Galactica Conclusio Philosophicus
By: Frederick Meekins
In one of the climactic scenes of the conclusion of “Battlestar Galactica”, Gaius Baltar remarks that an unseen hand had been guiding events all along up until that point. Just as the characters were propelled by something from beyond themselves, the producers behind this show may have been driven by ideas originating from sources other than their own fertile imaginations.
Even in the original “Battlestar Galactica” from the 1970′s, one of the underlying premises of the saga was that “Life here began out there with forefathers of the Egyptians, the Toltecs, and the Mayans. There are some who say there may yet be brothers of man who fight somewhere to survive among the heavens.” In the series finale of the contemporary retelling of the sci-fi classic, viewers got to see a bit of how this vision might have played out.
Though most can watch these compelling dramas unaware of the underlying worldviews of the authors, there is indeed a philosophy being presented that if nothing else impacts the authors’ approach to the material at hand.
In the original with the narration provided by Patrick Macnee who went on to play a devil-like figure in that versions mildly Mormonesque mythos, one assumes that, when mankind arrived here on earth, there was no other intelligent life.
However, in the recently concluded version, we realize that it is prehistoric Earth (not even the actual Earth in the reimagining and if you add a third you’ll have to have a crossover show with the Thundercats) that the Galactica fleet has arrived at.
To the casual viewer, both versions do not seem all that different from one another. It may come as a surprise, therefore, that each depiction presents a slightly different viewpoint as to how civilization originated here on Earth.
In the original “Battlestar Galactica” with Earth being the home of the lost 13th tribe of man, it could be said that human life here is the result of an anthropocentric panspermia, meaning we came from elsewhere and are not native to this planet. This has a number of implications, especially for those embracing the perspective of Deep Ecology.
Going beyond a traditional environmentalist standpoint, Deep Ecology holds that mankind is an invasive species infesting the planet. As such, ripping it out through any means necessary including mass death is perfectly acceptable. Prince Phillip, whose primary accomplishment has been marrying someone else who never had to work a day n her life either, basically wishes he could be reincarnated as a killer virus to wipe your family out because his own was a total drain on world resources.
The view taken by the new Galactica is much more complex and seems to ape (or at least hominid) so many other science fiction narratives these days that if one was a conspiracy theorist one might easily conclude that some kind of interplanetary catechism was trying to be conveyed to the masses. Once the Galactica fleet arrives, one sees a crouching survey team consisting of the shows primary characters such as Admiral Adama and Dr. Baltar.
These two proceed to banter back and forth about the odds of human life originating at two distinct places in the universe with Baltar remarking how the humans of the twelve colonies were genetically compatible with those there on this planet that would come to be known as Earth. It was also noted how these humanoids had not yet developed language and how the new arrivals could bestow this rudiment of civilization upon their less-developed counterparts.
Thus, in this version of “Battlestar Galactica”, the scenario presented is closer to that of the “Chariots Of The Gods” hypothesis. According to this theory, culture and technology were not developed over time by earth’s native inhabitants but rather something bestowed upon us by an advanced civilization “from beyond the heavens”.
Even more interesting, in the final scene of the series, the bottom of the screen flashes “150,000 years in the future”. We then see the “angelic” versions of Six and Baltar reading a National Geographic article over the shoulder of producer Brian Moore about “Mitochondrial Eve”, the earliest known ancestor from whom all human beings can trace their descent. Discussing the article between themselves, Baltar and Six reveal that the human race walking this earth today is actually a hybrid one the result of interbreeding between humans and genetically engineered Cylon synthoids.
A number in the viewing audience will conclude what an imaginative way to resolve the destructive Human/Cylon conflict with both civilizations, as prophesied, being saved or continued through the hybrid child Hera. However, those more attuned to these messages will notice that this theme of human-â€extraterrestrialâ€ amalgamation has shown up in so many examples of speculative fiction the past few years that one would almost say it was clichÃ© if it did not serve some higher propaganda purpose.