Speaker for the Dead

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Prime Directive Response

When dealing with foreign sentient species, it is crucial to maintain what is know as a prime directive. This is the notion that a species may explore distant planets, but must take certain precautions when dealing with other sentient species to prevent any change in their progression. In the novel Speaker for the Dead, the citizens of Lusitania go to great lengths to preserve their prime directive, but the indigenous species appear to benefit from their encounters with these humans, and begin to realize it themselves. The natives of the planet Lusitania, known to the humans as “piggies”, have learned much from the humans in the brief time that they have lived together. The human languages, Stark and Portuguese, were necessary in order to be able to communicate with the piggies, but the piggies seem to be using it for more than just communication. Pages 142-143 show that the piggies can transition between Stark and portuguese as a sort of language game that they play with the humans. The piggies already know four different languages, and the addition of two more can help their society express themselves in more ways. Besides language, the mere fact of making contact with another sentient species shows the natives that they are not alone in the universe and that they may not be the strongest or the smartest. If they realize this, it may help them to unite as a planet-wide species faster than they normally would have without outside contact. By seeing that the humans are more technologically advanced, the piggies may also focus more on striving to create new technologies themselves. History has shown us that most inventions happen because they are necessary, and the addition of humans on Lusitania may increase the necessity of technological progression. At this point, the piggies are far from being capable of first contact and therefore cannot be contaminated by human society due to the Prime Directive. Their culture seems backwards to...
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