Cultural diversity within various species

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by WarpTenLizard, Dec 31, 2017.

  1. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Commander Red Shirt

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    We all know "Star Trek" is somewhat notorious for is monocultures. All Klingons have one culture, one religion, one language, etc. All Andorians, all Vulcans, all Cardassians, have one culture and one language. All Bajorans obsessively worship the same religion, unless they're rebelling against it via the Pah Wraiths or just a flat out loss of faith.

    Well I say tribble sh*t.

    These are planets, not islands.

    Besides, Human characters will sometimes simplify Earth's vast diversity by saying things like "Christmas is an Earth holiday" or "on Earth, this is how we kiss..." So we can presume that other species do the same thing.

    Sure, it's possible one culture or religion controls the planet's government on Bajor, Cardassia, and the Klingon Empire, but that doesn't mean there is no diversity left within the population.

    This thread is for speculating on what different types of cultures or belief systems might exist within these various species. I'll list my ideas; feel free to disagree.

    Bajorans:

    I'm thinking that most Bajoran religions do involve the Prophets and the Orbs, in some way or another, since the Prophets were intervening in Bajor for centuries. And it does seem like one religion controls the Bajoran government. I can even buy that the majority of Bajorans belong to this religion. But again, planet, not island.

    Also, keep in mind that not all Bajorans we see wear the earring. And even with those who do, the earring may have become a planetary cultural practice in addition to a religious one. (Sort of like wedding bands becoming the norm for humans, despite culture or religion.)

    So here are some different belief systems that might exist within the Bajoran population:

    • Descendant Worship: A religion that believes the Prophets are the descendants of the Bajoran people, existing outside spacetime, and helping their own ancestors from a distant future. In this religion, how you behave and raise your children is extremely important, because it will impact how your descendants, the Prophets, turn out, and how they in turn treat you. Suffice to say, this belief system can be a mind-screw for outsiders.
    • Orb Worship: A group that believes the Orbs themselves are, or contain, the deities to be worshiped, and views the Prophets as little more than messengers.
    • Elementals: Bajorans who worship all elements of nature equally, and refuse to hold the Prophets or Orbs in higher regard than anything else. This group likely faced a lot of persecution even before the Cardassians came along...
    Trill:

    With a species like this, there must be countless differing ideas about who, if anyone, should be joined. Obviously the planetary Symbiosis Commission has resolved this, but that doesn't mean individuals don't still have their own opinions and values.
    • Anti-joining: This group is against joining, for anyone. They believe one's body is a gift from the ancestors, and that your spots in particular are a special mark left by the ancestors. Altering your body in any way--piercings, tattoos, sex changes, and joining--is a major no-no.
    • Slugs for the elders: Some other cultures might reserve joining for the wisest elders, who run the show.
    • Competition: ...and others still, no doubt, held competitions, so the most "fit" candidate would win the symbiont. The Symbiosis Commission would have taken inspiration from these cultures.
    • Royal joining: In nations that practiced monarchies, symbionts were sometimes passed down through ruling heirs. This naturally led to kings and queens receiving their own mom or dad's memories, and led to all kinds of messes like royal incest and insanity. This practice was obviously ended centuries ago, in some cases by force when the people rebelled and tore down the corrupt and literally insane monarchy.
    Vulcans:

    Before the teachings of Surak, there must have been countless groups with differing ideals, and even after the switch-over to planet-wide logic, they'd surely retain at least some differences.
    • Family is everything: Here's an idea I thought of; a culture where family is so highly valued, that in the olden days, when a family member was harmed or even mildly insulted, it meant a violent fight in their honor. After the teachings of Surak, this changed to a simple ritual where, if one's family member is insulted or done wrong, you simply deliver a single, controlled, slap to the offender, and then declare the issue settled.
    • Vent it! Even if most Vulcans agree that emotions must be kept out of everyday life, there has to be differing ideas on how to accomplish this. Some would say, repress it all, except during Pon Farr; but others migth have designated times to regularly vent violence, sex drive, etc. No doubt these groups would be frowned on by other Vulcans.
    • Is logic personal? Some cultures probably think an individual should find whatever way to control their emotions and rational works for them personally, while others would view this as a dangerous gateway to anarchy and say everyone must follow some rigid code or another.
    • Telepathy? Maybe in some cultures, telepathy is considered highly private and personal, and projecting your thoughts in public is a no-no; for others, telepathy is used as often as speaking, and closing off your mind is seen as stand-offish and antisocial, maybe even dishonest.

    SO........................ yes, I need to get laid. But it's a "Star Trek" site, we all do. So throw some more ideas at this thread. What are some other subcultures, or just differences, that you think might exist within the alien races of "Star Trek?"
     
  2. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You could explain away in both ways. You could say "These planets actually are more diverse but we only meet a small group of people" or conversely say "Planets that have had global instant communication for hundreds of years naturally evolve a monoculture". Or say "Earth is special case where early sentient creatures separated from each other and formed different cultures".

    I think Klingons have more cultural diversity than we ever see because the Klingons we see are mostly nobles, leaders of great houses and such. We get the impression of feudalism and probably the serfs under any great house have their own local subculture. Also CLEARLY there are Klingon nerds because warp drive and cloaks exist. There must be Klingons out there who give lipservice to honor to get the nobles to shut up and fund their research. "YES HONOR TO BATTLE now can I have some money so I can build some new weapons for you? Just discovered a cool new way to bend light."
     
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  3. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    There is a series of fanfic stories put out by Orion Press that explores various races and cultures of Klingons, and explains the change from TOS TV Klingons to movie/TNG Klingons.
     
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  4. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    I'd get a huge kick out of seeing a Christian or Jehovah's Witness Andorian or Klingon.

    Or a Ferengi Flat Earther. Who thinks Earth is flat but Ferenginar has been observed to be round.
     
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  5. Kevman7987

    Kevman7987 Captain Captain

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    "Honey, Klingons are coming. They're wearing suits and carrying pamphlets?"
    "Lock the doors and pretend we're not home!"

    I've always wondered if there are Space-Amish in Star Trek. Were Amish sent to farm the Centaurian colonies? Are there Amish settlements on Vulcan or Andor?

    Star Trek "Truthers":
    "The Earth-Romulan War was inside job, man. Vulcans can't melt steel beams! The Federation is putting root beer in our tap water to control our moods! Gagh is made of Klingons! Gorn are lizard-people! Wait, that checks out, nevermind."
     
  6. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Commander Red Shirt

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    Well I'm REALLY sick and tired of how "speshul" humans are in sci-fi, especially "Star Trek" where it really seems to contradict the entire franchise's message about respect and equality between cultures. But, I like your other ideas. Thanks!

    Klingons are a funny example. They're one species that absolutely has an excuse for being a monoculture, with a warrior empire having conquered the planet centiries ago. I have no trouble at all believing all Klingons became part of that one culture and (lack of?) religion. Yet, the Klingons are one of the most physically and culturally diverse species in "Star Trek." Their foreheads, overall appearances, and even personalities are widely diverse among the characters we meet. Worf says that Grilka is from the something-or-other continent, and mentions a custom among "her people," indicating that there is still cultural diversity on Qo'nos. And of course "Voyager" had the Ku'va'mag worshiping Klingons. I wish we had more drops like that for other races like Bajorans and Trill.
     
  7. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Commander Red Shirt

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    Okay, THAT would be funny. The Ferengi I mean.

    I have read a serious fanfic that had a sect of Christian Vulcans, which I found intriguing. If we really did meet aliens, I imagine we'd have some religious exchanges among other things.
     
  8. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Commander Red Shirt

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    Thanks for letting me know about this! I'll have to check those out.

    Is Orion Press the author, or the website? I suppose I could just google it....
     
  9. Nyotarules

    Nyotarules Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The novelverse does present Vulcans who are not followers of Surak however they are either considered insane or outcasts of society.
    I like the idea of diverse aliens, the monoculture we see is down to limited time to tell a story on the TV, lazy writing or both. The Star Trek novelverse is more diverse, it does not present humanity as honorary Americans spread across the galaxy.
     
  10. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    In the fanfic series linked in my sig, some of the characters are Jewish and the authors decided that Amanda's family is Jewish. One of the things they mention is that Amanda gave Spock a human name that he doesn't use: Daniel.

    Orion Press is the website. They have a lot of good stuff there besides fanfic. Be aware, though, that some of the stories contain explicit sex (hetero and slash), torture, and other violent content. It's definitely not for anyone who is underage or who prefers not to read darker subgenres of fanfic.

    Orion Press
     
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  11. at Quark's

    at Quark's Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Klingon Jehova witnesses would probably make very effective proselytizers.

    "I'm bringing you good news. Accept it, or I'll force it down your throat."
     
  12. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In the Trek novel Ishmael (sp?) Amanda's late nineteenth century ancestor in the novel was suggested to be Jewish.
    Ferenginar is a sphere, but the galaxy is flat. That's why galactic maps in the Trek-universe look the way they do.
     
  13. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Klingon Mormons who say Christ was actually Klingon.

    It’d be tougher for Vulcans to adopt a foreign religion I think. Besides the fact they turn into rage monsters if they can’t control their emotions. It’d be difficult to logically explain why an all powerful being would only reveal itself to one population of one world. Perhaps they’d adopt a form of Deism or Unitarianism where an all powerful being told every individual population different metaphors for the same message and just basically wants us to be nice to each other.
     
  14. JRoss

    JRoss Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Enterprise had an episode where an incredulous Klingon scientist asks "What, did you think we all belonged to the warrior caste?" That is more logical than all Klingons being warriors. Of course, it would have helped if they'd shown us this sort of thing before.I think that the Hur'q (the species that conquered the Klingons centuries ago) were created to give them an excuse to get into space. Like they fought back and repelled the invaders (probably trough guerilla tactics) and then salvaged their tech to create ships.

    Klingons have monasteries, an afterlife and creation myths, so they're clearly religious. What little we've seen of it seems to place Kahless at least at the status of demi-god. Like he wasn't the Primordial Klingon who slew the creators, but he's the most important figure in their mythology. I've always seen TNG and beyond Klingons as crazy zealots TOS Klingons were a lot cooler.

    Anyway, let's see. The Andorians at least have a semblance of diversity, what with the einar (sp?) and all.So do the Kazon. We see just a bit of Vulcan diversity from Tuvok's teacher who would display emotions plus that outcast ship from Enterprise. Oh, and the Vulcan secessionists. But I agree that it's not enough.

    I completely agree that Spock is Jewish. Always had that thought in my head. Probably because of Nimoy and Lenard. Ooh, now that I think about it, lots of Jewish actors (all Vulcans with speaking parts in TOS, except for Surak) but with a Greek-inspired philosophy. Culture clash. Interesting.
     
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  15. MAGolding

    MAGolding Captain Captain

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    It may be noted that a the present there are about 200 independent nations ruled by humans here on Earth - there used to be many thousands. In Star Trek alien species are treated somewhat like Earth ethnic groups. But an ethnic group can have many different independent realms. There used to be tens or hundreds of ancient Greek city states, for example.

    And it is my belief that there have been many longer or shorter lived Klingon space realms, breaking off from the main one due to Klingon ambitousness. The main Klingon realm in the TNG era, named in one episode as the Klingon Imperial Empire, should be the largest and most important of them. It probably rules more planets than all the other Klingon realms put together, and it is probably the chief successor of the Klingon realm in the TOS movies.

    For example, it is easy for me to believe that the realm that Korris, Konmel, Kunivas, and K'nera come from in "Heart of Glory" is separate from the Klingon Imperial Empire and more closely allied to the Federation. And at least one group of Klingons must have actually joined the Federation. In "Samaritan Snare":

    Clearly Wesley meant that (some of) the Klingons joined the Federation a few decades ago instead of (all of) the Klingons joined the Federation a few decades ago.

    And no doubt the longer some Klingon splinter group remains independent the more it will develop a separate culture, if it even had a culture totally identical to that of the main Klingon realm in the first place.
     
  16. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    I'll have to reread that one. It's basically a multi-series crossover, though. Of course the main one is TOS/Here Come the Brides, but there are references to others, notably Doctor Who (ie. the time-traveling aliens from the "Constellation of Kasterborous").
     
  17. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You haven't read the Bible until you've read it in the original Klingon.
    Depending how you use the term "nation," actually the number of nations is more now. A thousand years ago there were less than half the number of nations compared to today.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2018
  18. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Present day Earth has only had global instant communication for a couple decades and cultural homogenization has already started, imagine in a culture that's had it for centuries.

    I agree there's probably Klingon splinter colonies all over the place just as there are splinter human colonies.
     
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  19. JesterFace

    JesterFace Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    There may be several different countries and cultures on any planet that is seen in Star Trek, but there's usually one or two that represent the entire planet.
    Imagine an alien contact today on Earth, most likely it would be USA that talks to them and that gives a very limited view on the entire planet.
    Same thing could be going in the Klingon empire, there might be many different lifestyles and cultures, only the "warriorstyle" is the one has become the "dominant" and that is the way we look at them.
     
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  20. MAGolding

    MAGolding Captain Captain

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    I wrote:

    According to Wikipedia, there are 193 states that are members of the UN, 2 observer states, and 11 other states. It also says that there are 191 states with undisputed sovereignty and 15 states with disputed sovereignty. Thus there are between 191 and 206 sovereign states today.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states

    There were only about fifty odd sovereign states a century ago.But that was due to the recent age of colonialism, when tens and hundreds of states lost their sovereignty.

    A thousand years ago, about 1018, there were many kingdoms in the tiny island of Ireland. I read somewhere that there were 90 such kingdoms, and somewhere else that there were about 150 kingdoms. Of course those kingdoms did not have extensive bureaucracies and strong control over their people and territory like modern states do. And they were not totally independent states since many or all the kingdoms owed some degree of allegiance to the over kings, and the over kings in turn owed some degree of allegiance to the kings of the provinces, who in turn owed some degree of allegiance to the High King of all Ireland. But still in 1018 in tiny Ireland alone the number of almost totally independent states was a significant percentage of the modern number of independent states in the entire world.

    In 1018 the Kingdom of Norway included most of modern Norway. King Harold the Fair Haired had conquered about 29 kingdoms to become the first king of Norway over a century earlier. In 1018 many small tribal states in Eastern Europe had been, or were still being, consolidated into larger states like Bohemia, Hungary, Poland, and Russia.

    In Spain, the Caliphate of Cordoba was weakening and was divided into independent states called Taifas in 1031. At the peak of Taifa numbers about 1035 there were over thirty. The Christian states in Spain included the Kingdoms of Galicia, Leon, Castile, Navarre, and Aragon, and the County of Bareclona, which often united and divided in various combinations.

    So a thousand years ago an observer might have counted as many states in Europe alone as in the world today in 2018.

    Thousands of years ago the number of states, kingdoms, city states, tribes, etc., in the world was probably in the thousands.