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I find the fall of cybertron in the transformers franchise a fascinating allegory for the present-day culture war.
Why did the transformers devolve into eons of endless war?
What is the fundamental, irreconcilable difference between these two factions?

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The Autobots were from the managerial class of cybertron. They were scholars, artists, engineers who for the most part got to taste the fruits of a hyper-advanced utopia. These were not the people firmly at the top, but people who were relativelhy well-placed in society.

The decepticons were laborers, gladiators, single-purpose bots that performed the brutal, often essential, but mostly undervalued class in society.They were deprived status, determination and a place in cybertronian life.
Megatron the gladiator won the favor of the dispossessed.

In the early stages, the autobots and decepticons were on the same side. They both recognized the grievous flaws of their society and wanted to find a way to resolve those problems.
They all agreed that a change in leadership had to be made.

The fighting started when Optimus prime, was given the matrix of leadership from the cybertronian elite.
Optimus prime wanted to reform the system into a more just and flexible society.
Megatron took this as a betrayal, because he felt that there was no way the system could be anything other than a re-branding of the horrors that had already occurred.

The war between the autobots and the decepticons wasn't about if the society of cybertron was good or bad, it was about how it should be changed.
The autobots were reformers, who wanted to preserve the current hierarchical order and make gradual improvements to it's fairness and flexibility.
pThe decepticons were radicals who would prefer to establish an entirely new hierarchy to be as rigid and inflexible as the old one, but established on prinicples the decepticons respected.

These were the two options, there were unaligned transformers but space was never safe from the unending war between the autobots and decepticons. Soldiers lined up to fight for one vision or the other, there was no longer a process in place to collaborate and find peaceful resolutions to problems in society.

Cybertron was destroyed by this war, many of the younger transformers hadn't known what cybertron looked like before the war. In the name of saving their society they waged war until the planet was reduced to a lifeless husk. The war spread all over the universe in a race to secure more resources for the war.

I don't see the people I disagree with as ruthless decepticons, and my allies as virtuous autobots.
The people who benefit from the status quo and don't recognize anything as wrong don't fit into either faction. In many ways, the people who aren't actively engaged in these issues are more like the humans in the cartoons and movies. There are much more powerful forces at play and we can only choose to support change in the ways you support, or stay out of the way.

Our situation on this planet does bear some similarity, as energy becomes more expensive and critical we will face a very similar situation as the transformers when the all spark was taken from them. I think the lesson I would like people to learn from transformers is that we need to work together to find ways to avoid incolsolable differences and constantly find ways to introduce peaceful options to diffuse situations.

I tend to agree with you to the extent that just because someone disagrees with me doesn't mean they are evil. Almost no one agrees with me so it works out that way that I would have to consider every human being other than myself evil and then I would have to consider myself evil as I change opinions.

I will say that whether we agree or disagree, every one of us has a choice as to whether to maintain our basic humanity. Some people have convinced themselves that holding on to that fundamental goodness within themselves is wrong. Such people think that acting without principles and without regard for your fellow man will help you win. In my opinion, the moment that you give up your basic humanity it doesn't matter what you're fighting for you've already lost.

@sj_zero

Such people think that acting without principles and without regard for your fellow man will help you win. In my opinion, the moment that you give up your basic humanity it doesn't matter what you're fighting for you've already lost.

:100a:​
That's what I like to hear.

@gabriel A+ thread.

Nerd reaction first:

I was there back in the 1980s, and while I am definitely not on top of all the sprawling revivals and expansions, since, it's complicated to comment on the origins of the Cybertronian wars since there are many versions of them. I'm holding Issue #1, and judging from Megatron's words, the Decepticons were basically Futurists, loathing Cybertron *because* it was a paradise, and in consequence stagnant. Arguably, every other account is later revisionism, but they are all equally "real" and fictional.

More serious reactions next.

@gabriel More serious reactions:

I think and write about this kind of thing a lot. I would see the relevance of the Transformers, particularly to America, includes:

It's a civil war, not "friendly disagreements among one people." Mutual recognition as one society has broken down. mattkuhns.com/2021/09/inverse-

The neutrals (an important concept only introduced iirc years after Transformers stories began) have their parallel in the large number who don't want to align in America's war, and who (like neutral Transformers) are nonetheless mostly just in the way so far.

Among the elites, who drive things, I see a lot of the right as evil monsters. I see a lot of my allies as clueless, corrupt, and/or far more like automatons than the actual Autobots. πŸ˜…

@mattkuhns
You may (or may not) like the opening introduction for the series I've been working on:
libresolutions.network/article

The truth is I don't really care at all about where someone has stood on issues as long as they are against technocratic control over humanity (in whole or in part)
One of the eye-opening things for me while writing it is that many parts of what I had feared have already existed in current systems (finance and credit used as a control mechanism) and that we should find ways to work around that too.

@gabriel

If your concept of oppressive technocrats has substantial overlap with what I would call power hungry oligarchs, we probably share some views.

I would agree that it's largely them against the rest of humanity. I also recognize that many people have other perspectives and are sticking to them. 🀣

I can believe e.g. that many Republicans and I have shared or at least compatible "real" interests, and that their conviction that e.g. their real peril is "The Great Replacement" is unhinged fantasy from a bamboozle which has captured itself. I can even be right in some objective sense.

They obviously remain firm in their belief that us godless gays are the enemy, and billionaires are their friends as long as they are Republican.

πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

Hard right politics 

@mattkuhns

their conviction that e.g. their real peril is "The Great Replacement" is unhinged fantasy from a bamboozle which has captured itself.

The problem with "the great replacement" is that (to the intended audience) it does a much better job at explaining the motives of institutions and government than their stated objectives.
It's really hard for someone to dismiss it when they feel the effects of:

  • Governments have failed (most of) their people by almost any measure you can pick
  • Fiscal policy that chooses winners and losers has made almost everyone loosers
  • DEI mandates have been creeping into the workplace and inflame already...struggling social conflicts.
  • Relentless rhetoric that young or working class whites that they are responsible for conditions created by billionaires

My point here is that someone without understanding the incentives at play will have a much easier time pointing to a straightforward plan aiming at their extinction, than believe that the entire system is just randomly working against them at every turn.

(cont)

re: Hard right politics 

@gabriel Certainly agree with the basic premise there.

re: Hard right politics 

@mattkuhns

They obviously remain firm in their belief that us godless gays are the enemy, and billionaires are their friends as long as they are Republican.

The very thing that has concerned me since I first noticed the culture war was "the system" (for lack of a better term) was rapidly taking on initiatives in the name of vulnerable groups rather than delivering tangible results for them.
It was really easy to see this breed resentment.
I'm convinced we've seen a systematic "pump and dump" of civil rights since ~2010 where the establishment has put a spotlight on these issues to directly put a target on these groups.
The inevitable financial calamity post 2008 was not a mystery to the ruling class and it's not mysterious that they would want convenient scapegoats to deflect to when things inevitably get difficult.
Take Justin Trudeau for example, he personifies a great deal of the public's anger on a variety of issues.
Does anyone sincerely believe that Trudeau really cares about the conditions of minority groups?
I certainly don't, which is concerning when you ask yourself, why does he really put on such performative displays of allyship?

re: Hard right politics 

@gabriel Well if you suspect that even "the good guys" are riddled with fraud, in some sense or other, wow are we reaching similar conclusions

@mattkuhns

I'm holding Issue #1, and judging from Megatron's words, the Decepticons were basically Futurists, loathing Cybertron because it was a paradise, and in consequence stagnant. Arguably, every other account is later revisionism

A lot of my interpretation of the war comes from this book
Transformers: Exodus
I'd really recommend it for anyone who is new to the franchise!

@gabriel Interesting. I have to wonder how much that may have been influenced by sociopolitical developments of the time (2011), and how that could be compared with the environment when writers started crafting Transformers legends in the 1980s.

Potentially a whole other, related, subject for discussion there.

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