Movie Poster for Snowpiercer, about civil rights and revolutions in a closed-end civilization

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Listen to griefs tragedies and triumphs

​​The making of What's the Point of Civilization?


The soundtrack is directly influenced by the great composers of Russian romanticism, masters at orchestrating human griefs tragedies and triumphs.  The piece draws its bass line from the drone-like sections of Tchaikovsky' Symphony No 5 illuminated by violins and piano motives inspired by Glinka and Rachmaninoff, respectively.  

What's the Point of Civilization?

Ann Leckie Ancillary Mercy ( Chapter 12 extract )

[…] “But what’s the point?  I mean, I understand why we‘re going back to Athoek.  That makes sense to me.  But farther ahead than that…  At first this all just seemed unreal, and it still does in a way.  But the Lord of the Radch is coming apart.  And if she comes apart, so does the Radch.  I mean, maybe she’ll hold herself together, maybe she pull these pieces back together again.  But, begging your forgiveness, sir, for my speaking very frankly, but you don’t actually want that, do you.”

“I don’t,” I admitted.

What's the Point? 

“And so what’s the point, sir?  What’s the point of talking about training and promotions as though it’s all going to just go on like it always has?”

“What’s the point of anything?”

“Sir?” She blinked, confused.  Taken aback.

“In a thousand years, Lieutenant, nothing you care about will matter.  Not even to you—you’ll be dead.  So will I, and no one alive will care. Maybe—just maybe—someone will remember our names.  More likely those names will be engraved on some dusty memorial pin at the bottom of an old box no one ever opens.”  Or Ekalu’s would.  There was no reason anyone would make any memorials to me, after my death.  

Griefs Tragedies and Triumphs

“And that thousand years will come, and another and another, to the end of the universe.  Think of all the griefs and tragedies, and yes, the triumphs, buried in the past, millions of years of it.  Everything for the people who lived them.  Nothing now.”

Ekalu swallowed.  “I’ll have to remember, sir, if I’m ever feeling down, that you know how to cheer me right up.”

There is no Point

I smiled.  “The point is, there is no point.  Choose your own.”

“We don’t usually get to choose our own, do we?” she asked.  “You do, I suppose, but you’re a special case.  And everyone on this ship, we’re just going along with yours.”  She looked down at her plate, considered, briefly, picking up a utensil, but I saw that she couldn’t actually eat just now.

How to Keep Going

I said, “It doesn’t have to be a big point.  As you say, often it can’t be.  Sometimes it’s nothing more than I have to find a way to put one foot in front of the other, or I’ll die here.  If we lose this throw, if we lose our lives in the near future, then yes, training and promotions will have been pointless.  But who knows?  Perhaps the omens will favor us.  And if, ultimately, I have what I want, Athoek will need protection.  I will need good officers.”

Small Steps for Humanity

“And what are the chances of the omens favoring us, sir, if I may ask? […]”

“When you’re doing something like this,” I said, “the odds are irrelevant.  You don’t need to know the odds.  You need to know how to do the thing you’re trying to do.  And then you need to do it.  What comes next”—I gestured, the tossing of a handful of omens—“isn’t something you have any control over.”

Ban Ki-moon: “Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth... these are one and the same fight. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all" 

"The point is, there is no point.  Choose your own.  " Ann Leckie Ancillary Mercy

Book cover for Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie

Watch Doomed Civilizations 

What's the Point of Civilization?

​​Other posts about Civilization :


The soundtrack was created by mixing the national anthems of the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Councils, i.e. China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States.

What's the Point ?

Watch animation video inspired by Ann Leckie's Ancillary Mercy.  What’s the point of fighting for rights and revolutions if it’s all going to be the same?.  

Read Ann Leckie Ancillary Mercy

The Man Machine Fairy Tale

Watch + read fairy tale about meaning of life at the dawn of artificial intelligence. Will mankind and machines join forces to survive and gain purpose?


The film is set in a future

where a failed experiment

to counteract climate

change plunges the planet

into a new ice age, killing

all except for those boarded

on a train. This train now

circles the globe on a constant loop and a tyrannical class system has taken hold.  The more uprising, civil rights and revolutions, the more it stays the same.  The ensemble cast, good writing and high production create a world of its own, claustrophobic and uncom-fortable, in a seemingly doomed civilization.

​All texts and visuals were selected and edited by to animate the following sequences of our original 90-second-short video:

  1. What's the Point: Title credit for the video opening on a cloud of points solidifying to form the question "What's the point?" over the logo perspective.  
  2. Civil Rights and Revolutions: For this video, perspective is inspired by the Science Fiction book Ancillary Mercy from Ann Leckie who questioned why continuing fighting for civil rights and revolutions to no avail...  The video shows various historic footage of civil rights movement in the US, uprising in the Middle-East and social unrest in Europe and Asia. Recurring events in all civilizations.
  3. The more it stays the same: as the saying goes, cemetery are filled with irreplaceable people but, in a thousand years, very few will be remembered. The angel statue folds on itself and finally breaks down with the passage of time under the permanency of the full moon.
  4. Griefs Tragedies and Triumphs: The grief of human mortality and helplessness is only surpassed by the tragedies of dinosaurs disappearing from Earth in comet showers.  But there are also a lot of triumphs like the control of fire by early humans or rocket launches to space that have or will change the course of civilizations.
  5. There is no Point. Choose your own: only few leaders are able to choose there own point and direction, like Napoleon or Martin Luther King jr, but the rest of us can rally behind many challenging causes like habitat destruction, unchecked population growth, and climate change to hope make a difference for the greater good.
  6. Simple ways to fight climate change: How to keep going? Well, it for all of us to make the small steps on the road, in our cities, in our homes and on our tables and find simple ways to fight climate change and help make the world more sustainable. 
  7. Doomed civilizations?: Time will tell if we are a doomed civilization,  capable only to create our own death star, or if we have a brighter future to make our civilization last forever.  


Third book in the Imperial

Radch trilogy, the un-

conventional space opera

about identity, power, and

civilization.  In Ancillary

Mercy, Ann Leckie asks

the reader what is the

point of civilization. The world history is a long stream of griefs tragedies and triumphs with no obvious progress. The more fights for civil rights and revolutions, the more it stays the same.  If there is no point, how to keep going? Well, the hope still resides in individuals doing the right thing translating into small steps for humanity. May the wisdom of AI be the force herding our sorry souls to peace, love and prosperity.