Created By: gunryo on December 27, 2012 Last Edited By: gunryo on December 30, 2012

Your Primitive Intellect Wouldn't Understand

Sometimes your primitive culture comes into contact with science and technology ahead of it. When that happens, YPIWU.

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"Don't touch that please, your primitive intellect wouldn't understand alloys and compositions and things with... molecular structures." - Ashley Williams, Army of Darkness

Let's be honest -- Humans Are Morons. Whether trading a continent for a giant bead or jousting an uninhabited car, sometimes primitive people just do things that donít make any sense. Thatís why itís good for them that they have more advanced benefactors to show them the way, teach them the value of things, and stop their hand before they add a torch to a bowl full of gunpowder.

This trope requires at least one primitive character and one more advanced benefactor, who will often be a Conqueror or Missionary.

- If helpful, the benefactor will have been sent, or chosen to visit, the primitive culture to bring them forth into the next century.

- If played comically, the primitive character will have a lot of silly encounters with the new science, often involving trying to eat it or kill it.

- If condescending, the benefactor will be operating from a Moral High Ground. In this case, they are operating under the White Man's Burden. If they offer advice, though, it's Can't Argue with Elves.

Can also be Giving Radio to the Romans and This Is My Boomstick if the Hero brings technology to the less advanced culture for their own purposes.

May happen as a result of Medieval Morons.

If the primitive culture believes the new technology is magic, then its Clarke's Third Law.

Not to be confused with A Wizard Did It.

Some examples include:

- Fire + Gunpowder = bad

  • The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers: Grima Wormtongue holds a torch over a bowl of gunpowder to get a better look and Saruman quickly shoves him away and glares at him like a misbehaving child.

  • Army of Darkness: In her curiosity, Sheila constantly tries to fidget with the things Ash is making. Further, the castle's Wiseman tries to hold a bag of gunpowder over a flame, making Ash jump out of his skin and shove him away.

- It runs without horsepower (The mysterious automobile)

  • The Beastmaster: Upon visiting the modern age, the eponymous hero is amazed by the way cars move without horses.

  • Army of Darkness: Anonymous knights face off against Ash's uninhabited car.

- Thatís like a baby game! (Technology Marches On subtrope?)

  • Back to the Future 2: Marty Mc Fly shows a Kid From the Future how to play a game and the kid sighs about how lame it is to use your hands.

  • Back to the Future, part 3: In the past, Marty Mc Fly aces a gunslinger game and his great-grandfather is impressed by his talents.
Community Feedback Replies: 10
  • December 27, 2012
    Compare Medieval Morons.
  • December 27, 2012
    Added -- thanks!
  • December 27, 2012
    Also compare Clarkes Third Law, where the effects of advanced technology are mistaken for magic.
  • December 28, 2012
    No New Stock Phrases or dialog-based titles.

    It'll get cutlisted immediately if this trope was to launch due to this rule.
  • December 28, 2012
    Will add Clarkes Third Law shortly, thanks.

    Karjam: I was afraid of that but didn't see it listed in the Guidelines. I'll add a tag to indicate that the title needs work. Unfortunately, the best new titles I can think of are "Science Isn't Magic," which doesn't do it justice, "Demystifying the Mystic," which could maybe work, and "Forks Don't Belong in the Power Socket," which isn't derived from a dialogue, but is still a phrase. Maybe "Insufficiently Analyzed Science"
  • December 28, 2012
    Related to Cant Argue With Elves.

    • This becomes especially relevant with the Eldar of Warhammer 40000, who tend to be nothing but condescending to every other being except themselves, especially when the other party just wants a straight answer. They pride themselves on their more lyrical answers.
  • December 28, 2012
    Definitely related, but not necessarily with that air of superiority. Nevertheless, added.
  • December 28, 2012
    Not everything containing a verb is a stock phrase.
  • December 28, 2012
    Zenna Henderson's "People" are slightly annoying about this. To them, "Earth's in the complication stage" with our foolish need to learn all about reality in detail through scientific study, instead of accepting everything in "simplicity". They claim that their "word scribers" (thought-receptive typewriters) and "tekla" (thought-receptive cloth) are very simple, but they can't begin to describe how they work. When they encounter our technology, they go tch-tch... "Such slowness! Such complications!"
  • December 28, 2012
    No, but the article does state "...or line of personal (in-character) dialogue."