Friday, 28 April 2017

Human Behavior

Human beings display a very broad spectrum of behaviors. Just twenty generations ago, Europeans burned fellow Christians to death. Just three generations ago, Jews were industrially exterminated. The unthinkable becomes thinkable and vice versa, for good or ill, sometimes in our lifetimes. Tempora mutantur... Sf writers speculate not only about technological innovations but also about changed human behaviors.

(i) SM Stirling's Draka set out to enslave humanity. Young Draka men are encouraged to abuse women "serfs." This would be deplorable but is possible.

(ii) In Poul Anderson's Technic History, the human-Ythrian colony planet, Avalon, is in the Domain of Ythri, not the Terran Empire. Many human Avalonians join Ythrian choths, fly (with gravbelts, not wings), identify as "Ythrian" and fight Terra. Later, some human beings willingly work for Merseia.

(iii) In Stirling's Emberverse series, some people get the opportunity to base their life-style on Tolkien, even speaking Elvish.

(iv) Anderson's Time Patrol recruits some twentieth centurians who hunt prehistoric animals for sport whereas the succeeding generation photographs mammoths but would not dream of shooting them.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Two points about your Point (i) comes to mind. First, the Draka are unusually intelligent and far seeing tyrants. Second, Eric von Shrakenberg stood out from most other Draka in that he did not abuse the slave girl his father gave him, but was as kind to her as his monstrous society would allow him.

Your Point (iv), I'm not a hunter but I have no objections to hunting and I don't think it's wrong to hunt.


David Birr said...

I see nothing wrong with hunting if someone NEEDS the animal's meat, fur, or whatever; or if the beast presents a clear and present danger, such as when IT begins hunting HUMANS. To hunt for the SPORT of it, though — one of my earliest exposures to Kipling was his poem "The Law of the Jungle", and the words, "But kill not for pleasure of killing...."

Paul Shackley said...

Anderson wrote about the Time Patrol for so long that he had to show members with different attitudes.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, DAVID!

Besides the reasons you listed as to why hunting is not wrong, I would add another, more philosophical point. Hunting animals is not wrong because they are not rational beings with immortal souls, so killing them is not, per se, murder (even tho some of the more irrational "animal rights" crazies do say that).

Also, while I agree on the desirability of not taking pleasure in the KILLING, I think hunters can take legitimate pleasure in the skill used for hunting. And, of course, humane hunters try to kill their prey as quickly as possible, so the animal won't feel prolonged pain.