Arca (2023)

Dated Jul 30, 2023; last modified on Sun, 30 Jul 2023

Arca. Van Jensen; Jesse Lonergan. 2023.


ARCA. Good morning, children. It is time to awaken. It is time to serve. Another day is here! A day to take joy in your work. Remember, the role of each settler is essential to the mission. Because there is only one way that we will reach Eden. And that is…

How effective is repetition in indoctrination? If one hears something enough times, do they start believing it? Maybe it becomes part of the reality, and rejecting reality is hard.

Some distinguish indoctrination from education on the basis that the indoctrinated person is not expected to question or critically examine the doctrine that they have learned.

In the case of the Arca, as long as more than the critical mass is indoctrinated, then it’s all systems go?

MEDA. Why do they get all this? And we get nothing.
EFFIE. Never ask that! We’re alive. We have food and water. We have a future. All thanks to them. They saved us. So we serve them for 18 years. Then we join them as citizens. It’s a bargain.

What level of gratitude is owed for saving or giving a life? Eternal indebtedness seems too much, especially considering that the gift itself did not cost the benefactor an infinite sacrifice.

explores schools of thought on Gratitude. Formally, “\(Y\) is grateful to \(R\) for \(\phi\)-ing.” When is gratitude owed?

  • Must \(R\) be an agent?
  • Must \(\phi\) be an action?
  • Must \(R\) have \(\phi\)-ed intentionally under the description of benefitting \(Y\)?
  • Must \(R\)’s \(\phi\)-ing been supererogatory (superfluous)?
  • Must \(R\) incur some liability in \(\phi\)-ing?
  • Must \(R\)’s \(\phi\)-ing actually benefit \(R\)?
  • Must \(Y\) want/accept \(R\)’s \(\phi\)-ing?

Interesting questions posed in :

  • Does intentionally creating a child amount to benefiting that child when there was no child there before who could be made better off by it?
  • Should the Dalai Lama be grateful to the Chinese government for persecuting him, insofar as that persecution gave him the opportunity to become more virtuous?
  • Should an organization be grateful to a student who is required by her instructor to volunteer at a charitable organization of her choice?
  • Is an omnipotent god, who sacrifices little/nothing to act beneficently, owed gratitude?

GRAVES. But here is the problem. When the inevitable collapse happens, the financial systems fail. Money becomes worthless. And if money no longer exists… Then how do we buy allegiance?

MASON. She needs to go. Now. Tell the others it’s some award. Early graduation.
GRAVES. No. For a story to work, it must abide by its own logic. Once you poke a hole in it, it collapses.

EFFIE. You’re even worse than the others. You tell yourself that you’re a good man, that you treated me with compassion. But you never learned from those books you say you love. How did Tolstoy put it? “Be bad. But at least don’t be a liar, a deceiver."

GRAVES. You love books and stories, child. I think you’ll enjoy this one… Once there was a cave. And within it, a group of people chained to a wall. They could only look at that wall. All that they knew of the world came from the echoes above, and from the shadows playing across the wall. To them, this was the whole world. Then, one of these people broke free of the chain. She ran up to the surface. She saw the whole world, and it terrified her. Eventually, she went back down to tell the others the truth. To free them. But they were scared. They didn’t want the terrors of the world above. They wanted comfort. They wanted the shadows on the wall. Through all human history, there have been special people – people with gifts. And it always has fallen upon them to rule. And the others, it is their fate to serve. This is how we survive. You are one of the gifted ones, Effie. You’re smart. You saw the truth – that settlers could never become citizens. But you could. Join me. Rule.

The ending from Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” is more drastic. She’d be blind upon re-entering the cave. The prisoners would infer that the journey outside had harmed her, and they should not go to the surface. The prisoners, if they were able, would reach out and kill anyone who attempted to drag them out of the cave.

GRAVES. You think you’re so smart, girl… But you didn’t figure it all out. Arca. Do you know what it means?
EFFIE. Like Noah’s Ark. A ship built to save everyone.
GRAVES. Heh… Most words have more than one meaning. Ark comes from a the latin arca. A large box… A coffin. You want to know the truth of this place? It’s right… through that… door…

Noah’s Ark was built to save a family – not everyone. Likewise, the Arca serves a section of humanity, which in this case turns out to be elites (and not the righteous).

’s account of Nimrod is noteworthy. After the flood, he marshaled people to build a tower so high that the waters would not reach, and to revenge on God if He should have a mind to drown the world again.


And it is time to go, to bid farewell
to one’s own self and find an exit
from the fallen self.

Have you built your ship of death, O have you?
build your ship of death, for you will need it.


Sampled from ’s “The Ship of Death”, which Lawrence wrote when he was near his death. The poem is about accepting death, e.g.,

O let us talk of quiet that we know,
that we can know, the deep and lovely quiet
of a strong heart at peace!

How can we this, our own quietus, make?
Build then the ship of death, for you must take
the longest journey, to oblivion.

And die the death, the long and painful death
that lies between the old self and the new.


  1. Indoctrination. . Accessed Jul 30, 2023.
  2. Gratitude. . Accessed Jul 30, 2023.
  3. Allegory of the cave. . Accessed Jul 30, 2023.
  4. The Ship of Death. D. H. Lawrence. . . 1933. Accessed Jul 30, 2023.
  5. Nimrod. . Accessed Jul 30, 2023.
  6. Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews, Book I. . Accessed Jul 30, 2023.