the books in the series except for this one. The much more compelling material, in my opinion, consists of the latter volumes exploring Ender's older brother (peter) rising to unite the world in peace for the first time -- over and against the nationalistic struggles which arise when super-skilled commander-children are returned to their home countries after the war. And Ender's long struggle to overcome the guilt of his "xenocide".
The opening quote, BTW, is from the child protagonist himself. A.E. Wiggin.
The pacing of the film was off and a few perversions of the book were not necessarily improvement but it was enjoyable enough... and a great introduction the rich themes presented in the novels.
Nietzsche would love the movie. Especial Harrison Ford's character -- Hiram Graf. A man who takes it upon himself to be the protector of the future of humanity. Whatever his flaws and errors, he is an artist on the world-historical stage armed with very high, profound and troubling moral commitment. The other books get more involved with how he came to occupy his position, how he manipulates politics on earth and how he almost singlehandedly drives humanity forward to colonize all the worlds liberated from the Formic aliens.
When do danger, manipulation and lies serve a greater good -- as far as we can tell? And when does empathy operate in the service of destruction? How much of a smaller moral framework can we sacrifice for a larger one? How much haste and foolishness might be concealed in our survival efforts?