Chipping in some of my own bloody opinions...

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Chipping in some of my own bloody opinions...

Postby RHJunior on Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:42 pm

On the issue of the "dichotomy" of good and evil--- may I recommend CS Lewis' "Mere Christianity." Though some of his theology was amiss, he was a great scholar and thinker who dissected the philosophy of dualism quite thoroughly and effectively, exposing it for the falsehood that it is. He expresses it better himself, of course, but in summation the ideal that good and evil are equal and opposite is overthrown by one simple fact: that if they were truly equal, they would be both equally effective and produce equally desirable outcomes. But it takes little thought to realize that this is not the case.



Any student of life can see that invariably, the "benefits" of evil are short term and quickly eradicated, and then some, by the inevitable outcome of such. The payoff is worse than zero.
Or... the wages of Sin is death...

Good, on the other hand, prospers. It struggles and suffers, but that is because evil seeks to impede it, and its impediment only makes the inevitable positive outcome shine brighter.

Evil is not a counterbalance to Good. It is nothing but the absence of good. It is a nullity, an empty space which is yet to be filled, just as Darkness is merely a place where the light has not yet fallen. It is void and possesses no substance of its own.



On another topic: in the "legacy of chains" arc you noted that you had become Feminist, and lamented your introduction of the Slavers and the frequent portrayal of women as victims....
I'm at a loss here. How does it serve feminist thinking to gloss over just what it is that those of evil intent DO to women? That's a bit like wanting to make a war movie, but insisting on not showing any blood or death because "that might glamorize warfare."

I submit to you that this resistance to portraying women as victims of crime has resulted, real-life, in a philosophy of folly, especially among the young turks of the feminist movement on college campuses. They refuse to take sensible precautions--- such as avoiding a dangerous alleyway at night, or allowing themselves to be escorted to their vehicles in a darkened parking garage, or carrying some means of self defense in a dangerous neighborhood--- because they believe to do so undermines their status as "strong, liberated wymmyn."
Yes, it is that daft.
All Dworkinesque dogma to the contrary, women ARE physically smaller and weaker than the average male, and they are NOT likely to be able to macho-punch their way out of trouble--- which is why criminals prey upon them preferentially.
But it seems as if feminist doctrine these days revolves entirely around claiming victimization by "the patriarchy," while denying that they are in any peril from things that really DO victimize women.....
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Re: Chipping in some of my own bloody opinions...

Postby RHJunior on Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:54 pm

ON pacifism:

The fatal flaw of pacifism--- peaceful resistance, in the vein of Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr.---- is that it only works when it is relatively certain that the person or organization or culture or society you are resisting is of the same moral fibre and has the same moral values as yourself. It is an excellent tool for opposing social hypocrisy. It is worthless against those who don't believe in morality in the first place. Gandhi succeeded against the British because the British people, underneath it all, had a high moral standard. He would not have been so successful against Nazi Germany.

Worse, in the larger scope a pacifist is a parasite. A man who refuses to fight is relying on someone else to keep him safe... and attempting to cover his exploitation with a veneer of respectability.
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Re: Chipping in some of my own bloody opinions...

Postby Linkara on Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:51 am

(Reposted from the blog since I saw that before this)

I'll probably check out that C.S. Lewis book. ^^

That assumes, however, that evil's only goal is to impede good. Evil acts can still be done for supposedly good causes but still in effect be evil. And if evil ONLY leads to short-term benefit, what about the people who managed to get away with evil and were never punished for it? Now, from a Christian standpoint we can argue that ultimately they'll be "rewarded" with damnation and hell for their crimes, but even I as a Christian have to admit that if my religion is wrong and it turns out that there is no God or heaven or hell, those who get away with evil enjoyed the full benefits of it with plenty of long-term advantages.

While I'll certainly agree that evil isn't equal to good, I will continue to contend it as an opposite but with different end results. It's a choice that leads down one path different than its fellow. But then again I also have kind of bizarre standards for good and evil, especially when it comes to ideas that some acts, regardless of intent or situation, are evil, but are forgivable offenses because of the circumstances around them.

Also, since Darkbringer wields an energy (admittedly, it's magic, but...) which is not light nor is it merely an absence of light, he'd probably disagree on the idea that darkness is not anything. ^_~


As for Feminist issues, I probably would've still done the Slavers if only because, as mentioned in a blog entry a looooong time ago, since I lack the power to end human trafficking or human slavery, I strike at it the only way I can - through my stories. No, my problem with my decisions for the villain contest were that of which backstories I went with. Of the six individuals who were on Darkbringer's little strike force:
-Even division of men and women (though one could probably argue that Firedemon lacked gender)
-Of those three women, ALL of them were direct victims, in particular of violations to their body (Lady Analemma's body was experimented on, Legato Sin had her hands cut off and replaced with unfeeling robotic appendages, and Lacey was enslaved by General Werres)
-The only male victim on the group was Bruiser, who hadn't had violations to his own body, but had lost his children. A terrible, horrible tragedy to be sure, but it's a different tragedy to the ones suffered by the three women.
-All three women responded to the tragedy the same way - turning to crime (admittedly, Analemma was only interested in killing Werres, but she didn't seem particularly perturbed by the idea of killing Lightbringer to accomplish her goals). And while Legato Sin ultimately decided to turn on the others, she still had been a killer in her own time.

It's not necessarily a problem to portray women as victims sometimes, as long as it's balanced out with women kicking ass or men being victims, as well (though not necessarily within the same story, but in a series if the only people who ever suffer are women, there's probably something wrong there). In that regard, I tried to balance it out with Hannah stepping into her own as a superhero and the introduction of Carrie (she's so very) Danielle, the quick-talking attorney for Lightbringer (even though she only appeared briefly). As for your assertion that women refuse to take sensible precautions, plenty do, but that kind of thinking leads to victim-blaming. It is not a woman's fault if she walks through a park without some kind of weapon or protection on hand and is then assaulted. Some may believe so, but then again not every feminist is Andrea Dworkin. Feminism is not the Borg.

And they do not deny they're in danger from real threats, but then again there's this belief that people can't focus on multiple issues at once. It's like the age-old criticism at Girl-Wonder.org "Why do you care so much about criticizing sexism in comics when women are abused in Saudi Arabia?!" It's eye-rolling to think that we can't care about multiple issues or work towards multiple goals, but in particular combatting negative portrayals of women in the media. But the fact is that the majority of rapes and assaults are done by people the victim already knows. As such, the goals of most feminist groups, as I see it, tend to be about combatting what drives individuals to think that it's okay to assault loved ones for one reason or another.
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Re: Chipping in some of my own bloody opinions...

Postby Sun tzu on Wed Sep 17, 2008 12:56 am

Hm...As an atheist, let me say that I, too, recommend C.S. Lewis's "Mere Christianity". He says a couple of things I disagree with (beside the obvious), but overall, I consider him a very solid thinker (I mean, he says a lot of things I agree with, so, obviously he makes a lot of sense. :lol: ).

...Wait. I just...agreed with Ralph on something? :o
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Re: Chipping in some of my own bloody opinions...

Postby Wandering Observer on Wed Sep 24, 2008 10:58 am

A few clarifications:

It's easy to say, without any facts, figures, or actual understanding of Pacifism, to say that Gandhi wouldn't have been able to stand up to Hitler. The very notion of the argument is utterly useless, as Gandhi and Hitler both existed in very specific times and places that are very different, and very incompatible with each other. One can't say what Gandhi might have done or not done in Nazi Germany, because for him to have been involved in such a fight, his social upbringing and experiences would have rendered him a different person, and it's unfair to say one way or another what he may have done or how effective he would have been. To that extent, you insult both Gandhi and the Allied forces by reducing their victories to a purely ideological level.

To say that a pacifist is a parasite is to take pacifism out of it's context as well, not to mention showing a very small minded understanding of the concept. Gandhi and the other pacifists of his time did not expect someone else to keep them safe, they expected to die for their causes and planned for such and outcome. Pacifism at heart is a sacrifice, not a self defense.
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Re: Chipping in some of my own bloody opinions...

Postby Sun tzu on Wed Sep 24, 2008 10:28 pm

Wandering Observer wrote:A few clarifications:

It's easy to say, without any facts, figures, or actual understanding of Pacifism, to say that Gandhi wouldn't have been able to stand up to Hitler. The very notion of the argument is utterly useless, as Gandhi and Hitler both existed in very specific times and places that are very different, and very incompatible with each other. One can't say what Gandhi might have done or not done in Nazi Germany, because for him to have been involved in such a fight, his social upbringing and experiences would have rendered him a different person, and it's unfair to say one way or another what he may have done or how effective he would have been. To that extent, you insult both Gandhi and the Allied forces by reducing their victories to a purely ideological level.

I think he meant that in a "Gandhi couldn't have freed India from colonial control if the colonial power had been Nazi Germany rather than the British Empire" way. And it was the same era, so...
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Re: Chipping in some of my own bloody opinions...

Postby Wandering Observer on Thu Sep 25, 2008 8:57 am

Nevertheless, it completely undermines respect for both Gandhi and the Allied forces. At the most basic level, by simply comparing the ideologies, one ignores the individual planning, creativity, and adaptability employed by all players involved, not to mention a huge amount of luck. Ghandhi would not have fought the Nazis in the exact same way he did the british; and we have no idea how he would have changed his strategy to be any more effective. Since we have no idea, it's really not useful to make such generalizations.

The fact that it was the same era is inconsequential. The events still spanned very different cultural and technological backgrounds. One cannot think of a conflict without both competitors, there's too much that goes on in politics to simply lift a group out of their historical framework and expect to judge them properly in another.
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Re: Chipping in some of my own bloody opinions...

Postby Linkara on Thu Sep 25, 2008 7:38 pm

This may be inaccurate, but according to the film about Ghandi, when he was asked about the Nazis, he did say he'd employ the same nonviolence techniques he was using against the British.
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Re: Chipping in some of my own bloody opinions...

Postby Wandering Observer on Sun Sep 28, 2008 12:51 pm

It's likely he would have tried to use nonviolence; that still doesn't tell us much about his micromanaged campaigns, the strategic locations he would target, the individuals he would have contacted, the specific nature of his demonstrations, all of which are very, very significant, and without which we really can't say what kind of impact he would have had.

Just saying nonviolence wouldn't have worked in Nazi Germany isn't even a well researched argument. After all, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was an extremely vocal and significant member of the overt movement against Hitler. He actually did travel to India to learn nonviolence from Gandhi. To be honest, he was part of a group to stage an attempt on Hitler's life, which failed of course. That said, because of his nonviolent leadership, he's still considered one of the most influential intellectuals to oppose the Nazis. He was killed by the Nazis, but like I stated before, death isn't a relevant measure of success in terms of Pacifist movements.
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Re: Chipping in some of my own bloody opinions...

Postby Linkara on Sun Sep 28, 2008 11:30 pm

Wandering Observer wrote: He was killed by the Nazis, but like I stated before, death isn't a relevant measure of success in terms of Pacifist movements.

Well, just saying, it is if everyone in the movement is dead.
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Re: Chipping in some of my own bloody opinions...

Postby Wandering Observer on Mon Sep 29, 2008 2:16 pm

Technically speaking, if the Pacifist movement has accomplished it's goal in the meantime, the fact that they're all dead is insignificant.
In any case, Gandhi was survived by many people who believed in his cause, so why are you raising this point? To kill off all of Gandhi's movement, you'd have had to slaughter at least half of India.
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Re: Chipping in some of my own bloody opinions...

Postby Linkara on Tue Sep 30, 2008 8:21 am

Wandering Observer wrote:Technically speaking, if the Pacifist movement has accomplished it's goal in the meantime, the fact that they're all dead is insignificant.
In any case, Gandhi was survived by many people who believed in his cause, so why are you raising this point? To kill off all of Gandhi's movement, you'd have had to slaughter at least half of India.

Just joking, really, but then again if they haven't accomplished their goals, then if they're all dead it's a pretty good measure of how successful their efforts were.
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Re: Chipping in some of my own bloody opinions...

Postby Wandering Observer on Tue Sep 30, 2008 8:58 am

I suppose that's true, although it's also true for conventional warfare as well. Whether you're fighting with guns or words, you can't accomplish something with manpower.
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Re: Chipping in some of my own bloody opinions...

Postby VinnieD on Tue Sep 30, 2008 12:03 pm

You know I'd been meaning to make this argument before. That is the Villain contest villains being mostly victims themselves. I think it could be argued that this is more than simply the majority of writers going for the same angle but a fundamental recognition by most people that villains are not entirely evil people but rather people who are themselves victims, or at least view themselves as victims. The turn to violence and/or crime could well be a common trait of people who feel that the crimes against them leave them no other escape but to violate the rules of society and themselves continue the cycle of victimization.

Examples include: Studies show that most child abusers were themselves victims of child abuse.
Some of History's greatest villains themselves saw what they perceived as a social injustice against themselves, their part of society, or their homeland. For instance Adolf Hitler while he did terrible things mirrored much of Germany's sentiment that Europe, especially the English had made victims of Germany and that the Treaty of Versailles was mostly an act of petty vengeance by the British for WWI. Not at all defending Nazi Germany of course, but a whole country doesn't get swept into a war and democratically elect the world's most horrific tyrant without a strong belief in what they see as their own victimization.

So it's not that extreme to say that the reason Villains come from Victims is because it has a serious level of truth in reality.
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Re: Chipping in some of my own bloody opinions...

Postby Wandering Observer on Tue Sep 30, 2008 7:16 pm

It's not extreme at all. All villains come from somewhere, and most people think themselves completely justified in the things they've done. It's also not extreme to say that the vast majority of heroes walk the same path. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Frederick Douglass all had to deal with incredible levels of racism and hate before they became the people we know them as today. The difference is in how one deals with, and overcomes the problems one faces. It's one of the themes I like in the new Batman movie. Heck, even a very large portion of successful Comedians have a significant personal tragedy in their past, it's all about what one does with the situation given to them that defines them as a Hero or Villain.
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Re: Chipping in some of my own bloody opinions...

Postby RHJunior on Sun Oct 12, 2008 1:40 pm

Linkara wrote:This may be inaccurate, but according to the film about Ghandi, when he was asked about the Nazis, he did say he'd employ the same nonviolence techniques he was using against the British.



I never said the man wasn't blinkered.... But protests to the contrary, his methods would NOT have worked if the British Empire didn't share or lay claim to the same general moral and ethical principles as the people of India.

And yes, I'm sure that the Darkbringer would disagree with me about the nature of light and dark, good and evil.

But then again, he's a lone nihilist loony, the last survivor of a screwball cult--- which aren't generally long on either reason or logic. Plus, he's a wanker.

Now for a totally random topic shift: possible explanation for why noone can get a photo of Lightbringer---

Infrared light.

Most people don't know that cameras and video cameras are sensitive to higher wavelengths of infrared light. The same wavelengths that, for instance, your TV remote uses. That little bulb at the end? infrared light. Several people have made sunglasses with infrared diodes in the frames to thwart surveillance cameras... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpW5cW7ll7w

Presumably Lightbringer emits a great deal of infrared light while "powered up," which would account for his features being blotted out on most cameras....
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Re: Chipping in some of my own bloody opinions...

Postby Wandering Observer on Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:20 pm

This is partially true. Yes, the fact that they sympathized with him helped, but the larger reality was that he was able to mobilize a massive amount of civil unrest within the population. Morality has nothing to do with noticing that the vast majority of the population is very angry and only a thread away from militant terrorism, which they were.

It's beyond speculation to say whether or not Hitler's charisma could have kept Gandhi's mobilized population in check; I'd presume it would be close.
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Re: Chipping in some of my own bloody opinions...

Postby Nude0007 on Thu May 26, 2011 6:47 pm

What is evil? most people tend to think of evil as people willing to kill maim and torture either to gain some advantage, simply remove others as an obstacle or provide an example, or even just for the fun of it. To me, someone is evil when they do bad things when they do not have to, when they exert their will on others for pleasure or profit and in doing so cause great damage to those other people. cussing someone out or berating them for no reason is evil. hurting people or destroying things when your goals can be achieved without it is evil. doing things to someone that they don't want done against their will is evil.

So, is a person evil who grew up in great poverty with no legitimate opportunities to overcome it? They start out stealing food, then money for gas or rent, then more money to get more things, then maybe start saving some to move out and become respectable, but become too entrenched in an organization designed to steal vast amounts of money from many people, somehow getting most everything they can imagine reduces the incentive to "get out" so they just continue on. At some point they graduate from hurting people to rob them or get them out of the way, to just killing them. They see it as they have a "right" to survive, even over someone elses body.

the question almost raised in this comic is: "If you do something evil or even just bad to accomplish a greater good, is that truly justifiable? That's a hard one. If I steal 100 mil and use it to fund a cure for a terrible disease, is that bad? Did the loss of the money really hurt anyone? (no one person is gonna have 100 mil laying around, so it'd have to be a financial institution or company.) If I could save the entirety or humanity from certain destruction by killing 4 billion people, would I do it? Is it justifiable? I'm afraid I'd probably do it (any of these scenarios) Does that make me evil? Or am I just sure that we are going to kill ourselves all off if I didn't?

The thing is, the General doesn't seem to be doing that much good. Keeping a city's budget running is good, but not a good enough reason to allow slavery, kidnapping, torture, rape and murder. If he was just stealing from the rich and secretly donating it to the city, that would have been far more ambiguous. Would LB even have stopped him then?

I would never impose my wants on someone else, or take from others to enrich myself, but given the right motivation, I think most people would do things they think they would never do. If someone held a gun to your wife or daughter's head and said "pick up that gun and kill that person over there or I'll blow her head off", you'd be surprised at the number of people who would do it. Some would cry or be very distressed, but very few wouldn't.

The question presented in the comic is not so problematic or powerful because the perceived good is obviously minimal. If you want to really get to the meat of good and evil, you must present it in some of the terms I mention here.
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