The Meaning of the Eye in the Sky in 3 Body Problem, Explained

Image Credit: Ed Miller/Netflix

Humanity finds itself in a unique and rather bleak predicament in Netflix’s ‘3 Body Problem.’ What starts as a search for extraterrestrial life turns around and becomes the worst threat that humanity has ever faced. The more humans find out about the aliens, the more it appears that they are fighting a war they may already have lost. The aliens, called San-Ti, don’t make any effort to minimize their intentions or the scale of their power. They want humans to know what they are capable of and to be afraid of them. The Eye in the Sky does a great job of sending the point across. SPOILERS AHEAD

The Eye in the Sky is the Sophons Turning Into Big Brother

In a war, the element of surprise is the biggest strength a person has. The less the enemy knows about you, the more advantage you have. This is why spies are employed: to find out the things that would otherwise remain a secret until they are weaponized by the enemy. Completely flipping this, if you know everything about the enemy, then the enemy is as good as gone. If you know their every move, every plan in motion, if you know exactly what the enemy is capable of, then the war is effectively won. It is over when you let it be known that you know everything, and whatever the enemy does will make no impact whatsoever on the results of the war.

Humanity finds itself in a similar situation with the San-Ti, who are aware of everything about humans. Not only are they aware of the weapons the humans already have, but they also know about the weapons that are being made or will be made in the future. What makes the situation worse for humans is that knowing is not where the San-Ti stop. They also control the most important thing that can help humans: science.

Their incredible foresight, combined with the tech at their disposal, allows the San-Ti to create Sophons. They are protons, opened up from the eleventh dimension to two dimensions, increasing their surface area to such an extent that a supercomputer has been created on their surface. The Sophons work in pairs, with two of them on Earth and two back at the San-Ti’s home planet, allowing the aliens to control Sophons on Earth in real-time.

The thing about Sophons is that they travel at the speed of light, which means they can be everywhere on Earth at once. In the time it will take you to speak a word, the Sophons would already have taken a few turns around the Earth. Moreover, with the power of artificial intelligence, the Sophons can fold in and out of dimensions. They can make you see or un-see things, they can create wild visuals, and you’d never know if what you are watching is real or not.

After years of working in secret, when the San-Ti eventually come out, they display their powers in full force. It’s like Daenerys Targaryen displaying her dragons to the enemy and claiming victory even before a battle has been fought. First, the San-Ti display the message on every screen, telling humanity, “You are bugs.” As if that wasn’t enough to rattle people, the Sophons unfold in two dimensions and cover the entirety of Earth, claiming the entire sky to itself and then forming a giant eye in the sky, showing humans that they are being watched.

The eye is a message, telling humans that it is useless for them to come up with elaborate plans to try and defeat the San-Ti because no matter how secretive they try to be, the Sophons will always be around, they’ll know everything, and this way the San-Ti will know everything too. The eye also gives the San-Ti a god-like perception, forcing humans to bend their knees and just give up because how can they fight against something so powerful, something so otherworldly that it can see all of them all the time at once? How can humans fight against such power? It’s better to accept defeat, or at least, that’s what the San-Ti want humans to think. But, of course, humans are much more resilient than that, just like bugs.

Read More: Who are the San-Ti Ren in 3 Body Problem? Why Do They Want to Invade the Earth?