Created By: idledandy on June 27, 2008
Nuked

Unforeseeable Consequence Aesop

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Obviously, Needs a Better Title.

This is related to Fantastic Aesop, but doesn't really fit. That's about aesops that are unlikely to be carried out, because they only apply to time travel or whatever. This is an aesop where the author really wants you to follow the behavior, but tries to convince you by showing you a ridiculously unforeseeable consequence of not doing so.

Case in point: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Save the whales, because otherwise a Space Whale will come and destroy Earth.
Community Feedback Replies: 26
  • June 27, 2008
    Bisected8
  • June 28, 2008
    joeyjojo
    No that doesn’t cont. climate change killing most of north America is a logical if ridiculously exaggerated outcome. climate change are releasing Godzilla from the frozen Ice caps would count.
  • June 28, 2008
    FalconPain
    Ferngully: Tearing down the rainforests results in... unleashing Tim Curry? (That might convince some people around here to get chopping.)

    The World Ends With You: Why should Neku learn to open up to people and trust them? It enriches your life and makes it more enjoyable? Absolutely; that's a pretty good reason. It makes monsters stop attacking him on sight? I... guess there might be some psychology there against attacking groups. It enables him to use powerful attacks via pins? That... that's a really cheesy interpretation of The Power Of Friendship. It convinces the people in charge of Shibuya to not destroy it or reduce everyone in it to a hive mind? Uhh...
  • June 28, 2008
    Stinkoman87
    Mega Man Star Force goes along with TWEWY example. Why are friends important? because they give you Hit Point increases and special abilities!
  • June 28, 2008
    Andyzero
    Environmental messages via Gaias Vengeance are often this.
  • June 28, 2008
    LordTNK
    Chick Tracts often do this. So their aesops are often warped, broken, and happen in ways that don't happen in real life.
  • June 28, 2008
    idledandy
    Godzilla is a good example. Stop nuclear testing because you may create or awaken a giant monster which will kill you.
  • June 28, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    wait, wait... global WARMING causing a half the planet to suddenly FREEZE doesn't count?

    even if we don't count rediculus exagerations, the fact is that warmer climetes would concentrate casualties on the parts of the world that are already warmest, towit, Africa, Australasia, and central america
  • June 29, 2008
    idledandy
    Tropable? Title thoughts?
  • June 29, 2008
    Dcoetzee
    This trope seems a bit odd, in that it's obvious the writers were drawing attention to a certain Aesop, but they certainly were not claiming even implicitly that such an unforeseeable outcome would actually result, in most cases.

    I'd name it something like Aesop Backstory - the Aesop, which is a relevant to some current event, is being used to provide backstory for the events in the work, which take place in the future.
  • June 29, 2008
    Nate the Great
    Garrison Keillor plays with this in one of his Lake Wobegon speeches. The "moral" is: spare the ant in your yard, or else radiation might mutate all of the ants into giant mutants that will trample your house.
  • June 29, 2008
    Sackett
    Unforeseen Consequences is actually a pretty common Aesop. I think you might mean something more along the lines of an Aesop that is unsatisfied with reasonable consequences and insist that if you don't obey the Aesop the world will be destroyed and it will be All Your Fault.

    Environmental Aesops particularly enjoy this trope. You might call it the Butterfly Aesop: "A Butterfly flaps it's wings, and thus the world is destroyed". Or you could go with the classic Smokey the Bear: "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires!"

    For the more traditional Unforeseen Consequences trope (ie not exaggerated beyond reason) I'd like to suggest my grandfather's term for it: The Unk Unks

    My grandfather used to say that you always need to watch out for the unkunks of life.

    There are the known dangers, these you deal with directly. There are the known unknows, these you can prepare for the different possibile outcomes. Then there are the unknown unkowns, or even unkowable unknowns. These can not be prepared for, planed for, or in any way anticipated. They are The Unk Unks, and the bane of all well laid plans.
  • June 29, 2008
    LordTNK
    Final Destination has unforeseen consequences from an unforeseen cause.

    Basically the aesop is don't follow a dream warning of your imminent death, as if that happens all the time, because death will get you anyway, by altering events like Rube Goldberg.
  • June 29, 2008
    Omar Karindu
    Aesopocalypse, perhaps?

    Some other examples that spring to mind:

    • Many episodes of Captain Planet provide rather ludicrously overblown consequences for relatively small-scale ecological harm.
    • Pretty much every moral lesson in the German moral verse work Struwwelpeter works this way: thumb-sucking summons up a scissor-wielding tailor who snips of the offending digits; fussy eating habits result in death by starvation; and going out in a rainstorm to play leads to being hurled away to your doom by a sudden gust of wind.
    • Standard-issue in many urban legends and horror films, where the consequences of premarital or risky sex tend to involve the threat or actuality of gruesome murder. (Personally, I find the prospect of an unwanted pregnancy or a vile STD scarier than an escaped lunatic with a hook for a hand.)

  • June 29, 2008
    Tzintzuntzan
    Most of these are Scare Em Straight, where the consequences are exaggerated (like urban legends and Struwwelpeter). However, if it involves Rube Goldberg level of contrivance,, it's a new category. So, "have sex and Freddy or Jason will kill you" is just standard Scourge Of God or Scare Em Straight. But "the Sealed Evil In A Can can only be opened by two people having sex on top of it (even if they don't know what it is)counts as something else. So does "by having sex, you shock and horrify your six-year-old sister who you didn't know was watching, causing her to becoming depressed, making her vulnerable to The Puppet Masters."
  • June 29, 2008
    Sackett
    Maybe it's a combination of two tropes.

    Scare Em Straight combined with The Unk Unks
  • June 30, 2008
    Gizensha
    @Lord TNK - It does have the implied caveat of "If, while Death is correcting reality to match its list, it's not your turn, reality will warp in such a way to make you immortal." [Implied in 2 by having the guy's gun not work repeatedly for an extraordinarily unlikely reason], and the plot of 2 gives the out of "If you do go for this, have sex with anyone you can, then stay alive/keep them alive for the 10 months of term, since if someone's born who shouldn't have been Death will be forced to rewrite his list".

    The commentary track to 2 suggests that they were planning to make more of it in 3. They didn't. Shame. I was looking forward to see how they had people survive jumping off of skyscrapers and the like.
  • June 30, 2008
    LordTNK
    ^^ That just further shows why it is this trope. How were the people who avoided those tragedies supposed to know all that?
  • June 30, 2008
    Cosmetor
    Title suggestion: Surprise Aesop
  • June 30, 2008
    Earnest
    I just wanted to point out that in relation to Fantastic Aesop, this is somewhere between a Type I and II. It only makes sense in the story because that's how their world works, and is inapplicable in ours because of that difference.

    In a strange way, this is like pinning the Xanatos Gambits failure on the plotter, despite the impossibility of predicting how the Xanatos Gilligan can screw the plan up.
  • July 1, 2008
    Snake712
    I suggest Space Whale Aesop.
  • July 1, 2008
    Kilyle
  • July 1, 2008
    Nate the Great
    Sounds good to me.
  • July 1, 2008
    Blork
    I don't think Final Destination counts, as it doesn't really have An Aesop. It seems more like the writers wanted to make a film about the Rube Goldberg Machines of Doom and the whole vision thing was just an excuse to set this up rather than being a dire warning of the dangers of heeding visions of disaster.
  • July 1, 2008
    LordTNK
    ^^ There is some form of You Cant Fight Fate in those movies, which is what I meant.
  • July 1, 2008
    Caphi
    Anyone remember the end of the first episode of Samurai Champloo (which I really have to watch the rest of, by the way)?

    "Owaru."

    ...

    "USO!! Tsuzuku!"

    Also, Data Vampires have framed me for the theft of this post. I dunno whose it is, but I'm preserving it here. Space Whale Aesop works for me!
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=ce842xbt&trope=SpaceWhaleAesop