Time and time again, the age old issue continues on. The oppressed rise up against their oppressors, the oppressors are unseated, and then the oppressed take over their place, oppressing others. Age old, yet timeless. We have seen this happen so many times, both in real life and in fiction, the unanswered question arises, who really has the right to rule? In Crier’s War, the Automae were created as playthings in a way. Perfect reflections of their imperfect creators, brought to life not by spirit or love, but by science and the sheer willingness to create and nurture the unknown. A sentient being, without a soul of sentience. In that, the problem arose because unlike dogs, horses, and other creatures held by humans for our own leisure, a creature created sentient cannot be bred to behave in a certain manner.
If a creature is birthed at an age or stage of understanding, there is no way of domesticating it. Reasoning with it may be possible, barring it has no personal aversion to being reasoned with, but the act of enforcing ones absolute will over them would be nearly impossible without purposefully causing the creature harm. That is why slavery, in all of it’s forms, whether outright or indentured, is wrong. Even the mere principles upon which the institution stands are egregious, having no neutral point to make an argument in its defense.
That said, we keep animals for the purpose of work or our enjoyment, never once considering whether they wish to be kept. The thought of slavery in regards to them never comes to mind because we don’t see animals as sentient. This is fine because we love them, care for them, and in most cases, treat them nicely. For those who do make the decision to treat the animals in their care poorly, there are strict laws in most countries to make them pay. These laws however, are meant to protect animals in general, not to provide them with rights tantamount to those enjoyed by their owners. What does this mean?
Harm an animal, receive a fine. Harm a human, receive jail time. Kill an animal unlawfully, and receive a low prison sentence. Kill a human, and risk a high prison sentence. Now of course, there are some exceptions to this. We have seen instances in the news where the lost life of a police dog vastly out weighed that of a human murdered, but these are one offs on a grander scale. How does this effect our thinking? If I was driving along, and both a baby and a dog wandered out in front of my car, who would I swerve to miss? Both the baby and the dog were alive and deserving of life, both were unaware of the possible outcomes their actions put before them, and neither were properly monitored by their caretakers, which would have prevented the deadly situation in the first place. So who lives and who perishes?
With a heavy heart and without a question of thought, I would hit the dog, not out of malice, but out of which life I valued more. The dog, although alive and deserving of life, is not sentient, or at least not in anyway measurable according to the human scale of what that would mean. It cannot use any discernible language that could be translated and understood, and cannot plan for the future. The baby, being in the same position as the dog at that stage in its life, would at some point be able to speak a discernible language to express itself cohesively, and would one day be able to make plans for the future. These tenants of what classifies a being as sentient would save the baby’s life. But what if by some miracle of science, dogs could speak? What if the wordless baby wandered onto the road, blissfully unaware of the consequences of its actions, but the dog had done so only accidentally? What if the dog cried out,”No, please don’t hit me. I have a family with young pups. We’re supposed to go to the park to play tomorrow! It can’t end this way, please!” Even with the dog’s pleading, even with the ability to understand it clearly, knowing that it not only had a will to live, but had plans on what it was going to use its life for, would I choose to hit the human baby instead?
The answer would still remain a resounding, no. Even under the aforementioned circumstances, I would not choose to damn the child in lieu of sparing the dog a fate that it did not pick, but would ultimately reap. And why is that? Despite being an avid lover of animals, I, just like most people, was not taught to value the life of any creature over that of another human being. This may sound like a given for most, but what about when this principle of sentience is applied to humans. If two adults wandered onto the road, one crying out to me in my own language, while the other person screamed in one I didn’t understand, would I value the other less? No. I would go so far as to put my own life in danger, rather than chance taking either of theirs. Whether or not the one that couldn’t speak my language exhibited anything I could understand, the simple act of being human would prevent me from feeling as though they were in anyway expendable.
How does all of this relate back to the question, is revolution ever the answer? In most cases, the need for revolution only arises when the ruling class stops treating the lower classes with the dignity and respect that every human deserves, because they cease seeing them as equals. When the ruling class can’t or won’t acknowledge any similarities between themselves and those that they rule, a dehumanization begins to happen. This allows them to treat people in a way that they normally would not if recognized under their specific scope of humanity.
Conversely, when those who rise up against the ruling class do so, it is because they’ve had so many inhumane things done to them. In the mind of the oppressed, the oppressor can’t possibly be as human as they are. Both the reason to push down, and raise up, are the same. The lack of viewing the other party as human, worthy of the life they hold, and the respect that should be afforded to all. But, as the wheel of the oppressed over the oppressor keeps turning , one thing never changes. Revolution can never replace the mutual respect that comes with reciprocity. The fall of a kingdom unfairly ruled, will never provide reparations to those they have harmed. What was lost under one king, will not be found under another, and what was gained from one nation, will never be the same once taken back.
Ayla from Crier’s War wanted revenge and in doing so, cause a revolution for all of the human’s under the thumb of their once mechanical or ‘Made’ pets. The former though, had to fight for their freedom from owners who only saw them as pretty playthings, with little value above what was placed upon them at creation. Do not both sides deserve the dignity afforded to the living? Do not both sides deserve the respect afforded to all sentient beings? As long as class divisions exist, so will revolutions, but that doesn’t mean that the act of rising up or pushing down will ever fix anything. Until reciprocity is had by all without any standard for which to receive it, a true revolution over the human inability to treat other humans humanely, will be had by none.