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Thoughts On Dark Mirror

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GregF

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I mut say, Dark Mirror has provoked some of the most interesting discussions and PMs I have seen in my time on here. It has been really interesting to see the reaction to the story, with Tuyet's Toa being branded as "evil" and "corrupt." And yet ... let's consider:

 

"Toa Tuyet announced today that the Brotherhood of Makuta poses a potential threat and should be eliminated before they threaten the peace of the universe."

OR

"The leader of a major nation announced today that the country of Gazistan poses a potential threat to the peace of the Middle East, and preemptive strikes have been ordered against their military facilities."

 

"Matoran are being monitored, and anyone who speaks out in support of the Makuta or the Dark Hunters, or against Toa Tuyet, will be arrested and imprisoned."

OR

"In the interests of national security, security cameras are being mounted in many public places, and telephone calls and email are being monitored for suspicious language."

 

"The Toa have learned the whereabouts of the dangerous Dark Hunters, a gang of criminals, and are moving in to smash their operations."

OR

"The police have learned the whereabouts of the dangerous Daniels mob, a gang of criminals, and are moving in to smash their operations."

 

Would we brand the governments or police in the real world examples "evil and corrupt?" Or would we say they were trying to keep peace? I think the answer is different for everyone ... but it is important to remember just what Tuyet did. She took the basic core belief of the Toa -- that the Matoran must be protected -- and simply spun it that the best way to protect them was to smash potential enemies before they acted. The Makoki stone engravings prove the Toa had suspicions about the Makuta from early on, and the DH had a long history of immoral acts -- so how hard would it be to persuade Toa that they should be crushed? And can you argue that, despite all the negatives about Tuyet's society, Mata Nui is still awake there, and hundreds of Toa and thousands of Matoran who died in our universe, didn't die there?

 

I am not saying she was right, by any means -- but I think it important to understand the world of Dark Mirror. It is a world really governed by the fear of external enemies, the same as many societies in our world are. Instead of finding strength in fellowship, in prophecy, in the three virtues, these Toa and Matoran let fear and hatred drive their actions. The result was shattered Makuta and DH, but also Toa who then became repressive and dictatorial, all in the interests of protecting their people.

 

So the scary thing to me about DM is not Tuyet, or what happened to Brutaka or Toa Naho ... the scary part is that these Toa are not that far removed from the ones we know. The only real difference here is one of philosophy -- the Toa in DM act without provocation, the Toa in our universe normally wait for provocation and then react. The Toa in our universe wish to set an example and be looked at with respect, and so they don't stoop to the lethal level of their enemies; the Toa in DM believe that the best way to protect the Matoran from a foe is to kill that foe and don't care if they are looked at with fear. There are probably some Toa on Tuyet's side who aren't 100% comfortable with what they have become, but they look around and see a universe with no BOM and no real threat from the DH or anyone else, and so they do nothing.

 

Lesovikk is really the one who sees the slippery slope -- who understands that today it's Makuta who have to be wiped out, and tomorrow it's Turaga who object to new laws, and the day after it's Matoran who aren't working hard enough. Fear of enemies, real or imagined, can be used to justify any action, and often have been. Any of us can look back in our history and see instances where otherwise good people sat by and did nothing in the face of repression or even murder, because they believed the victims constituted some kind of threat.

 

So lots to think about in this story, at least for me ...

 

Greg

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I see it as being a perfect example of something that I call "the pendulem effect" (not sure if it has an official term but that is what I call it).

 

The pendulem effect what happens when someone tries to fix a problem and goes way too far in the other direction. An example in real life would be the fact that Women used to be seriously predjudiced against, they couldn't get any good jobs, they couldn't vote, they were essentially thought of as second class citizens. Nowadays if you descriminate against women in any way they will fry you on the news like a fresh hamburger. However it has gotten to the point where a lot of people are terrified of fireing a women even if they totally deserve it, or will give them a job over a more qualified man, all in the sake of being politically correct. And for good reason, as many people still claim to be discriminated agaist even when they have not been and are actually getting special treatment for no good reason. The pendulem swings to the other extream.

 

In the case of DM, the issue is the fact that in many ways the Toa were a weak orginization that was too slow and soft in reacting and often got themseves killed because of it. I often have read about how the Toa would not kill the Makuta after all that he has done because that would instill distrust and worry among the Matoran. And for many, even most of the enemies they face that makes sence. However there are some, certain select evils that I believe should be eliminated. Teridax being one of them. For a being as evil and powerful as him there can never be a prison that is guarenteed to hold him. Even the protodermis prison was broken out of because of Roodaka. I personally think that Teridax is someone who they need to kill to make sure that he cannot kill any one else that he hasn't already.

 

Tuyet however has swung the pendulem to the other extream and it is just as bad (if not worse). She has created a society where anything can be sacrificed for what she considers the greater good. Freedom is a wonderful thing after all and I have always believed that it is not the place of the government to tell you how to live your life (so long as you are not harming someone else). The government that has the power to make all of the decisions is a dangerous one, and obviously when Kopaka can freeze a Matoran solid simply because he was distracted from his work then something terrible has happened. Tuyet killed Matoran herself so that she could achieve the power to (in her eyes) protect the rest of them, and perhaps in the end that actually did save the lives of more Matoran then it killed but she had no right at all to decide which ones could live and which ones could die. I personally would rather be dead then live in a world where you are constantly afraid af being eliminated because you spoke your mind or weren't working up to par. No one has the right to control your life for you (this is why voting works so well)

 

For reasons that I don't get, it is very hard to center the pendulem in the ideal place...which I suppose would be keeping a vey close eye on anyone who you suspect of being dangerous but not attacking untill you know for sure. There has to be a balance and definite rules about these things that you cannot overstep and there has to be trials and votes and all sorts of things that keep the decision making in the hands of the Matoran. I am certainly not a political person but I know enough to say this...we need to find a happy medium and balance...might sound corny but it's true.

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Interesting. But if I may nitpick a bit, it would have helped if this was a little more obvious in the serial itself, giving Takanuva a morality crisis. Instead he just whisks back and forth running errands for anyone who says they can help him. Granted, 9 3-minute segments isn't a lot of space for that, and this is a matter of personal taste.

 

Couple of random, probably slightly off-topic thoughts:

 

I'm not sure why people object to having security cameras in public. When you go out in public, anyone passing you will see you and what you're doing. If you don't hide what you're doing from them, why should the camera bother you? Monitoring phone calls and mails is a bit iffy though.

 

King of Everything, the pendulum is difficult to center because different people have different ideas of where the center is. Those who are more easily swayed by fear will want the government to have more control, and so on.

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I don't think you even have to go into the DM universe so see conflicts like that.

 

Look at the Brotherhood. Is it really worse than having Mata Nui rule his universe, who does not care about what is happening there? Who makes it possible Matoran are suppressed in many parts of his universe by other species, although the Great Beings designed the Matoran as the leading intelligent race (and both Matoran and Mata Nui depending on each other)?

Who lets a peaceful universe become a world of wars and battles?

 

Of course blaming the Makuta for doing the wrong thing is easier, since by nature they are natures without light, which means they can't be truly good.

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Those who sacrifice liberty for security have neither. And any form of government that has absolute power like Tuyets is probably just as dangerous as the people that they are trying to protect you from. A monarchy for example never works. Even if you have a great king that takes care of his people well and dosn't act like prince John from Robin Hood, there is still no guerentee that his successor will be the same. When a bad King comes along (as eventually there will) the subjects have no choice but to put up with it (or have a revolution). In a democracy when you have a bad leader you just toss him out (or if you don't have the motivation to do that then at least you can wait him out...he dosn't have nearly as much control as a King). Tuyet however will live for thousands of years and has absolute control over everything, no one should ever have that kind of power, even a good and wise person. So people who are easily swayed by fear should logically want the government to have less control. Unfortunately people can often be illogical.

 

And Toa of Kenn,

War and battle is a terrible thing but I believe that it actually does have a purpose. Endless peace makes people lazy, they begin to forget what it is like to have struggle and strife and as a result they stop working. Wars happen in our world because there is something wrong with one side (possibly both sides) and it needs something drastic to change it. The Revolutionary War, the Civil War, WW2, each of these were terrible things but after each of them the world was a better place. America was free of England, Slaves were free of slavery, etc. etc. Had there been no War we would still have those bad things. And like I said earlier, paradise is unhealthy. When you never have to struggle or work for anything you become weak. You have no reason to work and no reason to try and make a better life. Progress cannot happen without competition and War is the biggest and most effectinve form of competition. I'm not saying it's good. Of course not, it should be avoided at all cost, but it does have a purpose.

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Hmmm...A land where good rules by force is not good at all. Rather, good should rule a place because of the free will of the population (like that's going to happen).

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Those who sacrifice liberty for security have neither. And any form of government that has absolute power like Tuyets is probably just as dangerous as the people that they are trying to protect you from. A monarchy for example never works. Even if you have a great king that takes care of his people well and dosn't act like prince John from Robin Hood, there is still no guerentee that his successor will be the same. When a bad King comes along (as eventually there will) the subjects have no choice but to put up with it (or have a revolution). In a democracy when you have a bad leader you just toss him out (or if you don't have the motivation to do that then at least you can wait him out...he dosn't have nearly as much control as a King). Tuyet however will live for thousands of years and has absolute control over everything, no one should ever have that kind of power, even a good and wise person. So people who are easily swayed by fear should logically want the government to have less control. Unfortunately people can often be illogical.

 

And Toa of Kenn,

War and battle is a terrible thing but I believe that it actually does have a purpose. Endless peace makes people lazy, they begin to forget what it is like to have struggle and strife and as a result they stop working. Wars happen in our world because there is something wrong with one side (possibly both sides) and it needs something drastic to change it. The Revolutionary War, the Civil War, WW2, each of these were terrible things but after each of them the world was a better place. America was free of England, Slaves were free of slavery, etc. etc. Had there been no War we would still have those bad things. And like I said earlier, paradise is unhealthy. When you never have to struggle or work for anything you become weak. You have no reason to work and no reason to try and make a better life. Progress cannot happen without competition and War is the biggest and most effectinve form of competition. I'm not saying it's good. Of course not, it should be avoided at all cost, but it does have a purpose.

 

 

Not makes, has.

 

We're becoming eerily like the Romans in my opinion.

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Bravo, Greg, you are making Bionicle ever more deep and complex

awesome

 

But about Toa Tuyet, she instigated the killing of the Nyrinah Ghosts, skilled craftsmen, because they might make something that can defeat her.

 

That is where i think that society oversteps the boundaries; when neutral craftsmen or academics are killed.

 

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It's really neat to know that I nailed it with my private analysis. :D

 

People like to think that it's a simple matter of good and evil, but gods no - there are thousands of shades of gray in between. And the thing is, more than one can be perfect for the world. :/

 

So I believe all we can do, today and for the rest of human thought, is to consider them.

 

Keep on writing, Greg. :)

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Wow. You have made BIONICLE into a deep and complex story; something that a deep and complex person like me enjoys. :P

 

I never thought of it that way. To sum up this entire comment, I can do it in one word: Wow.

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I just wanted to make it clear that I absolutely adore the Dark Mirror stories. Like, a lot. It's probably one of the more magical things to be happening to Bionicle in a very long time. Every update brings me new joy. It brings a whole moral ambiguity to the setting that I happen to be quite a fan of. Excellent work. I'm totally digging it.

I'm also diggin' this post. Interesting stuff. It's nice to know that there actually is a bit more to it than just Toa in a gold sashes and goatees. Hehe.

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This is why I like Bionicle. On first glance it can be percived as just another "young boy's" story of good guys fighting the bad guys, but if you dig deeper you find this deep and rich story. Well said and I doubt any of us expected that Dark Mirror had all this meaning.

 

ɹoʇɔǝlloɔ ʞsıp®

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Wow, I did not think of it that way. Well, that changes my mind about Tuyet, a little. I think why they would call the Toa Empire "Evil and Corrupt", is because of the way Bionicle really was.

 

~Air Spirit

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Hmm....I think I understand what you are saying......Tuyet's dictatorship is another form of justice even though its harsh it still keeps peace......until the point where she kills anyone who objects to anything she says.......

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Very interesting. That's certainly a unique way of looking at it. I would never have realised quite how similar the DM universe is to ours - it's a scary thought.

 

- Darth

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The way I've come to see it is this: The problems with the Toa Empire are problems relevant to our own society. We need to stop and ask first: Do I value my Freedom, or my Safety more? It's a terrible, terrible question to ask, but a choice we are often being called on to make in this day and age. In order to be safer, you must allow for an infringement on your personal rights, or the rights of all persons, which is something you need to keep in mind. When an executive order is passed, say by the Emperor, to pick a neutral job, prohibiting assemblies period, and no evidence is shown that this was supported by the Parliament or what have you, by the people, then people ought to complain. You've been guaranteed your right to assemble peaceably, and the law shouldn't be changing that, especially not without your consent.

 

The difference is that Tuyet, personally, holds a lot more clout than any person on earth would, in the sense that most people around these parts don't have the strength of hundreds of men literally contained within themselves. They are human, no matter how charismatic or politically powerful. Although I suppose that, allegorically, Tuyet's power as a sway over her Toa is not much different than the power of many men and the sway over their soldiers.

 

The other part is that, just because Tuyet says she's doing all of this for The Greater Good, doesn't A) give her the right to define The Greater Good on her own, and B) doesn't mean it really is. Which is another really good point for our own modern world: Just because you've been told that "This will help here or fix that there," doesn't mean it will, and saying you're doing the right thing never means you absolutely are. Plenty of villains in the past have done unspeakably terrible things, believing they were doing the right thing.

 

So I know my point is scattered and unclear, but at once I say yes: the issues in Dark Mirror that have been raised are very relevant, but no: I don't think we're quite as bad as that yet. People can still say "I think this is absolutely bogus" to the government and not be executed for it-- within reason of course. You couldn't say "I think this elementary school is totally bogus," and proceed to demolish it yourself.

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Very, very interesting indeed. Are the Toa being evil, or trying to keep peace? When does a policeman stop enforcing the law and abuses his power? There is no objective answer to this, really. It is subject to the situation and the degree of reality of the "external fear".

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I see it as being a perfect example of something that I call "the pendulem effect" (not sure if it has an official term but that is what I call it).

 

The pendulem effect what happens when someone tries to fix a problem and goes way too far in the other direction. An example in real life would be the fact that Women used to be seriously predjudiced against, they couldn't get any good jobs, they couldn't vote, they were essentially thought of as second class citizens. Nowadays if you descriminate against women in any way they will fry you on the news like a fresh hamburger. However it has gotten to the point where a lot of people are terrified of fireing a women even if they totally deserve it, or will give them a job over a more qualified man, all in the sake of being politically correct. And for good reason, as many people still claim to be discriminated agaist even when they have not been and are actually getting special treatment for no good reason. The pendulem swings to the other extream.

 

Yeah, that's a good comparison: now, we have discrimination against men (ever see a "Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them!" or "The stupid factory: where boys are made." shirt?). Does anyone do anything about it? No, we call it humor, and praise and advocate it.

 

Anyway, that's an interesting essay. Makes you think, huh? And I do believe that the government [CENSORED BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO TALK ABOUT POLITICS]. If only we didn't have that rule...

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I always thought that Tuyet was very similar to many real-world dictators (I'm not gonna mention them, because some people may get offended).

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