TSTP Theme Hierarchy Reference Sheet

society

society > cross cultural issue

AI point of view alien customs alien morals alien point of view alternate points of view attitude towards the dead commoner's point of view conflict of moral codes conflict of privacy preferences cultural differences cultural exchange enemy point of view future point of view incorporeal point of view past point of view primitive point of view religious point of view science as magic to the primitive transcendental point of view when in Rome

society > international issue

appeasement policy arms race arms trade competition among nations conflicting systems of jurisprudence diplomacy diplomacy vs. force détente exported pollution extradition first contact international politics international sanctions nuclear proliferation political asylum political neutrality reconciliation between two peoples sporting to promote peace terrorism the morality of colonization transnational conflict over a claimed territory transnational conflict over a shared resource transnational conflict over environmental concern transnational conflict over historical revisionism transnational conflict over political ideology transnational institution for peace war
diplomatic negotiating diplomatic compromising, establishing diplomatic relations, factions joining forces against a common enemy, interfactional mediation, ... war crimes weapons of mass destruction aerial bombing of cities, atrocities of war, civil war, civilians suffering in war, ...
diplomatic maneuvering wartime comfort women biological weapons, chemical weapons, nuclear weapons

society > national social issue

educational issue environmental issue form of government gender issue law and order issue military issue political issue public health issue sociocultural issue socioeconomic issue sociotechnological issue special interest group issue
child labor, creationism, historical revisionism, illiteracy in society, ... environmentalism overpopulation pollution in society waste management climate change and bureaucratic inaction, eco-terrorism, endangered species, handling of industrial accidents, ... political ideology anarchy, aristocracy, caste system, colonialism, ... sexual norms in society equal career opportunities for women, female independence, forced fatherhood, gender bending, ... crime in society murder in society theft in society treatment of prisoners war crimes black markets in society, body snatching in society, bullying, capital punishment, ... antigovernment militia movement, desertion, drugs to control soldiers, prisoners of war, ... indoctrination in society abuse of authority, abuse of real power, activism, anti-war activism, ... MMORPGs in society, alcohol in society, epidemics in society, gambling addiction in society, ... prejudice in society anti-science in society, arranged marriage, celebrity culture in society, combat sports in society, ... commercialism in society immigration in society social inequality adds in society, apartheid, big banking in society, community of abandoned children, ... machines in society the Internet in society autonomous weapon systems in society, cryogenics in society, data privacy, mass media in society, ... child power, child's point of view, feral children in society, orphans in society, ...
exported pollution life extension leading to overpopulation oil spills in society toxic waste management contraposed political ideologies fascism socialism capitalism, communism, extremism, feminism, ... homosexuality in society abortion, bestiality, birth control, bisexualism, ... aircraft hijacking in society, arson in society, art forgery in society, bank robbery in society, ... avunculicide, dominicide, fratricide, mass murder in society, ... burglary in society prisoners being exploited for entertainment wartime comfort women government indoctrination, military indoctrination AI prejudice in society, anti-intellectualism in society, class prejudice in society, lookism in society, ... commercial made-up holidays in society border-wall building in society healthcare inequality, inequality in the justice system workers replaced by machines Internet crime in society, social media in society
anarchy vs. rule of law, aristocracy vs. bourgeoisie, conservative vs. liberal, cooperation vs. competition, ... Nazism Christian socialism lesbianism, male homosexuality

society > problem of language and meaning

Flatland communication problem ambiguity in ancient texts communicating with deaf people communicating with someone who speaks a different language gestural language incompatible modes of communication language of musical notes learning languages pictographic writing system ritualistic communication semantic progression symbolism the limits of language understanding by metaphor untranslatable words

society > social ethical issue

human rights issue medical ethical issue social ethical dilemma
AI rights animal rights exploitation of sentient beings the right to privacy animal cruelty, animal testing, children's rights, civil rights, ... The Hippocratic Oath, deciding what is best for the patient, doctor assisted suicide, doctor lying to comfort a patient, ... the ethics of interfering in the internal affairs of other powers choosing between murderous regimes, deferring to unappealing laws in a foreign society, destroying one people to save another, eye for an eye justice, ...
killing an artificial person the killing of animals child exploitation, worker exploitation the right to privacy of thoughts the ethics of interfering in less advanced societies

speculative fiction theme

speculative fiction theme > crackpot theory

Atlantis Bermuda Triangle Counter-Earth God is really an alien Hollow Earth Jack the Ripper was really an alien Phaeton hypothesis alien abduction alien experiment alien impregnation of human females alien origin of near-death experiences alien origin of religious claims alien origin of the human race alien secretly living among us aliens inspiring great people aliens meddling in history aliens talking to us in our dreams ancient alien archive ancient aliens ancient astronauts ancient puzzle conspiracy theory crackpot aging theory cryptid déjà vu extrasensory perception fake aphrodisiacs flying saucer theory of UFOs immortal secretly living among us intelligent dinosaurs lost continent of Mu mystical aura secret society conspiracy theory the Greek gods were really aliens the Mayan gods were really aliens the devil was really an alien the genius was really a time traveler the ghost was really an alien the historical figure was really an alien time traveler secretly living among us
Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, Yeti, living dinosaur

speculative fiction theme > extraordinary experience

what if I became telepathically linked with someone else what if I found myself in a different time what if I found myself in a strange place what if I had a secret guardian what if I had an extraordinary ability what if I met an extraordinary person what if I underwent a physical metamorphosis what if I were a man who got pregnant what if I were in a tight spot what if I were not subject to the normal process of aging what if an aspect of my personality was slightly different what if my life were different what if my personal identity came into question what if my thoughts became reality what if someone around me changed what if the fate of the world was in my hands what if the people around me changed
what if I could see into the future, what if I could see into the past, what if I lived backwards in time but kept my present memories, what if I was tossed into the past, ... what if I could life in a fantasy world, what if I could never go home, what if I could travel around inside a human body, what if I found myself in a high gravity environment, ... what if I could read minds what if I could change into a gaseous state, what if I could control minds, what if I could fly, what if I could freeze time, ... what if I met a Viking, what if I met an historical figure, what if I met my distance descendants, what if I met my double, ... what if I grew in size, what if I shrank in size, what if I turned turned into a plant, what if I were gradually turning into stone what if I was held captive and made an exhibition object what if I became accessory to a friend's crime, what if I became separated from my parents, what if I couldn't move because of a poisonous animal, what if I couldn't trust the veracity of my senses, ... what if I aged backwards, what if I aged rapidly, what if I could be young again, what if I was brought back to life long after my death, ... what if I lived an alternate life coping with a life-changing event, what if I became extremely lucky, what if I could do anything I wanted without repercussions, what if I could trade in a family member for someone else, ... what if I found myself in the body of another person what if I became a simulation, what if I discovered that I was a facsimile of someone else, what if I found out I was a different person than I thought I was, what if I found out I was a simulation, ... what if I could edit my lover, what if I found out my lover was despicable, what if a loved one became possessed by a malevolent entity, what if my lover suddenly couldn't remember me, ... what if everybody and everything was frozen in time, what if everyone lost control of their inhibitions, what if everyone suddenly started to communicate differently, what if everyone turned into zombies, ...
what if I heard all the thoughts around me what if I was a specimen animal in a zoo what if I were in a coma-like state what if I found myself in a body of the opposite sex, what if I found myself in the body of a child, what if I found myself in the body of an alien

speculative fiction theme > how to commit a crime and get away with it

how to crack a safe how to murder someone and get away with it how to rob a bank and get away with it

speculative fiction theme > space colonization

colonization of Alpha Centauri colonization of Earth colonization of Mars colonization of Mercury colonization of Pluto colonization of Venus colonization of the Moon colonization of the Sun

speculative fiction theme > speculative being

artificial being biologically distinguished being culturally distinguished being drug enhanced supersoldier emergently intelligent being legendary being locationally distinguished being mentally distinguished being monster shape distinguished being size distinguished being transcendental being
android genetically engineered person virtual person brain augmented soldier, cyborg, disembodied head, robot helper, ... animal and plant patterned being hybrid being inhospitable environment dwelling being inorganic being parasitic being sexually distinguished being being composed of autonomous parts, being that feeds on electricity, being that feeds on emotions, being that feeds on radiation, ... assimilating beings, culturally symbiotic beings, space refugee beings, xenophobic isolationist beings Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, Yeti, angel, ... extraterrestrial being subterranean being giant space amoeba, ooze dwelling being, two-dimensional being binary thinking being, collectively intelligent beings, dream walking being, emotionless emotion craving being, ... undead being mummy, shadow monster, the Bogeyman, werewolf shapeshifter ball-shaped being, blobform, brain-shaped being, incorporeal being microscopic being Lilliputian being, giant person, giant space amoeba, living planet, ...
android clone of a person genetically engineered soldier ancient artificial custodian, artificial autonomous sentient coworker, digital clone of a person, virtual lover amphibian-like being, ape-like being, avian being, canine-like being, ... human-arthropod hybrid centaur, cyborg, human-alien hybrid, human-amphibian hybrid, ... bedrock dwelling being, black hole dwelling being, ooze dwelling being silicon-based being crystalline being, dark matter being, electromagnetic being, fire-based being, ... neural parasite biological computer virus, invisible parasites, life force draining being, parasitic bug aliens, ... cyclical mating cycle being, gender neutral being, lethal mating practice being, multi-gendered being spaceborne being Ganymede extraterrestrial, Jovian extraterrestrial, Martian extraterrestrial, Moon people, ... bedrock dwelling being, mole people incorporeal spirit living corpse bio-mimicking life form neural parasite brain memory virus, metal eating microscopic organism, microscopic sentient life form, sentient nanomachines, ...
human-arachnid hybrid, human-insect hybrid rock being brain memory virus giant space amoeba, living space cloud, living spaceship, space protozoa, ... ghost undead skeleton, vampire, zombie brain memory virus
personal haunting

speculative fiction theme > speculative habitat

O'Neill cylinder arcology artificial island artificial planet city planet desert planet domed city floating city habitable asteroid habitable moon habitable planet in a binary star system habitable planet in a trinary star system hollowed out asteroid habitat ice planet isolated prehistoric land magical land in the sky military training moon ocean planet off-world prison colony parallel earth terraformed planet twin earth underwater city water planet to the core
geoengineered planet

speculative fiction theme > speculative natural object

accessible extra dimension of space collapsing bubble universe dark matter nebula edge of the universe four-dimensional space galactic barrier localized time distortion multiverse non-Euclidean space parallel universe reverse universe two-dimensional space universe in an atom universe-in-a-box
parallel antimatter universe

speculative fiction theme > speculative natural process

devolution rapid aging process retarded aging process reversed time super accelerated Darwinian evolution telepathic memory transfer time loop time speed up

speculative fiction theme > speculative society

alternate history dystopia institutionalized human blood sports society multi-species civilization robotic civilization society consisting of only children society in which the devil turned out to be not so bad after all society in which victims sentence their own assailants society living in space society with a maximum age limit speculative future event subterranean civilization telepathic society thoughtcrime society utopia
what if Britain had won the American Revolutionary War, what if the Nazis had won, what if the Roman Empire never fell ads everywhere dystopia, bureaucratic dystopia, communist dystopia, consumerist dystopia, ... existential risk to civilization World War III, peace on Earth, the AI singularity, what if every woman suddenly got pregnant at the same time, ... ruling elite utopia technologically enabled utopia technology-free utopia utopia based on a view of human nature utopia based on exploitation of a group free market utopia, kill all humans utopia
anthropogenic existential risk to civilization force of nature existential risk to civilization hostile extraterrestrial life council of wise-men utopia, machine controlled society, master race controlled society, mind controlled society genetic engineering utopia, hive mind utopia, machine controlled society, post-scarcity economy utopia, ... neo-luddist utopia, noble savage utopia free love utopia, kumbayah utopia, peaceful telepathic utopia utopia on the back of android labor, utopia on the back of human clone labor, utopia on the back of slave labor
institutional risk to civilization technological risk to civilization close encounter with a stray artificial object, self-replicating gray goo consuming the world accidental alien destruction of planetary civilization approaching astronomical object event catastrophic solar event atmospheric dissipation, catastrophic flood, collision with a parallel universe, food crop pandemic, ... attack from outer space alien brought pandemic, attack from Inner Earth, being wiped out by more powerful aliens, invasive life form from outer space, ...
annihilation by WMDs ecological destruction atrophied civilization, global warming, overpopulated world, war of mutual annihilation destructive biotechnology AI takeover, autonomous weapons system killing everyone, out of control scientific experiment, planet being cracked apart by nuclear blast, ... accidental alien destruction of planetary ecosystem asteroid impact, close encounter with a passing astronomical object, moon slowly spiraling into a planet, planet being flung out of its orbit dying sun, expanding sun, planet scorching solar flare, sun going supernova attack from outer space by a genocidal enemy, attack from outer space by a giant space amoeba, attack from outer space by a powerful conquering alien race, attack from outer space by a world eating machine, ...
annihilation by a device that stops fusion in a star, annihilation by a planet busting device, nuclear holocaust, orchestrated asteroid bombardment depletion of a vital natural resource, ozone layer depletion cloning-related replicative fading, human-made pandemic

speculative fiction theme > speculative technology

artificial intelligence biological technology gravity manipulating technology human enhancement technology invisibility technology matter manipulating technology mind altering technology simulated reality spacetime manipulating technology speculative device speculative energy generation technology speculative engineering speculative nanotechnology speculative weapon stasis technology synthetic food
android virtual person AI assistant, AI companion, AI safeguards, ancient artificial custodian, ... bioengineered crops, bioengineered human pathogen, biological computer, biological machinery, ... anti-gravity technology, artificial gravity technology artificial organ body implant body part transplant brain implant cure for an as yet uncurable disease life extension technology prosthetic device accelerated growth rate therapy, aging machine, appearance altering technology, body swap, ... invisible spaceship, personal invisibility cloak, planetary invisibility cloak food synthesizer, give-you-anything scanner, matter duplicator, matter replicator, ... brain-computer interface duplicate of a person memory implantation technology mindwipe augmented reality, dream world generating technology, intelligence augmentation technology, intelligence boosting device, ... digital afterlife, simulated hunting ground, virtual reality, virtual reality choose your own adventure, ... device bigger inside than outside, history altering technology, space folding travel technology, time freezing device once speculative device pod or booth-like device self-replicating machine speculative handheld device speculative torture device speculative vehicle speculative wearable device asteroid deflector, automatic butchering machine, automatic surgery machine, dream materializer, ... cold fusion device, fusion power, geothermal energy from Earth's core, human battery, ... astronomical-scale engineering engineered space structure planetary-scale engineering sub-planetary-scale engineering self-replicating nanomachines, sentient nanomachines autonomous weapons system, death ray, handheld multifunction super gun, human implanted suicide-weapon, ... suspended animation stasis box food pill
android clone of a person ancient artificial custodian, artificial autonomous sentient coworker, digital clone of a person, virtual lover artificial blood, artificial ears, artificial eyes, artificial gland, ... human implanted suicide-weapon brain transplant, colon transplant, eye transplant, fetal transplant, ... brain stimulating implant, cranial aggression implant cure for Alzheimer's disease, cure for acromegaly, cure for baldness, cure for cancer, ... anti-aging technology, revival long after death bionic arm, bionic hand, bionic leg, face patch, ... brain implant plug-in learning device android clone of a person, digital clone of a person implanted memory punishment mindwipe punishment X-ray machine, ankle bracelet, camera doorbell, dictation machine, ... teleportation device baby incubator pod, disintegration chamber, sonic shower, suicide booth, ... self-replicating nanomachines handheld X-ray device, handheld lab, handheld multifunction super gun, handheld organ extractor, ... pain belt, pain booth, pain buzzer, pain collar, ... spaceship submarine airliner, airship, flying boat, flying car, ... speculative glasses speculative suit ankle bracelet, face patch, jet pack, life force draining headband, ... stellar engineering Dyson sphere, galactic communication network engineered orbital structure engineered trans-orbital structure space station space library, space mirror, space telescope, sun gun, ... artificial planet, asteroid mining, changing the orbit of a planet around its star, geoengineered planet, ... speculative city artificial island, local weather control system, undersea tunnel cryogenic technology
brain stimulating implant, cranial aggression implant interstellar teleportation Bussard ramjet, biological spaceship, flying saucer, intangible spaceship, ... nuclear submarine vision beyond the visible spectrum glasses diving suit, powered exoskeleton, spacesuit, suit of everlasting fabric, ... stellar rejuvenation orbital nuclear weapons platform mining a planet from orbit, space elevator space dock arcology, domed city, floating city, underground city, ... cryogenic suspension punishment

speculative fiction theme > speculative travel

descent into the underworld space travel time travel travel inside a human body travel into the Earth voyage at sea voyage under the sea
teleportation device intergalactic space travel, interplanetary space travel, interstellar space travel, interstellar teleportation, ... grandfather paradox, the genius was really a time traveler, time machine, time portal, ...
interstellar teleportation

speculative fiction theme > supernatural ability

mind control ability miracle working precognition telekinesis telepathy

the human condition

the human condition > human idea about life

a danger shared can bring people together actions have consequences appearances can be deceiving be careful what you wish for be mindful of first impressions be vary of fraudsters be wary of strangers beauty is in the eye of the beholder being famous is not all it's cracked up to be best laid plans often go awry better to have loved and lost curiosity killed the cat evil can come in the guise of beauty fortune favors the bold give them a finger and they'll take the whole hand hardship makes you stronger hate begets hate if it ain't broke don't fix it if it sounds too good to be true it probably isn't true ignorance is bliss it's what's on the inside that counts live by the sword die by the sword misfortune unites money can't buy happiness money can't buy love opposites attract people may not always live up to their reputations quality is more important than quantity reliance on a single point of failure is unwise the dangers of wishful thinking the enemy of my enemy is my friend the flip side of a promotion the flip side of being in power the flip side of immortality the flip side of success the greatest among us is the smallest in another world the importance of being frugal the importance of reputation the price of freedom is eternal vigilance the road to hell is paved with good intentions there is nothing to fear but fear itself there is someone for everyone there is value in experience there is value in redundancy those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it true beauty comes from within we are valuable beyond what we can offer to others we need a balance between rationality and emotionality we need our darker side in moderation what is ugly might still be good you can't beat the odds in the long run you can't force someone to love you you have to take chances to get ahead

the human condition > humans in group

a danger shared can bring people together belonging competition among friends defeatism in groups demagoguery family affairs group bonding group morale human social position humans at work humans in hierarchy humans interacting inebriated interaction insubordination invasion of privacy keeping secrets manners mass hysteria misfortune unites mistrust leading to group dysfunction negotiation peer pressure there is strength in unity there is value in diversity working together under stress
coping with a family issue coping with a problematic family member divorce human childhood human parenting black sheep, dark family secret, family dispute, family financial problem, ... coping with being a laughing stock, coping with being famous, coping with being of mixed race, coping with being pitied, ... company team building, coping with a stingy employer, coping with being ill on the job, discipline in the workplace, ... pecking order control by intimidation, going over someone's head, hero worship, leadership, ... cooperation betrayal, bluffing, clash of Wills, clash of wills, ... table manners negotiating deadlock
coping with being eclipsed by a family member controlling family member, embarrassing family member custody battle adolescence, childhood as an outsider, childhood aspirations, childhood imaginary friend, ... educating a child parental disappointment in child absentee father, caring for a baby, coping with a meddling parent, custody battle, ... the unappreciated and unimportant at the workplace two heads are better than one
children and candy from strangers, discipline of a child, intellectual development of a child, teaching children about death, ... fatherly disappointment in a son, motherly disappointment in a son

the human condition > humans in pairs

human interpersonal relationship
friendship human familial relationship rivalry romantic relationship romantic relationship issue a person and their clone, boss and employee, coping with a friend who has an addiction, coping with a friend who is losing his mind, ...
faith in a friend, falling out of friendship, female bonding, male bonding, ... in-law relationship parent and child sibling and sibling aunt and nephew, aunt and niece, brother and brother, brother and sister, ... female-female rivalry, male-male rivalry young lovers beauty and beast romance, boyfriend and boyfriend, boyfriend and girlfriend, cross cultural romance, ... human romantic relationship choice romantic infidelity bondage sex, coming out of the closet, controlling partner, coping with a failing marriage, ...
brother-in-law and sister-in-law, father-in-law and daughter-in-law, father-in-law and son-in-law, mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, ... father and son mother and son father and daughter, mother and daughter sibling rivalry teen romance choosing between lovers, leaving one's old life for love, love vs. career, love vs. faith, ... extramarital affair
father and son rivalry, fatherly disappointment in a son motherly disappointment in a son

the human condition > individual human experience

human challenge in life human character human dreaming human emotion human thinking about self human tough decision human way of life human worrying about self purpose in life
coping with life issues coping with problematic people coping with the death of someone facing adversity facing death human emotional issue human health condition human in danger suicide coping with being in a heat wave courage honor human character stereotype human characters in contrast loyalty obsession self-control chastity, childishness, chivalry, cowardice, ... fantasy romance, lamentation over a lost love, remembrance, reminiscence, ... fear hatred love anger, boredom, compassion, contempt, ... human self improvement rationalization of a belief human life choice human self-sacrifice personal ethical dilemma personal life and death dilemma personal practical dilemma Golden Rule way of life, anti-technology way of life, carefree way of life, carpe diem, ... coming to terms with things beating one's self up, becoming like what you oppose, being ashamed of who you are, being bitter about one's life, ... human aspiration human need human pleasure
coping with being a danger to those around you, coping with being abandoned, coping with being an outcast, coping with being an underachiever, ... coping with a bad boss, coping with a drunken fool, coping with a greedy heir, coping with a grumpy old coot, ... coping with the death of a colleague coping with the death of a family member coping with the death of a lover coping with suicide, coping with the death of a fellow compatriot, coping with the death of a friend, coping with the death of a pet, ... survival coping with a terminal illness, facing one's own death, facing one's own execution coping with having a bad day, coping with memories of a lost love, coping with saying goodbye forever, coping with unwanted sexual urges human addiction human mental condition burning the candle at both ends, coping with a bad hangover, coping with a bad sunburn, coping with a disability, ... coping with being at the brink of destruction, coping with being injured, coping with being lost in space, coping with being tortured talking someone out of suicide courage in the face of death family honor female stereotype male stereotype mad scientist stereotype, old woman as a witch stereotype, the Ancient Egyptian stereotype, the Ancient Greek stereotype, ... EQ vs. IQ, extrovert vs. introvert, honest character vs. deceitful character, optimist vs. pessimist, ... choosing between conflicting loyalties, loyalty to a cause, loyalty to a friend, loyalty to a group, ... obsession with a life-dedicated project repressing one's desires, stepping up to the task, swallowing one's pride, taking control of one's fears, ... human phobia facing one's darkest fear, fear for one's life, fear of abandonment, fear of an unknown future, ... hatred of intellectuals familial love romantic love parental love exercising self-restraint becoming a nicer person, developing one's social skills, discovering a hidden talent, facing one's darker side, ... career choice contemplating suicide leaving one's old life behind Faustian bargain, adopting a child, choosing between allegiances, choosing between love and family, ... human self-sacrifice for another sacrifice for an idea, sacrifice for one's beliefs, sacrifice self and crew to foil an enemy, selfless service compromising one's ethical principles for personal advantage compromising one's ethical principles vs. great need conflict of duty breaking the law for personal advantage, breaking the law to cover up another crime, choosing between conflicting loyalties, choosing between just causes, ... assisting in suicide, cannibalism to survive, killing for personal advantage, killing to save a loved one, ... risk taking vs. playing it safe carrot vs. stick, choosing between equally futile actions, choosing between equally unappealing possibilities, decision making in the face of uncertainty, ... accepting reliance on others, coming to peace with one's self, coming to terms with having to give up on a dream, coming to terms with living in a new environment, ... human professional aspiration human physiological need human safety need human self-actualization need human self-esteem need human social need passion for acting, passion for amateur radio, passion for antique cars, passion for classic films, ...
coping with the death of a subordinate coping with the death of a child, coping with the death of a parent, coping with the death of a sibling, coping with the death of a spouse coping with the death of a spouse human vs. human human vs. institution human vs. nature human vs. technology human vs. the occult good vs. evil, human vs. monster drug abuse addiction to sensation, gambling addiction, intoxication, pornography addiction, ... human phobia mental illness psychological stress withdrawal from society Messiah complex, Stockholm syndrome, acute anxiety, anger management issues, ... bridezilla, clingy girlfriend, dumb blonde stereotype, female attraction to bad men, ... awkward expecting father, beards, dumb jock stereotype, inattentive male partner, ... aquaphobia, arachnophobia, claustrophobia, fear of being late, ... filial love, fraternal love, love of a pet, maternal love, ... infatuation epic love, forbidden love, love at first sight, love kindled by danger, ... holding one's tongue accumulation of wealth vs. personal development, choosing between job opportunities, family vs. career, friendship vs. career, ... breaking with tradition vs. suicide, honorable suicide, life with a handicap vs. death leaving one's old life for love sacrifice to prevent mass death donating an organ to save a life, helping a stranger in need, sacrifice for a child, sacrifice for a friend, ... benefiting from someone else's work compromising one's ethical principles vs. self-preservation killing in self-defense, killing to survive duty vs. conscience duty vs. compassion, duty vs. desire, duty vs. duty, duty vs. friendship, ... gambling with a body part, taking a high-stakes gamble vs. walking away passion for archaeology, passion for astronomy, passion for charitable volunteering, passion for collecting Data, ... the need for procreation, the need for rest and recreation, the need for sleep attachment to one's livelihood, the need for freedom, the need for privacy the desire for personal development, the desire to advance one's career, the desire to pursue one's dream, the lust for gold, ... the desire for glory the desire for fame, the desire for prestige, the desire for redemption, the desire for vengeance, ... attachment to one's land, attachment to one's people, crew's attachment to their ship, the desire for justice, ...
human vs. captivity human vs. self facing a conspiracy, facing a genius adversary, facing a hostage situation, facing a mortal enemy, ... facing persecution by the government, human vs. Kafkaesque institution human vs. beast charting unknown territory, facing a vermin infestation, facing an epidemic, human vs. affliction, ... human vs. sentient machine human vs. zombie alcohol abuse aquaphobia, arachnophobia, claustrophobia, fear of being late, ... delusional point of view coping with being crammed up in a confined space with other people, coping with stress at work, coping with the rigors of command, cracking under pressure, ... escape from reality first crush, obsessive infatuation, young boy infatuation sacrificing one's self to contain a pandemic prostitution vs. poverty obeying the rules vs. acting for a just cause the desire for glory in battle
bird in a gilded cage, facing life in captivity resisting a temptation facing a ferocious beast, human vs. venomous animal

the human condition > what life is like

college life descent into crime facing the demise of a personal enterprise from zero to hero life in academia life in the corporate world life in the military rise to prominence from humble beginnings what civilian life is like in times of war what electioneering is like what is it like to fall from grace what it is like as a private investigator what it is like in a legal proceeding what it is like in a medical emergency room what it is like in a medical facility what it is like in an insane asylum what it is like in boarding school what it is like in high school what it is like in prison what it is like in showbiz what it is like in the publishing industry what it is like on a battlefield what it is like to be a loser what it is like to be a struggling artist what it is like to be homeless what it is like to be impoverished what it is like to be in a cult what it is like to live through a military occupation what it is like to work as a prostitute what it is like to work as tech support what it is like to work in the hospitality industry what life is like in the police force what society is like in times of war
parody on life in academia

the pursuit of knowledge

the pursuit of knowledge > human professional activity

gastronomy

the pursuit of knowledge > the domain of faith

organized religion superstition
the afterlife Catholicism, Christian socialism, Christianity, Judaism, ... communicating with the dead haunted object magic object magic word out-of-body experience spirit possession sympathetic magic the supernatural animal guide, astrology, collective dreaming, destiny, ...
punishment in the afterlife seance haunted painting wish-granting magic object magic healing object, magic portal, see-anywhere device true name astral projection demonic possession voodoo doll black magic, ghost hunting
magic lamp with genie

the pursuit of knowledge > the domain of reason

classical philosophy modern science the art of war the fine arts and the humanities
aesthetics ethics human nature metaphysics astronomy discredited scientific theory scientific discipline topic in science topic in technology agility vs. strength, booby trap, brains vs. brawn, brinkmanship, ... film appreciation history literature appreciation acting, art appreciation, calligraphy, creative writing, ...
the nature of cuteness, the nature of taste, the power of art to influence society, what is beauty, ... civilization vs. savagery, ironic twist of fate, poetic justice, the ethics of valuing human lives, ... Buridan's ass, a common enemy unites, a common interest unites, a leopard can't change its spots, ... absurdist philosophy, can machines have souls, free will, grandfather paradox, ... asteroid belt, binary pulsar, binary star system, black hole, ... Freudian psychoanalysis, alchemy, alternative medicine, genetically encoded memories, ... animal training, archaeology, ecology, ethology, ... the theory of evolution topic in medicine DNA encoded message, Fermat's Last Theorem, Fourier series, Lagrange point, ... DNA testing, Morse code, computer hacking, early computer, ... the Star Trek franchise World War II Adolf Hitler, Amelia Earhart, American Civil War, Giuseppe Garibaldi, ... Dungeons and Dragons, Lord of the Rings, the Wizard of Oz
hominid evolution, the future of human evolution, the nature of human evolution acupuncture, aphasia, lobotomization the French Resistance