Castle in the Sky AND Wall-E

What would have caused the [ancient civilization of Laputa] to abandon their advanced technology to live modestly on earth?

laputa-castleIn Ghibli’s Castle in the Sky, the character Shita boldly faced the villain who wanted to use the technology left by the Laputans for his own agenda. When confronted with this question, she answered that it was because they [Laputans] realized that without love, all the technology and comforts of life was useless. They needed to go back to earth to start anew… because that’s where they came from, and that’s where everything goes back to.

I admit I never fully understood her answer when I first heard it. Why do you need to give up everything, when you can just repair what’s broken, right? Humanity certainly did not need to go back to the middle ages to experience love. They just needed to change the structure and the system. They CAN change and love again even while holding on to lavishness, comfort, and technology.
Then, one day I decided randomly to watch Wall-E. In the end, the humans who spent generations in space and have evolved into useless fat consumers, fought for the control of their ship in order to go back to Earth. They left the ship’s security and started planting to revive the land, even though they had to give up all their fully-automated robot-managed easy lifestyle. As the credits rolled, it showed pictures of how civilization evolved once again. New buildings were built, some were reconstruction of abandoned ones, people started fishing and trading and traveling the old fashioned way… all the while the ship Axiom accumulated undergrowth with time, all the former glory and wonders of technology vanished. It’s tragic somehow. Yet, it’s also rejuvenating in that it was a time for new beginnings. It’s like staring at the last line of a book and deciding to finally close it and put it in a shelf. This was an opportunity for humanity to live and experience life once again! Imagine all the adventures, the mysteries, the knowledge that people will get to uncover and experience. Imagine a new history! Clearly, the gains of abandoning advancement to pave way for a new story is definitely worth it.
It just struck me how, after generations of abandonment, people would probably start forgetting the consequences of living in such mindless luxury. They would dig the remains of ancient technology and learn through it. Instead of looking into the future, as we do in this generation, people would look in the past to search for answers.wall-e_12
The problem begin s when humans become greedy again. I mean, it’s bound to happen. With the first generation personally experiencing the events, the information will readily available and could be passed down to, say, a couple more generations. But what about the fourth, fifth… what happens when the legacy of the first settlers fade and become corrupted with time? When humans forget their responsibility to earth once again, and begin looking for personal benefits at the expense of others in every turn. When discontent, selfishness, desire for dominance settles into their hearts… what would happen then? I tell you what, history is going to repeat itself… and that’s the real tragedy.

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