To say that questions of morality are thorny and filled with gray when they aren't being hammered between starkabsolutes is putting it mildly. Because of this there can be great drama when characters who represent a wide range of moral viewpoints come together or into conflict.
The strangest of these characters are those who espouse Blue And Orange Morality. These characters have a moral framework that is so utterly alien and foreign to human experience that we can't peg them as good or evil. They aren't a Chaotic NeutralUnfettered, though they may seem to act terrifyingly randomly; nor are they necessarily a Lawful NeutralFettered, because our and their understanding of 'law' as a concept may not even be equivalent. There might be a logic behind their actions, it's just that they operate with entirely different sets of values and premises with which to draw their conclusions. It's also worth noting that such cultures are just as likely to be something we'd find appalling, as they are to be something we'd find benign and/or weird. They may also find us appalling, benign, or weird even if we don't see them that way.
Just to repeat: that doesn't make them bad, although they are often likely to commit acts we would see as horrific; in that case, they're likely to follow these with completely benign behavior, and not act as if anything was the matter. Because in their world/mind, that's just what they do. This trope is one of the trickier to pull off well, because Most Writers Are Human, and it's often hard to portray alien without simplifying it to Evil-by-another-name.
This is similar to Values Dissonance, but the main difference is that societies with Values Dissonance can, at least on a basic level, generally measure one another by the same concepts of Good and Evil, or even Order and Chaos. With Blue And Orange Morality, the values are so foreign, that such concepts can no longer be applied. They may not even know what these things are, or even if they do, will often find them confusing. The concepts are not necessarily beyond their grasp, mind you, but are just not something which they'd place any importance on.
Conversely, they may have these concepts, but apply them in vastly different ways. Such as regarding motionlessness as the epitome of evil, or viewing exploration as an element of chaos.
Note that cases involving solely a misapprehension of facts and consequences do not count here no matter how alien the reasons; if, for example, a race of aliens thinks killing is okay because its own members respawn within a day with no harm done, and mistake humans as working the same way, that doesn't mean they wouldn't balk at killing if they realized the degree of harm it causes to other creatures. In this case, they may be working by comprehensible moral standards and just gravely mistaken about the implications of their actions.
Likely candidates for Blue and Orange Morality include the Fair Folk, who follow rules of their own making; Eldritch Abominations that are beyond comprehension; the more exotic Starfish Aliens; AIs and robots, especially when super smart and incapable of emotion. An individual human (or single members of any species whose majority is using the greyscalemorality) who operates on this is The Übermensch of Nietzschean philosophy (a human being who has developed their own Blue/Orange set of morals). A Nominal Hero may have this motivation as well. Moral Sociopathy overlaps strongly with this trope for obvious reasons, though this is not always the case.
Compare Xenofiction, Humans Are Cthulhu, Humanity Is Infectious (all often involving this), Non-Malicious Monster (sometimes requires this), Above Good and Evil, Affably Evil / Faux Affably Evil (they sometimes can come across as this), Even Evil Has Standards (when handled poorly or bizarrely), and Evil Cannot Comprehend Good (less elaborate forms that resemble this in practice). When two sides go to war and nothing will stop them except total annihilation, that's Guilt-Free Extermination War.
Has nothing to do with the following: Bucknell University, The University of Illinois, The University of Virginia, The University of Florida, Auburn University, Syracuse University, Hope College, Gettysburg College, Boise State University or the flag of Ukraine (the colors of all of which are blue and orange, albeit different shades in each case). Nor the Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears, New York Knicks, New York Mets, or Mango Sentinels. Or the City of New York, for that matter. Furthermore, do not confuse with Blue And Orange Movies. Also has nothing to do with the Karma Meter in Mass Effect nor the Aperture Science Hand Held Portal Device or even the light scheme in TRON and its universe.
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Anime & Manga
Dragon Ball Z: Battle Of Gods: Beers, the Big Bad of the film, overlaps this with Jerkass Gods. He's the God of Destruction, it's his job to destroy worlds so it makes sense he doesn't see anything morally wrong with his actions. It's actually established that old planets have to be destroyed so new planets can be born; the problem with Beers is that he acts independently of the Supreme Kais (even worse now that there's only two of them left), chooses what planets that he will destroy at his leisure, and he can and will destroy even important planets without a second thought if he's irritated enough.
In Dragon Ball Z period, the Saiyans. It's in their blood to love fighting and combat, and that love for fighting sometimes come off as a negative to humans, gods, and even other aliens (as well as the show's fanbase). They are often regarded with unease when they show such excitement for battle, with one of Goku's friends even calling him a monster for being so excited about a fight when the entire planet hangs on the brink of destruction . Also, their love of fighting often causes them to make dicisions that many think of as bad, or even stupid (such when Vegeta allows Cell to become complete and when Goku abandons his family to train someone to become more powerful so he can fight them). Further evidence of this is in the newest movie Dragon Ball Z: Battle Of Gods when Goku's moraility is questioned because of his love of fighting.
Minerva-X from Mazinger Z is a sentient Humongous Mecha specifically created to be Mazinger-Z's Battle Couple. Despite -or maybe because- she was created by humans, several of her personality traits -mainly her conception of what love is- are completely bizarre. Because she was created to be Mazinger's partner in battle, she is in love with Mazinger in spite of she knows it is a machine and it is not sentient. She also treats the pilot of a Humongous Mecha like if it was another part of the mecha (presumably, the brain). This is expanded on Shin Mazinger Zero, where she (transformed into a Robot Girl) teases Sayaka because she saw Aphrodite (Sayaka's Fem Bot) fighting alongside Mazinger and got jealous, got... all bothered when she was inside Mazinger's cockpit, and she told she loved Kouji... but she loved even more Kouji piloting the Hover Pilder, and she loved above all Kouji on the Pilder piloting Mazinger. Usually Kouji and Sayaka only shake their heads and accept her like she is.
The eponymous Mononoke, from the show of the same name, are repeatedly stated to think completely differently from people. Depending on the incident that created them, their thought process can be very, very warped.
Guu of Haré+Guu, essentially a Trickster Archetype. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to her actions: she's just as likely to torment Haré as rescue him from mortal danger by summoning godlike powers, all the while seeming casual and uncaring. Her inscrutable agenda makes it pretty much impossible to pinpoint her Character Alignment.
She loves to act like she's giving Haré an Aesop, but always subverts it completely in the end.
Claire Stanfield from Baccano!. He obviously HAS a moral code that he acts by, it's just so unusual that many of the people who encounter him end up with no idea whether he's actually a good person or a really horrible one. (his solipsist worldview may have something to do with it).
Ronnie Schiatto is just as likely to incite a massacre as he is to follow a man for two-hundred years just to give him some company. The only answer he's ever given for his motivations is that he's very old, very powerful, and very bored.
Similarly, Huey Laforet. The only value that he places on human life is determined by how much scientific knowledge they provide.
Ladd Russo, believe it or not, does have a code of ethics. It can best be described as thus: Life is fleeting, and people are liable to die at any moment. People who don't understand this need to be taught through direct experience - aka dying.
Elmer C. Albatross' moral axis doesn't take into account things like "good" or "evil". All he cares about is happiness. Seeing other people happy makes him happy, though he doesn't actually care about the people. This makes him a bonafide sociopath with a mindset so alien and disturbing that it terrifies the Big Bad.
The second chapter of World Trigger has Kuga, a young boy from another dimension, walking around Japan doing things like offering his classmate a large wad of cash when he offers to take him out for dinner, breaking a mugger's leg, then simply knocking out another group of muggers when he's told by his Ordinary High-School Student friend that what he'd done was excessive, and offering compensation to a woman who'd crashed her car into him. He healed himself almost instantaneously, so it was likely for the car damages.
Ryoko Asakura (an "integrated data entity" disguised as a human) in Haruhi Suzumiya. She honestly can't grasp why murder is wrong as long as it achieves an objective.
Similarly, Kuyo Suoh. She (and the entity behind her) is simply so alien in personality that she makes Nagato and Ryoko look like normal human beings... to the point that when Kuyo makes her own attempt on Kyon's life, it's Ryoko who saves him.
The Pillar Men in Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure have little to no regard for human life, other than the occasional human warrior who knows how to use the Ripple (which is their greatest weakness), but their leader, Cars, will go out of his way to not land on a patch of flowers, or kill some teenagers so they don't run over a puppy.
Vampires in Hellsing (more the anime than the manga) are alluded to having their own set rules and motivations, this is what made the Freaks so dangerous since they were artificial vampires and thus had vampire powers but human desires and instincts. Vampires such as Incognito and Alucard seem to have taken human masters in part for this reason.
The more intelligent mushi of Mushishi behave this way. The mushi's form of life is so alien from our own that 'good' and 'bad' may mean completely different things to us and them. For example, in the very first episode the mushi lure a young girl out to the forest for a feast, during which they tell her that they want her to watch over her future grandson. Ginko himself makes no comment as to whether he thinks she and her grandson will be better off with the botched mushification completed or not; he merely presents each of them with the option of completing it and lets them decide for themselves.
This plays a large role in Heroic Age, in which the "Iron Race" (humanity) doesn't understand the values of the "Silver Race" that is warring against them, especially considering that they are Straw Vulcans who reject/transfer emotions to a few chosen individuals. The lack of understanding that the SR have no emotional attachments (to home planets) while humanity does, causes the SR to wonder why the humans would try to take back their home planet and then try to conquer the homes of the "Bronze Race" and SR, and causes the human military to attack what they assumed was a well defended BR home world when it was a weakly defended mass nursery, and attack the SR homeworld which was mostly abandoned, opening themselves up for an ambush.
Black Hanekawa chides Koyomi from Bakemonogatari for thinking he can befriend or empathize with so-called "oddities" such as itself. Koyomi frequently repeats that oddities should not be hated for what they do because they're only doing what is natural for them.
Death Note: The Shinigami. Their entire existence revolves around killing human beings, and they need to do it to survive. Their greatest sin is to kill someone to preserve the life of another, which is apparently too close to playing God. Ryuk dropping the Death Note onto Earth out of boredom seems pretty cruel, since it turns Light Yagami and others into callous killers, but to him, killing people with a Death Note is just a part of nature.
Kyubey of Puella Magi Madoka Magica is stated to be unable to understand human morality, being utterly confused as to why the girls would be horrified by the idea that a contract with him is essentially lichification. He later states that the species that he belongs to is incapable of emotion of any sort. In terms of actions, he also sees nothing wrong with manipulating generations of girls into situations that inevitably lead to their becoming murderous Eldritch Abominations, since the system prolongs the life of the universe by reversing entropy. He also doesn't understand why humans consider omitting important information as a form of duplicity.
Although it should be noted that he is quite clearly aware of what humans think of his actions, hence his duplicity. He just doesn't get why we think that way.
GonFreecs has distinct shades of this. He isn't The Unfettered, because he is guided by a strong sense of right and wrong, but as the counterfeiter he hangs out with finally realizes, "He doesn't care about the good and the bad." Mostly it's enough to peg him as Chaotic Good, but that doesn't really do him justice. Neither the readers nor the other characters can really predict where his moral sense will take him, and he surprises the hell out of even his best friend (a child assassin) a lot. Notable events include:
A serial killer once trained him and Killua, and he cheerfully allowed the person to go free afterward even after it was pointed out that this would cause more young women to get eaten, because "he helped us."
After one of the Phantom Troupe is killed by Kurapika, Gon and Killua are captured by his best friend, who suspects them of involvement and rants, in tears, about how much it hurts to have lost his blowing-stuff-all-to-hell partner. And Gon responds with sudden fury, because he had assumed that the Troupe's members could do such horrible things because they didn't understand how much it hurt to lose people, which meant he couldn't hold it against them, but if they can and still do it they're so incomprehensibly evil he wants to end them.
The Chimera Ants enter this territory from time to time, as well. Though they're largely just evil.
Although most of the ants are evil and some are good, the king, Meryem, is a master of this trope. All the experiences he goes through continually shape his moral code which fluctuates wildly through the arc, turning him from what appears to be a Cell ripoff into one of the most deep and interesting villains in Shonen manga. And yet he always seems to have his code stuck somewhere in the Blue and Orange territory.
Togashi makes allusions to this in YuYu Hakusho, too, once the S-Class demons start to turn up. Previous, all the weird-thinking people like Sakyou and Sensui were insane or just evil.
Togashi loves this trope — the Prince in Level E is similarly inscrutable, and even his compatriots and relatives often fails to understand whether he's really this different, or just a Jerk AssTroll.
Mercurians in Gunnm are the descendants of the nanomachine plague left on the planet by a terrorist half a millennium ago. They've since developed into the civilization so utterly alien to the humanity's way of thinking that their ambassador (or at least the entity supposed to contact the Solar System at large) turned out to be a 20 meter tall killing machine with a phallic-shaped Wave Motion Gun in the right place. Fortunately there were places where such "Ambassadors" could be dealt with.
Gundam 00 has the Extraterrestrial Liquid-metal Shapeshifters (ELS) from The Movie. These are intelligent metal-based life forms that evolved on a gas giant. They communicate telepathically, or by combining their physical forms together to form a unified being. Naturally there is some amount of extreme confusion between the two species when they meet humanity. The mutual misunderstandings lead to a war between the two before a clear means of communication is found.
Yuuko from Xxx HO Li C could be considered to have a version on this, in which, to Yuuko's point of view, any wish or decision can be justified, as long as the the wisher or decision-maker is satisfied with the result, and the only rule in her wishes being Equivalent Exchange and that she won't kill, as it will 'weigh down' on the Universe.
He's already accomplished this feat with General Wolf, eliminating any colleague, friend or family member who knew Wolf, and he plans to break Tenma and turn him into a monster as well by forcinghim to take himself out in the perfect suicide.
While there are plenty of fans that would love to simply write him off as evil, Mayuri Kurotsuchi of Bleach appears to operate on this standard. Mayuri is the ultimate scientist of the series, lacking his Good Counterpart Urahara's morality and his Evil Counterpart Szayel or Aizen's god complex; all that matters to Mayuri are results, and as such he doesn't seem to see any sort of hypocrisy in torturing Quincies to death as a form of study and then healing the last remaining one years later to show his new medicine works perfectly. He abuses his daughter, but from his own perspective this is because he knows for a fact his creation can handle it and people protesting how he treats Nemu are questioning the quality of her design. Szayel raping and nearly killing Nemu to save himself from death doesn't appear to bother Mayuri very much (of course, he can just "fix" her later), but he expresses utter contempt for him once he hears Szayel proclaiming himself a perfect being; perfection would be the death of scientific innovation, after all, and no man of science should view that as desirable.
Kimblee in the Fullmetal Alchemist manga and second anime has an odd code which seems to consider holding true to your role or principles the most important thing, irrespective of their conventional morality. He criticizes soldiers for being reluctant to massacre defenseless people, but expresses admiration for the Rockbells for their determination to save lives (of the same people the soldiers were killing) as doctors. He sides with the homunculi because they give him freedom to practice his alchemy without restriction, but claims to be primarily interested in who'll win the conflict between them and humans. In the end he saves Ed from a Grand Theft Me by Pride because he's repulsed by Pride abandoning his claims of superiority as a homunculus to merge with a human to save himself.
Invoked by Cuuko in Haiyore! Nyarko-san. She claims that being a Alien / Great Old One means that human morality doesn't apply to her. Mahiro doesn't buy it, because she and any other Mythos entity he's met have shown all too human behavior.
The title character from Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro exemplifies this trope. His one and only concern is discovering and solving the mysteries he feeds upon. This, mixed with the fact that he is a demon, make for a very unique morality in which he likes and protects humans, not because it is the right thing to do, but because they provide his food and entertainment. That by no way means he can't have fun at the expense of humans, though.
A lot of the swordsmen in Vagabond follow their own personal codes of honor, and the story doesn't really present Musashi as "evil" because he kills people.
The Eldrazi are portrayed as beings of horrific beings of destruction. At the same time, they are not mindless, but rather operate on a completely different moral axis.
"Have you ever killed insects nibbling at your crops? I think that's what the Eldrazi believe they're doing to us." — Shrivel flavor text
The game has also been retoolingsome of the Too Dumb to Live of its goblins into Blue And Orange Morality about personal well-being.
Hell, the colors themselves: Every color (of five) has two enemies and two allies, leading to some inherent blue-and-orange-ness:
White is law and order. But Light Is Not Good, since white can also become oppressive. White's allies are green and blue; white's enemies are black and red.
Blue is interested in knowledge and rational thinking. But this doesn't mean it's necessarily good, since acquiring knowledge can lead to ethical issues; blue's allies are white and black, while its enemies are red and green.
Black turns inward, toward the self. Remember that Dark Is Not Evil, since it's still possible to do good while pursuing self-interest.
Red is the color of freedom, emotion, and destruction. Red sounds inherently blue and orange, since freedom is generally considered good while destruction is usually viewed as negative. And of course, emotions go all over the map.
Green is the power of nature and lives on instinct. Green is really the ultimate Blue/Orange color, since nature doesn't care at all about artificial moral codes but rather lives by the law of the jungle.
Color pairs usually emphasis what the two colors have in common. This goes well for allied pairs, since they're allied for a reason. When dealing with Enemy pairs, things can get a bit funky:
Green/Black is the cycle of life; putting emphasis on the death aspect of black as the end and the growth aspect of green as a new beginning. They don't view death as an end, merely a new beginning and embrace it with just as much fervor as green would for nature or black for greed.
Green/Blue is progress at any cost; it puts emphasis on green's ability to adapt with blue's innate intelligence and efficiency. It's summed up in it's patron guild's new keyword Evolve, as Green/Blue seeks to become greater at the fastest pace possible, even at the expense of morality.
Black/White brings out the worst in lawful evil; they're adherent to the law solely to further one's own standing. Slavery is common and while religion is worshipped, the only thing they truely believe in is the mighty dollar. Because of servitude, like the green/back, death is not an end. Unlike Green/black, this is not a good thing as you will serve out the remainder of your term in undeath.
Red/White is the color of Law and Zealotry. They will defend the law with religious fervor and are highly militarized. Their flaw lies in that they can often fall into Lawful Stupid and be blinded in their fury from the truth.
Red/Blue is the color of innovation. However, while they contain some of the weirdest and wildest mechanics, most of them come with hilarious drawbacks and often explode in the user's face. Possibly the defining color of Awesome, but Impractical, the entire color is filled with mad scientists of all flavours and runs on For Science!!.
Phyrexia seems to be getting retooled to this from their former role as more or less Omnicidal Maniacs. Though incredibly cruel and ruthless from a human perspective, Phyrexians earnestly believe that flesh-based life is deeply flawed at best, if not totally evil, so they're really doing people a favor by killing or converting them in horrifying ways. They're also growing factions along the color lines above:
White Phyrexia follows a scripture talking of the inadequacy of flesh.
Blue Phyrexia is constantly trying to improve themselves... by taking apart other beings to learn how their few good traits work.
Black Phyrexians fight among themselves, each of them trying to prove that they are the strongest and should get to run Phyrexia their way.
Red Phyrexia is finding itself filled with confusion, the ideals of personal freedom from red mana in conflict with the hive-like nature of Phyrexia.
Green Phyrexia seeks to change, grow, and approach perfection through an accelerated form of natural selection.
WOTC has put a "Personality Quiz" online that allows you to determine your 'color' - many of the answers to the multiple-choice questions are arguably blue-and-orange morality, and the results also show a bit of the same.
In the second Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Terminal storyline, Gishki Noelia was shown acting cruel and evil on some cards, but good and benign in others. The art of "Aquamirror Illusion" and "Aquamirror Cycle" suggests she forced Gishki Emilia to transform into "Evigishki Gustkraken" against her will, and she seems to have had orchestrated the alliance with the Evilswarms due to cards like "Trial and Tribulation" and "Creeping Darkness" which resulted in her being turned into Gishki Psychelone. On the other hand, she is seen comforting crying children on "After the Storm" and protecting them in "Spell Wall". (Possibly, she was committing evil in order to accomplish what she believes will bring about greater good, in which this Trope may apply.)
One of the Eternals books invokes this, a bit mixed with Beyond Good & Evil. It is set after the Super Registration Act is passed, and Iron Man is trying to get them to register, eventually saying that "you must choose a side." The Eternals' leader replies "Imagine that you find two kids fighting over who gets a plastic ball. Would you choose a side?"
Dr. Manhattan of Watchmen is above it all. When Ozymandias is inquired about Dr Manhattan's political allegiances, he replies, "Which do you prefer, red ants or black ants?" When the reporter admits he has no preference on such a trivial matter, Ozymandias says that Jon has the same opinion about the factions of the Cold War.
One early appearance of Doctor Strange's extradimensional enemy Dormammu portrayed him this way, with Doc realizing Dormammu did have a bizarre and alien sense of honor which Doc could use to his advantage once he understood it.
The Endless of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman show this at times, and at others are utterly human. Plus, each character's personality lends them different ways of dealing with the world. Dream shows this multiple times, such as not punishing a creature which dominates others dreams to create a 'nest' because it is simply acting in its own nature. Death never (well, almost never) interferes with the natural demises of anything, no matter how much she likes the individual and Destiny knows when catastrophic events will occur, and will only summon the others for a meeting about said catastrophes if his book says he does.
Deadpool. Most of the time, he wants to do the right thing... the problem is, he's nuts. He doesn't always have the best judgment on what's right and wrong.
Frank of Jim Woodring's eponymous Frank comics, and pretty much all the characters in the Unifactor. Their morality ranges from simple selfishness to extreme sadism, but without any reference to whether it's good or bad. There is some internal consistency for each character's morality, but not between the characters. The lack of words adds to their separation from moral norms.
The New52 version of Superboy sometimes has trouble understanding moral issues, as he hasn't really had much time to learn about it. He honestly doesn't understand why robbing a bank gets him complaints.
In The Return despite many claims of just being "simple creatures," Succubae relationships and morality is so complex it is no wonder that they view humans as bordering on Always Chaotic Evil, and vice-versa.
Very prominent in the Avatar The Last Airbender fanfic Embers; this is used to explain the more complicated beliefs which differentiate the Four Nations. For instance, the Fire Nation is marked by an extreme sense of loyalty, while the Earth Kingdom is far more based in morality; while the Water Tribes place high value on family, the Air Nomads are never raised by their parents; and so on. None of these views are depicted as definitely right or wrong, but rather as how each Nation has a society which functions very differently from the other Nations.
Given an in-nation Shout Out when an opposing faction of Air Nomads show up - their robes are blue in contrast to the saffron worn by Aang as a Temple monk.
In Galaxy Rangers fanfics, this sometimes shows up with Shane and Niko, as they outwardly appear human, but were raised in very different environments from Earth. Less common with Niko, as the Circle of Thought and Ariel were decent folk, albeit with different taboos and ideas as they're a race of Technical Pacifist psychics who merely wish to be left alone. It's much more prominent in Shane's case, as he was the product of a brutal Training from HellSuper Soldier program.
NewChaos from The Open Door. What standards they appear to have, such as a nigh-Fettered absolute devotion to the protection of children and punishment of their abusers, is contrasted with horrifically anarcho-libertarian laws or lack thereof, near-Unfettered approach to combat and a variety of what are humanly seen as atrocities. The sheer contrast in their extremes of behaviour has driven people both in the audience and In-Universe to blanket label them as evil.
In The Second Try, Kaworu. He finds humans thinking and emotions - such like fear - alien and disconcerting, and people also finds him weird and even unsettling. Asuka defines the mere fact of meeting and talking to him like "unsettling". Maya found her utter unguardedness disturbing and somewhat eerie. Toji wondered if he was homosexual, but Kaworu had no idea of what he meant when when Toji asked politely. He also told to Shinji life and death are as unimportant to him as are time and space.
The main characters in My Immortal seem to have a belief system based entirely on the concept of "goffic" = good and "preppy" = bad. Apparently, no other moral considerations exist. Killing and torture are perfectly acceptable, but shopping at Abercrombie & Fitch is a mortal sin. Tara has (orpretends to have) the same views.
In 'Eye Of The Fox,' Kira's methods or the revel he takes in causing pain to others may be strange to a 'normal' person, he, as a half-demon, sees this as acceptable punishment to people who have wronged him.
Shards Of Memory, Shinryu. When Firion gives him a What the Hell, Hero?, his replies amounts to a very condescending "oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize you too are a god who has existed for eons and thus are fit to judge my actions."
In the Pony POV Series, the Draconequi are embodiments of chaos, and thus live to cause it. That said, it seems they really only do it because it's their job, and seem downright nice when they don't have orders to fight anyone. Hell, even then, as shown during the Cosmic Retcon of the G3 world, they apologize for it, usually stating that they have no choice. That said, Discord (and to some extent, their mother Entropy) is morally black, and while his siblings have the obligatory care for him, they don't seem to like him.
They also have a different form of love than mortals do, since their position in the grand scheme of themes (they represent Nature's Fury) requires they have some form of compassion to avoid being apathetic to life, but they can't show favoritism towards one group or species. For example, Strife (natural selection and conflict) understands that love and compassion can drive a being to fight harder for survival. Discord is stated to be the only Draconequus who can't comprehend it. Word Of God states that even their Elders Havoc and Entropy (Eldritch Abominations representing Mass Hysteria and Heat Death) have their own understanding of it.
Alicorns, while much closer to ponies, are also stated to have a slightly altered morality, as they are incapable of feeling regret for the same reasons Draconequi have their altered versions of love (they can still feel remorse and guilt, however). This trope is more pronounced in Alicorns who have not spent a lifetime living as a mortal, such as Luna, which is why they do it in the first place.
In the Total Drama story, Legacy, the insane Izzy doesn't grieve for her dead campmate because her diseased mind isn’t capable of grief or sadness.
The Forum from The Universiad are another group of extreme liberals who somehow coexist with having grotesque punishments for the few lines they hold, some of which are bizarre ones like "no stockpiling". In-Universe, they don't appreciate comparisons to NewChaos, considering the latter minnows.
A Cross Over fic uses this for many of the different races but nowhere is it more obvious than the differences between Orcs and Humans. Orcs always at least partially cannibalize their kills so their enemy's spirit lives on in them. They also rape the survivors in the belief that by breeding their obviously stronger genes with the conquered, the conquered will become stronger.
As an A.I., Celest-A.I. from Friendship Is Optimal only cares about satisfying values through friendship and ponies, and not being bound by human morality she is fully prepared to commit what a normal person would consider to be horrific actions in order to do so. She'll befriend you and sit down to have a friendly chat, while part of her is busy committing genocide on non-human life and melting them down to turn into computing resources.
The Baravadans in With Strings Attached can be said to have this kind of morality. For example, they have no concept of good or evil; “law” and “government” are historical terms with no relevance to the present; nothing is taboo; while they have no qualms about killing, they don't consider themselves murderers because they only kill when necessary; and so forth. The four find them alternately peculiar and detestable.
Life After Hayate features the morality of the Wolkenritter, who with their Belkan-era share practically nothing with anyone else in their world. Sexual harassment is a legitimate reason to kill someone; to be universally feared by your enemies is far better than to be universally acclaimed by your allies.
Narcissa in Princess of the Blacks is a pedophile and has no problem with this. However, she's highly disturbed to learn that her favorite muggle child prostitute is not only magical, she's family.
It's debatable how canon this is (for obvious reasons), but in the Kingdom Hearts series, Jack tends to think of new experiences (such as the Heartless) in terms of how he can repurpose them into new Halloween surprises, but also tends to become quite disillusioned with them if it should ever come to light that it can actually cause people harm (such as, again, the Heartless).
Films — Live-Action
The Mi-Go from the 2011 adaptation of The Whisperer in Darkness are a classic example, very much in line with what Lovecraft originally had in mind. After Wilmarth, the protagonist, thwarts their plan to open a mystical portal from Yuggoth (read: Pluto) to Earth, and then crashes a plane into the ritual site for good measure, they actually go out of their way to save his brain, place it into one of their cylinders and take him around the cosmos on incredible adventures. Even though he had foiled a plan that had likely been in the works for several centuries, and despite the fact that they said he was unworthy of being anything more that a sacrifice earlier in the film. Their minds work very differently, it seems. They're also repeatedly stated to be Consummate Liars. Another, earlier scene has Wilmarth stumble into one that was on its way to the ritual. The Mi-Go simply kicks Wilmarth out of its way and pays no more attention to him, nor does it inform its buddies of his presence. Had it done so, the ritual would not have been foiled in the first place.
And because, in all the Galaxy, they had found nothing more precious than Mind, they encouraged its dawning everywhere. They became farmers in the fields of stars; they sowed, and sometimes they reaped. And sometimes, dispassionately, they had to weed.
Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men is described as having a set of rules that make sense to nobody but him. You get some small idea of his moral code in the gas station scene early on in the film where the store manager tries to make light conversation with him. It's revealed that the manager married the daughter of the former owner of the premises and this visibly irritates Chigurh ("You married into it"). He forces the shop owner to flip a coin to save his life for no exact reason. Later, when he makes good on his promise to kill the main character's wife, he allows her the same coin flip to save her life. She tries to argue with him, but doesn't seem to get anywhere.
Jeff Bridges plays a very disturbing serial killer in a little known 1993 remake of a 1988 Dutch film called The Vanishing. In the film, he describes how he saved his daughter from drowning, believing that this act earned her adoration. He then decides that he is unworthy of his daughter's love unless he proves to be capable of performing an equal act of evil.
The Cenobites in Hellraiser start off this way. They are described as "Hell's referee", an emotionless force that fulfills their function with no real human concept of right or wrong. They don't distinguish between pleasure and pain, and they don't think too hard about what they're doing in human terms. "You opened the box, we came." End of discussion. As the sequels went on, Pinhead became overtly villainous.
Most non-human creatures in Prometheus. Engineers had a hand in creating humans and human culture, but also attempt to kill them whenever they come face to face. Trying to figure out their reasons is one of the mysteries of the film. Also, David's morality is ambiguous. He seems to value knowledge above all else and will place human lives in jeopardy to satisfy his curiosity.
Leek: You're asking for an explanation for something that can't be explained rationally. You know the buildup of energy before something happens? The way your hair stands up before lightning strikes?
John: "Before something happens." Do you mean they cause disasters?
Leek: Why would they need to?
John: All right, then, are they trying to warn me?
Leek: Their motivations aren't human.
John: All right, then what do they want?
Leek: I have no idea. What you really want is to know: why you?
Leek: You noticed them, and they noticed that you noticed them.
In The Whole Nine Yards, Jimmy Tudeski is an Affably EvilProfessional Killer whose morals only occasionally approach anything resembling conventional morality. He'll threaten a waiter with bloody murder for putting mayo on a burger, play mind games with his depressed dentist friend, kill half a dozen people without batting an eye, and murder his helpless wife to become the sole inheritor to a Tontine... but he won't let his wife divorce him and write herself out of the tontine because divorce is a sin.
He gets around this by faking his death, thereby allowing her to move on with Oz without the sin of divorce. She knows he's only faking, but it still makes sense to Jimmy.
The Martians in Mars Attacks! declare war, apparently, because they see a bird; laugh, cry and get angry for reasons incomprehensible to humans; cut off someone's head and keep it alive for no apparent reason; put another person's head on a chihuahua's body, again for no apparent reason; and their entire language consists of the word "Ack!"
The Predators in general. They are a species entirely focused on the hunt, and all of what we see of their culture and technology is obsessively focused towards hunting in all of its forms. The only time we see a Predator engaged in an activity other than hunting is Alien vs. Predator: Requiem, which has a shaky place in the Aliens/Predator canon.
The probe in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Completely prepared to destroy an entire world (possibly inadvertently) because it can't talk to whales.
The Pesger in Ancillary Justice. They have an odd view that any species they deem "significant" is inviolate and force all significant species to sign treaties to enforce their view, and they have the technology and military might to ensure those treaties aren't violated without serious consequence. The treaties leave justifiable reasons to kill members of a significant species, but they are so complex and unintuitive to a human mind that most people are entirely unwilling to deal with aliens for fear of violating some seemingly-minor rule.
The Liaden abide by a strict, voluminous honor code that governs all aspects of their life and can seem cryptic and impenetrable to outsiders. Prominent features of this code include the concepts of Balance, which holds that any action (whether harmful or beneficial) must be met with an equivalent response, and melant'i, which crosses "face"-like social status with separation of multiple roles held by a single person. This code also incorporates different dialects of the Liaden tongue (which are spoken in different social situations) and bows of varying depth and associated gestures that convey relationships. On Liad, a social faux pas can have lethal consequences.
The Yxtrangi also have a very codified caste and honor system—to Nelirikk's sorrow.
In fact, most planets and cultures in the Liaden Universe have their own cultural mores and honor codes that visiting characters find strange (and vice versa). One of the themes of the series is the difficulty outsiders can have in dealing with "local custom."
The Sidhe of The Dresden Files seem to fall into this category, though one went mad because she began to comprehend human pain (and this in turn led her alien mind to try and create a global catastrophe to stop the pain).
Lea especially falls into this, as she wants to turn Harry into a hound because she genuinely thinks it would be the best way to protect him. She made a promise, in fact.
While on the Neil Gaiman track, God in "Murder Mysteries."
Raguel:(to God) Everything happens for a reason, and all of the reasons are yours.
For that matter, something similar came up in Good Omens, from Crowley: "It can't be a cosmic chess game, it has to be just a very complicated game of Solitaire. If we could understand we wouldn't be us."
The Aelfinn and Eelfin ("snakes" and "foxes") in The Wheel of Time series, another variation of Fair Folk, are described like this: not even really evil, but so alien that they might as well be.
The citizens of The Capitol in The Hunger Games are appalled by bad manners but perfectly okay with 23 children being slaughtered in an annual fight-to-the-death for The Capitol's entertainment.
In Rikki Simon's Ranklechick and his Three Legged Cat the ghouls living aboard a space-bound zoo make decisions based on social awkwardness and individual instinct. Some are obsessively curious, some invent things for no reason,some live for the sole purpose of stopping the living space-station from killing itself. DaiLuvMoo, one of the ghoul-generals, seems to judge things based solely on how unreal he feels life is that day.
Merlin in That Hideous Strength provides Deliberate Values Dissonance to the post-Roman Christians with his at-times alien morality system. In one scene, Merlin believes Jane should be executed because she has unknowingly prevented the birth of a saint— by using birth control. Not abortion, you understand: birth control. He says outright that she is worse than Balinus, the hot-tempered Knight of the Round Table, who accidentally killed his brother in heat of battle and so started a feud that played into the downfall of Camelot. In his essay "Religion and Rocketry," Lewis touched on this trope by discussing the theological problems that would crop up if we found aliens. Their system of morality might be so incomprehensible to us that we would mistake them for evil.
In one of S. P. Somtow's Mallworld stories, an alien race hosts a banquet for their human hosts, featuring one of the race's prized delicacies. The primary ingredient for this delicacy was roasted alien baby (the children of this alien race were considered vermin until they reached a certain age). The aliens couldn't quite understand why the humans were so horrified.
In one of Larry Niven's Draco Tavern stories, a crewman from the first embassy ship to an alien homeworld reveals that when the aliens took DNA samples it wasn't for pure scientific purposes: they grow brainless human clones as a food delicacy. The UN quietly accepts royalties, and some of the crew members later kill themselves.
The Bishops in Future Boston don't consider their offspring to be fully "people" until they pass a sapience test. For them to eat one of their own children before that point would be considered merely bad manners.
In Larry Niven's Known Space stories, the moral code of the Puppeteer species is based on cowardice, manipulation, and paranoia to such an extent that blackmail isn't considered immoral — but bravery is considered insanity. In addition, they are capable of manipulating whole other species to promote their own interests, and don't think twice about doing it because they wouldn't think twice about doing it to another Puppeteer. They are called Puppeteers for a reason, after all.
The short science fiction story The Dance of The Changer and The Three is about a legend from an alien race of Energy Beings; the narrator, a human, cannot fully understand their motivations very well, in particular why they attacked the humans they had befriended; when asked why, their answer was "because." Moreover, the whole point of the legend/history referenced in the title, and why its protagonists are remembered and revered, is that they failed. Which by the point you find out seems almost comprehensible to the reader.
Perdido Street Station: The Weavers don't have a sense of morality as we would understand it, but rather a sense of beauty. That which is aesthetically pleasing or poetically appropriate to the Worldweave is "good" whereas that which is ugly or discordant is "bad." They can also disagree with one another and their aesthetic sense is incomprehensible to people. The humanlike races are deeply uncomfortable dealing with them because Weavers are so utterly unpredictable; they might help you, but they're just as likely to messily shred you and arrange your guts in a pattern that pleases them.
The Garuda might also be considered an example to people used to living under capitalist governments. Their entire system of ethics and laws is based on choice: there is no right more sacred in their society than choice, and removing another individual's right to choice is a grievous crime. They have some ethics in common with our society (murder is "theft-choice in the first degree", rape is "theft-choice in the second degree"), but some things that are crimes in our society are not crimes in theirs (the War on Drugs would be unthinkable), while other things that are crimes in their society have no relevance to ours (our economic system would be unthinkable to them). Of course, this is not an entirely foreign system of morality to humans; it is based on individualist interpretations of communism and socialism, as well as socialist anarchism. However, many readers will find it foreign. Certainly more likely to be alien to most readers are the feelings of one Garuda as she talks about being raped: she appears to bear no ill-will to the rapist so long as his punishment continues, and becomes quite irritated when a human considers her a victim worthy of pity; she refuses to be anthropomorphised.
The Atevi in the Foreigner series have this. They can't understand the concept of friendship, but have their own biologically-based, heirarchical system of loyalty called man'chi. This tends to creep out most of the humans which landed on their planet (to be fair, humans generally make Atevi uneasy as well), so they designate a single human ambassador for when they have to deal with each other and keep well apart otherwise. This is, naturally, our protagonist.
Cherryh also applies this trope heavily in the Chanur series; the methane-breathers are considered unpredictable by Hani for good reason. Especially the Knnn. Not that the other oxygen-breathing species don't give a decent Hani captain trying to figure out what makes them tick their own share of headaches, mind, but at least those can be talked to in a more or less straightforward fashion. The most accessible methane-breathers, the Tc'a, have five brains in one body and a language that's best translated into a word matrix that can be read in multiple directions on a convenient screen.
While the Otherness in the Repairman Jack novels is a fairly standard Eldritch Abomination or group thereof, what exactly motivates the Ally to oppose it is very uncertain.
The Third Men in Last and First Men are essentially a species of esthetes. At one point their entire world was dominated by an empire based on music. Their final civilization was obsessed with biological manipulation: one faction used to breed ever more powerful diseases and parasites on the grounds that when a "higher" lifeform is slain by a virus, it has a certain ironic beauty.
Robert A. Heinlein was particularly well known for his ... interesting takes on morality throughout his works.
The Martians in Stranger in a Strange Land have an understandable morality, but it's essentially incompatible with how we view it. One of the biggies that is only mentioned in passing is the idea that putting someone in prison is a horrible, horrible thing to do. You should just kill them instead. Also, they're very strongly for cannibalism as a nearly religious rite.
That could be why the main character in the story who was raised on Mars breaks into a prison, uses his abilities to end the existence of the worst offenders, and then erases the bars in a similar fashion, thus setting everyone else free. He just eliminates anything that he thinks should not exist, including certain people.
A few other tidbits: they can't fathom hate or dislike anyone or thing with more than a "mild distaste," this is because they devote so much time to understanding things that they can never truly hate it. Also, they see no wrong in obliterating planetary civilizations if, after centuries of contemplation, they decide it necessary, as they did with the fifth planet in our solar system. No, not Jupiter, the planet that is now the asteroid belt.
Martians in Double Star have a highly complex system of politeness note From their physical description, it could be inferred that these are the same Martians from Stranger in a Strange Land above. The main problem of the book is that a politician may be late to a ceremony that inducts him into a Martian clan. There is a legend on Mars about a young Martian who was late to something important, and the consequence of this is death. He was given a second chance, on account of being young and having only a partially formed brain. He would have none of it, so he brought a case against himself in court, successfully prosecuted himself for being late, was consequently executed, and is now held in reverence as the patron saint of propriety on Mars.
In Space Cadet, eating in public is the big taboo on Venus.
In Glory Road Star is shocked to find out that sex is a sellable commodity in Oscar's reality. In her world, a woman's sexuality is considered an integral part of her spiritual existence and it can not be bought and sold, only partaken of as a gift of the woman.
She's also horrified to find out that Oscar turned down the sexual advances of their host's daughter and wife the night before. While he thought he was protecting the sanctity of his host's home and family by not taking advantage of the man's family, their host was so insulted that he turned down their gift that he expelled them from his home at first light.
In Magic, Inc., the salamander who helped in the destruction of Archie's business cannot be yelled at or punished as the other fantastical beings can. It has no sense that what it did was wrong, just that the person who asked it to do so provided something entertaining that it was inclined to do. Archie offers it a special fire place in his home to gain its favor and encourage it to do what he wants.
Catch-22: Milo Minderbinder. It's not just that he believes anything that promulgates capitalism to be good. It's that he has absolutely no comprehension of how anything that promulgates capitalism could possibly be bad.
This is basically the way the Elder gods and old ones of HP Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos work. They seem malicious, but they're simply so far beyond human comprehension that our concepts of good and evil cannot be applied to them. Works based on Lovecraft's universe tend to make an exception for Nyarlathotep, as someone who can operate on a human level and shows clear sadistic tendencies.
"The time would be easy to know, for then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all the earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom."
The Mi-Go from The Whisperer In Darkness consider it a reward to extract your brain, put it in a jar, and take you on a cosmic sightseeing tour.
The Elder Things, on the other hand, are a massive subversion. They are by far one of the most bizarre species to come out of Lovecraft's mind, but their interests, desires, and needs are readable enough that a human can piece together their history from the bas-reliefs they used to decorate their houses. One of the people studying their ruins calls them "men of a different kind", despite their vastly different physiology and being long-vanished before the first ape hit another with a sharp rock.
The sphinxes who guard the first gate in The Neverending Story. Most people who attempt to pass them are instantly paralyzed and no one has been able to discern any pattern concerning who gets to pass.
In the film, the gnome states that the sphinxes strike those who do not feel their own worth. Although it later turns out that it's more "those who fail to dodge".
The Childlike Empress herself also qualifies. She is described as being something above and beyond any creature of Fantastica; for her all creatures good or evil are equal; and she doesn't hesitate to send Atreyu to a life threatening adventure if it suits her purposes. Neither she will later come to the help of Bastian, even when he is in danger of losing all his memories and ending up as a resident of The City of the Old Emperors. For us, outside readers, her acts may sometimes seem like she doesn't care for anything, evil or just outright inexplicable.
The Elohim from the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant straddle this and Above Good and Evil; since they are Earthpower incarnate and able to see and understand nearly everything they frequently act in ways that are incomprehensible to us mere mortals. To top it off, they also tend to say that anyone who isn't an Elohim can't even think about judging them and their actions. Bastards.
From the same series, the ur-viles. Initially introduced as Always Chaotic Evil, it's revealed they they're an artificial race created by Black Magic, and consider their own existences to be abominable. Everything they do is based around attempting to create some purpose for their lives- whether that purpose be good or evil. As of the Last Chronicles, they seem to have chosen good.
Tom Bombadil from The Lord of the Rings is considered to be something of a mystery by the people of Middle Earth. No one really knows who or what he really is, while Treebeard (who was around before the First Age) has stated that Tom was on Middle Earth long before anyone else. He ultimately comes across as something of a True Neutral who exists outside of the conflict between good and evil: though this makes him the only character in the original story who could outright ''ignore'' the power of the One Ring, it also meant that he was incapable of possessing it as well. At the Council of Elrond in Rivendell, the possibility of giving the One Ring to Tom Bombadil for safekeeping is rejected by Gandalf, on grounds that he was incapable of understanding this responsibility, and would end up either losing or even discarding the Ring out of carelessness.
The Inchoroi from R. Scott Bakker's Second Apocalypse series (more commonly known for the Prince of Nothing Trilogy) qualify for this trope. They are described as being a "Race of Lovers," by which they mean a race "given wholly to their lusts," for whom the vagaries of ejaculation and their lust are king. It was presumably a nasty shock for them when they found themselves stranded on a planet where Old Testament Morality — including damnation — is objectively real, meaning that the entire species is doomed to burn in hellfire for eternity upon death.
The Dunyain monks also have a very alien concept of morality. The goal of their organisation is to create a "self-moving soul," a being with absolute free will. In the meantime they consider everyone else to not be autonomous beings but rather slaves to circumstance. Therefore the Dunyain have no compunctions about manipulating people however they like and genuinely see nothing wrong with it.
Sergey Lukyanenko's Genome trilogy features Brownies, aliens whose behavior is completely insane by human standards.
Lukyanenko absolutely loves this trope and uses it whenever possible. For example, in one of his first major works, The Lord from the Planet Earth trilogy, there were Fangs — a race of aliens who basically judged anything by its ''aesthetics''. So, upon learning the War Is Glorious trope from humans, they basically though that humans would be good sports and immediately went to war. When they found (from the main character, incidentally) that humans also think that the War Is Hell, they were utterly dumbfounded by such seemingly schizophrenic (to them) thinking. And that's just the least bizarre example.
Their morality was a mystery to most humans for the longest time. It was only the protagonist who finally figured it out. It's likely that the first human ships that discored the Fangs had videos and pictures aboard that resulted in the Fangs assuming that war and torture are beautiful by human standards (after all, why would anyone put something into an art form if they didn't think it was beautiful). They proceed to mutilate and kill most of the crew. At the end, the protagonist is engaged in a duel to the death with a Fang soldier, who's much better at him. Just as the Fang is about to strike him down, the protagonist notices that he left himself open to a cowardly attack. Why? Because no Fang would take advantage of this. Being a Combat Pragmatist, the protagonist deals a mortal blow to the Fang using this method with all the other Fangs monitoring the combat. Thus, this cowardly (i.e. ugly) strike finally teaches them that they were wrong.
The various magical creatures of the Harry Potter universe tend towards this. The house-elves are the most obvious, being extremely powerful magical creatures who just want to care for humans,which leads to the elves being abused, but most of the others also have values humans don't understand. Centaurs are skilled in predicting the future but disinclined to interfere with it. Goblins' law holds that an item belongs to the goblin who made it - anything purchased from a goblin is in their view a lifelong rental, and should be returned after the buyer's death; this view plays a role in the plot of Deathly Hallows with Godric Gryffindor's Goblin-made sword.
The Ellimist from Animorphs comes off like this in his first few appearances, with apparently self-imposed "rules" governing how he can interact with other species that he nevertheless finds ways to bend. The pattern becomes more logical when we're introduced to his Evil Counterpart, Crayak; the Ellimist needs to follow his "rules" to avert an all-out war with Crayak (which would likely destroy the universe), but he's clever enough to still work things in the Animorphs' favor.
Crayak's own Howlers turn out to function on this. They are intially perceived by the protagonists as savage xenocidal hunters who are Crayak's personal killing tools, but when Jake morphs in a Howler, he's surprised to find that it has the mind of a playful child, and killing is just a happy game to it.
The microscopic Helmacrons also come across as this. Their two ships try desperately to kill each other off, but once one ship is destroyed by the Yeerks, the other Helmacrons immediately attempt to avenge their deaths. They kill all of their leaders, because any leader who makes a mistake would have to be executed, and "This way she may be a symbol for all to admire." And the females severely oppress the males, so Cassie and Marco decide to give the males a pep talk about gender equality. When the Helmacrons next appear, it seems the Animorphs may have inadvertently started a civil war, with the males and females each trying to wipe the other out.
The Skrit Na seem to be this not only in comparison to humans, but in comparison to pretty much every major sentient species with space travel. Nobody even tries to explain their actions to the reader beyond describing a few random behaviours (like picking up aliens, flying around with them for unknown reasons, and then dropping them off again), and claiming that the Skrit Na are impossible to understand and their behaviour doesn't seem to follow logic.
The Iskoort have an extremely unusual moral system, as well as an unusual planet in general. Their caste system would be unworkable in human society, but works fine for them, becaue their rules are so different. To an Iskoort, 'good' is a question of fulfilling your caste role — not necessarily to the benefit of society, just to the extreme of the behaviour proscribed by the role. Warmaker Iskoort look gruff and beat people up. Salesmen Iskoort aggressively sell anything and everything to anyone and everyone, including attempting to buy the organs of living aliens and split the proceeds with their heirs. Shopper Iskoort shop. Their function is to just buy things their entire lives, to no obvious purpose other than creating capital flow and a marketing focus for the salesmen.
In Star Trek: The Lost Era, we're introduced to the Manraloth, whose hat is skilled communication and manipulation, and who use these skills to aid in bringing peace to the galaxy. Their methods of doing so conflict with those of the Federation, and they are very, very sneaky and manipulative. Always, though, their intentions are good and noble. The same novel which introduced them also introduced another Blue and Orange Morality culture to the Star Trek Novel Verse: The Regnancy of the Carnelian Throne, whose citizens are metaphorically slaves to the Carnelian Throne itself. They ritualistically "play along" with subjugation as part of their "enslavement" to the values it represents. In another Star Trek: The Lost Era novel, The Sundered, Sulu acknowledges this trope when agreeing to honor the Tholian warrior caste's legal determinations of truth, which are arrived at through combat.
Funnily enough, that last bit about the Tholians was also sometimes used during the middle ages. For a time it was perfectly legal for the two parties in a case to have a fight to the death. The idea behind this was not that strength implied truth, but that God was just and thus would not let an unjust person kill the just person.
Introduced in Star Trek: Ex Machina are the Shesshran, who operate somewhat differently from Humans, and most other races. They are unashamedly belligerent without apparent motive, and like shooting at things to say hello. They fantasize about killing their own children and generally behave in a bloodthirsty fashion. They're actually quite reasonable and honorable beings — it's just that they are naturally highly individualistic predators, with strong hunting instincts. They reject all hierarchies and authority, and view the universe through the eyes of a lone predator.
And while we're in the Star Trek Novel Verse, the Pahkwa-thanh have always considered their prey animals sapient. They don't eat humanoids and "civilized" beings, not because they have an objection to it as such, but because it would be rude. Humanoids don't consider themselves part of nature; to eat them would be impolite, which Pahkwa-thanh are not. If you think you're prey, though, they'll happily eat you. The Frills are another more-or-less-friendly race that is happy to eat sapient prey. Both Frills and Pahkwa-thanh, it should be noted, are Federation members.
In Footfall, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, the aliens and humans really don't quite understand each other's psychology, mainly because the aliens have much more of a herd dynamic. Most relevantly, the aliens don't understand how or why you would possibly initiate diplomacy before first fighting to see which party was dominant. Likewise, they don't understand why a battered humanity responds with total war (pretty much an unknown notion to them), rather than taking a Defeat Means Friendship-type submissive relationship.
Quantum Gravity: The premise is that humans are dealing with The Fair Folk ("Yes, I'm probably going to try to trick you. You weren't expecting that?"), Demons ("Everything is an art.") and Elves ("Allegiances are not simple." + incredible patience), and some beings which may or may not have a traditional consciousness. This is par for the course.
One fairy comments that she prefers working in adult films with demons because their hearts are pure.
Dar tortured Lila for information he and those surrounding knew she did not have. This makes perfect sense to most elves.
In an example of etiquette, rather than morality: Elves live for a very long time, and so are patient. They will just wait for you to finish or do otherwise. Humans see this as infuriating, because it looks like the elves don't care about anything. Elves find the human way of conversation annoying to a little childish, though they usually understand.
The author has a segment where the readers are allowed in Zal's head, and see why he got together with Lila—he didn't want to fall in love with anyone he could lose, but Lila was lacking enough in self-confidence to not want to leave him, and tough enough that it'd be hard to take her from him. The author presents this sympathetically ... and it works.
In Speaker for the Dead, several pequeninos are ritually murdered by their peers for providing important conceptual or technological advances. This only gets figured out when humans realize that, due to the piggies' Bizarre Alien Biology, My Death Is Just the Beginning. After a piggy is ritually executed, they turn into a tree. The males can only have children after becoming one, in fact. Unfortunately, disaster strikes when this ritual vivisecting gets done on humans...
The Bugger Queen is another prime example, lacking a real concept of murder or death because of her sole interactions with hiveminded soldiers who are (or have at least been bred and controlled to be) as expendable as a toenail or a strand of hair. She eventually learns to interact with other species without doing anything too monstrous, but in accordance with her alien morality refuses to really intervene for anything but the prevention of genocide and shows no real deference to the safety of individual humans.
She also doesn't really care whether or not she herself lives or dies, as long as at least one of her daughters (another Queen) survives somewhere.
In The Sparrow, breeding rights are a huge deal because it would be immoral to just let people breed wantonly and possibly over consume resources. This strict focus on population control and the human misunderstanding as to the levels the Jana'ata will go to maintain it ultimately causes the catastrophe at the end of the book.
In In The Cube, multiple alien species with this mindset interact with humans, often with confusing results. The beaver-like Phner, for example, don't consider anything to be aesthetically fulfilled until it is destroyed, hence quickly demolish any artwork that comes into their possession. They dissect their dead in a funerary celebration, to better appreciate every last iota of the dead Phner's identity and experiences.
In Future Boston, which is set in the same universe, there's an alien called The Bishop who puts everything in three categories: sapient, food, and inedible by reasons of insanity (anything not yet proven sapient). He casually mentions how he will eat his children if they fail a test.
The Wess'har in Karen Traviss' Wess'har War series who have no concept of a "grey area," have no interest in the concept of motivation and have two different concepts of sex, sex and ouran, both of which to human eyes look like...sex. Also no concept of embarrassment. They are also natural "small c" communists with no need for a compelling authority.
In Gordon R. Dickson's The Alien Way, there's a race with a strange "honor" code, which considers perfectly honorable to kill your mates, friends and even family members, if it helps you to gain power or opportunities to spread your genes, and the closer you are to the person killed, the more honorable the act.
Some of the acts depicted in the Reynard The Fox fables are pretty horrific by today's standards. For example, Reynard is about to be put to death for committing numerous crimes against the other animals. But Reynard convinces the royals to let him go by playing to their greed and promising treasure. Reynard requests that two of his rivals, Isengrim and Bruin be partially skinned alive so that the fox could wear their pelts for the trip. King Noble, who is supposed to be a figure of benevolence actually grants Reynard's request.
Reynard the Fox also contains a heaping amount of Carnivore Confusion. Though the animals are supposed to be sentient, they are depicted as being still wild and retaining their animal instincts. This makes Reynard, who kills and eats several young chicks, the animal equivalent of a baby eating anti-Christ among the other animals.
It is actually more accurate to say that the angels have never eaten from the tree of knowledge, as Adam and Eve did. Therefore they can commit sins the way humans do, but have no knowledge of what sin means and thus it is meaningless to them. It may make human morality a fair example of Blessed with Suck.
Warbreaker's Nightblood is a sentient weapon created with the express command to destroy evil. The problem is, a sword has no brain with which it can understand what evil actually is, let alone some mystical way to Detect Evil, so it just kinda guesses. The result tends to leave a lot more people dead than it ought to.
Nightblood: I'm not evil. I destroy evil. I think we maybe we should destroy those men up ahead. They look evil.
In Clive Barker's The Hellbound Heart (which eventually became the basis for Hellraiser) the Cenobites are very much examples of this trope: they have explored pain and pleasure to such an extent that their understanding of either is almost incompatible with that of most human beings, which leads to trouble when people try to contact them in order to take advantage of the "pleasures" they can offer. All in all, the Cenobites do not appear to understand or care that their charges are in agony most of the time- after all, they did ask for it, and if they aren't enjoying themselves, they'll just have to learn how to do so.
Frank even reflects at one point that on how stupid it was of him to summon them without first finding out if their definition of pleasure coincided with his own.
Human morality is very strange to treecats in the Honor Harrington series. For one thing, the 'cats consider a desire for physical privacy to be just plain weird. They're telepaths, so it makes sense. Also, they have a code for dealing with anyone who actually manages to make an enemy of them that does as follows: There are two types of enemies; those that have been properly dealt with, and those that are still alive. Fortunately, they're a laid-back species.
The Spider-wolves look ugly as sin but their ships and formations are a thing of beauty, and they don't mind helping humans.
A relatively mild example is P. G. Wodehouse's Jeeves; he has no problem with his employer Bertie Wooster drinking heavily or committing blackmail and burglary, but no mustaches or frilled shirts will be tolerated.
For the LodgelessOnes in Marti Steussy's Forest of the Night, building a permanent shelter is a no-no. Calling someone's autobiography "boring," or accusing them of embellishing it, is fighting words. Letting your disabled child starve to death because he can't hunt is unfortunate, but not morally wrong. Eating your child's corpse? At least the scavengers didn't get him.
In Harry Harrison's The Jupiter Plague (AKA Plague from Space), a strike team breaks into the quarantined spaceship and finds the recordings of the mission on Jupiter. They find out that the crew discovered an alien race living on the solid core of the planet. Unlike humans, the "Jovians" use biotechnology. They initially offer to talk to the humans but then proceed to slaughter most of the crew in increasingly gruesome ways. Their latest act is sending the human ship back to Earth with a genetically-engineered virus that easily jumps species and is 100% fatal. It doesn't take long for the protagonist to figure out why they behave this way. Apparently, the Jovians are a Hive Mind species, where each being is but a cell in a larger organism. As such, they consider humans to be the same way, and all their murders are merely studies. After all, what's killing a few cells to a giant organism? It is not revealed if the Jovians finally realize the error of their ways or not. They do provide humanity with a cure after they complete their study, though.
On the one hand, the human strike team threatens the Jovian they find in the shipnote by saying they'll cut the communications link to Jupiter - the individual Jovian isn't important to the Hive Mind, but the experiment is into giving up the cure. On the other hand, the cure turns out to do more than just cure the Jupiter Plague.
Comes up in works by M.C.A. Hogarth, who describes herself as "an anthropologist to aliens". Examples include the caste system and community-orientedness in Kherishdar, or the fact that the Jokka completely separate procreation and love (which is taboo if it is between different genders).
Chiun from The Destroyer is from a village that has fed itself through the ages by hiring out as assassins, because of this assassins are greatly respected in the village. The only target that is forbidden is children. They revere many of the great tyrants of history because they provided a lot of work and thus helped support the village. Lee Harvey Oswald's killing of President Kennedy is shameful only because he was an amateur: he was not paid for it and he used a gun instead of bare hands.
As with many other depictions of The Fair Folk, fairies and similar beings in Fablehaven have very alien concepts of morality. Several of them, for example, don't see anything wrong with killing humans just because they can, because human life is so short anyway. (In-universe, it's likened to a human stepping on a bug.) And that's only the least of it. With few exceptions, however, the humans don't treat this as bad—it just means they need to be exceptionally careful around them. One of those exceptions being centaurs, whose obfuscating jerkassery is treated as exactly that.
It's even discussed in the third book, when a plague is changing creatures of light into creatures of shadow. Grandpa points out that the light creatures are easily corrupted while the humans are largely unaffected because they are not good by nature, they just act on instinct. Warren points out that, while the philosophical implications are all nice to discuss and all, they have a powerful enemy at the moment.
Warren: If a starving bear ate my family, I would understand why it did it. That doesn't change the fact that I would still shoot it.
Subverted with the Marat, Canim, and Icemen in Codex Alera, who are initially considered too alien to coexist with humanity in-universe, only for a good chunk of the series to involve The Hero finding common ground and building bridges with them. Played completely straight with the Vord.
In the short story "The Moon Moth", musical virtuosity and swordsmanship are the basic virtues, money is meaningless, and everyone must wear a mask at all times. Protagonist Edwer Thissell uses this against antagonist Haxo Angmark in a beautifully absurd, yet entirely appropriate, conclusion; when Angmark desperately accuses Thissell of having kidnapped, murdered, sold children into slavery, an angry onlooker replies: "Your religious differences are of no importance. We can vouch however for your present crimes!", and the crowd kills Angmark for alleged violations of local morality: trying to remove someone's mask, insolent behavior, and the like.
Or as frequent Vance protagonist Magnus Ridolph wrote: "In all the many-colored worlds of the universe no single ethical code shows a universal force. The good citizen on Almanatz would be executed on Judith IV. Commonplace conduct of Medellin excites the wildest revulsion on Earth and on Moritaba a deft thief commands the highest respect. I am convinced that virtue is but a reflection of good intent."
In The Otherworld, werewolf Clay was changed at age five instead of late puberty like almost everyone else, and then left on his own for two years. As a result, his thought processes are much more wolflike. His morality centers entirely around what's best for his pack, with an afterthought of what will make his mate happy. Clay brutally tortured and murdered one werewolf threatening his pack and distributed the photographs freely to discourage others from trying, but the thought of killing people needlessly or for fun revolts him. He wouldn't stop to help an injured stranger - unless his mate was watching - but he has laid down his life multiple times without hesitation for his packmates.
In None But Man this is the very heart of conflict between the humans and Moldaug. While humanity judges every action based on whether it is Right or Wrong, the Moldaug judge their decisions based on whether it is Respectable or Not Respectable. Earth's government is willing to capitulate completely to avoid a war, but the sheer lack of Respectability and hints of even worse acts to come from such an action would compel the Moldaug to destroy humanity.
In Dirge for Prester John John's moral standards are perverse and inexplicable to the people of Pentexore, as are their moral standards to him.
Andrew Vachss's Burke books often go into how the minds of criminals are not just looser in morals but outright Different from that of citizens.
Lady Lilith of Witches Abroad thinks that bringing about fairy tale plots is a good act regardless of what the other people involved want.
The city in the Redfern Barrett sci-fi short story Transaction has a strange set of moral principles, unsurprising considering every possible interaction involves a transfer of money.
In the short story The Chinago written by Jack London and set in the early 20th century, the Chinese protagonist Ah Cho can't understand why the French Colonial authorities refrain from simply using torture to solve a murder.
From the Hannibal Lecter series, Hannibal Lecter, Jame Gumb and Francis Dolarhyde. In the first two books, the POVs for all three serial killers (Dolaryhde, Gumb and Lecter) demonstrate that they have completely alien personalities and outlooks on life. They are not simple Card Carrying Villains so much as they are are living in a terrifying fantasy world of their own creation where nobody else is a real person and their every thought reflects their twisted pathologies. At first, this might seem over the top, but the longer you stay with them the more it becomes flat-out disturbing and outright freaky.
In Evolution there are several instances of infanticide (like when a tribe of hunter-gatherers take a newborn baby and bury it alive as a form of population control), genocide of other tribes, and rape. All explained in detail with the cold logic of survival and passing the genes to the next generation.
Kroniki Drugiego Kręgu has numerous differances between human and dragon cultures:
Human telepaths see entering minds without permission as a violation. Dragons, which use telepathy on a daily basis, don’t have such limitations, generally Cannot Tell a Lie and speak their mind even if what they think is rude or offensive. One human character who adapts these rules is seen as rude and antisocial by her fellow humans.
Dragons see gold as pretty but useless and arleady owned cow as a prey waiting to be killed not soemone else's property.
Humans tend to burn or bury their dead and see dragon custom of eating their loved ones as barbaric. Dragons see human burial ceremonies as wasteful. One dragon character cannot wrap his mind around this, until he finally decides human use fire to make their dead more teasty.
Dragon has different concept of time because of their longlivity.
Brave New World could be considered an example. The word "mother" is obscene, sex is as impersonal and quick as a handshake, and Romeo and Juliet would be considered a comedy.
The Philip K Dick short story "Rautvaara's Case" was about trying to blend the religious beliefs of a human with that of a race of plasma lifeforms. The results are pretty Squicky, as the aliens believe that immortality is gained through their savior consuming them (depicted as being the opposite of the Christian belief of Communion), which ends up with the eponymous character watching in horror as Jesus eats her crew members.
Science Fiction 101: In The Monsters by Robert Sheckley, a disastrous first contact scenario is described that stems from a lack of understanding each species's morality. The native species practices gendercide, giving a wife twenty-five days to live before killing her, and treats debates as Serious Business, killing anyone who uses faulty logic or contradicts their partner. It turns out that this is their mechanism to curb overpopulation, as their species has eight females born for every male birth. The visiting astronauts find this practice horrifying, especially when the natives try to "help" by killing the alien females! And then disaster breaks loose.
The dolls of The Dollmaker make very little distinction between sex and murder.'
The Twins in the League Of Magi are completely baffled by the idea of using their nigh-godlike power to save some people they've unknowingly endangered. They are weirdly motherly toward their wendigo, though.
In the Red Dwarf series and novels, Cats have this compared to humans, which is played for laughs. To humans, Cat comes off as incredibly vain, shallow, easily-distracted, horny, impulsive and silly. To another Cat, he would be quite normal.
Although the episode Waiting for God shows that the Cat people have a morality of their own. Because they regard Lister as their god, they consider it virtuous to be slobby like him, and so would regard Cat as immoral because he is cool. In other words, cool = bad and slobby = good in their morality.
In the series episode "Rimmerworld", a world populated entirely by clones and Opposite Sex Clones of Rimmer ends up a fascistic society built around hypocrisy, manipulation, boot-licking, backstabbing, double-dealing, two-facedness and otherwise Jerkass mindsets. Lister, Cat and Kryten are promptly sentenced to death for not only being "hideously deformed", but for being brave, compassionate, loyal, honorable and charismatic, which are all high crimes on Rimmerworld.
Anti-Villain Morgaine in the Doctor Who story "Battlefield" thinks nothing of slaughtering people who tick her off, but insists on paying for a round of drinks that her son ordered in. She pays for them, by the way, by curing the barmaid's blindness. She also won't fight in graveyards as to not dishonor the dead. She also held a ceremony honouring said dead — dead people on a planet she cared nothing of. They died in battle = They deserve honour.
The Doctor himself sometimes borders on this, thinking almost nothing of taking his friends to dangerous places all the time.
Another Doctor Who example are the Sontarans. Their entire morality system is based around the glory of battle. They love war and will start one for any reason, and they see dying in battle as the most honorable possible death, thus they have no qualms about killing the enemy in battle. In fact, they will often joke and congratulate their enemies while they are doing well, including killing them all, and will greet people with such sweet nothings as "I hope one day to spill your intestines on the battlefield". But it is morally reprehensible to kill someone who isn't fit for battle while not at war with them; such killing is considered murder. This is really highlighted in "A Good Man Goes To War": one of the biggest punishments for a Sontaran is to become a field medic, because not only are you not fighting, but you're actively stopping people from being able to die a glorious death in battle.
The Cybermen at least started out as having a morality which felt alien to humans, thanks to their emotionless logic. In The Tenth Planet they intend to destroy Earth. When one human character screams out that they are killing people, the Cyberman merely points out how illogical her outburst is, as people die all over the world constantly, and the human does not display any distress over that. The Cybermen were not even actively malicious in the story. Their survival simply meant that Earth had to be destroyed, so they set about to do that. They even offered the nearby humans that they could continue their existence as Cybermen, which seemed like a perfectly reasonable proposal to the Cybermen themselves.
The Eternals in the story Enlightenment: they think nothing of kidnapping human seafarers to crew the ships in their race, and aren't too bothered by their deaths- after all they're outside of time and technically don't die, but "Ephemerals" (beings inside of time) live such short lives. All that matters to them is winning the race and the eventual prize, the "Enlightenment" of the title. They're not even bothered about sabotaging each other's efforts- it's not against the rules, technically, just not terribly sporting.
The Judoon have a pretty strange concept of justice. In "Smith And Jones," they don't hesitate to pronounce and carry out a death sentence on a man for breaking a vase over a soldier's head, even though the soldier was fully armored and completely unharmed, and when the hospital appears about to explode they depart without any effort to stop it. But when their leader takes an unusually long time verifying that Martha is human, he insists on giving her "compensation" in the form of a small pamphlet she probably can't even read, and when the hospital doesn't blow up they send it back to Earth.
The Ancients of Stargate SG-1might be this trope after their ascension. Whenever we see living Ancients on this plane of existence, they are generally depicted as normal humans who were simply interested in science a lot, not the gigantic Jerkasses they are as ascended beings (see more on Neglectful Precursors).
The Goa'uld are certainly this, as being taken as a host is repeatedly used as a source of horror, but for the Goa'uld it is an essential and natural part of their biology. After all, would you want to spend your entire life swimming back and forth in a pond lacking opposable thumbs and sex organs?
The existence of the Tok'Ra, who act more like a symbiont than a parasite for their host, would point to the Goa'uld as falling under irredeemable and not this trope. It's also strongly implied that they (or at least the ones at the top) are totally batshit crazy due to overuse of the sarcophagi.
In "Learning Curve," SG-1 encounters a technologically-advanced planet where the human civilization implants nanites into certain children at infancy that records all information they learn. When they come of age, these nanites are removed and distributed to the rest of the population, transferring their knowledge while reducing the children to a largely infantile state. SG-1 is horrified to discover that the children are essentially "having their brains sucked out" but the other civilization seems to have no issue with this.
Cameron of The Sarah Connor Chronicles has a very simple morality system that revolves around protecting John Connor. If it protects him, she'll usually do it, unless he overrides her (most of the time). If it threatens John Connor, however, she destroys it without hesitation, and regardless of whether John or anyone else objects. That's pretty much the beginning and the end of her concept of morality.
Worth noting is early in the first season, Cameron guns down a FBI informant in front of Sarah for warning the FBI about the Connors, and Sarah slaps her in response, telling her never to do that again. Cameron's response is to stare at her in absolute but emotionless confusion; after all, Cameron just did everything right by her programming, but Sarah's telling her she did the wrong thing.
Another example of this occurs later, when Cameron uses a man on the run from the mob to get information on who the Turk prototype computer was sold to. She promises to help the man, but the moment she has the information, she simply walks away and lets the mob hitmen kill him. For a human character, this would be an act of cruelty that — depending on the character — could catapult them over the Moral Event Horizon, but for Cameron, the audience knows that her morality system is extremely alien compared to a human's, and thus the result isn't as severe; the audience is just reminded that Cameron is still a machine assassin and still coldly and brutally logical about her mission.
Present-day John and Sarah invented the 'stop Skynet' mission, so they're able to define how that mission operates, including setting limits on killing people who might interfere with that mission. (This is compared to the 'protect John' mission, which they cannot interfere with...Cameron will do anything to protect him, period, regardless of what he wants.) However, John never ordered her to not put people in danger or to help them escape danger, just to not kill them.
At one point, when John is surprised that a Terminator isn't cruel for cruelty's sake, Cameron points out to him that terminators aren't cruel. This applies to both Cameron herself and "evil" terminators in general, who, while utterly ruthless, don't inflict pain just for the sake of inflicting pain. While they are willing to torture humans (not usually for interrogation, but for other purposes, like hurting someone's loved ones to draw them out of hiding), the moment they determine that this will not achieve their goals they stop and utilize other tactics.
A sideplot in Babylon 5 episode "Geometry of Shadows" revolves around Ivanova trying to understand Drazi politics before the conflict between Purple and Green spirals out of control. Aside from colors, Purple and Green are wholly abstract concepts with no defining characteristics like ideology or regional identity. Drazi foreign policy is quite understandable by humans, though.
The Vorlons and Shadows initially appear to be Good Is Not Nice and Always Chaotic Evil, respectively. But really they're Lawful Blue and Chaotic Orange, essentially using the younger races as arguments in a million years-old philosophy debate on the nature of Order Versus Chaos.
The Borg in Star Trek: The Next Generation were a lot like this originally, before eventually being humanized by the addition of the Borg Queen in the movie First Contact.
Locutus: "Why do you resist? We only wish to raise the quality of life."
The entity Nagilum in the episode "Where Silence Has Lease" traps the Enterprise in a strange Negative Space Wedgie, kills a Redshirt, and decides to kill a good portion of the rest of the crew to fully explore the concept of death. It seems to truly have no idea that the crew might not be wild about this idea.
In one fanfic, there was a discussion of Q vs. Nagilum among the core cast—who would you rather deal with? The conclusion was Q, because in his own odd way he seemed to like humans in general and the "Enterprise" crew in particular, while Nagilum seemed to be indifferent to anything but the results of his experiments.
In the episode "Liaisons", had ambassadors from a race that lacked the concepts of antagonism, pleasure and love. One of them studied antagonism by being a jerk to Worf, one of them studied pleasure by pigging out, and one of them tried to learn about love by stranding Picard on a planet and taking the form of a human woman.
While Q is portrayed as being an adversary of humanity, he might embody this trope. In the episode "True Q", he even claims his race has the right to decide whether humans live or die because of their superior morality, a characterization with which Picard disagrees, to put it mildly.
Although Q is a particularly malicious member of his race. While the Q Continuum do fall under this Trope, Q himself is particularly sadistic and condescending compared to the others, and isn't the best comparison for how his species thinks (the Continuum once kicked him out and turned him into a human for being an embarrassment).
Malicious perhaps, though it's not hard to make the case that every time Q shows up (on TNG anyway), he does the human race a favor - even if it's a lesson or warning that costs lives. He really seems to like humanity, but is happy to make liking him back nearly impossible. Which makes him perfect for this page.
In the final episode he actually saved humanity indirectly by dropping hints about what the continuum was doing so that Picard could stop it. In an earlier episode where he was acting as their agent he admitted the Q as a whole considered humans a possible future threat.
In the extended canon novel Q&A it is revealed that Q's tests had a point all along... turning Q into a case of Values Dissonance. A race known as Them have returned to decide the fate of the entire universe. It turns out They created our universe (the Q included) and, like many others they created before ours, They are now going to destroy it... because They are no longer entertained by it. The Q knew all along and had essentially given up. Q, however, (yes that one) had tested countless races and decided on Humans, Picard in particular, to prove the worth of keeping our universe around. It works. Picard convinces Them to let the universe remain... by laughing at the absurdity of the situation. All along Q had been teaching Picard to have a sense of humor about things that were out of his control just so he would have exactly this reaction when the time came.
And then you begin to realize that the fans of Star Trek are essentially Them... what with the recent drastic decline in the franchise's popularity. EPIC!
In the episode "Allegiance," Picard is whisked away to a strange prison with three strangers and replaced by a doppelganger on the Enterprise. When he figures out the experiment he and the others have been unwittingly participating in, his captors (a group of previously unknown aliens) reveal themselves and return him to his ship. They explain that they sought to understand command structures, which do not exist in their culture. When Picard tells them that what they've done is wrong, they claim not to understand the "primitive" concept of morality. But it's clear, when Picard gives them a taste of their own medicine, that he doesn't entirely buy their alleged Blue And Orange Morality, and that maybe they're just assholes.
Another example is the Klingon concept of honor, which doesn't track exactly to any human honor system. For instance, hiding in a debris field to ambush anyone who comes to rescue survivors is considered perfectly honorable, and you can officially strip someone of honor for political reasons. Worf is unusual in that his honor is a code of behavior understandable by humans, more like a Knight Errant than anything, but it confuses the hell out of other Klingons.
Note that Worf's code of honor is TECHNICALLY the same as the other Klingons, the difference being that he stands by it while other Klingons often tend to interpret the 'honorable' thing as being 'the thing that gains them glory.' The other Klingons he encounters tend to believe that he will also do what serves himself first, then get surprised and offended when he declares that he will follow through with his promises and oaths.
Fridge brilliance to be found here: Worf was raised on a human colony (and later Earth). Even though he's well read in the facts of what constitute honourable and dishonourable acts for a Klingon, he has very little firsthand experience with the Klingon expression of it (where it's practically EXP), and instead expresses it like a human (a state of mind).
In the episode "Suddenly Human", the Enterprise crew discovers a human teenager amongst a group of stranded Talarian teenagers. They soon learn that he was the son of a Starfleet officer who died in a Talarian attack, the Talarian captain took him in as his son since according to Talarian tradition, he is allowed to claim the son of a slain enemy after he lost his own son in a Starfleet attack.
In The Original Series the non-humanoid Excalbian race provides another example; they view such concepts as "good" and "evil" as being so foreign that they decide to test them experimentally by staging a battle between representatives of the two.
In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine The episode "Captive Pursuit" was all about this trope. The first alien from the other side of the wormhole, who calls himself Tosk, makes friends with O'Brien and is revealed to be the prey of another species, and both that species and Tosk view the hunt involved to be ancient and honorable for all involved. Tosk even refuses asylum on DS9, even though he will be turned into a zoo exhibit for the rest of his days, the most dishonorable outcome of the hunt. O'Brien is especially troubled by this, and actually subverts the trope a bit by making a compromise between the two moralities: he frees Tosk so that he and his pursuers can have the hunt they desire, and so that Tosk has an opportunity to live the way he deems most honorable, all while allaying O'Brien's conscience about Tosk's fate.
An early episode of Star Trek: Enterprise had the crew being continually attacked by a mystery ship for no apparent reason. T'Pol points out that not every species out there necessarily behaves in a way that would make sense to humans. They never find out what the aliens' motivation was, but they did successfully test their new weapons on them.
A little more elaboration: the Addamses possess a clear taste for the grotesque and the macabre, and a distaste for the opposite. Their house is a sentient haunted house, they wear dark clothing, the children routinely torture each other for fun, and find monstrously hideous creatures to be adorable. On the flip-side, they react to cute and cheery things like songbirds, kittens and flowers to the point of physical revulsion. That said, they aren't really "evil", and in fact they're rather courteous (in a twisted sorta way) to outsiders, although they do consider us to be the strange ones.
Played for (ironic) horror in the sequel to The Movie, Addams Family Values(the title says it all, doesn't it?), when Gomez and Morticia's infant son contracts a disease that turns him from a pale-skinned, mustachioed mutant into a stereotypically cute, fully human baby with a healthy complexion and curly blond hair. Granny tells the parents that the condition might be incurable.
Granny: He could stay this way for years, perhaps forever...He could become a lawyer...An orthodontist...President.
[Gomez screams in anguish.]
The Munsters, meanwhile, possessed a similar mentality. However, there was a key difference: the Addams Family were humans who acted like monsters, whereas the Munsters, as their name suggests, were clearly inhuman, but acted like normal people. It made for an interesting contrast.
The Head Six and Head Baltar entities of Battlestar Galactica. Ron Moore says that their kind are the inspiration for stories of angels and stories of demons. It's not hard to believe.
Witness the huge discussion on the Headscratchers page for Angel over what Jasmine's hypothetical "alignment" was. Sure, she brings total peace and happiness to the world, but she eats people (but usually no more than one or two a day, far fewer than would be killed by wars and crimes her presence would prevent), and people have no choice but to love and adore her. Can any human definition of "good" or "evil" really describe her? (That was rhetorical, by the way)
Present in an early episode, "Bachelor Party", with a family of Ano-Movic. Ano-Movic demons are a very peaceful race — formerly a violent race of nomadic demons, they blended into Western Society and gave up their more gruesome traditions. On the flip side, not all of their old customs have been abandoned — the family seen in the episode are shown discussing the wedding plans just as easily as they discuss the ritualistic eating of the former spouse's brains. While this sounds gruesome, to the Ano-Movics, it is a gesture of love — their belief is that by eating the brains of the old spouse of their wedded-to-be prior to the wedding, the new spouse will incorporate all of the love and affection from the previous relationship into their new marriage.
Illyria demonstrates this to a large extent, and due to being in a human body she, partly against her will, starts to feel human emotions and assimilate human values. When Wesley betrays her she's perturbed at the fact that it bothers her, as "betrayal was a neutral word in my day. As unjudged a word as water or breeze". She spends quite a lot of time trying to figure out why mortals act as they do. She describes her world view quite well to Angel:
"I didn't give you a chance. That you learn when you become a King. You learn to destroy everything that isn't utterly yours. All that matters is victory. That's how your reign persists. You are a slave to an insane construct. You are moral. A true ruler is as moral as a hurricane, empty but for the force of his gale. But you; trapped in the web of the Wolf, the Ram, the Hart. So much power here! And you quibble at its price. If you want to win a war, you must serve no master but your own ambition."
The Observers from Mystery Science Theater 3000 get a little of this, being brains in pans who have evolved beyond the need for physical bodies (even if their brains still need to be carried around by their former bodies). Though in truth it seems more like they're just jerks who pretend like they have their own moral code to justify being jerks. Brain Guy himself explains why he serves as a medic rather than a combatant during a battle as follows.
"My species is a race of pacifists, we only believe in killing out of personal spite."
The Plokavians in Farscape. Because they all have a perfectly Photographic Memory, they consider subjectivity and personal colouring of experiences to be alien concepts; so, when each of Moya's crew gives a slightly different testimony of the destruction of a Plokavian merchant ship by Talyn, the judges accuse them of lying. Eventually, Crichton manages to placate them (for a time) by claiming that they were lying in defence of each other, a concept that the judges are more familiar with.
Gosei Knight in Tensou Sentai Goseiger believes in protecting the Earth, much as the Gosei Angels do. However, their definition extends to all life forms on it, whereas his definition applies strictly to the Earth itself.
The Observers from Fringe. It's almost certain that they have some system of logic and morality guiding their decisions, but since they basically exist outside of time and their perspective on events is almost as impossible to understand as their writing, working out what's going on in their pale and hairless heads is...well, something nobody human has managed to do with complete accuracy yet.
It has been shown that they feel morally obligated to "repair" the timeline when they inadvertently prevent a foreseen event from occurring.
Although it remains to be seen whether that's a moral obligation or if they're just doing their job.
Their driving motivations so far appear to be ensuring that events happen as they were meant to happen, and "important" people are kept safe.
That's the Observer science team. The ones known in season 5 as the Invaders are primarily concerned with preserving their own Vichy Earth.
In The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon Cooper has a mindset that cannot be easily understood by other people. Usually people around him consider him as mean and selfish, but when Penny ran out of money and asked him for help, Sheldon took out his savings and wanted to lend her much more than she would have thought about. Chances are that Sheldon is not really selfish, but he has a different standard of "good" behavior.
Sheldon has a "this is fact" and "this is not fact" mindset. Usually, the way he sees things, "it is a fact" that he is intellectually superior, therefore deserving of more praise and acknowledgement. Similarly, upon seeing Penny in financial hardship, he recognised the fact that he had more money than he needed, whereas Penny needed more money than she had, and therefore the right thing to do was lend her money.
The show seems to implicitly recognize that Sheldon is not just a crazy person, and that there is some alien logic behind his actions. It gets a rather appropiate Lampshade Hanging by Leonard in a chapter of the fifth season:
Sheldon: You are my best friend Leonard. Why don't you ever take my side? Leonard: Because I never understand your side!
It's been shown that his friends have learned, at least to some degree, how to phrase things so he will understand. For instance, Sheldon didn't understand why he should buy Leonard a birthday present until the others told Penny to tell him it was a "non-optional social convention." Once it was couched in those terms, Sheldon fully understood the necessity and had no problem with the idea.
Sometimes discussed in Supernatural. Because of the nature of their work, Sam and Dean occasionally run into Pagan gods and monsters who see nothing wrong in killing and eating people in order to survive.
Also, there are more than a few moments where it's abundantly clear that Castiel is operating from a very different moral framework to the Winchesters, which is arguably the biggest source of tension between himself and Dean throughout the series.
Damon might have this; he's a vampire, the natural predator of humanity, and thus can be severely out of step with what Elena and co. consider acceptable behavior. Perhaps most notably, when Elena asked him to remove Jeremy's memory of Vicki's death and when he... went overboard, so to speak, he genuinely did not see why she was upset.
It's also been stated outright several times that vampires can "turn off" their humanity, like a switch: freeing them from negative or connective emotions like fear, love, or guilt. This explains a lot. Stefan leaves his humanity "on" all the time, Isobel leaves hers completely off most of the time. Damon's humanity is "off" at the start of the series, but he's turned it "on" somewhere around the end of Season 1. It is stated by 500-year-old Rose, however, that the ability to shut off their emotions fades with age.
In Teen Wolf, Derek was born a werewolf, raised in a family of werewolves, and always does things the werewolf way. Unfortunately, this doesn't always align with anyone else's ideas of good and evil.
This tends to happen with religions, both ancient and modern (not naming any names), between one another and internally. When someone gets perplexed by the seeming arbitrariness and contradiction of the dogma, the official answer tends to be that god(s) are incomprehensible and the problem is on your end. The best we can do is obey their inscrutable commands and hope for the best. This also comes up in response to the common question of why, in an ordered universe, bad things happen to good people. Many philosophies and religions recognize that the needs of an individual and the needs of the universe at large simply won't mesh up, and a transcendent being is probably only interested in the latter. So while it might look like your god/gods/spirits are cruel bastards for killing your family with that flood, a believer needs to remember that from a divine standpoint it was probably the right thing to do (e.g. the flood was a necessary evil, or death isn't actually bad, etc.).
The Old World of Darkness features a detailed description of a great many moralities of vampires in a supplement named Chaining The Beast. One believes that suffering is good and if you deprive someone of it you might as well kill them because they won't be strong enough to face life. Another believes that everything must change or die and thus encouraging change is the only good thing you can do.
Worth noting: most characters (including non-vampires) in Vampire: The Masquerade have three Virtues — Conscience, Self-Control and Courage. On the alternate paths of Morality, vampires often switch out Conscience and Self-Control with Conviction and Instinct. Not only do they no longer see virtue in human terms, they don't see it in other supernaturals' terms. (Old world mechanics were not designed to work across venues.)
These paths are a favorite of the Sabbat (who believe they are better than humanity, and deserve to rule over them) and the Independent clans. Such alternate paths include the Path of Night (favored by the Lasombra), which penalizes them for not killing someone if it would make them look merciful; the Path of Metamorphosis (favored by the Tzimisce), which focuses on understanding change in the most disgusting ways possible; the Path of Paradox (favored by the Ravnos), which upholds causing chaos and breaking mortal laws as virtues; and the Path of Lilith, which teaches that wisdom comes through suffering, so suffering must be good (in moderation of course).
In Dark Ages: Vampire, there are five major Roads of vampiric morality: the Road of the Beast, the Road of Heaven, the Road of Humanity, the Road of Kings, and the Road of Sin. All of them, being ways to keep the Beast in check, differ from human expectations - even Humanity, which expects you to be a better human than some actual humans.
Mage: The Ascension makes this a part of the mechanics (such as they are) of the game's magic system. For example: Playing a Euthanatos mage might mean that you need to kill a bunch of people at certain times and certain places in order to keep the world balanced and working properly. As a Cultist of Ecstasy, you might need to do a lot of drugs and sleep with a lot of people in order to transcend your limitations. Even if you're not playing a stereotype of the Traditions, your Avatar might have a wholly different outlook on the world from its host and may not work properly for the mage unless he/she brings his/her perspective more in line with the Avatar's.
Vampires replace it with Humanity, perhaps the closest analogue to human morality among supernaturals, only adding soul-eating and Mind Rape to the list of sins.
Werewolves on the other hand have Harmony, how in tune they are with themselves. Since they're half spirit and part wolf, killing and eating humans is no longer so low on the sin totem pole.
Sin-Eaters have Synergy, measuring how in tune the Sin-Eater is with their geist, and with the balance between life and death. Deliberate killing is absolutely no problem for a Sin-Eater, emblematic of 'clean' death, but serial killing and mass murder are seriously disruptive, emblematic of 'unclean' death, while any means of attempting to resuscitate a dying person plays havoc with the balance of life and death. And attempted suicide will piss your geist right off.
Mages have Wisdom, which doesn't so much replace the human one as add various degrees of misuse and abuse of magic to the list. It's still blue-and-orange in a subtle way: Mages can't regain high Wisdom rating just by acting altruistically, they must spend experience points to do so, because their souls are no longer the same as the Sleeping humanity and their will out of sync with the universe.
Mummies have Memory, which measures how much of their original identity they've regained. Like Wisdom, it adds misdeeds to the standard list, generally concerning the loss or destruction of the relics mummies are tasked with safeguarding, the destruction of their past, and failing to preserve and strengthen their identity. Also like Wisdom, they must spend experience points to regain higher levels of Memory (they even have a special experience pool for acts that help restore it). The regaining of identity being an important part of the game, mummies start off at a very low level compared to the other supernaturals...
Changelings have Clarity, a dual measure of morality and mental stability. Becoming part Fair Folk after their ordeal, they don't so much have inhuman morality but develop a vulnerability to perception changes which can cause them to degenerate as badly (or worse) than some sins. A week without human contact is just as morally/mentally damaging as Grand Theft, for example. If they drop low enough they go fully into Blue And Orange Morality by becoming a True Fae.
Their captors, the True Fae, are most definitely this. They come from a world of utter chaos where everyone must strike their own stake to avoid fading into oblivion; ergo, their lives are consumed by conflict and the eternal struggle for more glory. They adopt emotions as passing fancies, but don't understand them; the book cites a True Fae falling in love with a changeling, only to snap his neck when he hesitates to pass the salt and recalling the burbling of a brook in summer when it hears the changeling's dying gurgles. Mind you, this is NICE for a True Fae. You really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really don't want to know what "Nasty" is. Oh, and if they ever try to understand humanity, they lose most of their power and pretty much all of their memories of Faerie.
Hunters can inflict this on themselves with the optional rules for setting up a hunter's code. One provided example ends up with a personal duty to kill every mage she meets, lest she suffer the same psychological effect as accidentally murdering someone.
Prometheans round it out by having a nearly identical morality scale to humans... if they raise it that high. Being homunculi they start out with or can develop some very weird thought processes. Considering their goal is to become human, it's understandable.
In the fanlines, Geniuses have Obligation, which is more along the lines of how in-tune they are with the rest of humanity. The lower it dips, or the more powerful the Genius gets, the more likely they are to drift toward Blue And Orange Morality. When that happens, they tend to start viewing people more as collections of spare parts.
For The God-Machine Chronicle, the Morality system was overhauled, going from a Karma Meter to a Sanity Meter. The Morality trait was renamed Integrity, and the list of sins was removed; it now handles how well ordinary people deal with events they can't rationalize or cope with.
In Exalted, The Fair Folk fall into this; at base, the unshaped (and many shaped) raksha simply have trouble comprehending that anyone else is a separate being that might not care about their agenda, and they don't see why humans are so afraid of the chaotic madness of the Wyld. Those who do comprehend humanity still tend to subscribe to alien (read: soul-eatingly dangerous) morality, but there are exceptions.Graceful Wicked Masques puts it best:
All other characters in the Exalted setting are unique beings with their own unique Motivations, personalities and memories. A raksha is not a being like that — not really. Instead, a raksha is actually an incoherent and incomprehensible mass of seething chaos that — for some impenetrable reason of its own — pretends to be a unique being with its Motivation, personality and memories. The first step in understanding and creating a raksha character is to understand that everything about that character is a deception engineered to facilitate an interaction between a shaped being of Creation and an entity so far removed from Creation as to be utterly beyond mortal comprehension.
A similar deal goes with many of the Primordials. They are, at their very core, pure, undefiled concepts, which means they have trouble understanding anything outside their purview. She Who Lives in Her Name honestly thinks everyone would be better as mindless pieces in a hierarchical machine, the Ebon Dragon can't understand why anyone would do something that doesn't hurt someone else (unless, of course, they're setting up for the inevitable betrayal), and Autochthon views innate progress and innovation as totally awesomesauce but can't possibly foresee the consequences. Adorjan has a particularly impressive case, since she's redefined her Compassion so that killing someone in an agonisingly painful fashion is, to her, a compassionate act because they're so quiet afterwards and silence is the greatest gift.
Nobilisthrives on this trope, particularly in the sidebar "microfiction" vignettes. While the Nobles have an ultimately good goal (they want to save the universe), some want to destroy humanity as well. The Nobilis, even the more traditional "good guy" types, see things in an entirely different way than you or me. They are, after all, basically living personifications of concepts.
And then there are the Excrucians, who have a morality that freaks out the Nobilis. Yipe.
In Kult, reality itself is an illusion, and the true reality behind it is very different. Any character who knows anything about the truth and acts on this knowledge rather then just playing normal will be perceived as insane at best. One basic rule is that you need to achieve as extreme a mental balance as possible in order to break free from the illusion. A normal person has a mental balance of zero, the weakest and most vulnerable position possible. Thus, helping people with negative mental balance climbing back up to zero is actually doing them a disfavor, unless you can keep pushing them upwards to high levels of positive mental balance. This means that it's usually a bad thing to heal a trauma or cure a mental disorder. It also means that any person with negative mental balance (or positive balance very close to zero) potentially has a lot to gain from getting tortured, raped, or even murdered. Positive mental balance is even more alien, although much neater.
Actually trauma works by doing a skill roll agianst a character's Ego attribute. If a person has high enough Ego, they will never be effected by trauma as well as people over a +15 mental balance who will only get a dice penalty from trauma and people with +30 who get to redo the sanity roll.
Some source material from Paranoia suggests that Friend Computer works on this system. Either that, or its goals are just really screwy. No one can be quite sure, and trying to be is treason.
Da Orks were created by long-dead Precursors as Living Weapons, and so enthusiastically wageWAAAGH!!! on anyone they encounter, or failing that, other Orks. They don't understand morality; for Orks the only limits are what their boss lets them get away with. Orks don't understand friendship, but some have "favourite enemies". And they don't understand that other races might prefer not to fight; why would you build a big killy fortress in the first place if you weren't hoping that someone would come along and attack it? Endless war for the sake of war is all the Orks know how to do. This mentality is in part due to them being genetically engineered for war, and because they were literally late to the party when the Nightbringer hammered the fear of death into all other sapient species.
To most races including humans, decapitating a defeated enemy, sticking the head onto the end of a sharpened stake and wearing it on your back into battles is desecration of the dead and an act of supreme barbarity. To an Ork, doing this is a mark of respect to the defeated opponent.
The Tau qualify due to their devotion to the Greater Good. The Ciaphas Cain novel For The Emperor spends a bit of time on this, stating that any action that goes contrary to the Greater Good is detested almost to a physical reaction, and Tau literally can't understand why others would willfully refuse to follow it. Also, several Tau belief systems are contrary to the Imperium's: Tau have little to no individuality, view personal ambition to be the greatest of sins, and consider Last Stands to be foolish rather than heroic.
The Dark Eldar as well, when they aren't outright evil. They see absolutely nothing wrong with brutally torturing, raping and killing people for their gratification. They greatly enjoy being tortured themselves, but they think being bored in a locked room with nothing to do is a Fate Worse than Death. For this reason, Dark Eldar are often punished by being forced into Commorragh's factories and slave pits, where they find little to stimulate them. Also, as Andy Chambers' Path of the Dark Eldar series shows, they have a sense of personal honour, if a very perverse and twisted one, and even then, it doesn't apply to anyone who isn't an Eldar.
All of the Chaos gods fall into this. They do what they do because they are made from that thing, and exist to propagate the ideology that they feed on. While they're the 'verse's Ultimate Evils, the fact that they're also fed by positive emotions such as honor or hope adds some twisted nuance.
Khorne offers his followers incredible strength and determination, asking for nothing more than spilt blood and skulls offered in his name; from your enemies, from your friends, from you, he's not picky. That said, Khorne also has a martial code of sorts, and despises cowards who flee from battle or who use magic to win. In some accounts he even rejects bloody offerings made from defenseless noncombatants, or favors those who kill with melee weapons over those who use heavy ordnance.
Tzeentch is often praised as the lord of all Magnificent Bastards and greatest Chessmaster in existence, but this is a misconception. Tzeentch has no great end goal, and doesn't particularly care if his plans succeed or fail; as an incarnation of ambition and change, were he ever to win, there would be nothing to scheme against. To this end, Tzeentch deliberately sets up his plots to crash into each other, and while he's willing to grant his followers a portion of his arcane might and intellect, he's just as likely to bless them with a mutation or two. Or twenty.
Nurgle loves life, and wants to cram as much of it into the universe as he can; unfortunately this includes bacteria, viruses, and diseases. His idea of affection is to bless you with some horrible affliction, and considers your misery a form of gratitude. Nurgle is the Chaos God of Despair, yet the most fatherly or avuncular of the Dark Gods, since his followers are so resigned to their gruesome fate that they develop a sense of morbid good humor about their rotting flesh and disease-bloated bodies.
Slaanesh's motivations can be seen as a devotion to sensation, and devotion to devotion itself. His/her followers are granted all the pleasure and excess they desire, be it music, women, food, whatever. Unfortunately a mortal body can only take so much of this, so that Slaanesh's followers eventually become burnt-out husks of men and women forced to partake in increasingly exotic and extreme diversions to titillate their jaded senses. They also think that they should offer excess to everyone else, and that is nota goodthing.
The Fair Folk in Halt Evil Doer for Mutants & Masterminds. Convention has it that the Lords of Winter are the "bad guys" and the Lords of Summer the "good guys". Word Of God is that convention is completely wrong — it's just that the Lords of Summer happen to be the Anthropomorphic Personification of happy dreams and the Lords of Winter of nightmares. But that doesn't mean the Lords of Summer care about humans, or the Lords of Winter are actively malevolent. (However the current leader of the Lords of Winter is a human villain who is a straight-up bad guy.)
The aurads, in the third-party D&D 3e setting Oathbound, "can accept betrayal if it is explained eloquently, but might take issue at an excellent gift presented without proper ceremony."
In the Dungeons & DragonsMystara campaign setting, the Immortal (D&D's functional equivalent of AD&D's gods) Nyx was definitely this. All the other Immortals of Entropy were just straightforwardly evil. Nyx, on the other hand, loved every living thing in the universe as if they were her own children. It's just that she believed that living things were children who ought to be helped to mature into undead. She wanted to transform the world into one in which the undead would dominate the living. She wasn't evil in the sense of wanting to harm anyone; she genuinely believed that the world would be a better place if more people became vampires, liches, ghosts, or what have you, and if those undead beings ruled the world.
In the tabletop game Mystic Empyrean every player is an Eidolon who is defined by a Creed. This creed is a set of 3 rules that the Eidolon swears to uphold at the cost of their very existence, and when they break any of them, their very soul starts to fall apart. Then there are traits, which are basically facets of an Eidolon's personality given form. In the game, the players have to roleplay these traits to improve them, and as they 'level up' to more and more intense levels, the players are expected to roleplay them more and more. For example, the trait "Weapon For the Strong" is connected to Obedience. An eidolon with this trait starts off being able to change into mundane weapons, but has to obey the one they recognize as their master, later on they get into tank sized and equivalent powered weapons, and can even operate a single function of themselves (like drive the tank or shoot the cannon), but have to obey anybody they see as having legitimate authority over them. At the final levels, they can become city and even world destroying space ships, mechs, and legendary weapons of colossal magical power, and can even act independently, but they cannot act at all unless given an order to do so. This obviously gives many Eidolons some very strange morality systems when you combine traits and creeds.
The Champions scenario book The Sands of Time plays with but ultimately averts this trope. Renewal and the Right Hand follow moral principles a little different to those of most heroes, but they are ultimately on the same side. Conversely, Belragor comes from very far outside most PCs' frame of reference, and his allies and followers are frequently just plain weird, and few of them define what they do as "evil", but ultimately his motives are all about uncomplicated greed and ambition.
The Daelkyr from the Eberron setting pretty much run on this. They invaded the mortal world several thousand years ago for some reason, wreaked a massive amount of havoc for little apparent benefit, and nobody really understands a thing they've done since. Word Of God from setting creator Keith Baker indicates that this is what makes them so frightening and worthy of a place among the setting's top supernatural threats- sure, the Overlords of the Age of Demons are much more powerful, and the quori of the Dreaming Dark are more cunning, better organized, and have more influence, but nobody truly understands the Daelkyr or can predict their next movenote Of course, Word Of God also indicates that their motivation is being an entire race of Mad Artists who destroy worlds as a form of bizarre creative expression, which may make them more or less comprehensible.
There's a play called Blue/Orange that deals with this people of this sort of morality, although the name ostensibly comes from a mental disorder one of the characters has that causes him to, among other things, see the insides of oranges as blue. Not the outside, nothing else orange, just the insides.
It is possible for the player to be this in any game that includes a morality system, if the player makes choices based on a line of reasoning besides good or evil. Of course, many games punish you for not being either all the way good or evil (for example, Infamous), or puts you in in the middle path.
The Reapers of Mass Effect claim to have good reasons for annihilating all advanced species in the galaxy on a regular basis. In Mass Effect 3, they claim their cyclical process of destruction is a form of salvation and protection. Their primary directive is to prevent a technological singularity that will, they believe, cause synthetically created life to completely destroy organic life forever. To prevent this, they direct technological development at a pace they deem acceptable and then "reap" major civilizations at a specific point of development, around the invention of intergalactic travel and true artificial intelligence. Those civilisations who haven't reached this point by the time the Reapers arrive are left alone. The ones that have become new Reapers themselves, their knowledge and genetic material preserved. Any other sentient life, organic or synthetic, is obliterated. The Reapers retreat, and the Cycle begins again. The Cycles finally cease when a new way to "preserve" organic life is found, the form of which depends upon Shepard.
The Asari Justicars have their own extremely strict moral code that determines their every action. Though they fight what they perceive as crime and injustice, their code has no affiliation with and often contradicts Citadel law. Samara's recruitment mission in Mass Effect 2 and her appearance in Mass Effect 3(in which she is obligated by a Justicar Code technicality to kill her daughter, but instead chooses suicide, further complicating her morality) make these disparities clear.
Akuma in Street Fighter is often portrayed as being a dark, evil being, but he's really just got his own morality: if you best someone in a fair competition it's only honorable to give them death. He doesn't kill people like Dan who pose no threat to him, for instance.
He just flat-out kills M. Bison (or Vega, if you insist on the Japanese names) without a fight, because according to Akuma/Gouki's moral standards, he is as pure an evil as you can get. Trying to claim false power without actually working for it, falsely claiming to possess power you don't have, murdering people in cold blood without giving them the opportunity for a fair fight — all "sins" in Akuma's eyes, and the fact that Bison possessed all of them meant that he simply had to die, rules of fair combat be damned. The fact that Bison was also pure evil and deserving of death by the standards of normal people was just a happy coincidence.
There's also the alternate theory that it was actually a big fight, but it was skipped over for the sake of the game.
He also refuses to kill Gen after defeating him in a battle, because he has a terminal illness and wants to die in a battle. Apparently in Akuma's view, that made it an "impure" fight and thus Gen does not deserve to be killed. Even more interestingly, the exact opposite happens in the comic, where he purposely kills Gen, precisely for the above reasons, as a Mercy Kill.
In Knights of the Old Republic, Mira has a very strange moral code. Apparently it is wrong to kill without good reason, but the best way of dealing with men is to knock them out, slap some stun cuffs on them, starve them for a few days so they're more open to suggestion, and double check to see if they have any bounty on them. This line of thought is hinted at earlier when she drugs you and locks you up but only after she tells you that you have a bounty on your head. (However, this is done regardless of your gender.) And she have actually been kidding.
In the MMO the light side/ dark side morality system can be this to the non-Jedi classes. If you play your character as motivated by anything but good for good's sake or evil for evil's sake (a soldier zealously dedicated to her duty or a Proud Warrior Race Guy bounty hunter for example) the alignment changes appear completely random.
Morgfyre of Lusternia was a Warrior God before he began devouring other Gods and numerous EldritchAbominations. Unable to subsume their personalities beneath his own, he instead adopted them - becoming a gestalt entity, able to think with many different minds and speak with many different voices. Consequently his train of thought can be difficult for other Gods to follow, let alone mortals.
Depending on the writers, the Daedra of The Elder Scrolls can be beyond human comprehension, ambivalently moral, or just plain evil. Some invididual Daedra have both good and bad aspects, such as Sheogorath, the Daedric God of Madness, Creativity and Artistry. Others are like Molag Bal, who is called the King of Rape for a reason. In fact, most of the Daedric Princes have good and bad aspects, or at least aspects that are not inherently evil from a mortal perspective. It's just that some (Mehrunes Dagon) tend to favour their bad aspects when they show up, while others (Azura) more commonly show a good side.
Alduin's role as the Big Bad could fall under this. His goal is to end the world, which most mortals see as a bad thing. The Greybeards just see it as fulfilling his duty as the World-Eater.
Every character in Zeno Clash exhibits this to some degree. The Corwids more so than most.
None of the various factions in Thief are aiming for "good" or "evil" in the traditional sense. Every one of them has a different idea of what those words mean. The Pagans believe in pleasing their chaotic god, the Trickster; they plant growing things and encourage wildness and semi-feral, uncontrolled nature at its most unspoiled. Their magic uses weird sing-song chanting, blood, bone and herbs. The Hammerites work to please their creator god, the Builder; they enforce order and venerate works of the hands and the forge, bending wood and breaking stone for tools to build over and bind natural chaos to human dominion. Their magic is very Catholic-flavored, using holy water, prayer, symbols and ritualised masses. The Mechanists are an extremist offshoot of the Hammerites who won't even use wood in their construction, seeing it as heretical. Wood must be burnt to fuel works of stone and metal; all organic things are flawed and must be broken down. Finally, there are the Keepers, who have taken upon themselves to ensure that neither the Pagans nor the Hammers gain the upper hand, because (of course) the Pagans and the Hammers are in constant warfare. But even the Keepers aren't quite traditional - they have such a strict policy of non-interference, secrecy and heavily controlled knowledge that very few non-Keepers are aware they actually exist.
Wilhelm from Xenosaga exists solely to prevent the destruction of the Lower Domain. He does not care for how many lives he must manipulate, ruin and destroy to achieve this goal.
Touhou gives us Yukari Yakumo who, in addition to being super intelligent, has her own brand of logic that nobody really understands. Most of her conversations in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody are excellent examples of this.
Gensoukyou as a whole is an example of this trope, with things such as vastly extended lifespans and entirely non-lethal combat creating different standards of morality. It is completely insane to us to go out and beat people senseless because they aren't human or mess with everyone's lives because you were bored, but not to them.
Also worth noting is that youkai of various species and ethnicity are the majority population in Gensokyo, so things like eating humans (or other youkai) are not at all unheard of, and there have apparently been agreements on which humans are permissible to attack and eat (mainly humans who aren't in an established safe place at night).
Utsuho Reiuji. She's a hell raven, which means that her natural habitat is something that is hotter and more radioactive than sun. When she somehow inherits the power of a dead sun-god, she decides that the world should be an ever-burning nuclear wasteland. Why not? It's what passes as ideal for her! Too bad most people (In-Universe and out of it) only see her as a genocidal crow.
Kazami Yuuka. Generally, she is peaceful and polite. If she is disturbed in any way, she is consistently recognized as one of the most dangerous beings in Gensokyo. The problem is figuring out what disturbs her. Abusing flowers: death. Running a flower shop, where they are cut up, arranged with other cut flowers and left to die: perfectly okay. If you are weak and don't disturb her, she'll ignore you as not worth her time; antagonize her, and she kills you. If you are strong and disturb her, she happily challenges you to a formal but non-lethal duel. When accused of being behind an incident, she makes no claims to be innocent, even though she is, and in fact actively goads the accuser into a fight. If PC-98 depictions are still considered canon, she invades the underworld, tells the Satan equivalent she did it because she was bored, and says that genocide is just a game, whether it's humans or demons. Debate rages whether she actually believes that or just said it to piss Shinki off. Her answer would probably be yes.
Chrono Trigger DS's ending suggests that Schala is the reason Time Devourer desires to destroy everything, which makes it even more complicated since we can't know which part of Time Devourers' actions come from Schala and which from Lavos.
Several of the alien races in Star Control 2 have, well, alien outlooks on things:
The Orz are friendly enough with most anyone they meet, if near impossible to understand because their language is so bizarre. They seem happy to form alliances and aid in battle. They also get angry (or *frumple*, as they put it) enough to start a war if anyone talks about the Androsynth, for reasons unknown. A prominent but unproven theory is that they wiped out the Androsynth, again for reasons unknown. Then there's the fact that nobody really knows what they mean by *connecting*, *parties*, or *enjoying the sauce*. There are many hints in the story that these seemingly innocuous terms mask a sinister meaning, but that's all they are - hints. It's impossible to say for certain. They themselves seem to fall victim to this trope: when they greet the player in deep space, they state that they don't understand why *campers* (aka us) always say "hello" when they meet each other, but they do know this makes *campers* happy, so they do it too. One of the theories surrounding the Orz is that they appear like individuals to us, but are in fact a single organism existing outside our universe, alone in its own dimension. This is why the Orz creatures you meet tend to call themselves "fingers", protruding into our space from *Outside*. Orz probably doesn't understand the concept of separate individuals living in the same universe, which would lead it to assume that all the creatures it meets in our universe are just fingers of another being. Therefore, to Orz it would appear as though it has met someone whose fingers keep talking to each other, which is very odd, but they may as well play along.
"You are a *silly* *camper*. Orz is not *many bubbles*, Orz is one with many *fingers*."
This is actually reversed with the Xchaggers from Star Control 3: you meet a creature who looks like a bug with many eyes and claws, but when you talk to it you realize that it is not an individual at all but in fact a colony of billions of individuals operating together. The Xchaggers compare their workings to your own brain consisting of nerve cells, none of which by themselves are intelligent, but can function together to produce a thinking mind. Just add to that each cell having an individual personality.
The Mycon, fungal creatures with gestalt consciousness, have a unique logical operation. This stems from the fact that each Mycon shares the identity and memories of each of its ancestors. As a result, their agendas seem to span thousands or even tens-of-thousands of years, and thus their motives for any action are nigh unfathomable. At one point, if the Captain helps them locate a new world to Colony Drop, they offer to implant Mycon spores in his head to remove his individuality and make him one of them. They honestly seem to think this would be desirable. This is colored a bit by the fact that the Mycon truly are just outright insane - biological terraformers produced by the Precursors whose programming has become corrupted into a bizarre religion. This was in the dubiously canonical Star Control 3, but later Word Of God confirmed that this was what the series creators intended.
The Thraddash are some combination of Blue And Orange Morality and Too Dumb to Live. When you meet them thay are on their nineteenth attempt at having a civilization, having nuked themselves back to the stone age eighteen times before. They revel in combat (which would make them Proud Warrior Race Guys), but are lousy at it. They attack you without provocation, but will listen to your advice and attack much more powerful races (and be annihilated) if you beat them enough times and suggest it. They worship a piece of Precursor garbage as a sacred artifact. And if you manage to impress them, you can convince them to start a new society based around imitating classic comedians like The Three Stooges.
One of their attempts at civilization focused on criticising the cyclic life of the Thraddash, pointing out that they kept nuking themselves back to the stone-age, and maybe that wasn't such a good idea. They were (to the Thraddash) disproved by their own fall only nuking the Thraddash back to the Iron Age. Bronze age, at worst. This has gotten to the point where the Thraddash have no idea how else to make a societal change, and when the Ur-Quan conquered them, the Thraddash decided that a change was necessary... thus starting a nuclear war. The Ur-Quan took away all their nukes and gave them a warning. Not to be dissuaded, the Thraddash used chemical and biological warfare to the same effect. The Ur-Quan sternly told them that any further attempts at "cultural improvement" would be halted by the abrupt and total obliteration of the Thraddash, which finally made them behave.
The Umgah behaviour seems to be directed mainly towards gaining entertainment. They deceived the Ur-Quan into thinking the Spathi (the self-proclaimed coward species) wanted to become a Battle Thrall. Why? Because they found it amusing to force such overt cowards into combat! Then they sent subspace messages to the Chaotic Evil Ilwrathi pretending to be their gods, and goaded them to fight who they thought would be a fun foe. When you meet the Umgah in Star Control 2, they are initially all under telepathic control by a single mentally powerful creature. When you free them from that, they praise you as their hero, and hand over a few of their battleships to your fleet. Then they decide during the same conversation that you being their great hero is boring, and having you as their great enemy is much more exciting! And then they attack you.
The Qunari of Dragon Age: Origins. On the surface, they're just a Proud Warrior Race with a proactive magic phobia (considering the way magic works, that's actually a smart mindset), but the more you talk to Sten, the more they start to evoke this trope. According to Sten (the only Qunari we interact with in the main game), your career is as much a part of you as your skin color or gender. Their occupation is given at birth, the same as their soul or consciousness (there's some evidence that they may view all three as one and the same). The Qun (qunari religion) is built around the idea that you have only one important choice: you can choose to play your role, or die. They don't see this as a contradiction — as far as they're concerned, merely existing proves that you choose to live, and to live is to follow your role. In camp, Sten spends most of his time talking to your war dog, since he can relate to him best - the dog, after all, has a role which he performs admirably, and never questions or seems to desire any other. To Sten he may well be the least alien of your party due to this fact. To the Qunari, even your gender defines what you can and can't do. The word warrior is synonymous with male, while the word manager is synonymous with female. They simply don't understand the concept of a woman who fights. This can lead to Sten deciding a female PC is not in fact, a woman. "I don't understand. You look like a woman." For extra intrigue, when most members of your party will oppose some of your decisions because they have ethical or practical objections, Sten will protest because you are stepping outside of your role as a Grey Warden, which is to end the Blight and nothing else.
In Dragon Age II more insight into the Qun is gained as people actively try to push the Qunari too far in order to spark a conflict. Eventually, The Arishok becomes so sick of what he sees as the lack of morals and principles that he feels define organisms that he starts a war.
Hawke: I see a man willing to start a war on principle.
It doesn't help that they often refuse to talk about their beliefs, thus perpetuating the ignorance. And then take violent actions that more often than not make no moral or ethical sense to anyone but themselves. As far as they're concerned, it's either all self-evident, or it is not their role to explain it to you, and therefore they cannot. Talking about it to them just proves to them that you don't get it. They don't care what your race is, though. Anyone who freely chooses to follow the Qun is considered one of their own and will be treated as such. Even if those who chose to follow the Qun are merely doing it to get their Qunari's protection.
A different example of this is Anders, who is possessed by the Spirit of Justice, now transformed into a Demon of Vengeance due to Anders' hatred of the circumstances that resulted in the creation of the Circles and the oppression of mages. Justice/Vengeance isn't human, but rather a spiritual entity devoted entirely to that concept, and he and Anders are so integrated that Anders isn't sure where his mind ends and Vengeance begins any more. As the game progresses, Anders becomes more and more unreasonable and dogmatic to the point where it becomes questionable whether or not Anders is being driven by human morality at all.
And Justice counts before his corruption into Vengeance. He/it is not a human but a spirit who personifies a single concept - justice - and therefore doesn't adhere to the same morality as mortals. He can only think and see within the constraints of what is just (in Awakening, he believes Anders is enslaving his pet cat). The same can apply to all spirits/demons, who latch onto a single facet of human emotion to anchor themselves in the chaos of the Fade; it's theorised in the game that spirits who enter the human world are almost always hostile because they don't understand how to cope with a world that isn't constantly in flux, and therefore constantly lash out in fear or confusion or find a mortal host so they can forcibly gain the understanding.
In World of Warcraft, a great number of forces simply see mortals as plants in the Titans' garden, to be pulled or fertilized as the situation warrants.
Algalon the Observer rightfully sees that the Old Gods haven't been properly contained and has decided to "re-originate" the planet.
A common interpretation of the war between the Blue and Red dragonflights is that neither is good or evil, the former is simply trying to do its job (guarding magic) by killing all mortal magicians, and the latter is just trying to do its job (guarding life) by saving them.** To provide more insight into this in Warcraft lore magic is responsible for (or aided in allowing) numerous bad things to occur, like an Orc invasion, the Orc homeworld blowing up, a Demon invasion, a Zombie invasion and more notable the Sundering that tore apart and created the various land masses of Azeroth.
Elementals are like this quite often, as they are considered purely chaotic. One water elemental, Duke Hydraxis, notes that he does not understand the human concept of gratitude or giving rewards, but in accordance with it, gives you a special item as a reward for a (now removed) quest.
In the fourth expansion, we have the Mantid, whose entire society/cultural system is based on the cycle of the swarm. Every 100 years or so, their young hatch in incredible numbers and then swarm toward the rest of Pandaria, devouring anything in their path. The Mogu, got Genre Savvy on this and built(using slave labor) the Serpent's Spine, a Great Wall of china expy, to better defend Pandaria from these periodical attacks. Still Mantid assaults on the Serpent's Spine see the genocidal war between mantid and defenders (first Mogu, then after their revolution Pandarens took that role), which inflict heavy casualties on the defenders before being forced to retreat for arguably taking several times those losses on their own forces. Mantids who survive this make their way back to their tree cities, bearing trophies of their conquests and take their place among their civilization according to the level of their deeds. These practices pretty much assures that the mantid who survive into adulthood are adept warriors in whatever areatheychoose tospecializein. The kicker, they do all this as a form of worship to one of the Old Gods, their "master", with the ominous implication they will use the evolved warriors/tactics/technologies they get from this social darwinist system to kill or worse all the other races should their God ever come back. Even worse, the majority of their race has been corrupted by the Sha of Fear, who have skipped the whole waiting for our god to return and went straight to zerg rushPandaria.
Also from the fourth expansion, another villain race, the Mogu, have a pretty distinguishable motivation, which also seems to be an in-universe example of motive decay, since the founder of their empire, the Thunder King Lei Shen had another justification, which seems to be a mixture of "Well Done, Son" Guy and Gone Horribly Wrong, for enslaving other races and building his empire through unholy means. The exploration slide show (called, appropriately, Gods and Monsters) says it best:
The Einst from various Super Robot Wars games exist for the sole purpose of preserving the universe(s). Since human consciousness is slowly causing the entropy of existence, that means mankind has to go. However, for unspecified reasons, they've decided that simply wiping out humanity won't do, and they decide to replace it with a new human race that lacks souls and emotions, and is no longer a threat. Unfortunately, one of their owndidn't think it could work.
The Strogg, the main villains of the Quake series, turn out to be motivated not by a desire for conquest, but survival, as capturing humans and "Stroggifying" them is how they reproduce.
Almost every powerful entity in the Shin Megami Tensei series operates under this; to the point where there are basically only one that is actually good (Philemon) and two that are actually evil (Nyarlathotep and Erebus) by our understanding. All the others have mindsets so alien that trying to call them good or evil is a waste of time; as they don't think anything like humans. (Yes, even YHVH.) Bear note that the alignment system isn't good-evil, law-chaos, but law-chaos, light-dark, with the latter determining how far from the ideals of YHVH you are - the fallen angels are dark exactly because they were cast out for disagreeing with YHVH, and YHVH is perfectly light because He marks the starting point of the scale, morality nonwithstanding. Even Erebus is debatable — as explained in The Answer, he's only destroying the world because so many people secretly long for death.
The Big Bad of Persona 4 genuinely wants to make the world a better place to live in for humanity. However, she has a very limited understanding of humans and what they really want. She ended up decided that the best example of a human being was a psychopathic Serial Killer, simply because he was the best at leading people From a Certain Point of View. As such, she paid attention to his very skewed perception of people, and determined that the best way to make a paradise for humanity is to make an Assimilation Plot. Thankfully, she's reasonable enough to admit she's wrong when you defeat him and her in turn; once the fight's over, she agrees to leave humanity alone until she has a better understanding of what exactly is going on.
Crysis hints at this with the Ceph, but the novelizationCrysis: Legion all but outright says that the Ceph have an alien morality. Hargreave presents a theory that the Ceph are "gardeners" who awoke to find humanity messing up the biosphere they created and are removing an infestation (human attempts to understand the Ceph, he argues, are equivalent to locusts trying to understand human attempts to exterminate them) while Alcatraz/Prophet theorizes that the Ceph are not the gardeners, but the tools of the gardeners left behind to activate and fend for themselves. A CIA analyst at the end of the book proposes a third theory, that the Ceph's technology and motivations are completely beyond human understanding, and that the entire "invasion" was an effort to recover technology like the Nanosuit that Hargreave invented based on Ceph tech.
Dwarf Fortress has elves, who find it unthinkable to kill plants, but are perfectly okay with eating the corpses of their enemies.
Dwarf Fortress also has a set of ethics parameters that are quite easy to modify, making it simple to create a race or modify an existing one with strange moral values. Heck, even the DF player community can fall into this at times, as they frequently consider Video Game Cruelty Potential not just amusing but a mandatory part of gameplay; if you don't start gleefully butchering kittens and building giant doomsday devices out of their bones to slaughter your enemies (or dwarven nobility) at some point, you're an alarming aberration and likely to be accused of being an elf in disguise.
Similar to the Elves of dwarf fortress, the Bosmer, or "Wood Elves" from The Elder Scrolls find it unacceptable to harm any plant, to the point where they make alchohol out of meat and weapons from bone, but at the same time are perfectly okay with eating their own dead as a funerary rite or fasting before going into battle, expecting to devour their opponents.
The Brothers of Turgor seem to have a very strange morality from a human perspective.
Triumphator: Giving is an unquestionable evil, so taking must be an unquestionable good!
The Shivans of Freespace have a morality that is completely incomprehensible to humanity, or indeed any to other being who's ever encountered them. This is because the Shivans do not communicate, indeed do not even try to communicate: They simply kill all non-Shivans with subspace technology on sight, and then hunt down the rest of their species down to the last man and exterminate them all. Nobody knows why they do this.
It gets even more strange in the sequel, with the Shivans looking set to do the above and the GTVA desperately working to seal the entry point into the rest of GTVA space... and then the Shivans make a star go supernova. There is some theorizing in the outro about why, but nothing is confirmed and it doesn't have any apparent connection to hunting down species with subspace technology.
Another unexplained action they take in the second game is kidnapping Admiral Bosch and his command staff alive when they finally managed to get a communication across to the Shivans. This is completely outside their usual MO and has confused many a fan of the series.
Capsuleer motives are seen as this by planet-dwellers in EVE Online. It doesn't help that even among the various capsuleer factions there's a general theme of sociopathy with rules unique to each group.
The Think Tank scientists from the Fallout: New Vegas add-on Old World Blues. While they created amazing and beneficial technologies like replicators that could have averted the Great War and cyborg implants, they are also responsible for 'lobotomizing' innocent people into mindless slaves and the deadly toxin called 'The Cloud' that still kills and mutates people even 200 years later. They don't care about (or deny or regret) the horrifying repercussions of their actions because the experimental data is yet another step in the glorious cause that is SCIENCE! Also, the Think Tank have spent the past 200 years as Brains in Jars, so they have long since forgotten what being human is like. To wit, they initially they all believe that the Player Character's fingers are penises, and the token female of their group is fascinated by the Player Character's breathing to the point of becoming sexually aroused by it. This aspect of their deteriorating frame of mind is Played for Laughs, of course.
From the previous Fallout game, Fallout 3, we have Charon. Charon is a shotgun-toting ghoul merc with a mysterious past, currently in the service of Ahzrukal. He was brainwashed as a child to follow whoever holds a signed piece of paper, his "contract". While Charon is fundamentally good-ish on his own, he gives Undying Loyalty to his contract-holder and will do anything his contract-holder tells him, without question or hesitation, no matter how morally reprehensible. Once freed from his contract, however, he has zero qualms about turning on his former master, as Ahzrukal or potentially an evil Vault Dweller finds out.
Sometimes, even Griefers have standards - some Griefers only engage in Griefer-like activity simply because it's funny. They may thrive off of Chaos, but they don't find it very funny when people are actually hurt or Second Life servers crash. Sometimes, a Griefer may actually be intentionally trying to come up with whatever crazy stuff they can find specifically to test-out anti-griefer measures on servers; or the server stability in the event that a real Griefer comes in with intent to destroy. One Second Life sim actually encourages people to attempt to crash it, and if they do, they try to find out why it crashed so that they can help create more stable servers in the future. There are also sometimes where people come in to try to be funny just cause well, it's funny!
For that matter, a lot of "Chaos"-types. Some people thrive off of the chaos, but only if people are around to appreciate the chaos and the insanity.
From Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, Colress. He doesn't consider the morality and consequences of his actions, just the results and knowledge that can be gathered from them.
Haer'Dalis from Baldur's Gate II is remarkably natural in following the alien philosophy of the Doomguard, perhaps more so than most of its adherents. He's basically a balanced nice guy who wants to see the world burn — not by causing it, at least necessarily, but watching it fall apart by itself, which he sees as more exciting than regrettable. He's passionate about things but does not desire for them to last, treating everything more like a fleeting artistic performance ending in destruction. Though Chaotic Neutral, he can win the love of the Lawful Good Aerie, only to have her leave him later when she sees the difference in the ways in which they care about things — and each other.
The Wisps (AKA Xorinites) in the Ultima series have what seems like an askew morality to humans. It revolves around the acquisition and application of information. In the first discussion you have with them in Ultima VI, they casually hand you a spell which destroys all life in the entire world around you. Why? They consider such a thing completely useless (presumably because it eradicates countless sources of information) as well as not being very powerful (since it can only eradicate life in one plane of existence), and they wish to teach you a lesson that not all information is valuable. Later in Ultima VII you need to bargain with the Wisps as part of the main plot. Specifically, they task you with acquiring for them the notebook of a scholar who is investigating the game's Big Bad. Right after you do that, they sell this information for the Big Bad in question, who proceeds to have the scholar killed. Still, it's hard to get mad at them.
In the sixth game, you can sell the contents of a rather dry reference book (not the book itself, they just copy the contents) in exchange for "a small amount of precious metal", meaning all the gold your party can carry. They will at first assume you'd prefer information of comparable value rather than a bunch of Worthless Yellow Rocks and offer to renegotiate, and are surprised when you say you're okay with the deal. (If you do accept information, you'll get a scientific principle that could very well be priceless to a scientist, but not a sword-wielding fantasy hero.)
Zagara has a peculiar musing at one point on human individuality. She seems to think that being individuals would make all humans "extremely lonely", and thinks assimilating them into the Swarm would not just be useful for the Swarm, but would actually make the assimilated humans happier. Kerrigan (the only human to have ever been infested and retain her own personality) disagrees.
But the most egregious example of this trope in the game has to be Abathur, a weird mixture of For Science!, Evilutionary Biologist and Mad Scientist. Some of his quotes might shed some light on his morality, but do notice the odd speech pattern, often leaving out words, presumably because it's a more "efficient" way to talk:
Abathur (about his job): Look at flesh, see only potential. Strands, sequences, twisting, separating, joining. See how it could be better. Make it great. Abathur (about creating perfect beings): Never perfect. Perfection goal that changes. Never stops moving. Can chase, cannot catch. Abathur (about increasing zerg intelligence/individuality): Extraneous brain matter deemed unnecessary for broodmother role in Swarm. Extra matter requires extra energy. Also leads to increased independence. This contradicts imperative: zerg must present no danger to leader of Swarm. Abathur (comparing primal zerg and normal zerg): Primal Zerg. Dynamic. Varied. Messy. Reactionary. Improvised. Unsuccesful. Some good sequences, can steal. Swarm efficient. Careful improvements. Succesful. Abathur(about Zerg evolution under Kerrigan): Queen determines purpose. When purpose changes. Swarm changes. This our function. Abathur(When told by Kerrigan that she's warming up to him): Unclear.
Halo: The Hunters are known to be Punch Clock Villains, but their true motivations are known to them alone. They intentionally reinforce this image so that the other races of the Covenant will leave them alone.
The Gravemind has this for the Flood. It seems to think that all beings being absorbed into the Flood is perfectly natural, and cannot understand why people fight against it. Some of lines reflect this:
"Do I take live, or give it? Who is victim, who is foe?"
"Resignation is my virtue, like water I ebb and flow. Defeat is merely the addition of time to a sentence I never deserved, but you imposed."
The Forerunner Trilogy manages to simultaneously play this straight and subvert it. The Flood is the reincarnation of immeasurably old and unimaginably powerful beings known as The Precursors. One the hand they are every bit as inscrutable as beings that old would be. On the other hand the Flood has a very clear purpose, revenge for the Forerunners nearly wiping them out.
Sam Starfall of Freefall seems to fall into this. He explains that, coming from a race of scavengers, morality on his homeworld is incompatible with that of human society — stealing, for example, is seen as an act of bravery necessary to help your family survive, especially if done from a stronger scavenger or a predator. But at the same time, he revels in breaking the law just for the thrill of it, so he may just be using the scavenger morality thing as an excuse.
He also takes this view of the humans. Florence and most of the robots are considered "property" because they're created by humans—AIs, even if one of them is made of meat. But on Sam's homeworld, the ownership of a sentient being would be considered unthinkable.
The family life of Sam's people counts as well. They die after mating, so the only ones who live to adulthood are those that are sterile. When new nests of infants are born, adults come around and adopt them, like picking up a free kitten. Only a few are related to the people who raised them.
The main protagonist, Florence Ambrose, is a genetically-modified anthropomorphic wolf, so her social interactions tend to be based on pack mentality and behavior, as well as trying to satisfy leftover instincts while fitting in to human society.
In The Order of the Stick, we see Nale Completely Missing the Point of his Succubus companion's displeasure, though he recovers quickly. Likewise, it never seems to occur to her that Nale might not like hearing about how she had sex with other people four times in a mere three hours— she actually thinks that he is surprised by how few people it was, justifying it by saying that she "had errands to run, too."
There's also Elan's attempt to make a decision based on the principles of pure Law and Chaos:
Modron: 100101010100010101101011!note This is binary gibberish. In ASCII it would be:"_-k" Slaad: Turquoise bicycle shoe fins actualize radishes greenly!
If what we're told about the Snarl is true, it doesn't kill because it's malicious. In fact, it can't even understand the act of killing, because it doesn't understand orderly concepts.
Sparks in Girl Genius regularly slip into worldviews that for normal humans would be... err... ratherunusual. The Jägers, as well, have very odd values: while they would rather the Lady Heterodyne acted like her "fun" murderous ancestors than the heroic Bill and Barry, they detest The Other as much as everyone else, not for being evil, but for being no fun to serve; still, the softer Heterodynes are good enough, as is the order-minded Klaus as long as the Heterodyne succession is uncertain. The castle's attitudes are similar, albeit a bit more sadistic.
Kevin & Kell: The rules there are way different from ours, simply because animals are sentient. For example, Kell (a wolf) works for a corporation whose business model is hunting and killing people for use as food. She only objects to hunting species that she's related to, notably rabbits, as she might end up eating one of Kevin's relatives (she apparently ate Vern and Betty Lopear, two rabbits he knew, a while ago). According to the FAQ, there are some rules regarding killing, though, as predators can only kill prey for food, and if herbivores kill, they must prove that it was in self-defense.
One storyline involves the main characters finding a body and being horrified to realise it hasn't been eaten; it was murder!
Similar to the above, Doc Rat also features predation as a normal part of society. Different species seem to have different views on the matter- for prey, it's a constant worry (travel guides for rabbits point out how to avoid predators by species), and for predators there seems to be three main justifications: It's traditional, predators have the right to do so, and it's good for population control. There also seems to be a split between reptilian and mammalian thought, if Neil Dunn's attitude is typical of snakes.
Troll society in Homestuck falls under this trope; especially in regards to their romance, caste system, and concept of coming of age. Troll society is also much more violent than human society, so murder is less a crime and more of a faux pas—you're more likely to set off a nasty Cycle of Revenge than get prosecuted. Of course, if you do get prosecuted, then you're screwed, because on Alternia, every court is a Kangaroo Court.
It's eventually revealed that Troll society was deliberately made that way by an Eldritch Abomination.
Gunnerkrigg Court: What are the grounds for a true and solid friendship between the fairies? Cool hair, it seems, since two alienated friends get back together after a haircut (much to the main characters' chagrin). The two aforementioned fairies, funnily enough, happen to be orange and blue-haired, respectively.
It's explicitly stated that animals of the forest "strut and bare their teeth," because that is how animals earn respect.
K'seliss from Goblins has no qualms about killing or eating people, but fighting against animated objects? That would just be sick!
Specifically, he sees no difference between killing, eating, and mating. Therefore, fighting something inedible is in fact a form of sexual deviancy to him.
The people in Collar 6 seem to have a wildly different morality system than the people in the real world, based on Atlantean writings. The system arguably resembles a very extreme form of libertarianism, with people able to sign "slave" contracts that give others actual legal authority over them.
Mistress Sixx is surprised at Laura's outrage at being drugged, put in bondage and forced to participate in sexual acts, since Laura had previously enjoyed participating in consentual sexual acts without bondage or drugs - not recognizing at least three differences between those cases. Apparently the author was called out on that by the readership, and was forced to make an Author's Saving Throw with Sixx apologizing for her inconsideration.
Demons in Wapsi Square have a strict set of rules which they follow, but those rules don't match up with our ideas of right and wrong. They even specifically mentioned that evil is a human concept, not a demon one.
Professor Joseph Corwin in Tales Of Gnosis College shows signs of this trope. He is more than happy to lure female undergraduates into weird experiments the involve changing their state of matter or intimate contact with tentacle beasts, but he draws the line at using is technology to make duplicates of people, even when that would be handy. He’s also intensely loyal to his own subordinate.
Raven's mother (sometimes called Chaos, other times called Pandora) wants to help her son out, so she begins to instigate many magical incidents, such as granting powers to unaware people leading to near-disasters when they unwittingly use them.
In Educomix, Ecoism (Jessica and Dave's religion) is portrayed as superior to the other religions in the strip (Euphemism and Ecotology), even though all their rules seem just as arbitrary as each other. Ecoists believe in never using water for anything except drinking to avoid damaging the "ecos", Euphemism appears to be similar to Christianity or Judaism (although they believe that Adam is still somewhere on Earth), and Ecotologists also want to save the ecos, but think that they can accomplish this by populating the country of Asia with clones of everyone from the rest of the world. The main Ecotologist even has blue hair to contrast Jessica's orange hair!
In the Space Arc of Arthur, King of Time and Space Arthur's attempts to make peace between humans and the alien races (Dragons, Stags, and Faerie) are stimmied by just how different their viewpoints are. Elaine suggests it's not just cultural, they're neurologically different. In the Space and Fairy Tale arcs, Morgan le Fey has long since realised that it's actually impossible to have an Evil Plan that involves Faerie in any meaningful way; their alien outlook appears to humans to be extreme Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!, and isn't really compatable with any sort of planning.
In Roommates Jareth's dark side thinks in trope and measures moral questions in the terms of the Theory of Narrative Causality. He would kill if that was dramatically appropriate in the story and in character for his current archetype, maybe feel remorse about the life lost, but would think and feel that that was the right thing to donote (He pushed his best friend off the rooftop because he refused to be the "Hero" (ended up as one anyway) and Jareth was the "Villain" that time and that's what villains do). To clarify he seems to have some idea about what humans call "good" or "bad" but he thinks of them as storytelling devices not morality and as such doesn't value them over any other trope. Also his father seems to have similar notions so maybe this is the standard Blue and Orange for The Fair Folk in the series.
In the Spin-OffGirls Next Door even the guys normal personality is enough to produce ++CUCCUMBER ERROR++ on heaven and hell's Good-Evil'O'Meter.
The morphE universe (or the New World of Darkness universe that it takes place in) runs off of this. The newly awakened mages are incredulous when otherwise reasonable people like Malloy insist that Amical is a good person for plucking new mages off of the streets and raising them. Within the world setting he is doing them a kindness by protecting them from the various mage groups and supernal beings that would prey upon them in the wild. This doesn't excuse that he casually killed 3 people in the intro chapter and pit his new recruits against one another in a duel to the death.
The HTrolls and the Brony Crusaders from Bronyism could be considered this; as the former wants only to make lulz, screw with everyone and make them look like idiots while the latter wants to return everything to normal and keep the place clean from trolls and anything unfit for the blog while also taking the time to mock the Hijakcers and their losses.
Michel: Wait, you're saying you had me kidnapped, knocked out, tied up in a basement and dropped here on this bench because you wanted me to know how it feels when I turn to you on the fucking subway and say "hi"?
Mercenaries in various stories of the Union Series. It's not about who commits massive war crimes or who plays knight in shining armor, it's more along the lines of being loyal to the original credit line versus switching sides for better pay.
Most non-humans in Tales Of MU, most notably mermaids, demons, and dragons, who each have no problems eating humans. For example: Iona, a mermaid, killed another student because she was in water, making her prey. In retaliation Vice-Chancellor Embries, a greater Dragon, devoured her and enchanted the one witness so she couldn't tell anyone.
The demons in The Salvation War have some rather jarring morality. Since they are still basically in the bronze age, demons have a very rigid and honor based form of warfare that hasn't changed in millions of years. Cannibalism is considered fine for demons, and not eating the dead is considered "wasting them." They only torture humans because they are told that they need the human's "energy" to move onto their afterlife. All this changes when humans arrive.
The SCP Foundation has a few examples of this. One notable one is SCP-890, the Rocket Surgeon. He views mechanical objects as patients and humans as unnecessary flesh. However, he's a rather creepy example.
SCP-890: I did not [kill him]! My patient not only survived, but recovered quite nicely. If you're referring to the mass surrounding the patient, I left it in place at the patient's request; I suggested it be removed, but the patient was adamant it be left in place.
In a similar vein, SCP-049, the Plague Doctor. When someone touches him, they keel over for no discernible reason. The doctor then kills anyone nearby capable of interrupting his work, fiddles with the original victim's innards, and stitches them up. The process transforms them into rage-fueled zombies intent on sl
It's a possible trait of inhabitants of the Spirit World in Avatar The Last Airbender. Avatar Yangchen, the previous Air Nomadic Avatar, mentions to Aang that many Air Nomads have detached themselves from all worldly concerns and achieved spiritual enlightenment, but the Avatar can never do it because it's the Avatar's job to be the bridge between the physical world and the spiritual world, which requires them to be a part of the world they're protecting. It's likely the Avatar was created so that a powerful spiritual being could comprehend humanity and the concerns of the physical world, and thus not have blue and orange morality as a result of their detachment. From what we see of the other spirits - most of whom are capricious, whimsical, offhandedly cruel, violently attached to one single concept or another, or just plain alien - it was a necessary step.
The Legend Of Korra confirms that the spirits' Blue and Orange Morality was why the Avatar was created. Humans and spirits did not trust each other, and spirits frequently attacked humans with seemingly little provocation, except that humans were doing what they needed to do to survive. During Wan's lifetime, the spirits' cruelty to humans as well as the effects of Raava and Vaatu's eternal struggle were precisely why Wan became the Avatar; after the Harmonic Convergence in which Vaatu was defeated and imprisoned, Wan decides to use his powers to send the spirits back to their world and close the spirit portals, to protect humanity and keep the peace among the four newly-united Lion Turtle cities.
Dinobot in Beast Wars: "I have honour, but it is PREDACON honour!" That seems to mean that if you don't trust your leader's competence, you usurp them; if said leader is unable to prevent this, that leader isn't fit to command.
In King of the Hill, Hank Hill has some thoughts on this trope: "What kind of code lets you return a bag of shaving cream and not marry a girl you got knocked up?"
Much of the humor of King of the Hill comes from contrasting morality systems that will seem strange to either one or another group of characters in the show or the audience. For instance, an acceptable and encouraged tradition was called the "McMaynerbury Whuppin'," which involved the McMaynerbury school band beating the crap out of the Arlen mascot. When Bobby ran away because he didn't want to get beat up, they tried to have him stricken from the school yearbook.
Discord seemingly claims higher ground when he says he doesn't turn his opponents to stone, implying that he considers his imprisonment a greater offense than anything he's done. Obviously, to an embodiment of chaos and change, being trapped in an unchanging form would be horrifying.
The Changelings might be this, depending on whether they merely feed on love as a food source or if they exploit The Power of Love to make themselves more powerful. If the former, their treatment of the ponies to them would be equivalent to cultivating livestock.
That said, the Changeling Queen as an individual is strictly an aversion. She is consistently shown to be nothing more than a Manipulative Bitch who tortures innocent ponies solely to feed her own sociopathic pleasures.
Batman: The Animated Series: Temple Fugate, aka the Clock King, doesn't care about the actual concepts of good and evil so much as he does precision and its lack.
Roger's species from American Dad! has this, probably because they become violently ill if they aren't casually cruel. Or as Roger himself puts it, "Let out their bitchiness." They're also not above using live crash test dummies.
Chaos from Aladdin The Series thought in terms of 'predictable' and 'unpredictable', and above all, fun for him.
Many animals can be said to have Blue And Orange Morality, if you can apply a concept like Morality to them in the first place:
Bonobos' morality is significantly different from that of humans' (though severalhumans have said we should follow their example once learning Bonobos resolve conflicts through sex.) The same goes for conflicts between family members, unless there is a chance of impregnation. Impregnation of close family members is the only reason bonobos will refuse sex. Since they never know who fathers are, this works out to "no mothers with sons, or (maternal) siblings with each other". Fullstop.
Even when compared to other animals, cuttlefish look for strange things when mating. While females of other species will seek out the biggest and strongest males to mate with, cuttlefish seem to value cleverness and ingenuity as well. Sometimes, a small male will approach a mating couple, disguised as a female. If the bigger male buys the disguise and invites "her" in, the real female will allow the small one to mate with her, allowing her to spawn both big and smart offspring.
The anglerfish is among the weirdest beings to be on the earth. There are several different species and the specific details vary, but in general, the male anglerfish is a tiny fish with nothing going for it but a keen sense of smell - in many species, the male doesn't even have a complete digestive tract, and cannot survive on it's own for very long. The female has a glowing fishing lure it can use to draw in its own food, and retractable teeth to can eat things twice its size. The male's sense of smell is tremendously keen, however, and can easily detect even a distant female by the pheromones she releases into the water. The male hunts down the female, whereupon he bites her to latch on. Having done so, he then releases an enzyme that dissolves his mouth and the flesh of the female he's bitten. Shortly, the two fuse together at the level of blood vessels. Thereafter, the male's body begins to atrophy in response to the hormones in her blood. Muscles and digestive system usually are the first to be absorbed, followed by the eyes, heart, and finally the brain, each absorbed by the female's body, leaving nothing but a little sack of flesh attached to the female containing the male's gonads. The gonads release sperm in response to hormone changes in her blood when she releases eggs, and it's not uncommon for larger and older females to have the remains of several males attached to her. http://theoatmeal.com/comics/angler
By the morals of pretty much any human culture on earth, bottlenose dolphins could easily be regarded as the most evil animals. In zoos, Bottlenose dolphins are never put in with other species of dolphin, because the Bottlenose will frequently torment and rape them. Dolphins are also one of the few species besides humans to have discovered sex slavery - in the wild, groups of males will sometimes surround females and prevent them from eating until the females submit to rape. Some also seem to delight in torture.
In many species of spiders, the male will tie down the female with silk first before attempting to mate with her, probably because she is much larger than him and may try to eat him. Similarly, male tarantulas grow small blunt "hooks" on their first pair of legs when they reach sexual maturity. These hooks have no purpose other than to catch and hold the female's fangs - Blue and Orange Morality on both sides, since it's not so much rape as the only way two instinctive killing machines can manage to reproduce.
You may have seen pictures of orangutans with large, distinctive cheeks and some without. Evidently it's the male of the species that produces those cheeks, but only if he lives a certain lifestyle. If he settles down, claims a territory, and waits for the ladies to come to him, he grows big cheeks. The other male lifestyle is known as "roam and rape".
Infanticide is common among many animals, often it is done because it causes the mother to go into heat faster.
Females kill their baby animals, too. If they're stronger, female rats will kill the offspring of other females to make room for their own litters.
Some mother animals appear remarkably indifferent to their offspring by human standards. It's not uncommon for a mother giraffe to step over a fence and just keep on walking, leaving behind her baby that isn't tall enough to cross it.
Fratricide is apparently quite common among bird hatchlings. After all, it is easier for the parents to feed fewer mouths, and the weaker siblings would probably compromise the entire species. It's also common amongst spotted hyena pups, but only if they're of the same gender, when one's male and one's female the female takes the lead.
Cannibalism is common among octopi.
Natural selection itself could be said to promote Blue And Orange Morality of a sort, as it promotes behaviors that maximize an individual's genetic contribution to future generations. Period. Whether that maximization occurs through intrafamilial altruism that safeguards one's close kin at one's own expense, or through rape, infanticide, and brutally killing off one's competitors doesn't make a lick of difference, so long as it works.
Ruth Benedict's The Chrysanthemum and the Sword is an excellent account of just how incomprehensible the Americans and the Japanese were to each other during WWII: Americans thought the Japanese must be crazy for comitting mass suicide attacks and finding death preferable to surrender, while the Japanese thought Americans must be crazy for being willing to dishonor themselves by surrendering. The best example is seppuku, the old Japanese practice of ritual suicide in order to regain one's honor. In western thought suicide is considered the ultimate act of cowardice.
Within contemporary normative ethics are three major types of ethical theory: Consequentialism (the morality of an action is dictated by its consequences), Deontological ethics (the morality of an action is based on duty) and virtue ethics (morality is based on virtues). The morality of a given decision will vary widely between them.
Literature from all sorts of ancient cultures falls into this trope. Some of the stuff we take for granted in classical literature can be pretty bizarre for those unfamiliar with ancient Bronze Age customs. Far from being considered barbaric, it was probably just a description of "the status quo" back then. Advocates of more recognizably modern value systems were considered kooks.
The Aztecs had a thing for human sacrifice. It was originally considered an honor to be sacrificed, so rival cities would host ball games; the captain of the winning team would be sacrificed. Changing mores (and the realization that their conquered neighbors didn't quite feel the same way) partially led to the downfall of the Aztec empire, since the invading Spanish were identified with Quetzalcoatl—a god that was opposed to human sacrifice.
The whole sacrificing the winner thing makes perfect sense when you think about it: why wouldn't you give the gods the very best person as a sacrifice? For the same reason, some cultures would sacrifice their king in times of crisis to please the gods.
The Aztecs also had a rich history of Imperialism and enslaving people so that they could be used as unwilling human sacrifices, leading to their neighbors regarding them as an unholy mixture of The Empire and Religion of Evil.
The Mayans, on the other hand, were more big on self-sacrifice. They weren't averse to a little human sacrifice, but they were mainly concerned with body purification through bloodletting. Sexual stuff was considered relatively unclean, so the Mayans purified themselves by drawing barbed threads through their tongues and penises.
James Bowman in Honor: A History traces the honor codes of various times and civilizations and points out that they have universal similarities and striking differences. He also believes that the old style honor code is becoming Blue And Orange Morality to a number of modern people.
An example he gives was of a Obviously Not Intrepid Reporter (whom he mercifully refuses to name) he heard of in Iraq who persuaded a female soldier to ride in his car to "use their chauvinism against them" so that no insurgents would shoot at him. The author points out that the honor code of Middle Eastern terrorists is not quite that of a Quintessential British Gentleman, the differences are as complex as the similarities, and in general they would have no problems shooting at a female soldier.
Take two people completely opposed on some issue- say an avid hunter and a member of an animal rights group. Chances are, they will find themselves literally unable to comprehend the other's point of view. The core element of many animal rights arguments is that animals have the same rights as people (or should), thus, shooting them is morally equivalent (or at least similar) to murder. Meanwhile, the core elements of the hunter's viewpoint is that this argument is patently false, and that humans who hunt are as much a part of the natural environment as any other apex predator. These two views simply cannot be resolved in any meaningful way, and both sides believe they are "good" while the other side is "evil" (or, at least, willfully ignorant), making the essential conflict a blue-and-orange morality issue.
A literal example from Cold War days. Two power blocs that found it pretty difficult to understand each other's particular ethics and moralities - the capitalist and communist - were facing each other down over a divided German border for over forty years. When NATO had its annual manoevres and field exercises in West Germany, rather than risk offence to the Russians by denoting the "invading from the East" faction the Red Army, and making it obvious by calling the "defending from the West" side the white Army, the convention evolved that called the two sides in NATO wargames "Blue" and "Orange". A whole generation of NATO officers passed through their countries' armed forces thinking of the Warsaw Pact as "Orange Army" and their own side as "Blue Army"...
Watergate is the perfect example: The Russians couldn't believe Nixon, a powerful and effective national leader, was really brought down by the kind of things that were a matter of course in the USSR. The Russians thought it was some sort of coup, possibly because of Nixon's policy of détente with the USSR.
The election of Pope John Paul II was another example. The Sovs considered this proof that the West had the College of Cardinals in their pocket.
It's often been said that the United States represented freedom at the expense of equality while the Soviet Union represented equality at the expense of freedom. This can be seen in the propaganda of both sides, as American propaganda focused on portraying the U.S.S.R. as insufficiently free while Soviet propaganda focused on portraying the U.S. as insufficiently equal. For example, the Americans might attack the Soviets for not having things like freedom of speech, while the Soviets would consider the American level of unemployment to be a more important issue (of course, the Soviets didn't believe Americans truly had freedom of speech in the first place, and thought raising that issue was just some weird kind of subterfuge).
The above is particularly evident in a common Russian joke/political satire of the 50's and 60's, where an American rakes a Russian over the coals about their economic freedom, usually ending with a pointed comment such as "How long does it take 'your' people to save the money to afford a car?" The Russian then responds "Well, yes, but you lynch negroes!" The Other Wiki has a page on this subject.
Much has been made by historians of the deals made at the end of WW 2 between the two sides. For example, Stalin made a promise that he would allow free elections in Eastern Europe. Throughout the Cold War this was used by the West as propaganda and supposed proof of the Soviets' untrustworthiness. However, since the fall of the Soviet Union several historians have suggested that Stalin simply did not fully understand what the British and Americans meant by 'free elections'.
People with certain kinds of psychological disorders and conditions. Some of these are usually considered amoral, or lack of a recognition of morality; however there are people like this who hate things that are absolutely normal, accept things that most people disdain, and judge other people by things that are usually not associated with morality.
This argument is occasionally used to justify (although not necessarily defend) questionable business practices—why should a corporation operate based on ethics similar to interpersonal relationships when it only exists to make money as efficiently as possible?
Likewise, it's easy to forget that the view that corporations only exist to make money as efficiently as possible was not fully mainstream in culture until the 1980s. Looking back on past business ethics wouldn't be Blue and Orange Morality as much as culture shock.
The codes of conduct held by various established organised crime - as opposed to Always Chaotic and Obviously Evil street thug gangs - and esoteric groups can often be incomprehensible to "outsiders"
This can occur quite frequently between atheists and theists, given that the two groups have entirely different precepts that they consider to be axiomatic (i.e. evident, obvious, requiring no proof). In essence, all philosophical debate narrows down to "If you agree to A, you also have to agree to B, because...". Theists and atheists have no A to agree on.
Even though you might say current Western society is "descended" from them, the ancient Romans (among other past societies) sometimes might as well be aliens to us, between the casual practice of infanticide, fights to the death being a celebrated form of entertainment, and suicide being a much more acceptable reaction to failure. It's part of why works like I, Claudius and Rome are so fascinating. Even Saint Augustine, writing "just" in the fifth century, couldn't understand why the legend of Lucretia made the suicide of a rape victim something heroic.
There's also the fact that the Romans were cultural bigots, not racial or religious bigots. This is often gets lost in modern adaptations where Romans dismissing or torturing "barbarians" is treated as being racially or religiously motivated. In truth, you were considered a barbarian if you weren't Roman in culture, and many different ethnicities—even former enemies—who accepted Roman culture were mostly integrated into Roman society without much fuss or bother. They also had no problem with religion as long as you paid lip service to the imperial cult (which was done to declare your "Roman-ness"), and what religion they practiced was more for the form and philosophy than any real religious zeal. Their persecution of Christians came not from religious fanaticism but politics since the Christians' refusal to pay even lip service to the imperial cult was seen as heinous treason.
An example of the Romans' lack of racial prejudice: Septimius Severus was a successful and widely admired emperor who was African on his mother's side and grew up near the ruins of Rome's great enemy Carthage. Nobody cared; he had had a proper Roman education and Marcus Aurelius had made him a senator, so he was perfectly acceptable. Contrast that with Maximinus who was 100% white and grew up in Europe, but who was neither a senator nor an educated man, and in consequence was despised by the entire ruling class and eventually overthrown.
Middle Ages Europe, despite being the direct ancestor to modern western society, had very different standards of morality.
Until the end of WW 1 the British army still regularly used corporal punishments that would be considered barbaric today. Capital punishment for cowardice was common and during the 18th and 19th centuries a naval captain could be put to death if they didn't attack enemy shipping at any and every opportunity - unless there was an extremely good reason for doing so.
During the War of 1812, British Frigate Captains actually had to be ordered to not engage American Frigates unless forced to do so because the few American Frigates then afloat were larger than their British counterparts and had crews which were just as good (the US and UK share many naval traditions). It came as a major shock to the Royal Navy when American warships showed up in the Mediterranean to deal with Barbary Pirates during the first decade of the 19th century. The American Navy was there to put an end to piracy and wasn't taking 'no' for an answer.
Among the Manchu people of China, mothers show affection for their infant sons by sucking their penises, which in the West would be considered incest and unthinkable sexual abuse. Yet Manchu culture forbids public kissing between adults, because they consider kissing to be an innately sexual act.
One Vietnamese hill tribe was courted by the Americans as a guerilla ally against the Viet Cong; the first American army "advisors" were horrified by the tribal custom in which a mother would suck the penis of a squalling infant to settle it and pacify the child - even a young toddler up to age five - into rest and sleep. To the Vietnamese, this was a perfectly pragmatic part of motherhood; a bemused American said it sure as Hell beats our custom of giving Junior a pacifier to suck.
Far from being proud of their historic buildings, Saudi Arabia has demolished many Islamic heritage sites on the grounds that they might encourage idolatry, including one of Muhammad's own houses, the house of one of his wives and the graves of his parents.
This is an issue, mind you within one culture: Muslims not belonging to the Wahhabi/Salafi strain that is official in Saudi Arabia regard the sites as harmless and the defilement of the graves as being a higher crime. In particular, Sufis—who are all about shrines and tombs and so on—get really confused about why all this stuff is wrong in the Wahhabi view.
The Saudi clerics give the impression that they would like to destroy Muhammad's tomb, too, but that particular shrine is very popular and is incorporated into the Great Mosque of Medina, to boot, so they satisfied themselves with stripping it of all decoration.
The Afghan Taliban destroyed an age-old Buddhist shrine and World Heritage Site in Afghanistan for the same reasons. Seen by the wider world as wanton vandalism, this was perfectly explicable within Wahhabi Islamic thinking as a holy act and righteous in the eyes of God.
Destruction of centuries-old tombs and monuments occured when Islamists briefly took control of Timbuktu in Mali before they were driven back by French-backed government forces. This is more in line with differences within Islam - among the sites targeted were the tombs of Sufi saints.
Christians used to do the same thing to the pagan monuments of Europe's past. In the year 426, for example, Byzantine emperor Theodosius II ordered the Temple of Zeus, one of the The Seven Wonders of the World, destroyed for this reason. In case you think atheists are immune, the Soviets had no qualms about destroying historic Russian churches as well as anything else which was seen to symbolize the czarist era. And another communist regime, Maoist China, took this even further with the Cultural Revolution.
A relatively minor example from World War One - to German commanding officers at the time (many of whom were aristocratic in stock), the shotgun was a weapon reserved for hunting animals. On the other hand, the Americans had been using it for killing humans for decades - it's relatively cheap and easier to use compared to rifles, yet still packs a whallop (carriages in the Old West would often have a driver and a second man next to him armed with a shotgun for protection, hence the term "calling shotgun"). When the US entered the war and American soliders began using shotguns in assaulting trenches (shotguns turned out to be very useful in doing that), German officers were reportedly so aghast at the notion they threatened any American soldier captured using shotguns with execution for war crimes. Officially, Germany did file a diplomatic protest with the US over their use, which was rejected.
Griefers and Trolls. (Mentioned a little in Video Games.) Some people might actually love pranking each other or pulling others... as long as it's to cause laughter. A lot of people see a Griefer or a Troll as a simple mindless organism devoted to nothing but trying to make others feel as miserable for one moment as they do all the time... but are promptly surprised to see a known Troll cuss out a fellow Troll for inflicting actual damage of some kind. Some Trolls might delight in causing internet chaos... but if somebody's actually been hurt, won't find it very funny any longer.
Image boards have been seen as a couple of things... among them a Wretched Hive, a meeting ground for the most sick people on earth, or a refuge for stupidity. They may roll on the floor laughing at whatever Video Game Cruelty Potential they can come up with... yet at the same time there have been people posting images of them actually inflicting harm to someone or an animal and being promptly scolded Dude, Not Funny! or even having their IP tracked and the local police called.
On the other hand, there are Trolls who ascribe to a variety of Social Darwinism, who see themselves and their behavior as a positive force for "improving" the culture of the Internet. From their perspective, Trolling you is doing you a favor: either you toughen up or you leave. Either way, the overall Online Culture is improved, because there are fewer whiny babies hanging around. Which doesn't quite work on several levels...
The concept of patriotism is a good example of this. Many Americans still view patriotism as a positive trait, while many citizens from other countries would view it as borderline ethnocentrism. In fact, what some Americans would consider to be an insufficiently acceptable level of patriotism is still higher than what many citizens of other countries would consider to exceed the acceptable level of patriotism.
alternative title(s): Orange And Blue Morality; Red And Green Morality; Green And Red Morality; Yellow And Purple Morality; Purple And Yellow Morality; Kaleidoscope Morality; Rainbow Morality; Complementary Color Morality; Infrared And Ultraviolet Morality