Analysis of Gem Civilization from Steven Universe [SPOILERS EVERYWHERE!]

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Analysis of Gem Civilization from Steven Universe [SPOILERS EVERYWHERE!]

Post by Crossroads Inc. » 2019-01-30 02:03pm

Ok, so before we go anywhere. Pretty much going to spoil a crap ton of stuff, so read either if you are caught up with everything… Or if you never plan On watching ;P
Really I am almost typing this out more for myself as I have been pondering upon the last few episodes and tending to think too much about stuff as I often do.

To begin with the analysis, we should start with a general overview of the civilization compared to standard concepts for a “Civilization” and what it involves.
On the surface, the gem civilization ‘Seems’ normal. They have ‘Culture’ of sorts, music and art exist, there is an “upper class” that seem to enjoy a privilege lifestyle, and of course the “Diamonds” who take the roll as supreme leaders. However as with so many things, once you begin to examine it in detail, a lot of things don’t make sense.

Perhaps the single best key thing to the “Gem Civilization” is that, as currently displayed, Gems are a wholly artificially produced population. To borrow from a more well-known sci-fi series, they are like Skin jobs from “Battle Star Galactica” with specific “production lines” basically all gems of a specific line are virtually identical saving slight variations in overall gem placement and hues.
There are no “individual” gems as it were. It is often hard to remember this watching the cartoon, where we see each main character have such different personalities, and even other variations of the same gems display different personalities, show free thinking and free will. But at the end of the day they are all artificially manufactured “tools” that are barely one stepped removed from advanced robots coming off a production line.
Each “line” of gem serves a specific role, Warrior, Builder, Scientist, Tactician, and so on. Every gem comes into existence knowing exactly what its purpose is, and that that is the ONLY purpose it will ever be used for.
As an example of this, gems do not have individual names, only designations based on their production line. “Peridotite” is a model created to act as a Scientist and engineer. One that becomes a main character is named “Peridot Facet-2F5L Cut-5XG” which is basically the gem equivalent of their serial number. There are tens of thousands of such gems, each named “Peridot” with a slightly different serial number.

What is the main point of all this background? It is mostly to show that Gems are completely artificial life forms.
They do no not have ‘children’ there are no families, no moms, no dads. Gems can also live for thousands of years, there is no need to “Pass something to the next generation” because unless a gem is destroyed, there is often only one “generation” New gems are constantly being manufactured to expand the empire, but they have no sense of an identity outside of the role they were manufactured for.

Why is that all important?
This goes into how and why certain aspects make no sense.

The Diamonds are the supreme Rulers and the equivalent of Royalty. Like royalty each Diamond has a court of followers that act as Nobility for that gem. These ‘courts’ have been portrayed throughout doing things one expects nobles doing. Mostly hanging about their ruler and sucking up to them as well as going to fancy Balls and Galas to dance to stately music. But what possible purpose does that serve?
On Earth, nobility where typically wealthy people that served a king and supported a king with their wealth. That wealth as well as power was then passed on through a title like “Lord” to their children.
But in Gem civilization, there are no children, and no wealth either. Gems do not get paid money, they do not even have money. All resources are harvested by and for the Diamonds. Basically there would seem to be no logical reason to have “Nobility”

Moving on to another aspect, mainly ‘Music’ and ‘Art’. Art and Music are show in the gem civilization. The ‘Pearls’ [personal assistants] of the diamonds sing in one episode, and one of them professes to enjoy drawing. In another episode where a Ball is thrown for the royal court, we get another example of gem music as well as Gems Dancing. But this ‘culture’ is something that seems to exist directly by and for the “nobility” but is alien to all other Gems.
On earth, most people are not artists, but are at least aware of art and music. Even someone who may spend their life never going to an art museum is at least aware of the concept of art. However at many times in the show, gems are encountered that have no concept at all of what Music or Art is. Going back to the Gem ‘Peridot’ the concept of music has to be explained to her directly along with several other aspects one would normally assume would be known.

The final puzzling aspect regards one of the main antagonists to the show “Pink Diamond”. There are four Diamonds, White, Yellow, Blue, and Pink. The first Three seem to be totally consumed in running the Empire. Pink however seems to be a ‘child’ Pink is physically much smaller than the other diamonds who range between 30 to 40 feet tall, while Pink is about 8ft tall. Also up until the events that started the show, Pink held no colonies. There was nothing for Pink to rule over or command. The only think Pink was mentioned to do before her first colony, was to throw parties and balls. The question comes up, what purpose if any did she serve? Why ‘manufacture’ a gem that seems to act as a child?

Well…
This would be where we turn from direct analysis and into interpretation. Basically my thoughts on explaining why all of these things exist.

Gem Civilization as reviewed is made up of artificially manufactured life forms that spread by conquering other planets and consuming their resources. Such a race might have started off from some sort of robotic or artificial entity that “evolved” over time. Such a direct “Spread, Consume, Grow” civilization would possibly never create ‘Culture’ on its own. One has to imagine over time, they have encountered other civilizations in that time and adopted aspects of other cultures. Since the Gem way to a situation seems to be “If we need something, Design a Gem for that need”

At some point they most of come upon cultures with music and art, and then “Created” gems to serve those purposes. This would explain the ‘nobility’ of the Gems. They exist for no other function than to serve the purpose “Having Nobility”. They dance because “that is what they are supposed to do.” Both dancing and the music in the show often seem to be very mechanical in nature, as though they were things not generated naturally, but copied from other concepts.
In a way this makes sense for the Gems, and specifically for the Diamonds. One day, perhaps to feel more important, they decided they need a nobility for balls and parties, and so manufacture “Court” gems. The same with music, the gems are directly created to “Make” music. They aren’t Gems that play instruments, they are created AS instruments that sign and make music.

Everything about Gem culture seems to be a sort of bizarre copy of something they don’t fully understand. “Dancing” is mechanical, literally in that many of the “Noble” gems are shaped like gears that turn against each other to “Dance”.

Extrapolating on this, one could possible see this as the reason for the creation of Pink Diamond.
As mentioned, Gems and the Diamonds have no children, no one they ever need to ‘care’ for. But what if at some point, they decided they wanted that? In my mind it is the only reason that makes sense for Pink to exist the way she does. Compared to the other Diamonds, she is childlike in size, personality, and behavior. And as with other things, it may have been Pink was created without the Diamonds fully understanding what they were creating, only that they needed a new gem to fulfill what they thought was a specific role.

So yeah, that’s my thoughts.
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Re: Analysis of Gem Civilization from Steven Universe [SPOILERS EVERYWHERE!]

Post by madd0ct0r » 2019-02-01 09:50pm

Its worrying how much i know snd enjoy the setting with out ever seeing an episode.

Do the noble gems, with their embrace of abstract concepts form a manufactured dipomat class?

I cant believe your analysis of gem dances ignored fusion dances: https://steven-universe.fandom.com/wiki/Fusion_Dance

Fusion is an important part of gem adapting to new situations or problems.
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Re: Analysis of Gem Civilization from Steven Universe [SPOILERS EVERYWHERE!]

Post by Bedlam » 2019-02-02 04:40am

madd0ct0r wrote:
2019-02-01 09:50pm
Its worrying how much i know snd enjoy the setting with out ever seeing an episode.

Do the noble gems, with their embrace of abstract concepts form a manufactured dipomat class?

I cant believe your analysis of gem dances ignored fusion dances: https://steven-universe.fandom.com/wiki/Fusion_Dance

Fusion is an important part of gem adapting to new situations or problems.
They've not specifically shown a diplomat, although there are lawyers. We've never really seen them interact with other intelligent life forms in any meaningful way. They seem to have ignored humans when they invaded 5K years ago and the only other species we've seen are animals. There could be other spacefaring civilisations out there but we haven't seen or heard of them.

Fusion between different types of gems is very taboo in Gem society, fusion between the same type of gem just creates a larger and stronger version of the same gem where as fusion between different gems creates a new type of gem with powers that are a mix of the others and so goes against the 'stay in your assigned role' part of gem society.

It's not been stated in the series but I suspect that the Gem's may have been created by some other species at some point in the past and some of their odder cultural traits might be left over from what their creaters orignally intended them for.

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Re: Analysis of Gem Civilization from Steven Universe [SPOILERS EVERYWHERE!]

Post by Crossroads Inc. » 2019-02-03 11:17pm

Bedlam wrote:
2019-02-02 04:40am
It's not been stated in the series but I suspect that the Gem's may have been created by some other species at some point in the past and some of their odder cultural traits might be left over from what their creaters orignally intended them for.
Pretty much two schools of thought on that.
One, like you mentioned the gems could have started as a labor source created by some other species now long extinct.
Second, they COULD have started off evolving as primitive crystal based life forms that encountered more humanoid life forms and took on their characteristics (Stranger things have happened)

Right now it could go either way in terms of which you choose. Personally I am leaning more toward them being initially created 10's of thousands of years ago by some other species. Something more interesting to think about is how the Gems have effected the history of our earth As it is VERY different than the Earth we know, both historically and physically.
To quote an interesting article:
You have to take into account how things are different in that universe. The Gems were on Earth for a looooonnnnggg time. Hundreds, if not thousands, of years. For Pearl fifty years is a quick jaunt in a spaceship. She and the others have been on Earth so long that she's somewhat cracking.
They've also altered history on their Earth compared to ours. Some things are similar. There is presumably a United States, but they have gems on their dollars. Their actions are so super, yet mundane, that Ronaldo the conspiracy freak just lets what could be a huge conspiracy drop because "Oh, it is the gems". The Gems on that world are sort of like Greek/Norse style gods living among the people. As strange as they are to us to that Earth they just are a facet of existence. Along with the fields of strawberries littered with the closet thing gems have to corpses. The monsters that rise up from time to time. The ancient abandoned gem cities and gem wonders. Even Connie's parents, who are outsiders to Steven's city, are minimally phased by Alexandrite.

Gems are odd. The Crystal Gems arrived on Earth about 6 thousand years ago. So they pre-date the founding of the United States, and are on every dollar in place of the "All Seeing Eye". Considering the main saying for that circle is "God has favored our undertakings" implies the Gems must have heavily influenced the Revolutionary War. They might even be seen as living "Founding Mothers" at the best. At the least something similar to Native Americans. They might even have some sort of super-sovereign rights that put them independent of any nation.
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