A Farewell to Civilization: Battlestar Galactica as Therapy

In this light, the entire four-year run of Battlestar Galactica may be read as a meditation on Toynbee's assertion that "civilizations die from suicide, not by murder." Following years of technological hubris, near-genocide, tyranny, competing attempts at theocracies, and civil war, Colonial and Cylon civilizations were quietly allowed to expire in the belief that civilization itself was at the root of their suffering. As we face our own calamities of crashing economies, deepening wars, decaying democracies, and a planet becoming ever less forgiving of our excesses, we would be well advised to heed Toynbee, who, to the contrary, would argue that it is when a society faces its most severe crises that our "faith and hope" in the project of civilization are needed most.

1. Marshall, C.W. and Potter, Tiffany. (2007). Cylons in America: Critical Studies in Battlestar Galactica. New York: Contiuum.

2. Toynbee, Arnold. (1987). A Study of History. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 553-4.

1/1/2000 5:00:00 AM