Thursday Night Bar Fight #14: For I am your Tod, and you shall have no other Tods before me
Good news, everyone! Scientists have discovered an unstable wormhole through time and space, located in Umatilla, Oregon. Objects cannot pass through the wormhole, but it is possible to observe and send messages to the other side. It is widely considered to be the greatest discovery of all time, as well as (trust me on this) the only interesting thing that has happened in Umatilla, ever.
The other end of the wormhole opens up on another planet, remarkably similar to Earth in almost every way. Geography, atmosphere, fauna and flora are all almost identical to our own planet prior to human civilization. In fact, there is even a species of tribal hominid that, at least from our vantage point, appears to be as close a duplicate to Homo sapiens as one might imagine. Anthropologists and linguists have established contacts with what might best be describes as “leaders” of the different tribes.
These hominids are hunters and gatherers, and are quite similar to how we human might have been five thousand years ago. However, there are two major differences between the wormhole hominids and our ancestors. The first difference is that even though they have a developed and relatively sophisticated language, they have no laws or religion. The second is that the wormhole hominids are far more war-like than we ever were. In fact, the anthropologists that have been studying them postulate that it is their constant inter-tribe fighting that has kept them from building a stable rudimentary civilization. If the hominids continue their current path of lawlessness, there is no question they will be extinct within the next few decades. The world’s collective leaders have decided to intervene in the hopes of saving the species, but we must act quickly because last night the wormhole began to collapse. Before it does, we will send them a list of laws – commandments, if you will – on which to build a fledgling civilization.
That’s right, dear readers: it’s time for you to play God.
And therein lies this Thursday Night Bar Fight quandary:
What will your commandments to this group of primitives be?
Be sure to think carefully about all the possible intended and unintended consequences of your commandments being followed. For example, disposing of all weapons might solve some problems, but might it also create others when faced with food supply and defense against other tribes who do not subscribe to your words? Feel free to copy others’ ideas and collaborate with fellow commenters to come up with the best list. (Provided that you, ya know, collaborate in a bar-fighty kind of way.)
Keep in mind that, as always, there are some additional rules and stipulations:
- For complicated reasons that have to do with quantum and stuff, each commandment must contain no more than eight words. Any commandment with nine or more words will be lost in the wormhole for all time.
- For other complicated reasons that have to do with quantum and stuff, there must be at least five commandments, but there can be no more than ten.
- These commandments may be religious in nature, or entirely secular, or a combination of the two.
- The wormhole hominids can easily understand anything we communicate at an average fifth-grade reading level. However, the more advanced you get in your word choice after that, the more likely the chance of mistranslation and unintended consequences due to the limited comprehension skills of the hominid leaders. (Thanks a lot, hominid versions of Obama!)
- Cultural, political, and technological references will have no meaning, and commandments that use them will likely be disregarded. So, for example, a commandment regarding the free use of weapons would likely be understood, but a commandment about the free use of the press would certainly not.
And it probably goes without saying, but all of these commandments are off limits in this bar fight.