Doctor Who : Rise of the Cybermen / Age of Steel


He’s got their ears. Lumic takes over their lives, introduces Cybermen to their world, and starts transforming masses of regular people into robots. And he does it all with the support of the public. How does he do it? He’s got their ears.

Little conveniences can go a long way. Just look at how indifferent American news media was at the deaths of 1129 human beings in the Savar factory collapse in Bangladesh this past April. Forget the expense of ensuring the safe conditions of the people making our clothes. We want them cheap and always available, around the clock. It’s a little convenience that comes with a big expense for somebody else.

Why were people so disinterested in it? I think there are two reasons: 1. The Boston marathon bombings occurred only nine days earlier. Though there were 1124 fewer human fatalities, there were 5 more American human fatalities, which makes it more tragic. And the person responsible was easier to identify, and therefore easier to hate, which makes for a better story. 2. We like our cheap clothes.

Little conveniences cover a multitude of sins. It sucks that so many people died making our clothes, but I did retweet that picture of the blood-splattered T-shirts.

The people of Lumic’s earth were permissive of evil because they were taken care of. The people who could fix dangerous buildings are permissive because they are taken care of.

(I don’t mean to seem crass comparing the actual human deaths to a sci-fi show. Please understand that I don’t treat stories lightly. Our culture, our heritage, and our legacy are all dependent on our stories. And I don’t sentimentalize suffering and death. It’s something that’s always happened and will continue to happen for a long time. I don’t weep for strangers. I do pray for them. And I do want every instance of human suffering and death to be meaningful.)

Lumic gets in their heads with the cool new gadget. The people of his world take this sudden and profound change in their lifestyles for granted. Before they know it, they’re marching like lemmings to be transformed into murderous, emotionless, un-human Cybermen.

The loss of yourself, the loss of your humanity can start with just a whisper. Believing lies about yourself, or perhaps more dangerously believing lies about your Creator, is the fast track to destruction. Just as he subtly suggested that the Creator didn’t have their best interest at heart, the serpent deceived the woman and encouraged the human race to commit the first act of rebellion.

But not everybody falls for it. Some people know that the world of Lumic is dangerous and they make it their life’s mission to spread the word. They’ve committed to telling the world that there is an enemy who wants to destroy them and their is a way to be rescued. They’re called the Preachers.

The Preachers acted as prophets for the coming hero. The Doctor descended to earth and told the truth. He revealed the dangers of the Cybermen. He revealed the cute blue-tooth conveniences were leading the people of that world to their deaths. He was an external truth-teller, uncorrupted by the swaying concerns of the people. When Jackie Tyler was slowly dying because she was more interested in some minor injustice, the Doctor and his friends were blowing the lid off the infiltration of the Cybermen.

I can easily judge someone for obsessing about Trayvon Martin or the Boston bombing or some supposed injustice that hasn’t even claimed any lives yet. I can easily say that this or that event in the third world had a higher death tally than any dumb American new event. But then I’d be missing the point too. I’d be as bad as Jacqui Tyler, fixated on a symptom instead of looking at the real problem. The symptoms of the problem of Lumic’s world are distracting, but the real problem is the invasion of the Cybermen. The symptoms of the problem in our world (racism, murder, death, injustice) are just distracting, no matter how many lives are lost. The real problem is that fact that we die at all. Showing kindness to a dying person is nice. Shopping responsibly is nice. Giving to charity, voting smart, and being against terrorism are all nice things. But if you never get to the true problem, what good are you doing?

I’m not alone in struggling with the line between raw kindness and sharing the gospel. I hope. Dig in!

 

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