Star Trek: RIP Rene Auberjonois

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  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Lanz wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    I generally regard the Founders in light of at least their initial characterization, which was like Odo in that they had a really strong innate desire for order. Which in terms of characterization I think is a nice mirror to how completely without limits their lives can be given their shapeshifting abilities.

    The Founders empire is just the same kind of thing Odo would do to the Promenade, writ large enough to cover the galaxy. On several occasions he basically mutters about them not letting him run the place like history's most controlling police state.

    I think there's probably something to be said that Odo's formative experience in what law and societal control is being...

    well, a mining camp orbiting a planet annexed by space nazis. He literally grew up under and operating an apparatus of the already existing fascist Cardassian state. Everyone's probably lucky he came out as well as he did, given the circumstances.

    It's an innate part of their nature. They are very explicit about this the first time we meet them. At the end of The Search 2, when Odo and everyone founds out who the Founders are, they outright tell him.
    FEMALE: The Solids are nothing like us.
    ODO: No, I suppose they're not. And neither am I. I've devoted my life to the pursuit of justice, but justice means nothing to you, does it?
    FEMALE: It's not justice you desire, Odo, but order. The same as we do. And we can help you satisfy that desire in ways the Solids never could. This will all become clear to you once you've taken your place in the Great Link.

    At least the initial idea was that changelings desire order as a sort of innate drive. Odo satisfies this to some extent via his job but they also make it clear on several occasions that he's much more interested in order then any sort of freedom or the like. Their initial take, which I think is the best and most interesting one, is that while Odo has definitely learned to respect and understand solids, he doesn't really quite think like them. He doesn't necessarily value the things we do.

  • MancingtomMancingtom Registered User regular
    It's true that Odo's definition of justice doesn't always match the Federations, but neither does Garak's or Kira's.

    I don't think we can take Change Leader at her word regarding anything, but especially not herself or the Founders as a whole. In the lines you quoted, every single word is designed to minimize Odo's connection with what he knows and encourage him to join her.

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  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    Mancingtom wrote: »
    It's true that Odo's definition of justice doesn't always match the Federations, but neither does Garak's or Kira's.

    I don't think we can take Change Leader at her word regarding anything, but especially not herself or the Founders as a whole. In the lines you quoted, every single word is designed to minimize Odo's connection with what he knows and encourage him to join her.

    You could also read it as Odo's intense sense of justice coming from how he was treated by the scientists/Cardassians followed with having to witness (and to some degree take part in) the Cardassian occupation. In such a situation, wouldn't you also begin to develop a burning desire to restore and maintain justice, having seen deep injustice happening constantly all around you? I see Odo as being so control obsessed explicitly because he was so powerless to do anything during the occupation outside of that specific sphere of station security that was granted to him, that he feels he needs to seize and deal with dispensing justice himself believing very deeply that if he does not do it then it will not happen. And it would make sense for him to feel that way, having lived around Cardassians for so long. Odo is used to being the only person with any power who sees justice through, or who even really cares about justice at all.

    Monwyn
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Mancingtom wrote: »
    It's true that Odo's definition of justice doesn't always match the Federations, but neither does Garak's or Kira's.

    I don't think we can take Change Leader at her word regarding anything, but especially not herself or the Founders as a whole. In the lines you quoted, every single word is designed to minimize Odo's connection with what he knows and encourage him to join her.

    Except it also lines up with everything we know about Odo already and afterward. And this is TV so the writers are actually trying to tell us things via what the characters do and say. They never do anything to contradict what she says so one should assume it's accurate on that basis as well.

  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    edited January 5
    shryke wrote: »
    Mancingtom wrote: »
    It's true that Odo's definition of justice doesn't always match the Federations, but neither does Garak's or Kira's.

    I don't think we can take Change Leader at her word regarding anything, but especially not herself or the Founders as a whole. In the lines you quoted, every single word is designed to minimize Odo's connection with what he knows and encourage him to join her.

    Except it also lines up with everything we know about Odo already and afterward. And this is TV so the writers are actually trying to tell us things via what the characters do and say. They never do anything to contradict what she says so one should assume it's accurate on that basis as well.

    I think both interpretations are valid and bear fruit. It may even be fair to assume there is a little of both of these things going on; Change Leader is subtly manipulating Odo to believe that his instincts are necessarily more fundamental to who he is than they really are, but she's persuasive because Odo cannot deny that there is a definite amount of truth to it even if Odo's personal sense of justice is shaped by more than just that. In the same episode Odo shows that he can be driven against all his higher judgments and rationality and emotional attachments by his sheer instinctual drive to return to the nebula, and this was something deliberately implanted in him since birth. Odo is then faced with disentangling what he feels because of his own unique experiences and moral development, and what he feels simply because he must feel it.

    Jake makes a great point regarding tying it back into Star Trek's very basic struggle with "how do I reconcile the destructive tendencies of my instincts and my culture with my morality; how do we become better without rejecting or destroying who we are?" It's really the existential thread holding together the entire series. Star Trek is a show about the idea that humans can become better than we are. It's based in the fundamental struggle to prove that we aren't beholden to the forces that created us; that exercising self-conscious rationality and actively cultivating empathy in ourselves and seeking a better understanding of ourselves and each other and the world around us really can allow us to break through even the most stubborn, most reprehensible aspects of what has been bred and conditioned into us...or at least, we can in the long run. We know that we are flawed, cursed by innate desires and compulsions (or their ripples in our culture), driven by fear and tribalism and hunger and dominance and sadism. How do we, knowing this about ourselves, actually hope to ever be something good? We fall into believing that there is an inescapable way that humanity must be; deep pits of essentialism that humanity will never, can never crawl out of.

    But Star Trek presents us with the Vulcans, who collectively, purposefully changed what they were because they believed it was a better way to live than to surrender to the tyranny of their own instincts. It presents us with the Romulans, who in fundamentally refusing to change who they are have created a belligerent, trustless culture mired in their own worst flaws and driven by their own worst qualities. They present us with the Klingons, and Worf who is in a constant struggle to reconcile the brutality of his people, his reverence for their culture, and his own impulses with a system of honor that makes a warrior into something other than a killer , and tries to draw out the best qualities in all of his people's values. They present us with Dax, who has a life-cycle in which they must continually change almost every aspect of who they are and yet retain a single, fundamental identity that fully embraces whatever new person they become and still recognizes and accepts everyone they have been in the past. Hell, even the whole concept of the Mirror Universe is meant to show us very directly that the Romulans are us, that mankind might just as easily make the choice to change as not to change, that when we watch this show we are looking into a fun house mirror that just subtly warps our perceptions of what mankind is and could be. Even when Q puts the entire human race on trial for the sins of our past this is what he's really out to coax from Picard: that we are not beholden to repeat who we have been, that we are not our past, that we can learn, that we can be better.

    Those deeply evil aspects of mankind are not a myth, we can't shield our eyes from them or rationalize them away, or justify to ourselves that they cannot be the qualities of me, that they must only be the qualities of other people, and vice versa (none of us is as uniquely horrible or uniquely virtuous as we want to tell ourselves, in the grand scheme of things we really are all just subtle, if critical, variations on the same basic human being). But they're all right there, rooted very deeply in all of us. The only reason we are so scared to stare the monster in the eyes is because we think we can't fight it. We come up with every reason why we must be mistaken about it being right there in the room with us because if it is then it must be that there is no possible escape for us. It must be the case that the only thing to do is rationalize it away or surrender to oblivion, to reflexively discard any vision of the world with signs of genuine optimism; not even out of force of habit, but out of dire emotional need not to be harmed by a harsh apathetic reality.

    But there really is another way. It can change, we can change. All the rigid, brittle assumptions we make about who we are (as mankind, as individuals) bend under pressure if we just have the courage to apply a sustained force to them. We seldom take the time to count the problems that have genuinely toppled against the sheer force of our imaginations; it's remarkable how far we've come in so many ways that we didn't even know we could possibly improve. For every bit of Jetsonian delusion and goofy visual effect there's a piece of technology our science fiction first imagined that reality then made good on (and bad on) in ways we never could have dreamed of. This power of fiction isn't just limited to science or technology. If anything is to change, it all starts there. It starts with the world that we're capable of picturing and transmitting to each other, it starts with taking what we know and shifting the frame up and down and left and right to see what's just outside the margins. There's a world out there right now in the space of human imagination where we have won the battle with ourselves, where we win repeatedly, time and again, by the strength of our own best principles. That's what Star Trek tells us.

    Winky on
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  • Dark_SideDark_Side Registered User regular
    I never realized that the actor that played Kurn on TNG and DS9 is the same actor the played the Candyman - Tony Todd.

  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    He also plays adult Jake on The Visitor.

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  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    I find Tony Todd to be so unique that I notice him in every single role he plays. His voice alone is so distinct to me.

    Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.
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  • Dark_SideDark_Side Registered User regular
    I find Tony Todd to be so unique that I notice him in every single role he plays. His voice alone is so distinct to me.

    That's what tipped me off this go through, his voice and delivery are just so unique. I'm surprised I never noticed it on previous viewings.

  • initiatefailureinitiatefailure Registered User regular
    Dark_Side wrote: »
    I find Tony Todd to be so unique that I notice him in every single role he plays. His voice alone is so distinct to me.

    That's what tipped me off this go through, his voice and delivery are just so unique. I'm surprised I never noticed it on previous viewings.

    oh I couldn't figure out where I knew the actor from but i forgot to check credits for it.

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  • HydropoloHydropolo Registered User regular
    He also played the main star fleet admiral on prelude to axanar. He was one of reasons I really wanted that to come out.

    Commander ZoomMancingtomHahnsoo1
  • DanHibikiDanHibiki Registered User regular
    On that note Dahar Master Kor is also the voice of Apocalipse on the X-Men cartoon.

    TOGSolid
  • MancingtomMancingtom Registered User regular
    Tony Todd is cool.

    Maybe he’ll come back for Discovery or Picard?

  • DanHibikiDanHibiki Registered User regular
    Mancingtom wrote: »
    Tony Todd is cool.

    Maybe he’ll come back for Discovery or Picard?
    He's already on the Orville

    Ringo
  • CalicaCalica Registered User regular
    I really do wonder how much of their attitude naturally derives from their biology. They are essentially a single organism, like the Borg, surrounded by a universe of what they seem to consider p-zombies - things that look and talk and act like entities with feelings, but aren't, not really.

    There's a short story by Peter Watts that explores that idea: Things

    It assumes you've seen The Thing (1982), or at least know the basic plot.

    Jedoc wrote: »
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  • Commander ZoomCommander Zoom Registered User regular
    Calica wrote: »
    I really do wonder how much of their attitude naturally derives from their biology. They are essentially a single organism, like the Borg, surrounded by a universe of what they seem to consider p-zombies - things that look and talk and act like entities with feelings, but aren't, not really.

    There's a short story by Peter Watts that explores that idea: Things

    It assumes you've seen The Thing (1982), or at least know the basic plot.

    Read it a few years back. That last line, uh, sticks with you. :bigfrown:

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  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against the Irish) Registered User regular
    Watts is really good at portraying entities whose minds are very different from our own.

    I'm reminded of a short story I read from a while back about future humans encountering a sapient race that had extra unpleasant infanticide as a regular part of their life cycle. The characters are discussing amongst themselves that this can be fixed easily. They don't have to keep doing that, even though the race was inured to and accepting of it. It was part of who they were as a species.

    Then another more advanced race shows up that looks on us pretty much the same way. "We can fix everything wrong with you so that no one will ever suffer again." And the capability to go through with it, whether we wanted it or not.

    The author wrote two endings for the story. One was resistance, where the human race did what it could to escape and remain themselves.

    The other was, "- and then the aliens came and EVERYONE lived happily ever after."

    Naturally, there was a lot of division over which ending was preferred, and I found it amusing that people tried to argue one or the other was 'right.'

    Richy
  • initiatefailureinitiatefailure Registered User regular
    So far all of ds9 season six has been a continuous plot and I am here for it.

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  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    Watts is really good at portraying entities whose minds are very different from our own.

    I'm reminded of a short story I read from a while back about future humans encountering a sapient race that had extra unpleasant infanticide as a regular part of their life cycle. The characters are discussing amongst themselves that this can be fixed easily. They don't have to keep doing that, even though the race was inured to and accepting of it. It was part of who they were as a species.

    Then another more advanced race shows up that looks on us pretty much the same way. "We can fix everything wrong with you so that no one will ever suffer again." And the capability to go through with it, whether we wanted it or not.

    The author wrote two endings for the story. One was resistance, where the human race did what it could to escape and remain themselves.

    The other was, "- and then the aliens came and EVERYONE lived happily ever after."

    Naturally, there was a lot of division over which ending was preferred, and I found it amusing that people tried to argue one or the other was 'right.'

    Heh, that second ending is essentially the Culture.

    Actually Watts has another fun concept in that vein in Blindsight, where it is eventually revealed/implied that having consciousness doesn't make us special, it's actually a very terrible and wasteful flaw that causes us all sorts of unnecessary suffering and eventually will cause us to die out. Zima Blue also plays with this idea, where the conclusion of his artistic journey of cosmic self-discovery is to give up self-awareness entirely and return to a state of blissful unawareness in his original state as a pool cleaning robot.

    I'd normally say that if the Culture showed up tomorrow offering to fix all our human flaws I'd ask them what my next SC mission was so I could make it happen faster, but if, say, the Culture showed up tomorrow and said "okay we can fix all this nonsense but you have to give up self-awareness; you can still feel and act upon the world and remember things that have happened episodically but you can't conceive of or have thoughts and feelings about yourself as a persistent identity who is distinct from anyone else in the world" I would definitely have to think about it.

    Some of the best experiences I've ever had in my life have been when I have been so fully in the moment that I have temporarily let go of the anxiety of constant self-consciousness entirely. I would argue that this itself is the goal of mindfulness, and a good part of the reason why people enjoy recreational drugs. Being able to experience things is great, but having to experience things through the lens of the lone individual who is fundamentally, necessarily isolated from everyone else, who is always subjected to some measure of separation is deeply painful.

    But you would have to lose the concept of a self entirely. You wouldn't be able to go back, you'd just be gone as an individual forever. The thing that was left over might be considerably happier, but my identity would be dead. I'd be completely unable to relate with the person I think of myself as now.

    Determining whether that would be a good or bad thing is an incredibly difficult thing to do.

    Ringo
  • RingoRingo HE KEEPS REPEATING THE LINE I'M GONNA CRY BLEASE LET HIM LIVE YOU MADE ME WATCH SO MUCH KISSING IN THIS FILM LET INIGO LIVERegistered User regular
    I loved season six when it originally aired, but noped out after the season finale

    Sterica wrote: »
    I know my last visit to my grandpa on his deathbed was to find out how the whole Nazi werewolf thing turned out.
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  • Commander ZoomCommander Zoom Registered User regular
    Winky wrote: »
    I'd normally say that if the Culture showed up tomorrow offering to fix all our human flaws I'd ask them what my next SC mission was so I could make it happen faster, but if, say, the Culture showed up tomorrow and said "okay we can fix all this nonsense but you have to give up self-awareness; you can still feel and act upon the world and remember things that have happened episodically but you can't conceive of or have thoughts and feelings about yourself as a persistent identity who is distinct from anyone else in the world" I would definitely have to think about it.

    Considering that "death of the self" is functionally/philosophically equivalent to (seven billion counts of) murder, with the distinction that the lobotomized bodies keep walking around after, I'm gonna have to give this a hard pass.

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  • GONG-00GONG-00 Registered User regular
    Ringo wrote: »
    I loved season six when it originally aired, but noped out after the season finale

    Jadzia fan?

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  • RingoRingo HE KEEPS REPEATING THE LINE I'M GONNA CRY BLEASE LET HIM LIVE YOU MADE ME WATCH SO MUCH KISSING IN THIS FILM LET INIGO LIVERegistered User regular
    GONG-00 wrote: »
    Ringo wrote: »
    I loved season six when it originally aired, but noped out after the season finale

    Jadzia fan?

    Yeah, but at the time I also felt like it was very tacked on and badly written. Just not a reasonable way to end 6 seasons of that particular story and it made me mad

    I am rewatching DS9 for the first time since then with my roommates so I am looking forward to seeing how I feel about it now as well as finally watch season 7

    Sterica wrote: »
    I know my last visit to my grandpa on his deathbed was to find out how the whole Nazi werewolf thing turned out.
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  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    Winky wrote: »
    I'd normally say that if the Culture showed up tomorrow offering to fix all our human flaws I'd ask them what my next SC mission was so I could make it happen faster, but if, say, the Culture showed up tomorrow and said "okay we can fix all this nonsense but you have to give up self-awareness; you can still feel and act upon the world and remember things that have happened episodically but you can't conceive of or have thoughts and feelings about yourself as a persistent identity who is distinct from anyone else in the world" I would definitely have to think about it.

    Considering that "death of the self" is functionally/philosophically equivalent to (seven billion counts of) murder, with the distinction that the lobotomized bodies keep walking around after, I'm gonna have to give this a hard pass.

    In this situation murder becomes nonsense, because it is a legal construction meant to mediate the interactions between self-aware individuals. But if no one had their own individual identity then killing a human means completely different things. Many of my cells are capable of surviving independent of my body but when my body causes them to undergo apoptosis we do not think of it as a distinct animal being killed.

  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    Watts is really good at portraying entities whose minds are very different from our own.

    I'm reminded of a short story I read from a while back about future humans encountering a sapient race that had extra unpleasant infanticide as a regular part of their life cycle. The characters are discussing amongst themselves that this can be fixed easily. They don't have to keep doing that, even though the race was inured to and accepting of it. It was part of who they were as a species.

    Then another more advanced race shows up that looks on us pretty much the same way. "We can fix everything wrong with you so that no one will ever suffer again." And the capability to go through with it, whether we wanted it or not.

    The author wrote two endings for the story. One was resistance, where the human race did what it could to escape and remain themselves.

    The other was, "- and then the aliens came and EVERYONE lived happily ever after."

    Naturally, there was a lot of division over which ending was preferred, and I found it amusing that people tried to argue one or the other was 'right.'

    I remember this story, thank you for reminding me. I even went so far as to look up a link to re-read it:

    https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/n5TqCuizyJDfAPjkr/the-baby-eating-aliens-1-8

    Some concepts presented are fairly interesting. Some are completely dumb. But overall I remember it as worth a read.

  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    Also we consider someone without a conception of self as "lobotomized" but, at least in the framing of the stories I mentioned, the sense of self is a vestigial component of the human brain that sometimes undergoes catastrophic failure, and so removing it would be like removing every human being's appendix.

  • Commander ZoomCommander Zoom Registered User regular
    this conversation goes to no place that is psychologically healthy for me, and is arguably off topic for this group, so please consider this my notice that I will not be responding further. thank you.

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  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    Mind you, we are a society that absolutely worships the concept of the self (observe modern politics for reference), and we are seeing more and more people experience critical malfunctions of the self and self image, sometimes in ways that do damage to the world around them and not just themselves.

  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against the Irish) Registered User regular
    edited January 10
    Winky wrote: »
    Watts is really good at portraying entities whose minds are very different from our own.

    I'm reminded of a short story I read from a while back about future humans encountering a sapient race that had extra unpleasant infanticide as a regular part of their life cycle. The characters are discussing amongst themselves that this can be fixed easily. They don't have to keep doing that, even though the race was inured to and accepting of it. It was part of who they were as a species.

    Then another more advanced race shows up that looks on us pretty much the same way. "We can fix everything wrong with you so that no one will ever suffer again." And the capability to go through with it, whether we wanted it or not.

    The author wrote two endings for the story. One was resistance, where the human race did what it could to escape and remain themselves.

    The other was, "- and then the aliens came and EVERYONE lived happily ever after."

    Naturally, there was a lot of division over which ending was preferred, and I found it amusing that people tried to argue one or the other was 'right.'

    Heh, that second ending is essentially the Culture.

    No, nothing of the sort. This is in the vein of Watts, not Banks.

    I'd want to live in the Culture, I could still be human and me and life in the Culture is pretty good all around as a postscarcity, high technology society. The Baby Eating Aliens (thanks @Cambiata for remembering that) isn't some The Outer Limits 'gotcha!' twist, everyone truly will live happily ever after, but the kind of fixing that means everyone has full understanding and empathy, there is no more tragedy of the commons, fuck you, got mine, look out for number one and devil take the hindmost, means a fundamental transformation from everything we understand being human is.

    That's why the conclusion of Things reminded me of this story, because the ending of the story posits the transformation of the human race into something completely alien and different. Can't even say for sure it's a bad thing, definitively, but it does have the alien intelligence making that decision for us.

    Gabriel_Pitt on
  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    Winky wrote: »
    Watts is really good at portraying entities whose minds are very different from our own.

    I'm reminded of a short story I read from a while back about future humans encountering a sapient race that had extra unpleasant infanticide as a regular part of their life cycle. The characters are discussing amongst themselves that this can be fixed easily. They don't have to keep doing that, even though the race was inured to and accepting of it. It was part of who they were as a species.

    Then another more advanced race shows up that looks on us pretty much the same way. "We can fix everything wrong with you so that no one will ever suffer again." And the capability to go through with it, whether we wanted it or not.

    The author wrote two endings for the story. One was resistance, where the human race did what it could to escape and remain themselves.

    The other was, "- and then the aliens came and EVERYONE lived happily ever after."

    Naturally, there was a lot of division over which ending was preferred, and I found it amusing that people tried to argue one or the other was 'right.'

    Heh, that second ending is essentially the Culture.

    No, nothing of the sort. This is in the vein of Watts, not Banks.

    I'd want to live in the Culture, I could still be human and me and life in the Culture is pretty good all around as a postscarcity, high technology society. The Baby Eating Aliens (thanks @Cambiata for remembering that) isn't some The Outer Limits 'gotcha!' twist, everyone truly will live happily ever after, but the kind of fixing that means everyone has full understanding and empathy, there is no more tragedy of the commons, fuck you, got mine, look out for number one and devil take the hindmost, means a fundamental transformation from everything we understand being human is.

    That's why the conclusion of Things reminded me of this story, because the ending of the story posits the transformation of the human race into something completely alien and different. Can't even say for sure it's a bad thing, definitively, but it does have the alien intelligence making that decision for us.

    It's funny because the way you describe it (perhaps intentionally on Watts' part) lines up pretty perfectly with the notion I put forth above of removing self-awareness. After all, all of our self-interested behavior is predicated on the existence of a self who you prioritize above others. If we simply failed to recognize our selves as an individual actor with unique goals separate from everyone else, we do away with all the negative human behavior based around self-interest (arguably the vast majority of all human behavior that causes problems in society).

    You're right in that the Culture presents something vastly different from this, in which the focus is on allowing everyone to express their individual self identity to the greatest degree possible without violating someone else's autonomy. Rather than fixing the source of the conflict (that is, the self and self-interest), it creates an environment where pursuing it creates the least amount of harm to anyone else.

    In the first case you are declawing the cat, in the second case you are buying them a scratching post.

  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    Watts is really good at portraying entities whose minds are very different from our own.

    I'm reminded of a short story I read from a while back about future humans encountering a sapient race that had extra unpleasant infanticide as a regular part of their life cycle. The characters are discussing amongst themselves that this can be fixed easily. They don't have to keep doing that, even though the race was inured to and accepting of it. It was part of who they were as a species.

    Then another more advanced race shows up that looks on us pretty much the same way. "We can fix everything wrong with you so that no one will ever suffer again." And the capability to go through with it, whether we wanted it or not.

    The author wrote two endings for the story. One was resistance, where the human race did what it could to escape and remain themselves.

    The other was, "- and then the aliens came and EVERYONE lived happily ever after."

    Naturally, there was a lot of division over which ending was preferred, and I found it amusing that people tried to argue one or the other was 'right.'

    @Gabriel_Pitt : do you have a link per chance?

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  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    Richy wrote: »
    Watts is really good at portraying entities whose minds are very different from our own.

    I'm reminded of a short story I read from a while back about future humans encountering a sapient race that had extra unpleasant infanticide as a regular part of their life cycle. The characters are discussing amongst themselves that this can be fixed easily. They don't have to keep doing that, even though the race was inured to and accepting of it. It was part of who they were as a species.

    Then another more advanced race shows up that looks on us pretty much the same way. "We can fix everything wrong with you so that no one will ever suffer again." And the capability to go through with it, whether we wanted it or not.

    The author wrote two endings for the story. One was resistance, where the human race did what it could to escape and remain themselves.

    The other was, "- and then the aliens came and EVERYONE lived happily ever after."

    Naturally, there was a lot of division over which ending was preferred, and I found it amusing that people tried to argue one or the other was 'right.'

    Gabriel_Pitt : do you have a link per chance?

    I posted one earlier, here it is:

    https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/n5TqCuizyJDfAPjkr/the-baby-eating-aliens-1-8

    Richy
  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against the Irish) Registered User regular
    Thank Cambiata for remembering it better than I did and posting it up-thread:
    https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/n5TqCuizyJDfAPjkr/the-baby-eating-aliens-1-8

  • PailryderPailryder Registered User regular
    i just finished my first (and possibly last) watch of DS9. I really loved the show but the finale was not great. My wife kept asking me if the writers forgot about the pah-wraiths and i'm like...no just wait. It was badly done and they did dukat and wynn wrong. They shouldn't have gotten off so "easily".

    ElbasunuCaedwyr
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Pailryder wrote: »
    i just finished my first (and possibly last) watch of DS9. I really loved the show but the finale was not great. My wife kept asking me if the writers forgot about the pah-wraiths and i'm like...no just wait. It was badly done and they did dukat and wynn wrong. They shouldn't have gotten off so "easily".

    The plotline we all cared about has a great resolution though. I kind of wished the writers had forgotten about the pah-wraiths sooner and more permanently.

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  • LanzLanz Registered User regular
    Winky wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Mancingtom wrote: »
    It's true that Odo's definition of justice doesn't always match the Federations, but neither does Garak's or Kira's.

    I don't think we can take Change Leader at her word regarding anything, but especially not herself or the Founders as a whole. In the lines you quoted, every single word is designed to minimize Odo's connection with what he knows and encourage him to join her.

    Except it also lines up with everything we know about Odo already and afterward. And this is TV so the writers are actually trying to tell us things via what the characters do and say. They never do anything to contradict what she says so one should assume it's accurate on that basis as well.

    I think both interpretations are valid and bear fruit. It may even be fair to assume there is a little of both of these things going on; Change Leader is subtly manipulating Odo to believe that his instincts are necessarily more fundamental to who he is than they really are, but she's persuasive because Odo cannot deny that there is a definite amount of truth to it even if Odo's personal sense of justice is shaped by more than just that. In the same episode Odo shows that he can be driven against all his higher judgments and rationality and emotional attachments by his sheer instinctual drive to return to the nebula, and this was something deliberately implanted in him since birth. Odo is then faced with disentangling what he feels because of his own unique experiences and moral development, and what he feels simply because he must feel it.

    Jake makes a great point regarding tying it back into Star Trek's very basic struggle with "how do I reconcile the destructive tendencies of my instincts and my culture with my morality; how do we become better without rejecting or destroying who we are?" It's really the existential thread holding together the entire series. Star Trek is a show about the idea that humans can become better than we are. It's based in the fundamental struggle to prove that we aren't beholden to the forces that created us; that exercising self-conscious rationality and actively cultivating empathy in ourselves and seeking a better understanding of ourselves and each other and the world around us really can allow us to break through even the most stubborn, most reprehensible aspects of what has been bred and conditioned into us...or at least, we can in the long run. We know that we are flawed, cursed by innate desires and compulsions (or their ripples in our culture), driven by fear and tribalism and hunger and dominance and sadism. How do we, knowing this about ourselves, actually hope to ever be something good? We fall into believing that there is an inescapable way that humanity must be; deep pits of essentialism that humanity will never, can never crawl out of.

    But Star Trek presents us with the Vulcans, who collectively, purposefully changed what they were because they believed it was a better way to live than to surrender to the tyranny of their own instincts. It presents us with the Romulans, who in fundamentally refusing to change who they are have created a belligerent, trustless culture mired in their own worst flaws and driven by their own worst qualities. They present us with the Klingons, and Worf who is in a constant struggle to reconcile the brutality of his people, his reverence for their culture, and his own impulses with a system of honor that makes a warrior into something other than a killer , and tries to draw out the best qualities in all of his people's values. They present us with Dax, who has a life-cycle in which they must continually change almost every aspect of who they are and yet retain a single, fundamental identity that fully embraces whatever new person they become and still recognizes and accepts everyone they have been in the past. Hell, even the whole concept of the Mirror Universe is meant to show us very directly that the Romulans are us, that mankind might just as easily make the choice to change as not to change, that when we watch this show we are looking into a fun house mirror that just subtly warps our perceptions of what mankind is and could be. Even when Q puts the entire human race on trial for the sins of our past this is what he's really out to coax from Picard: that we are not beholden to repeat who we have been, that we are not our past, that we can learn, that we can be better.

    Those deeply evil aspects of mankind are not a myth, we can't shield our eyes from them or rationalize them away, or justify to ourselves that they cannot be the qualities of me, that they must only be the qualities of other people, and vice versa (none of us is as uniquely horrible or uniquely virtuous as we want to tell ourselves, in the grand scheme of things we really are all just subtle, if critical, variations on the same basic human being). But they're all right there, rooted very deeply in all of us. The only reason we are so scared to stare the monster in the eyes is because we think we can't fight it. We come up with every reason why we must be mistaken about it being right there in the room with us because if it is then it must be that there is no possible escape for us. It must be the case that the only thing to do is rationalize it away or surrender to oblivion, to reflexively discard any vision of the world with signs of genuine optimism; not even out of force of habit, but out of dire emotional need not to be harmed by a harsh apathetic reality.

    But there really is another way. It can change, we can change. All the rigid, brittle assumptions we make about who we are (as mankind, as individuals) bend under pressure if we just have the courage to apply a sustained force to them. We seldom take the time to count the problems that have genuinely toppled against the sheer force of our imaginations; it's remarkable how far we've come in so many ways that we didn't even know we could possibly improve. For every bit of Jetsonian delusion and goofy visual effect there's a piece of technology our science fiction first imagined that reality then made good on (and bad on) in ways we never could have dreamed of. This power of fiction isn't just limited to science or technology. If anything is to change, it all starts there. It starts with the world that we're capable of picturing and transmitting to each other, it starts with taking what we know and shifting the frame up and down and left and right to see what's just outside the margins. There's a world out there right now in the space of human imagination where we have won the battle with ourselves, where we win repeatedly, time and again, by the strength of our own best principles. That's what Star Trek tells us.
    Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.

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  • LanzLanz Registered User regular
    edited January 10
    Winky wrote: »
    I'd normally say that if the Culture showed up tomorrow offering to fix all our human flaws I'd ask them what my next SC mission was so I could make it happen faster, but if, say, the Culture showed up tomorrow and said "okay we can fix all this nonsense but you have to give up self-awareness; you can still feel and act upon the world and remember things that have happened episodically but you can't conceive of or have thoughts and feelings about yourself as a persistent identity who is distinct from anyone else in the world" I would definitely have to think about it.

    Considering that "death of the self" is functionally/philosophically equivalent to (seven billion counts of) murder, with the distinction that the lobotomized bodies keep walking around after, I'm gonna have to give this a hard pass.

    wait wouldn't "take away a society/species' self-awareness" be a giant fucking wrong in The Culture's morality?
    Winky wrote: »
    Winky wrote: »
    Watts is really good at portraying entities whose minds are very different from our own.

    I'm reminded of a short story I read from a while back about future humans encountering a sapient race that had extra unpleasant infanticide as a regular part of their life cycle. The characters are discussing amongst themselves that this can be fixed easily. They don't have to keep doing that, even though the race was inured to and accepting of it. It was part of who they were as a species.

    Then another more advanced race shows up that looks on us pretty much the same way. "We can fix everything wrong with you so that no one will ever suffer again." And the capability to go through with it, whether we wanted it or not.

    The author wrote two endings for the story. One was resistance, where the human race did what it could to escape and remain themselves.

    The other was, "- and then the aliens came and EVERYONE lived happily ever after."

    Naturally, there was a lot of division over which ending was preferred, and I found it amusing that people tried to argue one or the other was 'right.'

    Heh, that second ending is essentially the Culture.

    No, nothing of the sort. This is in the vein of Watts, not Banks.

    I'd want to live in the Culture, I could still be human and me and life in the Culture is pretty good all around as a postscarcity, high technology society. The Baby Eating Aliens (thanks @Cambiata for remembering that) isn't some The Outer Limits 'gotcha!' twist, everyone truly will live happily ever after, but the kind of fixing that means everyone has full understanding and empathy, there is no more tragedy of the commons, fuck you, got mine, look out for number one and devil take the hindmost, means a fundamental transformation from everything we understand being human is.

    That's why the conclusion of Things reminded me of this story, because the ending of the story posits the transformation of the human race into something completely alien and different. Can't even say for sure it's a bad thing, definitively, but it does have the alien intelligence making that decision for us.

    It's funny because the way you describe it (perhaps intentionally on Watts' part) lines up pretty perfectly with the notion I put forth above of removing self-awareness. After all, all of our self-interested behavior is predicated on the existence of a self who you prioritize above others. If we simply failed to recognize our selves as an individual actor with unique goals separate from everyone else, we do away with all the negative human behavior based around self-interest (arguably the vast majority of all human behavior that causes problems in society).

    You're right in that the Culture presents something vastly different from this, in which the focus is on allowing everyone to express their individual self identity to the greatest degree possible without violating someone else's autonomy. Rather than fixing the source of the conflict (that is, the self and self-interest), it creates an environment where pursuing it creates the least amount of harm to anyone else.

    In the first case you are declawing the cat, in the second case you are buying them a scratching post.

    I wonder, where on this scale would, say, people transitioning to the Newtypes (hyper empathic espers with technologically aided greater supernatural abilities; not too dissimilar to Betazoids but with an implication of a grander, if unrealized, connection to a higher level of the cosmos) from Gundam be on this scale?

    Still individual consciousnesses, but depending on how sensitive you are you have a deeper understanding of other people, can sense their emotions, etc.



    [oh also your government likes to use you as a human weapon because there are nifty weapons it turns out you can utilize with low-grade psychic powers]

    Lanz on
    waNkm4k.jpg?1
  • LanzLanz Registered User regular
    also on more direct Star Trek notes: There is a new Short Treks up, and is a lead up to Picard

    waNkm4k.jpg?1
    wandering
  • CalicaCalica Registered User regular
    Ringo wrote: »
    GONG-00 wrote: »
    Ringo wrote: »
    I loved season six when it originally aired, but noped out after the season finale

    Jadzia fan?

    Yeah, but at the time I also felt like it was very tacked on and badly written. Just not a reasonable way to end 6 seasons of that particular story and it made me mad

    I am rewatching DS9 for the first time since then with my roommates so I am looking forward to seeing how I feel about it now as well as finally watch season 7

    The actress wanted to leave and they had to write her out.

    Jedoc wrote: »
    The GOP cares about babies until they're born, soldiers until they're in need of care, and families until they interfere with stockholder dividends.
    Ringo
  • RingoRingo HE KEEPS REPEATING THE LINE I'M GONNA CRY BLEASE LET HIM LIVE YOU MADE ME WATCH SO MUCH KISSING IN THIS FILM LET INIGO LIVERegistered User regular
    Man, at my strictly unsuper levels of empathy right now I struggle to keep the suffering caused and endured by other humans from completely debilitating me. I pity the poor bastards who had that dial cranked louder

    Speaking of struggling with practicing empathy among people who don't, I wanted to tell this thread about my week. This Iran crisis and the brainless monsters who caused it really hit me hard. I was in literal physical pain about the terror and expected trauma war with Iran would precipitate. I spent most of my week in bed, basically grieving for people who hadn't even died yet.

    And, as I have since 2016, I kept ruminating on the lack of solutions. How you could never purge the world of bad actors with violence. How you can't educate people who refuse to be changed. And how you can't expect the caring and compassionate to carry on fighting against the world's ills without condemning them to a life of broken hearted misery.

    And I thought of this thread. I thought about the discussion of the 'leap' Star Trek's humanity makes from crazed wars causing almost total annihilation to the utopian vision of the Federation. And I had this thought, this shining glimmer in my mind. What if we aren't awaiting some magical moment where humanity finally gets it? What if utopia is achieved by setting a constant pace towards a better tomorrow and trusting that the dedicated will see it through? What if we find it hard to picture the course of humanity bending towards enlightenment, not because it's impossible, but because it's slow. Like geological epoch, or evolutionary adaptation slow. We can't see the end of the river, but the water is pushing us there all the same.

    And these thoughts weren't entirely new to me, but the context was. I could finally see the link between all the hurt and suffering that exists today, that has ever existed stretching back to the birth of self awareness, to a potential future where we've overcome it. And once I could see the potential... it seemed well, inevitable. Barring species extinction (which yes, we continue to flirt with, but if humanity is gone then who cares anymore?) we continue to grow, change, and expand who we are. Not everyone, clearly. The world is full of assholes who will continue to be assholes until the day they die. But we are replacing them. It feels frustrating because the assholes are fighting tooth and nail to hold on to power, and there will be no great inflection point in our lifetimes that assures us we are winning. But we are. Look at the world today and compare it to the one you grew up in. Things have changed. Not enough. Not by a long shot. But even in the mere span of decades we are winning

    So, Star Trek thread, y'all made me realize that the impossible is inevitable. I doubt I will live to see it, or even know anyone who does, but I can take comfort in knowing that every step I take towards our brighter tomorrow is laying the trail that our descendants will finish.

    And that's probably the coolest thing Star Trek has ever given me

    Sterica wrote: »
    I know my last visit to my grandpa on his deathbed was to find out how the whole Nazi werewolf thing turned out.
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