: Surely there's more you can tell me. Master Arngeir
: There is indeed much that we know that you do not. That does not mean that you are ready to understand it.
Commonly uttered phrase by powerful — often Sufficiently Advanced
— beings when lesser lifeforms (like our heroes) ask for assistance or technical support
. Oftentimes, the heroes get a hold of the information or gear for themselves, and the point is proven or refuted.
In other situations, this can be a line uttered by either The Obi-Wan
or the Big Bad
. In the former case, he is telling our young hero not to be brash and preparation is very important (though the hero will rarely listen). In the latter case, it is used as a rather hammy taunt
Compare to Figure It Out Yourself
, The World Is Not Ready
. Not to be said to Nintendo
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Anime and Manga
- Upheld with the Watchers of the Marvel Universe who originally shared their scientific knowledge with a primitive alien race. The alien race advanced to interstellar levels only to be obliterated after challenging a much more advanced civilization race to war. These events traumatized the Watchers into being non-interventionists.
- Upheld in Grimjack where some space aliens who were trying to dissect and understand a time travel watch accidentally obliterated one-quarter of a galaxy in the process.
- Sphere. A depressing thought to Norman.
Beth: What's the matter, Norman?
Norman: It's a little hard to let go of. Something that could've been... this gift? The power to make your dreams come true. We're given the greatest gift in the history of mankind. We're given this magic ball. And it says "lmagine what you will and you can have it." That's an extraordinary gift, but we're so primitive we... we manifested the worst in us, because what we have inside us... is what we have inside of us, instead of the best of us. What does that say?
Harry: We weren't ready, Norman.
Normal: We have what's called an imagination. I mean, look what we're capable of. We can... (sighs) We're not ready.
- Uttered by the Old Master towards his pupil in almost every martial arts film ever.
- Star Wars:
- In The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda informs Luke of this when he goes to face Vader on Cloud City.
- Played even more straight with Anakin's accession to Jedi Master in Revenge of the Sith. Mace Windu knows a thing or two about ready, and Anakin is not ready.
- At the end of Gremlins, Mr. Wing shows up to claim Gizmo and berates the Peltzers for not following the rules of proper Mogwai care and states "You are not ready!" When he sees how much Gizmo has come to care for Billy, Mr. Wing decided Billy may be ready "one day". (Did somebody say "sequel"?)
- They sure did, but Mr. Wing was too dead to deem Billy ready by that point, so Gizmo heads out on his own to find his new master again.
- Technically, Gizmo didn't find Billy. After Mr. Wing's store was knocked down, he was captured by a Mad Scientist and was found by Billy in a science lab.
- This is the attitude of the Autobots towards technology sharing with humans in the Transformers movies. They won't give us weapons to fight Decepticons with because they know we'll end up using them to kill each other, and they don't give us non-weapons technology because they know we'd find a way to weaponize it.
Optimus Prime: "We've seen your human capacity for war... we believe it would only make things worse."
- In other words, exactly what the Autobots and Decepticons have been doing to each other for the last several million years? (Actually, this is sort of the point. Optimus likes humanity and does not want them ending up in a repeat performance of that).
- Optimus himself has admitted the above as when one Autobot says that we (Humans) are a violent race, Optimus points out the fact that they're Not So Different.
- In the sequels it turns out that the Autobots are sharing minor technologies and fighting techniques with the humans in order to combat the Decepticons, and the bureaucrats are complaining that they're not sharing enough. After the Decepticons are taken care of humanity turns their new weapons on the Autobots, just proving Optimus completely right.
- Mortal Kombat had Raiden tell Liu Kang he wasn't ready to face Shang Tsung. Which is quite weird, because he tells him he is ready, near the end, although we don't see anything changing in Liu Kang's character nor he learns any new skills.
- It's implied that Liu not being ready was less about skills and more about being hung up on his brother's death.
- In Mystery Men the Sphinx tells the others they are not ready to confront the Big Bad because they need training (and Ice Cream Koans.)
- This trope may have originated (in Science Fiction, at least) with E. E. “Doc” Smith's Lensman series back in the late 1930s. In that series, the rise of humanity and most other intelligent life in the Milky Way galaxy is part of a master plan by the Arisians, who are about one step short of Energy Beings. The goal of the plan is the eventual overthrow of the (quite nasty) Eddorians. However, at almost every step in the process the Arisians keep the ultimate goal a secret from humanity and its allies, and avoid making their own immense power obvious to them, for fear of "creating an inferiority complex" among the species they have raised to deal with the problem. In other words, You Are Not Ready.
- The excuse used by all of Bruce Coville's aliens for why they don't swoop down and end all disease and strife on Earth. His last few books just had them as merchants who wanted stuff in return — they got peanut butter and ketchup.
- In Iain Banks' novella The State of the Art, a Culture Contact ship spends several months snooping about on Earth in 1977, before deciding not to contact us. Not so much because the Culture has any qualms about influencing the Earth — it is just that the Minds have decided to use Earth as a control group. note A passing reference in the appendix to Consider Phlebas does suggest that Earth has been Contacted by 2110 AD, at least. Humorously in Excession, when the Culture inadvertently becomes the victim of the trope, it is played completely straight.
- Used and Subverted in the Night's Dawn trilogy, The hyper advanced aliens, the Kiint, refuse to solve humanity's "reality dysfunction" crisis, saying that each race faces it, and must find their own solution. On the plus side, they are more than willing to use their advanced technology to give humanitarian aid to those that become affected.
- Inverted in Speaker for the Dead, where it's the humans telling the piggies that they are not ready for all the fancy human technology like spaceships and ansible communication — mostly just because the humans are afraid that the piggies will pose a threat to their superiority in space. This is a disputed policy and is one of the central conflict points of the novel.
- In Vernor Vinge's novel A Deepness in the Sky, it's the humans hiding from the aliens while they wait for them to become Ready, and they are the ones who require technical assistance from the more primitive aliens.
- In The Mallorean, Belgarath tells Garion he needs 2,000 years of study before touching weather again. considering what Garion triggered, Belgarath is entirely right to demand this.
Live Action TV
- In Farscape, John is given information about wormholes. The catch? It's behind a mental lock, and the Sufficiently Advanced Aliens who gave it to him state that if he isn't capable of unlocking the information on his own, he's not smart enough to use it wisely.
- Babylon 5:
- In the first-season episode "Deathwalker". A notorious war criminal has created a serum that gives the user immortality. Despite the heinousness of her crimes, Earth's government pardons her in return for turning over the formula. As she leaves the station, she reveals to the characters that had reacted to her in disgust the evil twist involved: every dose of the formula required killing another person of the same species. She intended to give the formula to everyone, and watch as they all fell into self-destructive chaos as a result to prove her twisted reasoning right. However, as she's leaving, a Vorlon ship appears through the jump gate and destroys the ship with her on it. When questioned about it, Ambassador Kosh says simply, "You are not ready for immortality."
- Sebastian, the Inquisitor sent by Vorlons to test Delenn's resilience and spirit, replies with this to Sheridan's questions about Vorlons.
- After Vorlons leave the galaxy Lyta, who had been tightly involved with them, said that it would take humans more than a million years to get ready for a visit to the Vorlon homeworld.
- Basically the reason the Vulcans gave for not giving humans the technology to go to Warp 5 pre-Star Trek: Enterprise. The NX-01 is the humans' Warp 5 prototype, nearly 50 years and much enmity between humans and Vulcans later.
- Many instances in Star Trek media where the Prime Directive is invoked revolve around this trope; Starfleet crews are on occasion conflicted between moral pressure to help those in need and complying with the Federation's rules about "interfering" with less-advanced cultures.
- Humanity gets the shaft of this yet again when encountering an unknown life form on Velara III, which not only defies human understanding of what can constitute life, but is significantly more intelligent and advanced; they tell humanity to go away and come back in a few hundred years if they want to talk.
- The Tollan from Stargate SG-1 refused to share their technology with Earth because of a previous experience with a less advanced race that destroyed itself and the original Tollan homeworld. Flipped around a few seasons later, when this became the refrain of SG-1 when dealing with a less advanced society.
- The Asgard have this attitude toward Earth, but notably they subvert the trope and help humanity get ready, slowly introducing their technology with careful tutelage so humans can learn to use it wisely. In the final episode, they pass on the sum total of their collected knowledge before committing collective suicide.
- Used word for word in Smallville by Lex Luthor in Season 8
- In the first episode of Mahou Sentai Magiranger, youngest sibling Kai is denied the chance to become a Magiranger by his mother because he's too reckless. After being scared witless by Wolzard and working up the courage to stand up to him to defend his older siblings anyway, he is then deemed worthy, becoming MagiRed.
- Played with a bit in House of Anubis in season 1, as it is not the characters themselves who were not ready to build the cup, the cup could only be built and used during a certain time on a certain date, and by a a certain person.
- Duncan's mentor tells him this in Highlander in the flashback in 'Finale'. Duncan wants to fight Xavier St.Cloud, but Hamza tells him to flee into the desert because he isn't experienced enough to fight Xavier yet.
- An episode of Time Trax reveals the existence of a race of Human Aliens called Procardians. In Darien's native 22nd century, they have contacted Earth, and their diplomatic ship is on the way. Darien discovers that Procardians visited Earth in the late 20th century and found humans wanting (i.e. too primitive and violent). They decided to wait before coming back, only a female Procardian was accidentally left behind, prompting her mate to steal a ship and come looking for her (except he has no idea what she looks like to to the fact that their species ages in stages instead of gradually). Darien helps him find her and sends them to his own time to await the arrival of their ship.
- Warhammer 40,000 sees this as a very common sentiment from the Eldar to humanity. Humanity's usual response is a bolt shell to the face.
- The title phrase was actually used as a slogan in ads for the original PlayStation - though in printed ads, it was written in the more cryptic form "U R NOT E".
- Slight variation: In the opening cinematic for the World of Warcraft expansion The Burning Crusade the main villain (sort of) Illidan can be heard saying "You are not prepared!" at the beginning and end of the cinematic and during his pre-battle monologue (and if you are indeed not prepared, he will say it again and again...). This became a meme, and one version provides the page picture.
- Kingdom Hearts: Creepy guy in brown cloak: "One who knows nothing, can understand nothing..." (refering to Sora)
- Subverted, as creepy guy is later shown to be greatly mistaken about his beliefs and knowledge. The sequel features another arrogant old man with a thing for vague statements about your ignorance, he turns out to be wrong about many things too. The Kingdom Hearts world isn't a good place to be an enigmatic mentor.
- The latter example, though, actually turns things around. In the end, he admits his own ignorance and uses the knowledge he gained from the experience to make the Big Bad's defeat possible.
- After the timeline in The Journeyman Project has been altered, the entirety of First Contact with the Cyrollans is revealed to have consisted of these four words before their ship departs.
- Mass Effect 1: Humanity is not ready for a human Spectre, or a seat on the Citadel Council. By the end of the game, they have both.
- When the Council tried to uplift the krogan before they were ready, they subsequently went on a galactic conquest, so they have their reasons. In the second game, Mordin argues that this trope is what should have happened with the krogan, allowing them to evolve culturally and technologically on their own instead of being shaped into a weapon and pointed at the rachni. "Like giving nuclear weapons to caveman."
- Rather early on in Phantasy Star IV, Rune tells Chaz that at this "stage of the game" he's not ready to take on the Big Bad. Chaz, who was as yet unaware that he's being swept up into things bigger than he can grasp, is nonplussed by the statement.
- Mark Oshiro, completely spoiler-free, is not prepared as his fans constantly remind him. He wasn't prepared for the Twilight books, but there it took on a more somber tone. And he certainly hasn't been prepared for any of the other stuff he's been reviewing.
- The Star Wars example between Luke and Yoda was parodied in Family Guy Presents: Laugh It Up, Fuzzball.
Yoda/Carl: Y-You're not done with all your Force stuff, a-and besides, you can't fight Vader. Only an experienced Jedi could fight Vader.
Luke/Chris: Well, why don't you go?
Yoda/Carl: Yeah, you're probably ready to fight Vader.
- In Episode XXXII of Samurai Jack, after Jack fails to defeat The Guardian and gain access to the time portal, we see in a Flash Forward that Jack will eventually use the portal when he's ready.
The Guardian: You can't use it yet, Samurai Jack. Not yet.
- In Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, Azmuth considers Ben to be this regarding the new Omnitrix he is building (He changes his mind by the end of the series, though).
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender , Old Master Jeong Jeong says this to Aang about his wanting to learn firebending. Traditionally, the Avatar learns the elements in the order of the Avatar cycle (Air-Water-Earth-Fire), so Aang wouldn't be ready to learn firebending until he mastered water and earth. Though Jeong Jeong relents, it's proven that Aang wasn't ready, as his impetiousness results in Katara getting burned.
- In the Sequel Series The Legend of Korra, the Order of the White Lotus thinks of this for Korra, believing she wasn't ready to learn Airbending because of her lack of spirituality. But thanks to Katara approving of Korra learning it, they instantly agree with her.