In looking for something to post today, I came across a video of philosopher (among many other things) Denis Dutton speaking at a TED conference last year. The subject was beauty and how our ability to discerne it evolved along with us.
That got me to thinking about Planet X and its inhabitants. We’ve only had Ellie scratch the surface as to what Jeff and Muffin might appreciate. Jeff seems to value food at least, and apparently so do his “people” the Quadrapodes, as they’ve seen fit to incorporate their love of the culinary into their version of the constellations (though we can assume Muffin’s culture recognizes the same star patterns). Muffin, so far as we can tell, values being a hermit, but how this manifests itself in the Marf culture is yet to be seen. The only other items pertaining to their respective cultures that we’ve glimpsed are their houses and clothing, but these singular items tell us little of their cultures as a whole.
The one thing that popular sci-fi like Star Trek and Star Wars have led us Earthlings to believe is that aliens are a lot like us (except for wrinkled rubber appliances glued to their foreheads). I’d hope that despite a somewhat familiar, even cuddly appearance, we will expect the unexpected when it comes to our Planet X friends and their way of life. Who knew that Jeff tasted with his skin, and what effect does that have on his worldview? How might that manifest itself in Planet X popular culture if there is one? As Grand Admiral Thrawn pointed out (semi-obscure Star Wars reference there) that to understand a culture’s art is to understand that culture.
Here’s that video of Denis Dutton. It’s only 15 minutes long, so give it a watch. I like the whiteboard animation that makes an already interesting talk even more accessable. I think I’ve seen him before, but this is the first I took the time to actually find out more about him. Unfortunately he died last year, but at least he left us some interesting ideas to ponder.