Changelings and "Animal Ethics"

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by DG_Trekky, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. DG_Trekky

    DG_Trekky Cadet Newbie

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    I just *have* to know what other people think of this:

    It occurred to me while watching "Paradise Lost" how Changelings might be *the* most "ethical" species in the galaxy, and it's held up in quite a few episodes since then.

    Here's how it works:

    --All humanoid 'species' are related, (The Chase, TNG), making them more like breeds of the same species instead of actual separate species. (Half-Betazed, Half-Klingon, etc.)

    --Changelings are not on that system. They are a completely different species.

    ----
    What this means:

    In RL, you're a Human Being. You communicate with your fellow Humans through complex vocal language, something no animal has figured out to the same extent. You also eat chicken for dinner, love your pet Pomeranian, hate having cockroaches, mice, and ants ruin your house.

    Humans are famous for murder, war, child abuse, muggings, beatings, basically being mean to each other, etc. We're barely getting out of that, vaguely. Sort of. Not really.
    ----
    Now, pretend to be a Changeling. You communicate with the Great Link, a complex language, something no other species has figured out to the same extent. You breed Jem'Hadar, think your Vorta are cute, and hate having Cardassians, the Federation, and all the other 'Solids' that keep bombing your planet.

    In their own species, No Changeling Has Ever Harmed Another. Now, I'm not sure if that simply means 'nobody ever murders, ever' or something to the extent of 'nobody ever plays Football--too many concussions' or something in the middle.

    Their one flaw is they've intentionally made 100 Feral/Street children--for science! (To put that in perspective, UNICEF estimates the USA has 2 million street children in 2010)

    Talk about Ethical!
     
  2. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No Changeling has ever harmed another (Before Odo did, of course) because why would they harm themselves? The individual is the group and the group is the individual. The drop becomes the ocean, the ocean becomes a drop. One and many.

    That said, I would argue that they are no more or less ethical than us. Their ethics are just different from ours.
     
  3. Marie1

    Marie1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    How can we be certain the original founders - which admit to actually being solids at one point - weren't seeded the same as everyone else?

    Also - genocide because of isolated racism or independent attacks is... a rather bad ethical standard...
     
  4. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    um, no. They engineer and enslave other races, and carry out wars against those not like them.(solids) They don't harm their own, but that's just tribalism-they're loyal to their own group and aggressive toward other groups that aren't like them. That's actually a pretty LOW level of ethical development. Tribal-based ethics aren't usually highly thought of.
     
  5. Minuet

    Minuet Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    They're incredibly racist and have a superiority complex. Plus, they, as said above, enslave whole races for specific purposes.

    I'm sure if they could train a species to be comfortable furniture, they would (assuming they actually sit on furniture, which they don't--perhaps a race of bucket creatures :p ).
     
  6. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    A) It's absurd to blame the entire race because of the actions of its worst members. We're far from perfect but even with all the violence in the world today, we're at the minimum all time violence per capita. And if you accept Star Trek mythology we keep moving in that direction. After nearly wiping ourselves out, of course.

    B) Even if you can sympathize with the changelings' reasons for being afraid of solids you certainly can't sympathize with their actions. Just like having a traumatic childhood doesn't excuse you for beating your wife. You're responsible for your own actions toward sentient creatures, period. Invading the alpha quadrant wasn't even in their best interest. They could have gotten themselves wiped out, and if there was any time for a gamma quadrant rebellion, it would have been when all their warships were in the alpha quadrant.
     
  7. Minuet

    Minuet Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The Changelings operated as part of a greater whole--a collective, if you will, and we saw zero evidence in the show that, aside from Odo, there were any Changelings that shared Odo's sympathy and empathy for solids. (If I'm wrong, I apologize, it's actually been a bit since I've rewatched DS9).

    It's not the same thing as saying that everyone of a particular race is a criminal, for instance. It's a unique situation where their entire race operates as a contiguous whole--a single Great Link. We have to basically assume that everyone is on the same page ethics-wise in this Great Link. The only reason Odo isn't (and even he gets close to being reabsorbed into their racist philosophies) is because of his separation. The Changelings have a startling philosophical uniformity that isn't seen in any other species save for the Borg, who obviously work as one hive mind 24-7 and thus are even further down that road.
     
  8. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Changelings would probably think ethics were merely some notion of the solids. You could almost say changelings were a scourge of the galaxy for they simply detested all humanoids (before Odo came along that is and told them otherwise) and the solids were pawns to be used where necessary. I mean every enemy of the Federation could be reasoned with (aside from the Borg): Klingons, Romulans and so forth.

    Not so with the changelings, it was either submit to their will or be enslaved or annihilated, there was no middle ground. Even more disturbing the changelings seemed to admire animals more than humanoids, I guess the changelings thought the humanoids were parasites of the galaxy, causing ecological damage and interfering with the natural order of things.

    Do the changeligns have ethics? Perhaps but they have probably forgotten about them given their Great Link is the equivalent of Nirvana or a utopia. In a perfect world there is no such thing as right or wrong, thus the changelings shun everyone else who can not join (the solids), for such races would cause imperfection to the changeling way of life.
     
  9. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I guess by that definition Adolf Hitler was incredibly ethical so long as you were an Aryan who submitted to his rule.
     
  10. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Replace Adolf Hitler with the female changeling, and Aryan with shapeshifter, and it sums up the changelings perfectly.
     
  11. indolover

    indolover Fleet Captain

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    By prohibiting harm against conspecifics, and believing they are supreme above solids, these seem like moral rules to me (by definition).

    The issue is that their morality is unique, which surely must apply to all sapient (I wish Trek writers would use this over sentient lol..) species. To presume Klingons or Cardassians will value as humans do is inane. This fact is essential proof of moral subjectivism.

    That said, if changelings were oppressed in the distant past, then oppressing others doesn't make sense. Two wrongs don't make a right.