Trope-a-Day: The Xenophile

The Xenophile: Well, as established in the previous post, there’s a lot of xenophilia going on, nudge-nudge-wink-wink, but as that implies, there’s also a lot of regular old xenophilia in the sense of this trope going on too, certainly by human standards.

After all, that whole tribalism/xenophobia instinct was one of the many things that got edited out of the eldrae cognome over the years as a badthink cognitive bias, so being perfectly comfortable around and interested in exotic species is only natural.

X-anity

2016_X(Alternate words: none. Also, for the avoidance of doubt, I’m assuming you submitted it in the spirit of my single usage of it in this trope-a-day back in 2014, rather than as the more-commonly-seen abbreviation of “Christianity”, because it’s not like there is any of the latter *there* to write about.)

“What is X-anity, you ask?

“(Apart, that is, from a rather ugly portmanteau in Eldraeic that I strongly suspect will not be improved by translation into any of the other languages of the Accord.)

“It’s a general term referring to a different quality for each species: kar mkaeth for the kaeth, lishólen for the ciseflish, ësseldrae for my own species, except that we use that term to refer to an ideal, not a current state, and so forth. As for what those mean, well, it’s six things, and therefore none at all.

“First, and most usefully, in biological terms, it would mean the psychological characteristics that members of that species have in common. So for us that would be things like mélith as a sense and instinct, or for the kaeth, trasered vandthel, or for the dar-e’sevdra, estrus, or for the tennoa, utilitarianism, and so forth. That each species has its own unique essence in this way is undeniable; promoting these unique points of view is much of the motivation behind uplift, for example.

“That being said, most academicians and professionals who might need to reference it go out of their way to find some other term, because secondly, it’s an example of the applied naturalistic fallacy, in which people declare such psychological characteristics terminal rather than instrumental values and insist that they cannot possibly be modified lest they change the X-ane experience and thus destroy X-anity from within. Something that has been invoked to justify the retention of everything from hyperbolic discounting through envy and xenophobia to morbidity and mortality –

(Many loud interruptions from audience.)

“The bioconservatives are out in force tonight, I see.

“Thirdly, in an extension to the first definition, people have used it to define a larger number of common characteristics, which are typically cultural norms – meaning modal averages – for a given species, by reference claiming them as innate to some degree or another. Apart from the inaccuracy of this – any functioning sophont brain is necessarily remarkably plastic, as manifested by the high levels of cultural interchange in polyspecific societies –

(Heckler makes reference to interspecies mating.)

“That wasn’t actually the kind of ‘cultural interchange’ I had in mind, but it does make a good example. As it happens, the Empire does have a high xenophilia rate, as do most polyspecific societies, although I am rather pleased to be able to say that ours is one of the highest. Which is exactly what you would expect, since the way that instincts manifest is shaped by cultural imprinting in all sophonts and even many prosophonts, including what and who they find attractive.

“And biological cultural determinism, therefore, is so much arrant balderdash, despite which evidence, fourthly, this definition is so often misused by authoritarian culture-groups, either as a means to deny another culture-group membership in X-anity, at which point they no longer merit consideration as fellow sophonts, or to equate their culture or their preferences with the optimally X-ane, and use X-anity as a hammer to enforce cultural conformity.

“These multiple definitions, in any case, render X-anity as a concept both controversial,. fifthly, in any context in which it might be even slightly ambiguous, and sixthly, therefore useless in any serious debate.”

– Academician Vallis Archíël, sophontologist,
student’s transcript from a guest speaker session, Academy of Loryet

 

Trope-a-Day: Mental Affair

Mental Affair: Fairly common, or at least the “virtual reality” kind is; species generally don’t come equipped with the necessary hardware to do this sort of thing naturally.  Popular for a variety of reasons, including obviating distance, permitting all kinds of things from, well, extra stamina to Power Perversion Potential that the material world has, ah, trouble with, and – for those having sex outside their species – making Boldly Coming work for couples who don’t share the same atmospheric composition, pressure, and temperature requirements, or have other similarly extreme physical incompatibilities.

Trope-a-Day: Half Human Hybrid

Half Human Hybrid: Even generalizing this to allow for the lack of humans in the known part of this universe, and even taking into account the amount of xenosexuality going on (refer back to Boldly Coming and  Interspecies Romance) – no.  Just no.  There are absolutely no half-anything anythings wandering around, because these aren’t just different species, they are the fruit of entirely different evolutionary trees.  Ain’t going to happen.

If a mixed-species couple really wanted to have children this way, yes, in theory, they could spend millions of currency-units on paying for the design of an entirely new neogenic species incorporating features of both of theirs – but, of course, the child would then be a unique member of a completely new species.  Unsurprisingly, this is not exactly a popular option.  Instead, most of them just have (through technological assistance) children of one or both of their own species, with the option of engineering in some parallels of the traits of the non-matching parent, contributing genes through memes, as it were.

Trope-a-Day: Interspecies Romance

Interspecies Romance: See under Boldly Coming, essentially, with a little more long-term in the relationship and somewhat more effort to put into appreciating or overcoming, as necessary, one’s differences.  But since I am of the opinion that, inasmuch as they all occupy the same universe with the same concrete and abstract parameters, and therefore there are certain limits on the phase-space of likely minds, and therefore emotional compatibility between species is actually rather more likely to occur than physical compatibility, well, yes.

Trope-a-Day: Boldly Coming

Boldly Coming: For much the same reasons as are covered under Bi the Way and Everyone Is Bi, there is actually quite a bit of this around.  Species becoming something close to one of those optional attributes helps too, in extreme cases, as do virtual sex and the ability to remap sensoria appropriately.

But, essentially, given the general attitudes that “minds matter, bodies much less so” and “speciesism is something that, well, only the most insanely backward primitives indulge in”, well, yes, of course you’re going to get a fair old bit of xenosexuality.  Even if you have to pay a lot more attention to the logistics and medical issues than Captain Kirk ever did.