Unity Through Division

I’ve always found something utopic about the Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn universe, something I find difficult to define.

First, I love how it’s set in a futuristic & high-tech yet very natural, environmentally pristine world. All the game’s campaigns take place on grassy prairies, dotted with shrubs and veined with sparkling blue creeks, and both NOD’s & GDI’s structures sport very eco-conscious, aesthetically pleasing designs.

Moreover – and this is where it gets ‘profound’ and kinda disturbing – part of the utopic quality stems precisely from the fact that it’s a divided world; a world at war. Because let’s face it – it makes us humans feel good to fight for a cause, right? We draw pride and purpose from being the civic, honourable soldiers of the Global Defense Initiative, or the mysterious underdog freedom-fighters of NOD, serving our visionary leader Kane.

And I wonder, do we as a species need enemies? Are we predisposed to organized conflict, to an ‘us & them’ mentality as expressed by our ongoing geopolitical divisions? Much to zoologists’ disquiet, our closest biological relative, the chimpanzee, was verified in the latter half of last century to be the only animal to bash, kill and even rape its own kind for apparently no reason at all. They simply work up a bloodlust, muster up the rest of the group and go off to raid any chimpanzees outside of their own clan. As humans, have we inherited this drive to strengthen ties by creating and attacking common enemies? Do feelings of loyalty and unity with those who are closest to us depend on demarcating ourselves from those who are not? Does this explain why after thousands of years on this planet, despite refining our ethics and developing sophisticated laws – and despite endless humanitarian pleading – armies, militias and terrorist cells are still an integral part of the world order, being trained and deployed even as I write this?

As bad as it sounds, maybe it’s because deep down we’d find global peace boring. Maybe humans don’t really want stability and brotherly love. Maybe, we deliberately ate the apple to escape the Garden of Eden. Because maybe, just maybe, perfection sucks.

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