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[Three Bodies] Analogy between the Black Dark Forest and the Cultural Revolution: Chain of Suspicion and Détente

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This article can be read in about 19 minutes.

I bought the science fiction blockbuster “Three Bodies” three or four years ago and started reading the first part, but I ran out of steam early on after the first part describing the Cultural Revolution in China, so I left the book in my stack.

Later, it was distributed on Netflix and was so interesting that I watched it in one sitting and wanted to see the rest of the book, but only the first part was currently on Netflix, so I read the second part, Black Dark Forest. The second part alone is over 700 pages in the upper and lower volume sets and is insanely long, but it was interesting.

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Note that this article contains spoilers, so it is recommended to read it after reading this article.

Summary

The message sent out into space by the astrophysicist Ip Wen Jie, who despairs mankind, reaches the three-body world, an alien civilization with three suns. Seeking a new world, the three civilizations organized an invasion fleet of over 1,000 ships and sent them to Earth. The solar system is not reached for another 400 years.

Faced with an unprecedented crisis of confrontation with a fleet of three bodies with far more advanced technology than mankind, mankind established the United Nations Planetary Defense Council and created a space force to serve as the pillar of its defense plan. However, all human activities are monitored by Sophon, a microscopic supercomputer sent by the three civilizations.

The “doomsday battle” with the three-body fleet would inevitably end in defeat, and the desperate situation would require a breakthrough, leading mankind to devise the Face Wall Project.

What is a face wall plan?

The ultra-fine supercomputer Sophon, sent from the Three-Body Civilization, instantly analyzes all kinds of information on the earth, so the operation is revealed as soon as it becomes publicly known by word or document. However, the only thing Sophon cannot analyze is the thoughts in human heads. This is why a plan called the Face Wall Project was launched.

The core of the Face Wall Project is that humanity will contain its true strategy within the mind of a single person. Without any communication with the outside world, the true strategy of the operation, the steps necessary to bring it to fruition, and the ultimate goal will be kept hidden only in one’s own head.

Then, four representatives of the human race would be selected and given the mighty power to make full use of the resources on earth, as long as they are not harmful to human life.

Meanwhile, the Three-Body Civilization asks for help from the remnants of the ETO (Earth Church of the Three Bodies), humanity’s collaborator, to counter the Maskers’ plan, and the ETO remnants select the Breakers to counter the Maskers, instructing them to “see through the Maskers’ schemes and neutralize their measures.

Plans of the four facebreakers and the wallbreakers.

Of the four Maskers’ plans, the plans of the three other than the protagonist, although each very precise and strategic, were all “harmful to human life” strategies (perhaps the assumption was that it would be too unrealistic to save all of humanity on Earth while also defeating the three-body fleet), and they are all destroyed when they are discovered and exposed by the Breakers. The strategy was to be destroyed by being discovered and exposed by the Breakers.

Frederick Tyler: Hydrogen bomb project by mosquito swarm formation

This is similar to Japan’s Kamikaze (suicide attack) strategy in World War II. The strategy, named “mosquito swarm metamorphosis,” involved organizing space fighters like a swarm of mosquitoes and launching a kamikaze attack.

Because the three-body fleet consumes large amounts of water, all three-body people who were dehydrated in the spacecraft will be rehydrated when they approach the solar system. Since the water used for rehydration will be part of their physical bodies, fresh water is preferred over old water that has been circulated and filtered many times in the spacecraft, so the assumption is that Earth water is needed.

Tyler was then to attack with a hydrogen bomb when approaching zero distance, pretending to surrender to the three-body fleet as well, with a large amount of water as a souvenir, which the three-body people would appreciate, after destroying the Earth forces in a mosquito swarm formation during the decisive battle and posting it to ETO. However, they were discovered and exposed by the wall-breakers.

Manuel Rey Diaz: Hydrogen bomb phase-out operation

By placing a hydrogen bomb on Mercury and detonating it, it acts like a turbo engine in the opposite direction, bringing Mercury’s orbit to a halt and dropping it toward the sun. Then, they came up with a plan to create resistance in the orbit of Venus with the enormous amount of gas produced by the recoil of the collision of the Sun and Mercury, and crash Venus into the Sun as well as Mercury, destroying the planets in turn in a chain of events, and ultimately destroying the solar system.

Of course, the earth would also fall toward the sun and all human beings would perish, but since the three civilizations would not be able to find a planet in the solar system where they could live, they attempted to blackmail the three civilizations as a counter-strike strategy. However, they were discovered and exposed by the Breakers as well and were condemned as a strategy to destroy the human race.

Bill Hines: Instilling a Winning Idea through Mental Impressions

We have developed a ” mental impression ” that forcibly implants a specific thought or belief by transmitting electromagnetic waves to the subject’s brain and altering its neural activity. Since a person who has the proposition that “mankind will surely win the war” stamped on his brain by a mental seal will never waver in his thinking no matter what adverse circumstances he is placed in, he attempted to counter the three-body fleet by applying it to the space forces.

However, it is revealed by his wife, a wall-breaker, that Hines himself is actually a defeatist, and that he secretly rewrote the proposition on his mental seal, “Mankind will always win the war,” to “Mankind will always lose the war.

Raja: Universe Coordinates Based on Black Dark Forest Theory Revealed

Luo Zhai attempted to conduct a “cosmic coordinates disclosure plan” based on the black dark forest theory.

This is a plan derived from two axioms in the discipline of cosmic sociology.

  • Paranoid Chain: Civilizations and civilizations in the universe are separated by cultural differences and very great distances, making it impossible for them to understand or trust each other. Unlike countries on Earth, communication between civilizations in space is limited, and mutual suspicion grows. And the suspicion is cascading.
  • Technological explosion: On the time scale of the universe, even a planet whose civilization is in a developmental stage may suddenly undergo a technological revolution and become a threat to other civilizations.

The conclusion that can be drawn from the two axioms of the suspicion chain and the technological explosion is that the universe is like a “dark forest,” and as soon as any civilization discovers another civilization, it becomes aware that the other civilization, with which it cannot communicate, may one day overtake its own technology in a technological explosion and come to crush it, and that it should be destroyed before that happens. We should eliminate them as a threat.

If their existence (location coordinates) is discovered, they will be attacked by other planets, and other planets may be more civilized and militarily stronger than they are (we don’t know), so they all live their lives like hunters hiding in a dark forest, killing each other with their breath. So the second part title of the three bodies is “Black Dark Forest”.

Using an extremely powerful transmitter to transmit information on the coordinates of the Earth and the Three-Body Civilization to the outer solar system, Luo Chieh attempted to suppress the Three-Body Civilization by exposing the coordinates of the Earth and the Three-Body Civilization to the universe, thereby provoking an attack from other intelligent civilizations. Only Luo Chao’s plan was not discovered by the Breakers, and they ultimately succeeded in suppressing the Three-Body Civilization.

As for the technological explosion, for better or worse, contingencies are one trigger, and in recent years, the development of an mRNA vaccine less than a year after the onset of the coronavirus has been tremendous.

As for AI, while we are entering a winter period, the development of generative AI, centered on ChatGPT, is now amazing and will continue to undergo a technological explosion at some point in the future, interspersed with periods of stagnation.

Aside from Raja’s technology for disclosing space coordinates, the other three plans seem technologically feasible to have been accomplished hundreds of years later or even earlier. In particular, Hines’ psychic impression, ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), which alleviates depression by inducing generalized seizures through electrical stimulation of the head, has been in use since 1938, although the mechanism of action has not yet been elucidated.

Analogy between the Black Forest and the Cultural Revolution (skeptic chain)

The suspicion chain depicted in “Black Dark Forest” is an analogy to the chain of suspicion and distrust seen in Chinese society during the Cultural Revolution.

During the Cultural Revolution, which was depicted at the beginning of Part I, political suspicion spread throughout society and trust collapsed even among friends and family members. Similarly, the “Black Dark Forest” theory sets up an ever-present fear that civilizations in the universe will suspect each other and attack each other. This analogy underscores how destructive a lack of trust and a cycle of mistrust can be.

In the end, Luo Zhao uses his plan as a shield to negotiate with the Three Bodies, and the end of Part II ends with a semblance of détente, but of course, since the Three Bodies have not found a planet other than Earth where they can survive, the fundamental problem has not been resolved, and we will continue on to Part III.

At the end.

The third part, “Eisei Shinigami” (Eisei Shinigami: The Eternal Life of the Death God), is even larger in scale, but I was amazed at the author’s knowledge of physics. Of course, there are many technically difficult parts in the book, but it was very easy to read, probably because of the easy-to-understand dichotomy (earth vs. three bodies, hunchback vs. breacher) used as the setting of the story.

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