Daybreak was never meant to be 'mere' entertainment. I hoped to use it as a platform to spread knowledge, and volume 3 covers an increasingly relevant topic in today's world.
The fact that as humans, we all have a severe mental blind spot.
We happily ignore flaws and weaknesses in our own argument, but would stop at nothing to pick on the opinions of those we disagree with. Sadly, our brains are wired in such a way that the region used for "conflict resolution" and "logic" are biologically separate (i.e. it is neurologically impossible for you to NOT get emotional when facing disagreement); furthermore, our minds chemically reinforces the concept that "we are right and they are wrong", making it even harder to break out from self-centric thinking.
Psychology terms this Cognitive Bias.
Today, we live in a world that is increasingly divided: where Internet search engines draws us towards groups that reflect our own opinions, where every form of media increasingly imitate an Echo Chamber that proliferates one-sided views, where anonymous trolling of those whom we disagree with has somehow become an 'acceptable norm', etc... In this environment, it bears remembering that while we may sound righteous in our own perspective, we are often blind to flaws within our own reasoning. Meanwhile, opposing views will ALWAYS sound wrong at first glance due to how our brain chemistry reacts to conflict. Only by stepping back and calmly analyzing both viewpoints from a distance can we recognize our own failings and not just point fingers at others'.
...And 'Cognitive Bias' affects far, far more than just human relationships. In fact, it creates pitfalls in everyday life.
Daybreak's volume 3 is meant to highlight how these mental blind spots can cripple our behavior (Sylv's most of all), oftentimes leading us to blame others despite their best of intentions. However, it also tells a story of how these biases interact with another major issue in the world:
That ethics and morality is subjective.
Almost every viewpoint and methodology in the world has its own strengths and flaws. Nevertheless for most people, the society in which we were raised determines most of our moral/ethical views, and too many never challenge this view but blindly push it like some evangelizing zealot. The most overbearing of this -- in my opinion at least -- are the "western values" that the most influential region of the modern world endlessly propagate. There's a certain set of lines I like to use to describe this:
Eight hundred years ago, Christendom saw all those who reject the teachings of Christ as vile heathens.
Four hundred years ago, the White Man saw it as his destiny to lead the inferior races of the world.
Today, the 'West' exports democracy and liberalism as though they are the only acceptable means of government and society.
Are we truly moving forward?
Readers of Daybreak might notice that I am a proponent of Pluralism (diverse, competing, and mutually-restraining centers of power in society), Meritocracy (promotion based on performance), and Constitutionalism (supremacy of the law over leaders). However, I am not a fan of Democracy. Because as a species, we're simply not evolved enough for it...
TL;DR, as a wise (but very biased) British Prime Minister once said:
The best argument against Democracy is a conversation with the average voter - Winston Churchill
Anyway, off the touchy subject and back to general ethics.
The Paradox game Stellaris once did an admirable job of dissecting social ethics down to four fundamental axis, none of it being inherently 'good' or 'evil'. They are:
Collectivist - vs - Individualist (is good for the masses more important than good for the individual?)
Spiritual - vs - Materialist (is our spiritual conscience more important? or the well-being of our bodily selves?)
Militarist - vs - Pacifist (is force the ultimate answer to all problems? or must it be avoided at all costs?)
Xenophobe - vs - Xenophile (should foreign ideologies and differences be embraced? or repulsed in the name of social stability?)
"...And if you think any of those questions are easy to answer, then I haven't been doing my job." - Crash Course
Coincidentally, I use these four axis -- along with nine steps along each axis -- to describe the ethical views of Daybreak's characters. For example, a major conflict in volume 3 is the difference in approach between Edith-Estellise and Pascal. Edith, being raised in a convent, has a staunch, untainted sense of virtue that adheres to the Bible in its truest form. But while she is 'morally correct' (certainly by Christian standards), she clashes entirely with Pascal, who was raised by Weichsel's marshal and believes that sacrifices, however cruel and callous, are inherently necessary in achieving real, tangible results. This fact is reflected in their ethics:
Pascal : Collectivist (strong) - Militarist (average) - Materialist (average)
Edith : Spiritualist (fanatical) - Collectivist (average) - Xenophobe (mild)
It may surprise you but Kaede does NOT share the same side of Spiritualist-Materialist axis as Pascal. Pascal's unquestioning acceptance of the Holy Father is because he doesn't really care, while Kaede does takes her 'spiritual conscience' seriously, despite not adhering to a single religion. That being said, she probably has the most moderate (middling) views of all the characters, which is reflective of the tremendous cultural gap that she was raised in.
Kaede : Pacifist (mild) - Spiritualist (mild) - Collectivist (mild) - Xenophile (mild)
I've also observed that many times when readers disagree with a character's actions, it is because their ethical views are on the opposing side of one axis. For example, Kaede doesn't aggressively push technology and science upon Hyperion because she's not a Materialistic technophile. She doesn't always agree with the Hyperion way of doing things, but she's not out on a mission to impose her cultural values upon them either (which is mildly Xenophobic behavior).
So the next time you disagree with someone else -- whether it be a character or a person in real life -- consider why your opinions clash: what's their viewpoint? Where do they stand? What background makes them see the world that way*? You may not agree with their ethics, but you will better understand their personality from it. And understanding, is the first step to getting things done, be it forming bonds or forging compromises.
(*this is actually my test for a well-developed character: I should be able to link their ethics and motivations with their background.)