After Dinner Conversation - Philosophy | Ethics Short Story
Philosophy | Ethics Short Story Discussions
E38. "In Their Image" - What happens when a Teddy can't find its purpose?

E38. "In Their Image" - What happens when a Teddy can't find its purpose?

Named “Top 20 Philosophy Podcast” for 2021!

STORY SUMMARY: A preacher arrives on an off-world planet inhabited by 7 foot tall, multi-colored, bears, aka “Teddies.” Her mission is to run her church and, if possible, convert the local Teddies to Christianity. Over time she makes no progress and her church is at risk of being shut down by those funding it. She heads to the local Teddy church and learns that, according to their faith, God can only return when everyone alive is fulfilling their “Purpose” and, if you cannot find your purpose, you should volunteer to die so that you can re-enter the wheel of life and try again. Appalled by this doctrine, the preacher turns her focus to feeding the hungry. This is a violation of the culture as the Teddies believe that those that starve do so because it as their purpose to starve.

DISCUSSION: Really fascinating story and world building, and a wonderful springboard for a discussion about free will and choice. Is “Purpose” just another version of a Zen discussion about “the way?” Can your purpose change? Do people really have a single purpose? And yet, teachers, and others, refer to their careers as a “calling.” The wealthy have also, historically, told those without that they are hungry because it is God’s will. Is this a caste system, of sorts at work?

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