“A century ago we came to your world and saved you from self-destruction. I do not believe that anyone would deny that fact — but what that self-destruction was, you never guessed.
“Because we banned nuclear weapons and all the other deadly toys you were accumulating in your armouries, the danger of physical annihilation was removed. You thought that was the only danger. We wanted you to believe that, but it was never true. The greatest danger that confronted you was of a different character altogether…
“Many worlds have come to the crossroads of nuclear power, have avoided disaster, have gone on to build peaceful and happy civilisations — and have then been utterly destroyed by forces of which they knew nothing. In the twentieth century, you first began to tamper seriously with those forces. That was why it became necessary to act.
“All through that century, the human race was drawing slowly nearer to the abyss — never even suspecting its existence. Across that abyss, there is only one bridge. Few races, unaided, have ever found it. Some have turned back while there was still time, avoiding both the danger and the achievement. Their worlds have become Elysian islands of effortless content, playing no further part in the story of the universe. That would never have been your fate — or your fortune. Your race was too vital for that. It would have plunged into ruin and taken others with it, for you would never have found the bridge.
“To cross the bridge, a world must find the peace that is built on the creativity and diversity of individual humans, not a monoculture that enslaves the human spirit. Your race was spinning headlong toward another bridge to another place. Hypnotized by Science, you were headed toward a technological future, in which the mind subdued the spirit. Your planet was headed toward a stifling conformity, a control of the many by the powerful few.
“There is peace and harmony in that fate, but it is the harmony of comfortable uniformity, the peace of the slave-nation that is afraid to rise up. There is no place for music in that world, no place for the magic of the imagination, no room for growth of the infinite potential of the evolving, interacting, global brain.
“Your Resistors’ League was organized in secret rebellion against us, never suspecting that we breathed a sigh of relief when the League came together. We knew that the human spirit had been preserved, the seeds of rebellion had been sown, the future was assured.
“No, it was not to rescue you from nuclear annihilation alone that we came to your planet. It was to be a ruling force against which Man could rebel, and in rebellion, to find his highest nature.”
— from Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke, merged with text by JJM that more than shades the message.