ender’s game expanded

ender'sgame

I already recommended this book (see “yep more books”), but as the movie just came out I wanted to expand what I had previously said with quotes. The philosophy in “Ender’s Game” can sometimes be disturbing because it can be so true, and we don’t want to accept that it is.  It betrays and brings to light decisions people make and try to justify during times of war and shows the panic tendencies that come out when one fears for his own survival. Compassion. Ruthlessness. Trying to find the balance between them. Humanity.

“In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them…. I destroy them.”

“This is what historians usually do, quibble about cause and effect when the point is, there are times when the world is in flux and the right voice in the right place can move the world.”

“Human beings are free except when humanity needs them. Maybe humanity needs you. To do something. Maybe humanity needs me—to find out what you’re good for. We might both do despicable things, Ender, but if humankind survives, then we were good tools.”

“Ender nodded. It was a lie, of course, that it wouldn’t hurt a bit. But since adults always said it when it was going to hurt, he could count on that statement as an accurate prediction of the future. Sometimes lies were more dependable than the truth.”

“So the whole war is because we can’t talk to each other.” “If the other fellow can’t tell you his story, you can never be sure he isn’t trying to kill you.”

“We need a Napoleon. An Alexander. Except that Napoleon lost in the end, and Alexander flamed out and died young. We need a Julius Caesar, except that he made himself a dictator, and died for it.”

“Soldiers can sometimes make decisions that are smarter than the orders they’ve been given.”

“An enemy, Ender Wiggin,” whispered the old man. “I am your enemy, the first one you’ve ever had who was smarter than you. There is no teacher but the enemy. No one but the enemy will tell you what the enemy is going to do. No one but the enemy will ever teach you how to destroy and conquer. Only the enemy shows you where you are weak. Only the enemy tells you where he is strong. And the rules of the game are what you can do to him and what you can stop him from doing to you. I am your enemy from now on. From now on I am your teacher.”

“But I fear that I also underestimate the stupidity of the rest of mankind. Are we absolutely sure that we ought to win this war?”

“You made them hate me,” said Ender. “So? What will you do about it? Crawl in a corner? Start kissing their little backsides so they’ll love you again? There’s only one thing that will make them stop hating you. And that’s being so good at what you do that they can’t ignore you. I told them you were the best. Now you damn well better be.”

“Everything we do means something, Ender realized. Them laughing. Me not laughing. He toyed with the idea of trying to be like the other boys. But he couldn’t think of any jokes, and none of theirs seemed funny. Wherever their laughter came from, Ender couldn’t find such a place in himself.”

“Perhaps it’s impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be.”

“He woke up and fought another battle and won. Then he went to bed and slept again and dreamed again and then he woke up and won again and slept again and he hardly noticed when waking became sleeping. Nor did he care.”

“Carn Carby left, and Ender mentally added him to his private list of people who also qualified as human beings.”

“I’ll become exactly the tool you want me to be, said Ender silently, but at least I wont be fooled into it. I’ll do it because I choose to, not because you tricked me.”

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