Orson Scott Card’s Ender`s Game is a gruesome story on how miscommunication led to the annihilation of an entire race – the alien Formics or better known as the Buggers. Andrew “Ender” Wiggin was a young child-genius who was made to undergo training in preparation for the feared Third Invasion of the alien Buggers. During the first invasion, the alien almost wiped out the entire human population due to lack of technology. The Second Invasion, the human population again almost got eradicated but not as much as the First invasion.
To prevent total eradication of mankind, the International Military Forces enlisted the help of genius children aged five to thirteen to undergo simulated space training that were intended to equip them with skills when the aliens would come.
Ender showed incredible battle skills earning him the Commander post in so short a time. He was then made to undergo a series of simulated battles culminating in the exterminating of the buggers’ planet which in turn killed them. It turned out that the final test was not simulated but the real one. And Ender just committed Xenocide by eliminating the entire Bugger race.
Ender feeling remorseful for his mistake, he together with his sister Valentine, left on a colonization ship bound for the bugger’s destroyed planet where he intended to reside. There, Ender found out that the Buggers’ left him the pupa of the last surviving Queen or the Hive-Queen. The pupa telepathically talked to Ender and explained to him that the reason why Buggers attacked humans was they believed that humans are not sentient or capable of consciousness. The Buggers realized their error and wanted to make amends by refraining from attacking humans anymore. Therefore, Ender’s Xenocide to defend earth was no longer necessary. Due to lack communication, the bugger could not relay this message to humans which led to the tragic end of the buggers.
Ender related the Queen’s tale by writing a book called “The Hive-Queen” and using the pen name “Speaker for the Dead”. He left the colony and brought the pupa with him to seek a place for the bugger to breed.
Card’s Ender’s Game provides another facet to the dangers of miscommunication. It is worst than the fate suffered by the characters in Othello as the Buggers met total annihilation due to plain simple miscommunication. The massive xenocide leaves the readers feeling totally deflated. It is simply mind-boggling how a simple lack of communication could lead to such a tragic end. Yet, what makes it so chilling is the fact that that this is realistically possible.
How many times do we see wars explode due to plain miscommunication of motives? Civil wars, wars among countries, genocide were evident in our history. From this nonsense threat of human lives, we see the negative effects lack of communication among leaders, among the government and its peoples and among nations bring. How easily could problems have been avoided if people took the time to sit down and address issues in a more objective way?
People’s motives for doing certain things vary. Some are for their own gain. Others for revenge. Still others, for good intentions. It is a special kind of person who takes the time to stop and listen. There is a thin line between what we perceived reality to be and actual reality. In our haste to view and judge things negatively, we fail to grasps its positive implications. That is why, in the process we end up judging other people’s motives unfavorably.
The problem with miscommunication is it underplays man’s more noble side such as the values of trust and honor. If we hear false accusations about us it is so easy to react negatively. To lose objectivity in the face of unfair accusations. Too often, we fall victim to these unfair lies.
From the story, we can gather that another good way to prevent miscommunication would be to avoid preconceived notions about the person. For instance, if we look at someone wearing ordinary clothes we naturally assumed that he or she is of average financial status. On the other hand, if we see someone dressed to the nines, we assume that he or she is filthy rich. These misconceptions, of course, could greatly hamper our ability to communicate with the person as we already formed opinions about him or her even before the person speaks.
We could also try to do what Christians normally do in the face of lies and intrigues – we can forgive. By forgiving, we begin to see the person for what he or she truly is. With hatred out of the way, we can be more objective in dealing with the situation and getting to heart of the matter would not be as difficult as when we are under the influence of hatred.
It is sad that during our present times, despite the advances of communication, miscommunication is still a huge problem we faced even on a daily basis. Perhaps if we stop judging and start understanding then we become better communicators and effectively reduce miscommunication in the process.