How much of our culture is shaped by gravity?
I’ve discussed this before in some manner. Perhaps not here, but it has been on my mind. Our taboos and cultural ticks are all so tightly bound to arguably silly things. When considering what it means to be nude, for instance, versus being dressed. By stopping light from refracting less than an inch further than it otherwise would have you’ve turned a problem into not a problem. Ultimately that’s all seeing someone else is. Light bounces off of them and into your eyes. How peculiar thing to claim ownership of those photons. Really the ones that you possess are the ones that you didn’t reflect. What the other person is seeing is not so much you as what isn’t you. Not that I don’t “get it” I feel it too. When people look at you it feels very personal. Millions of years of evolution have made sure that we would rarely be comfortable beneath the gaze of anything that could be a threat.
This same tenuous connection holds true with gravity. How weird is it that we have the notion of a cross. A holy figurine. That if inverted suddenly becomes unholy. It seems like a natural progression. Rightside up, fine, upside down, bad. This only works when gravitation is present. In large doses at that. Because what is rightside up when you are floating in space? Does the state of the cross then only matter in relation to your orientation? Could it be both simultaneously upside down for a friend and rightside up for you? Are they being cursed while you are being blessed? As I mentioned in the Lucius write up, how would a vampire know whether or not to be burned?
Do God’s powers only work on Earth? Are holy energies also captured by gravity? Or is it just that our superstitions quickly break down when you apply them to reality at large? I imagined something similar to the notion of having your nation’s flag “Right side up”. This really only works on a planet or perhaps in a ship with enough gravity. Really it only works somewhere when you’ve got a fixed focus point for a reasonable number of observers.
Would any space faring culture consider the bottom of a foot to be vulgar? Its safe to say that likely any culture far enough along to travel through space would probably not be holding onto peculiar notions of modesty. But if we assume that these kind of things will travel on with them, what would stay and what would go? What would be the equivalent afront? How difficult would it be to even manage insults without gravity to set up some kind of central binding theme?
I wonder how many of our most closely guarded feelings and beliefs will fall apart when applied to interstellar travel? I feel like, if nothing else, it’ll usher in a whole new collection of tropes and beliefs. Or maybe relativity really will just end up applied. Better hope you are pointing the right direction in regards to your observer.