Humanity As An Enemy Of Itself In “Enders Game”
Imagine the world has been invaded by an alien race that humans call “Buggers.” They have invaded twice and the third invasion is being anticipated. That is the idea behind the book “Enders Game” by Orson Card. In “Ender’s Game,” the main character Ender is sent off to battle school at the age of 6 to begin his training to become a military genius. Throughout the book, Ender is taught to think up strategies to kill entire fleets of buggers. He is pushed to the very edge of his breaking point several times to save Earth against the enemy alien race. Ender was taught that the enemy has always been the buggers and that they are out to kill the entire human race. Evidence in the book point at a different enemy. Humanity, not the buggers are the real enemy of “Ender’s Game.”
If humans encountered an alien race, there is no telling what kind of being we would encounter. They could think and act like we do or have no language we could understand. Which is the kind of being the humans in “Enders Game” encountered. When the humans sent a Tug ship to investigate the disappearing rock they now call Eros, they met the buggers for the first time. Every crew member on the ship was killed by the buggers. This made humans believe that the buggers were out to kill all of them, although the buggers did not have those intentions. Their minds are really one controlled by a queen and so they didn’t know they were killing innocent, individually thinking human beings. When Ender found the hive queen at the end of the book, they share thoughts and she tells Ender “We did not mean to murder, and when we understood we never came again (Card 321).” The buggers had no intention of killing all the humans. They thought that someone was simply invading in the colony they were creating and were cutting the communication back to their queen. If thats the only kind of communication a species has, that is what they would assume other species to have. Just as the humans in “Ender’s Game” believed that the buggers had some means of communication with each other. When the first white men arrived on the shores of the Americas, they had no idea there were people already living there such as the indians. When they discovered the indians had no organized religion and would not adopt one, they were considered savages. Simply because they did not think the same. When the humans assumed that the buggers meant to kill, they were set on killing the alien species before they killed the rest of the humans.
Throughout time civilizations have had to defend themselves against other invading civilizations. It is a fact that there has been countless numbers of people killed by wars throughout the ages. It is also a fact that as time progressed people have had to invent other ways of defending themselves. From simple spears to swords, from horseback to tanks. Humans have always found out new ways of killing and defending themselves. This is also true when the humans encounter the buggers. When Mazer is talking to Ender about the first invasion, Ender realizes that the buggers share a single mind. He understands that the buggers probably did not realize what they were doing. When he mentions that to Mazer he responds with “Just because they didn’t know they were killing human beings doesn’t mean they weren’t killing human beings. We do have a right to defend ourselves best we can, and the only way we found that works is killing the buggers before they kill us (Card 270).” The humans saw no other way of self preservation than to eradicate the entire alien race. That is the only way they saw of dealing with the problem, but they could have tried harder to understand or communicate with the buggers before staging the first invasion. Once man invaded, the buggers began defending themselves the best they could which meant destroying as many of the invading human ships as they could.
Humans have always told stories and been infatuated with war. There have always been stories of great battles and wars and warriors. Childrens tales about fighting giants and stories and legends of conquering empires and the taking over of entire civilizations. During the bugger wars, Earth was at peace, united against a single enemy in space. As soon as message was sent back to Earth of the buggers defeat war broke out on Earth as well as Eros where Ender was. When the news reaches Eros that war on Earth had broken out Mazer told Ender “It’s crazy down there, they’re going to start a war. Americans claiming the Warsaw Pact is about to attack and the Russians saying the same thing about the Hegemon. The bugger war isn’t twenty four hours dead and the world down there is back to fighting again, bad as ever (Card 299).” Earth went straight into chaos as soon as the bugger war was won. Humans have always looked to expand their territory and to kill whoever stood in their way. This holds true with the expansion westward and the wars with the Native Americans. The American government made treaties with them and then broke them, sending the natives from their lands and destroying their homes and killing the warriors who defended them. In “Enders Game” the sole drive between the peace on Earth was to kill the buggers. To take their land and colonize it, which is what they end up doing after the buggers are all dead.
Human nature is to expand and conquer. Earth was becoming crowded, and they wanted a new place to start colonizing. With the success of Eros, it was clear that they could go and colonize where the buggers had lived. Which meant killing all of them to get their lands. Ender never really wanted to kill any of the buggers. He hated the idea of being so cruel and did not want to go to Command School and continue his training to do just that. When he was taking a leave the administrators of Battle School brought in Ender’s older sister Valentine, whom he loved more than anyone, to convince him to continue his schooling. When the subject of war and killing came with with Ender and Valentine, she stated that “Human beings didn’t evolve brains in order to lie around on lakes. Killing’s the first thing we learned. And a good thing we did, or we’d be dead, and the tigers would own the earth (Card 241).” Valentine is saying that killing has always been a necessary part of human evolution and survival. Killing has always been a part of human nature, as a way of self preservation. The buggers did not want to kill all of the humans, but military got it in their mind from that first misunderstanding, that the intentions of the buggers were bad and centered around the killing of humans. When that wasn’t the case. The Indians did not kill the English settlers because they wanted to. They were doing what they needed to do to defend their home. Which is much what the buggers were doing.
Had more time been spent trying to understand the buggers, the second and third invasion could have been avoided. Realizing that the buggers were not going back to kill them would have stopped it all from happening. The treatment of the children in battle and command school would not have almost killed most of the students from exhaustion, especially Ender. All the while Ender and the rest of humanity believed the buggers were the enemy, it was not the case. The buggers would have left the humans alone, and never bothered them again and vise versa. Humanity became the enemy of itself in “Enders Game.”
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Imagine the world has been invaded by an alien race that humans call “Buggers.” They have invaded twice and the third invasion is being anticipated. That is the idea behind […]