Lesson 086: Guilty of self-righteous indignation
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 4/22 ('Half a Life')


An alien scientist is working with the crew of the Enterprise to resuscitate the sun in his planetary system.

He expresses his dismay that he will be unable to see the fruits of his research and efforts as he must kill himself very shortly upon reaching age 60, per the parricide custom and tradition of his culture.

For centuries, this form of parricide has been the solution for population control and elderly care on his planet.


As totally horrific and unacceptable as suicide-as-a-solution for elderly care may sound to us humans, let's not be too self-righteous in our indignation of the culture and tradition of the alien race.

We humans have been just as guilty of such despicable acts in the name of tradition and culture on our planet also.

The owning of fellow humans as slaves, the inequality of justice for people outside the ruling faith or political belief, the forbiddance of women to vote, the condemnation of divorce by religious orders, the burning to death of women marked as witches, genocide declared acceptable as cleansing, are just a few examples of how far low we humans can sink in our morality by accepting and approving these horrendous acts in the name of tradition and customs of our human culture.

True, in time we eventually do rise above our own depravity and finally outlaw such behavior. However, if we can only see in hindsight the crimes we have committed against humanity, then what of the violations we are committing today in the name of acceptable tradition and custom?

How long will we have to wait and how many lives will have to pay the cost, before we realize the error of our current culturally acceptable misguided ways?

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