“Has it never occurred to you that this planet is overpopulated? Only a handful of humans truly matter. Everyone else is just so much chaff. So now I have to separate this chaff from the wheat. And with Uroboros, I can finally accomplish this.” – Albert Wesker, Resident Evil 5.
Resident Evil is a long running action horror video game series. Albert Wesker is a recurring character who mostly takes on the role of villain. In Resident Evil 5, Wesker plans to use a virus producing, slimy, blob monster called Uroboros to wipe everybody out.
The expression of separating the wheat from the chaff is used quite often. It just means the good from the bad, the useful from the useless, or the important from the unimportant, that’s the gist of it anyway. Most likely this idea originated as a farming term but it can be traced back at least as far as the Bible in both Jeremiah 23:28 and Matthew 3:12
Comparing people to this wheat and chaff idea seems a bit unfair, many people never reach their full potential to become the wheat they should be. But sadly, Wesker is right. Who is actually important in the grand scheme of things? Usually leaders or celebrities if history is anything to go by, those people that are remarkable in some way. Those famous names that are remembered forever from Plato to Caesar to Cromwell to Meatloaf, the people that make a name for themselves to really be remembered with are the important ones, the rest like worker insects toiling away to keep the world running. In a situation like Wesker’s it’s either going to be ideology or money that dictates his important people which makes him having a super weapon scarier as an idea, like Russia having nukes, you just can’t predict what will happen next.
Having said that, the important people – the wheat – wouldn’t be important without the common man to raise them up. When it comes to farming wheat does beat chaff (at least as far as I understand it) but in real life everyone matters, even if we are just symbolic of chaff. We all have our place and probably know it. Some places change while others don’t.
Overpopulation though, that’s a real problem. Schools, hospitals, housing and other infrastructure all suffer and get stretched beyond reasonable limits because people aren’t dying fast enough. You get useless ageing populations that struggle to support themselves like China with the one child policy; you get rising pension ages meaning less jobs available for school leavers; you get unfillable gaps in industry which get plugged by immigration support that adds to a country’s population problems like some sort of vicious cycle. It is too much and people are the problem. The planet would be better if humans didn’t exist.
Wesker is one of those villains that really can make you think. He’s got the right idea but there’s no simple, ethical solution. I do like these sort of thought provoking statements as they make fictional characters seem more real somehow.