I have noticed a strange phenomena over the course of my short lifetime that merits consideration. People act differently depending on their physical location. I have traveled with Canadians to other countries and these individuals tend to adapt to the laws and customs of the countries that they are visiting. That in itself is not an amazing observation but it’s actually more than that.
You have probably heard the saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans”. The people in question have one set of morals and actions for life in Canada and a conflicting set for life elsewhere. I have noticed similar behaviour within countries. Las Vegas for example, seems to be a moral free zone. I have also noticed people from the middle east who come to Canada and have civil conversations here with people that they would not talk to in their home countries. That part I just don’t understand.
When Gene Roddenberry came up with the concept for “Star Trek” he tried to model the people of present day earth as different races from other planets. He superimposed the best and worst traits of the people he had met around the world onto these Aliens. That was enough of an abstraction to convince the current population to take a second look at themselves. This was done again recently with the series “Battlestar Galatica”.
I don’t understand why people can’t celebrate differences for what they are, the spice of life. I guess what makes me different is that I have one set of morals that I live by. When I visit a foreign country I abide by their laws and customs, but I don’t compromise my moral position. My personal honor is one of my most precious possessions. I would never force my beliefs on another person and I would hope others would not try to force their beliefs on me. I don’t believe that physical location should effect the way we perceive relationships or how we communicate, but communicating does require more than one person.
So what would I be on Star Trek then? Part Klingon (Honor above all else), Part Romulan (a rebellious intellectual) and part human (I make mistakes 😉 ).
Great question Fred. One thing that comes to mind is availability and scarcity of resources: two people with ample resources might find it easier to get along that two locked in a race for resources. Another factor to consider is geography, which can provide security for resources. I would be simplifying humanity if I suggest that it all comes down to resources, but it can be a factor sometimes.