Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Psychological Differences

"It hurt [the kzinti] less, losing friends, provided the friends died bravely; and few of them had mastered the art of putting oneself in the head of an enemy." (The Man-Kzin Wars, p. 172)

These are two differences between human and kzinti psychology. The belief that a brave death is a good death is common, in Anderson's works, to Vikings and Ythrians and, in ERB's works, to green and red Martians.

"Kine die, kinfolk die.
"This I know that does not die:
"How dead men's deeds are deemed."

The inability to understand an enemy's viewpoint is a definite failing on the part of the kzinti. I remember a trade union branch secretary telling me that we had to see an issue from management's point of view. Did they think that the work force would resist if I was dismissed? As we saw when discussing Poul Anderson's Technic History, Terran Intelligence had to assess the real intentions of the Merseians, not engage in wishful thinking about their High Command including pacifists!

For other fictional examples of human superiority, see here.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

The problem, of course, was that the Imperial Naval Intelligence Corps had to advise leaders at the top levels of the Terran Empire some of whom were resistant to being realistic about the Merseians. Lord Markus Hauksberg was by no means the only politician in the Empire who doggedly insisted there HAD to be some Merseian pacifists!