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Blurred Lines

Rick: I don’t know about this human dilemma theory of yours. Yes, people say things they don’t really mean, but there’s no real harm in that.

Aldi: Unless those things are believed.

Rick: What do you mean?

Aldi: Human society encourages participation in certain behaviors and then punishes for doing them.

Rick: Example?

Aldi: Hard work, self-esteem, drinking alcohol, sexual activity, making money. These are promoted on the television as good things. People are admired for their dedication to their careers. Children are told they are the best and most beautiful. Drinks with friends is fun and makes one the life of the party. Women are worshipped for their sexual appeal and men are revered for their sexual prowess. Making a lot of money gives a person power and privilege. These are good things in this world, yes?

Rick: You could say that.

Aldi: However, the person who works too many hours is criticized as a workaholic. The person who tells others he is the best or she is the most beautiful is called arrogant and conceited. The person who drinks too much is called a drunk and has a problem. A woman who offers her body freely is called loose and an overly sexual man is called a pervert. And a person who makes too much money is made to feel guilty.

Rick: All of those are extremes. Most good things can be bad when you indulge in them too much. That’s why we need to practice moderation.

Aldi: Yes, indeed. But it comes into my mind that the line between admirable and despicable is blurred. How many hours of work is too many? Who decides when someone has a drinking problem? Who determines how much is enough money?

Rick: I don’t know. It’s not the same for everyone.

Aldi: There, you see? It’s very confusing. But the bigger problem is how readily humans pounce on their own kind when they decide the line has been crossed. This sounds like what happened on my world. When the hori came, they introduced unknown things and called them good. But then they accused our people of evil and used those same things to enslave and divide.

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