30 May 2008
The Prime Directive? ~ "First Contact" in Jungle
One of the more confusingly inconsistent elements of the fictional Star Trek TV universe is the role of the Prime Directive, the principle of non-interference in the internal workings of other civilizations, which, in the TV show, meant pre-Warp Drive extraterrestrial species. Of course Captain Kirk violated the Prime Directive every time it suited him, certainly whenever he encountered galactically-hot alien babes!-) But there is a serious philosophical core to the principle, a deep respect for the sanctity of social and individual rights. And I wonder how it applies to us "modern" humans as we increasingly encroach upon and engage with the last remaining Uncontacted Tribes such as these remote and isolated Brazilian tribesmen... In this particular case, both the Brazilian government and the NGO Survival International are advocating and working towards protecting the territory and autonomy of these people. But for most of human history, alas, the weaker and more "ignorant" group has gotten either decimated or assimilated or worse.