Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Perception of Beauty: The Cylon Take

Alright, I'm going to go a little nerdy here:
Battlestar Galactica.

I have been a ardent fan since it's creation (I'm talking about the new T.V. show here), and recently watched an episode that pertains greatly to today's lecture.
So for those of you who don't know the workings of the show, there are humans who are being chased around the universe by cylons. Cylons were machines created by man, rebelled, and over eons of time evolved into humanoids in order to deliver the final blow to the surviving human population.
Anyways, at one point in the show a cylon laments at the loss of his machine being:

Brother Cavil: In all your travels, have you ever seen a star go supernova?
Ellen Tigh: No.
Brother Cavil: No? Well, I have. I saw a star explode and send out the building blocks of the Universe. Other stars, other planets and eventually other life. A supernova! Creation itself! I was there. I wanted to see it and be part of the moment. And you know how I perceived one of the most glorious events in the universe? With these ridiculous gelatinous orbs in my skull! With eyes designed to perceive only a tiny fraction of the EM spectrum. With ears designed only to hear vibrations in the air.
Ellen Tigh: The five of us designed you to be as human as possible.
Brother Cavil: I don't want to be human! I want to see gamma rays! I want to hear X-rays! And I want to - I want to smell dark matter! Do you see the absurdity of what I am? I can't even express these things properly because I have to - I have to conceptualize complex ideas in this stupid limiting spoken language! But I know I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws! And feel the wind of a supernova flowing over me! I'm a machine! And I can know much more! I can experience so much more. But I'm trapped in this absurd body! And why? Because my five creators thought that God wanted it that way!

Just thought this was relevant--how the cylon (Brother Cavil) could perceive so much more in machine form, and how his humanity was limiting his perception.
Interesting how the beauty we see, our reality, is only a fraction of the scientific reality around us.

What if we could see x-rays, or feel the cosmic wind?
What would we perceive as beauty then?
Can a rose hold a flame to the magnetic fluctuations of the sun?

--Food for thought


Michael Black said...

Here is a video clip of the cylon saying part of his speech:

Aiden F said...

Surprisingly, this will make a brilliant addition to my term paper. I'll credit this post.

Matt Christensen said...

and on top of art, how would or science change if we could more easily perceive beauty in such things as cosmic rays.