One deals with half of all beings in the universe (the universe) dying; the other, a seemingly unkillable king of the dead wages war against the living in a hellish blizzard.
It makes superheroes punching each other (Avengers) or bickering about who owns which castle (GoT) just seem… So trivial.
Let’s also take a look at a few other hugely-grossing conflicts:
- The Cold War nearly burned the planet to ash while simultaneously people starved and huge advances in science were made.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion follows children battling against outer space god-machines and their own spiraling into insanity.
- Gunbuster, where sun-sucking aliens that count in the trillions throughout our galaxy finally come calling at our only planet, Earth.
- When it comes to two hard choices, Gurren Lagann would have a regular culling of life or the heat-death of the universe.
- The Warhammer universes, which has alternate-dimension devils seeking to consume all of reality and plunge everyone’s souls into eternal torment.
Yet, our personal stories are still about nations at war, gangsters and the law, the fly in our soup.
We know the vastness that lays before us in the future. With this prescience that extends from the outcome of our own lives to the outcome of our world and species, what are we doing with what is objectively trivial conflict?
It’s called into question my fascination with big space battles and urban tank fights. These are seemingly trivial.
What is there to do?
I don’t know how to handle a shift in focus on the macro-level, but maybe I can adapt to my own predispositions. It can’t be helped who I am, but I can help what I do in my story creation.
From now on I’ll endeavor to set the stakes before I set the conflict. No more senseless violence – if conflict must be acted on, it must be after all nonviolent approaches have been investigated. Never should conflict be glorified. May a person or force in writing do something barbaric, there will be severe, long-lasting, terrible consequences for all involved. A motive will be considered petty if it’s anything less than meaningful to the entirety of a person’s life. And if I can, at the end, despite any suffering caused or endured, there’ll be evidence that it was worth it, that the universe is one step closer to saving itself from entropy.
I can do something about setting the cultural gaze a little higher, a little farther. If I may, I’d beg you to do the same.