The ET Problem

In Part 21 of the story, LRH begins to introduce us to the ETs who have begun to swarm around Earth. He gives descriptions of body appearances which I believe are largely fanciful. For example, the Tolnep have bodies composed of something akin to stainless steel, and have poisonous fangs like snakes. He also gives short descriptions of their ships which I believe are less fanciful: sphere-shaped; triangle-shaped; cigar-shaped. A key ET – the “small gray man” – remains unidentified, though he seems to hold some sort of senior intelligence and/or diplomatic function.

All these races are of course “space opera,” which is to say that their economies are involved in inter-planetary trade. They have – we can imagine – commercial ships and, in the case presented here, military ships which are there to protect their lines of “commerce.”

In the situation presented by this story, each ET group has a “niche” in the overall inter-galactic economy, which is dominated by the Psychlos due to their apparent monopoly on the technology of teleportation, usually called “transshipment.” Transshipment allows the Psychlos to place military assets wherever they are needed instantly and with no sign of approach, giving them a tremendous political advantage.

The economic niches occupied by the others are briefly enumerated at the beginning of Part 22: the Tolneps are involved in the slave trade; the Hawvins trade in copper and silver; the Bolbods trade in used machinery; the Jambitchow seem to be pirates. There are also the Hockners, who seem to be aspiring political rivals to the Psychlos.

Relative Importances

Battlefield Earth traces the physical – and intellectual – journey of a single very brave individual through many problems of survival. At every level he finds urges – very human urges – to succumb as well as to survive. As sickening as the urge to succumb is to an individual very much committed to survival, it is certainly quite real. Yet it signals the existence of what is known as a “game.” A game is an illusion of conflict for the entertainment of the players, where no actual conflict exists or needs to exist. It is clear from research that life’s unit beings are immortal. Thus any situation where “survival” becomes important must exist at the level of game, and not be, ultimately, real. In playing the various games of life this is worth keeping in mind, as silly and esoteric as it may sound to you.

The trick to handling our situation on Earth would be to rehabilitate our awareness of certain basics of existence that we decided to ignore in order to have a game.

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