Seen from Above

Falia was resigned to her mission. The thankless task of checking out possible new worlds traditionally fell to the most junior member of the Interplanetary Relationship Bureau. It was probably a false alarm anyway, and even if it wasn’t there was nothing she could do beyond data gathering, worse luck. To remove temptation, scout vessels simply weren’t equipped for landing.

After the autopilot had maneuvered her ship into orbit, Falia set to work. Satellites made tapping into data sources seem like child’s play. She was excited to get her first glimpse of a new species, have the ship’s computer navigate through the jumble of languages, and dip into it’s strange culture. But her excitement soon turned to dismay at what she found.

Morality. The planet was infested with it. Preachers of morality raped children; others murdered in the name of family values. Those whose very existence offended the reigning moral code were despised and persecuted; those unwilling to accept it reviled. Where two moralities clashed, hatred and violence inevitably followed: the slaughter of innocents on the way was defended by moral leaders.

On the way back Falia tried to shake off her feeling of revulsion. How could anyone value rules over sentient beings’ feelings and needs? Her report would go through the usual channels, though the outcome was clear.  After the Bureau had slipped up with Silema-β, only narrowly avoiding the first interplanetary war, the ruling on a morality-ridden planet was inevitable.

Quarantine.

***

T.Mastgrave’s weekly Philosophical Story Challenge: how do conflicting moralities come to terms with one another?

And the Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above, another look at last week’s flower.

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Moral Choice

The Xenian Alliance took pains to understand new joiners. For difficult questions audiovisual multiple choice material was provided.

  • Absolute morality. Created and hive species. – Material showing a self-replicating garbage-disposal creature. Its only reaction to “Garbage can stay here” was “This unit is faulty.”
  • Consequentialism. Hybrid species, i.e. machines evolved through learning. “Trying to achieve the Good.”
  • Relativism. Early social species. “Live and let live.” “To each his own.”
  • Non-violence, embracing need-based mediation over moralising. Advanced species with a concept of ecological systems. “Everyone is always doing their best.

What could she say?

Humanity is … Divided?

* * *

T. Mastgrave’s philosophical story challenge: moral absolutism vs. moral relativism. After some suggestions, I tried a rewrite.

* * *

– You can’t say?
– No.
– That is impossible. You must believe:
A) What is good is absolute.
B) What is good is relative to the society you live in.
or C) What is good must be determined by need-based mediation from case to case.
– We’re divided.
– Divided? The librarian’s voice rose in a whine. How can that be?

After the interview, the librarian needed to recharge his batteries. Cataloguing the attributes and beliefs of the Members of the Xenian Alliance was a draining task. He plugged himself into the outlet.

These humans! They confirmed all his suspicions about water-based species.

Unreliable.

Purity


Morality is rooted
in the purity of our hearts.

Mahatma Gandhi