Being away on work with little to do of an evening, I’ve been re-watching Babylon 5 lately, and today stumbled across a fantastic quote. While at times, Babylon 5 might have been a bit kitsch, the fundamental story, and the lessons in that story, remain strong and powerful. Not much is more powerful than the following:
No dictator, no invader, can hold an imprisoned population by force of arms forever. There is no greater power in the universe than the need for freedom. Against that power, governments and tyrants and armies cannot stand.
It seems a fundamental part of human nature that we desire freedom. Freedom of thought, freedom of expression, and freedom of non-interference. It doesn’t matter how many guns or canisters of tear gas or bombs are at the disposal of those trying to cling onto ill-gained power, the will of people intent to be free surpasses all. This is why, for instance, the Chinese government so actively censors its incoming internet feed; every time there’s talk of an uprising anywhere, they immediately clamp down on incoming information to the country. Why? Because all those big men in power are actually terrified little men. Or as Winston Churchill said:
Dictators ride to and fro on tigers they dare not dismount.
Lately, the tigers of the world have been getting very restless.
It’s quote like the one at the start of the article from Babylon 5 that reminds me so much why I love science fiction. So much fiction on TV and in the movies is about nasty things happening, or pointless humour. Science Fiction is about dreaming futures – and to dream of a future you must dream of hope.
The world needs more hope. Science Fiction teaches us to hope.