The holo springs to life with a familiar hexagonal lotus icon. A stirring theme plays on woodwinds and strings. An EV droid is seen in the chapel with the lights of hyperspace outside the windows.
EV Droid: “Greetings, viewers, and welcome back to the Merchantates holostream! Today, we’re in for a special treat as we sit down with the protagonists of the recently aired play “Merchantates Herd Meets Crisis in Morobe.” Now, before we dive into the discussion, rest assured, there was no actual danger during the play. The crew of the Merchantates orchestrated this thought-provoking drama as an exploration of moral philosophy. So, let’s engage in a heart-to-heart with our cast members: Slag Laka, Ithorian Jungle Priest; Rannek Sarden, Jedi Chaplain; and Morto Anemis, Priest of Jou!”
Slag Laka, Rannek Sarden, and Morto Anemis all wave and greet the audience warmly.
EV Droid: “To kick us off, could you briefly share the trolley problem scenario and how your respective philosophical stances tackled it? Morto, shall we start with you this time?”
Morto Anemis: (leaning forward) “Certainly. The trolley problem is a classic philosophical thought-experiment involving ethical delimmas. In our play, the asteroid played the role of the trolley, and left to itself would result in many deaths as it collides with the station. By intervening, we could divert our “trolley” to instead hit a disabled shuttle, killing only one person.
“In the play, I championed the branch of moral philosophy called “Utilitarianism,” which is the belief that maximizing overall happiness (or minimizing overall suffering) is paramount. In this context, I believed saving more lives by diverting the trolley was the ethically right choice. Utilitarianism drives me to consider the broader impact of my choices. It urges me to assess the consequences, to weigh the greater good against individual interests. While it’s essential to maximize overall happiness, it can also lead to ethical complexities where sacrifices are necessary.”
“Of course, it’s not the only valid system for making ethical decisions. While I think many viewers agreed with my stance in the Morobe Crisis, there’s another variation of the trolley problem that’s much harder for utilitarianism. This this version, a doctor has five patients who will all die if they do not receive organ transplants today, but no organs are available. His wife happens to have healthy organs that (by some miracle) would all be perfect matches for these patients. Should he kill his wife, harvest her organs, and save five people? Or should he let them die and his wife live? Most people would agree he should not kill his wife, but a strict utilitarian viewpoint might say otherwise. (Not that I hold such a view, of course!)”
EV Droid: “Excellent. Rannek, let’s hear your Jedi stance.”
Rannek Sarden: (thoughtfully) “My stance is summed up by that old saying ‘A being’s got to have a code.’ I played the role that represented the second major branch of moral philosophy: Deontology. This path is about adhering to principles and moral duties. In the play, I upheld my personal code by not intentionally causing harm, even if that meant a seemingly unfavorable outcome. Of course, a deontologist could live by any code, not just The Jedi Code, as long as it gives direction for his actions. Deontology guides me in upholding my duty as a Jedi, regardless of circumstances.”
EV Droid: “Thank you, Rannek. Slag, could you delve into your viewpoint?”
Slag Laka: “Of course. I represented the third major branch of moral philosophy called Virtue Ethics. This branch looks not at the consequences of our actions, but rather it emphasizes cultivating virtues such as compassion, integrity, justice, and wisdom. My character focused on the motivations behind the action, as virtues guide us in making morally sound decisions. It’s about embodying values in our choices. Virtue ethics encourages holistic decision-making, rooted in character development. It’s not just about following a set of rules but embodying virtues in our daily lives. The challenge lies in navigating situations by drawing from the well of virtues we cultivate. As you saw in the play, my branch didn’t provide an answer to what should be done – rather it served to question and critique the motivations of the other two. So I was less concerned with what they do as I was why they do it.”
EV Droid: “Exceptional perspectives! Slag, why did you all put on this play? It seems like a risky move to broadcast a theatrical event on a news channel.”
Slag Laka: (enthusiastically) “The Legacy of Ithor sponsored this play in an effort to help foster better communication in our galaxy. Too often we see people talking past each other without understanding each others’ perspectives. If we ever hope to see peace in our galaxy, it will have to involve understanding. A play like this highlights the great differences between cultures that adhere to one set of decision-making principals vs another — and this is just one example of a foundation-level cultural differences! Being able to understand your own paradigms, and then those of others, is crucial for building trust, cooperation, and peace. The great variety of reactions we received to the first broadcast was a sign of growth in that understanding, I think.”
EV Droid: “Now, as we near the end, let’s shift gears slightly. Morto, tell us what’s next for The Merchantates?”
Morto Anemis: “Our next stop is the Nimban Swap Meet. The races are always a highlight of that event, alongside many wonderful deals. I look forward to meeting some of our viewers in person. I also hear that the folks at The Canopy Café here on the Merchantates have a special musical production starring Daylana Atriedes that will be premiering.”
EV Droid: “As we conclude, is there anyone you’d like to extend gratitude to for this thought-provoking endeavor?”
Rannek Sarden: (gratefully) “I’d like to express our appreciation to the Morobe Government, One Nation Under Jou, and the Church of Jou for their support and sponsorship of this dramatic exploration. It’s through collaborations like these that we can engage in meaningful discussions about ethics. And of course our Ithorian brothers at TLI for making this whole this possible.”
EV Droid: “Wonderful! Before we wrap up, a jovial surprise awaits. The esteemed Captain Shiv Monite of the Merchantates has joined us! Captain Monite, any thoughts to share?”
Captain Shiv Monite: (poking his head into the frame) “Ha! New rule: No theatre in cockpit. Moral mumbo-jumbo left big mess with cameras! Scram!”
EV Droid: (forced chuckling) “Always a pleasure, Captain Monite! And there you have it, folks! An enlightening conversation with our ethical explorers and a delightful visit from the ever-enthusiastic Captain Monite. As you navigate your own moral journeys, remember the wisdom and diverse perspectives these characters offer. Until next time, this is your EV Droid, signing off from The Merchantates. See you in Nimban! And don’t forget to visit the Merchantates‘ proud sponsors:”
- Alliance of Mercinary Consortiums
- Crimson Dawn & Glom Tho Mechanicals
- Dorinian Military Corps
- Sarlacc Integrated Design