1. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Banned Contributor

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    Turning your back on Society: right or wrong?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Phil Mitchell, Dec 3, 2016.

    If a fictional society grew almost entirely dependent on the heroic efforts of two people to the point where if one of them quit, society would utterly collapse. Does that person have the right to turn his back on it even if the society and the world would descend into lawless savagery and death? Or is that person evil for not carrying on tirelessly because of moral obligation?
     
  2. Scot

    Scot Senior Member

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    Does that person have the right?
    Is that person evil?

    Those are two very different questions. The first sounds as though it covers the conflict in your story The answer to the second depends on other character's points of view, some would say 'evil' others 'he did the right thing'.
     
  3. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Banned Contributor

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    He wants to use their patron deity to find his parents but there's an enemy god waiting to wreck them. They don't know for sure, but it's likely based on the same thing happening before.

    The character in question spends his life training militia and rooting out evil wherever its found. Because of him, many bandit plans were stopped before they could gain momentum. Dangerous creatures kept in check etc.

    He believes he has the right to get his parents back after all he's done and what little thanks he's gotten.

    His sister (the MC and big shot hero) disagrees. But she never knew their parents anyway.
    It's a battle neither can afford to lose.
     
  4. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I have to agree with @Scot. You're loading the question a bit. I would be of group that feels that s/he needs to stop being the pillar upon which society stands. The society can be held hostage at any time via this one person.
     
  5. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Banned Contributor

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    It's not so easy for him to stop as he promised his father he would before said father left on a voyage to map the world.

    The reason why no one else can do what he did is because the tests to rise the ranks of the bandit tribes are so severe that if you're not amazing strong willed or utterly heartless and crazy you won't rise to learn the details of all the secret plans and infrastructure. These tests are although not stated outright are heavily implied to be the hideous torture and abuse of innocents.
     
  6. IHaveNoName

    IHaveNoName Senior Member Community Volunteer

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    If the society is so weak that it requires the efforts of a single person to prop it up, it doesn't deserve to survive. What happens when he grows old and dies, or has an accident, or something else? It can't last forever, and the sooner he lets it stand on its own (or not), the better.
     
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  7. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Benevolent Ochlocrat Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'd have trouble believing in a society that was totally dependent on one person. Perhaps a monarchy that would descend into civil war if the king died, but even in cases like that, the society remains pretty much the same, even though hundreds or thousands might die as the claimants fight their ways to the throne.
     
  8. Infel

    Infel Contributor Contributor

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    I think that sounds like a really, really interesting story. Not to mention a REALLY interesting dive into morality and beliefs.

    Would that person be in the wrong for letting a society collapse because he didn't want to pull their weight anymore? Is the society worth protecting if they allow their existence to hinge on two mortal people's shoulders? Would it be different from different people's perspectives, AND would it change depending on the severity?

    Look at it from a relationship perspective: if one member of the relationship is pulling the entire weight, always sacrificing, always compromising, would anyone blame them for walking away? What if the other partner was a wreck without them? Do you sacrifice yourself for the 'greater good'? Are you OBLIGATED to sacrifice yourself for the greater good?

    It's like that one episode of Rick and Morty where cutting of the Dad's penis could save the most influential person in the universe and save thousands of lives, but the Dad doesn't know or care about the guy and he has to sacrifice something that, while physical and stupid within the confines of the story, still has significant meaning to him.

    Or it's like the idea of self driving cars crashing into walls to save pedestrians over drivers. It's entirely, ENTIRELY subjectively complected, and the more information you add, the worse and worse it gets. Something thats right in one situation doesn't necessarily hold in a different one. It would challenge the idea of 'objective right'. It would be an entire examination of the hypocrisy of mankind.

    Please write a story about this.
     
  9. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Benevolent Ochlocrat Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Or it's like Atlas Shrugged. Just saying.
     
  10. Mumble Bee

    Mumble Bee Keep writing. Contributor

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    There are a few points to this.

    The two obvious answers are
    -Yes, people can do whatever! Freedom!
    -No, you have to do the most good possible or you're evil... EVILLL!!!

    Both of which are pretty simplistic, and take none of the actual situation into account.
    These two beings have, over the course of an entire freaking society, accepted the role of 'protector'. That shit didn't just happen over night, like you went out Friday for drinks, and woke up Saturday as a civilizations only hope. Every step of letting this happen was a contract between these two guys, and the people. Should they have to continue doing this forever? No, only suckers don't know when to quit. But, given their responsibility, if they wanted to leave and remain more or less morally balanced, they'd have to make some sort of effort to find a replacement/make sure everything doesn't catch on fire the second they leave.
     
  11. Toomanypens

    Toomanypens Member

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    Well its about ego isn't it?
    The ego that says "the world is on my shoulders", can't ACTUALLY ever be true in reality, even in fiction.
    Because the moment you shape the story to make it "true" you are forgetting that it then becmes an EXTRAORDINARY circumstance, which by definition creates a vacuum (that will get filled and is temporary).
    The only thing he can ACTUALLY lose is an ideal. Therefor isn't it about a part of himself he will lose if he abandons rule?
    And in abandoning rule isn't there also a chance for growth, for growing bigger than the ideal? (maturity)

    Either way, don't solve thhis for the audience right away, build the suspence, let them imagine choices.
     
  12. Mikmaxs

    Mikmaxs Senior Member

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    Isn't this the usual struggle taken on by Superheroes? (Or, at least, by Superman and Spiderman, two of the most publicly known 'Good-guy' heroes.)
    "With great power, comes great responsibility". Spider-Man doesn't have to be Spider-Man, and when he CHOOSES to be Spider-Man, it almost inevitably ends badly for the people close to him. However, when he chooses NOT to be Spider-Man, it instead ends badly for many, many more people who he doesn't personally know. Therefore, he does the 'Noble' thing and takes on the responsibility of being Spider-Man in order to make society a better place. It's not quite "Society will collapse", but it is something in the same vein.

    Superman, at least in some iterations, is pretty similar - Just on a larger scale. He would probably love to settle down with Lois and live a comfortable family life, but doing so means that he won't be around to protect Metropolis, or anywhere else for that matter.


    In both of these cases, the heroes have the opportunity and option to give up their life of heroism, but choose not to, and that's what makes them a Hero. If choosing not to be a hero was inherently evil, then the stories would take on a more grim and desperate tone, and rather than being 'Good guys', Spidey and Supes would just be 'Not-bad-guys'. It's having the right, and possibly even deserving (after what abuse they've been through) to retire, but choosing not to for the good of the many, that makes them into beloved characters that people want to look up to.
     
  13. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Banned Contributor

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    It probably doesn't deserve to survive, but it limps along.

    He can't grow old as this is elf society but he can be killed, so there is always that chance. The bandits were once ordinary people who were expected by the king to work their day jobs, for not much pay, and then volunteer their time for free in the militia, because he won't pay them (free meals though) for that or send his personal guard to help in most cases, but he'll still tax them. He's ruled for half a million years and refuses to ever step down. The irony is when people turn their back on work and become bandits for freedom and rebellion, they create many of the hardships for ordinary citizens that create bandits to begin with. So it's a cycle.

    But this guy is not a champion of the people. He's a noble himself with close ties to the monarch who travels around the continent and terrifies and brutalizes ordinary people into staying loyal and training hard. Then they have to take their exhausted bodies and still work the fields. Many see him as a savage lunatic.

    That's the bad side of it. The good side is he doesn't come to any specific city or village that often, and he does take an interest in helping the ordinary. And they know things will never get apocalyptic bad, and if they do it will be sorted, because then his sister steps in.

    So for most it's either a mild misery that limps on and on or risk anarchy and death and hope something better will come after that age of strife. The king's idea is to give people just enough problems, too many and they reach their limit and rebel, too little and they have too much time on their hands and start to unite and think for themselves too much.

    They're the good guys...good is relative because the bad is this enemy god who wants to sweep all societies away to have them join his universal army - his idea is that if armies fight instead of the gods, it's actually less violent and damaging. And he's not wrong. But he intends to throw countless lives into the deadly meatgrinder of these massive wars. They have to try and resolve their differences and resist him with all they've got.

    Anyway the king sent him a dream of his father dying, so in desperation that's why he has to plan to defeat his own sister cos she won't allow him to send their god away, who is really their last line of defence. Basically he has to cheat every step of the way and brutally press the attack from the start. He can't let up for a second or she'll turn it around. In fact he knows thats inevitable but he has to make it too little too late. But he can't go too far and kill her either. He has to find the balance.

    He feels himself justified as he's made so many sacrifices to keep the status quo going. His sis points out that saving lives doesn't give him the right to put everyne at risk, and he retorts that they'd all be dead if it wasn't for him so the decision is his but she just says you don't get to decide what happens to me.

    I'm really interested in outside views on who is wrong and who is right or if they're both right to some extent.
     
  14. S~A~W

    S~A~W Banned

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    Something that flimsy couldn't qualify as a society. A society is a functioning, cooperative group of people, not a group of people following some guy. That sounds like a cult.

    Societies self-righteously expecting their survival to trump the lives of its members, where is this justification making "right or wrong" an issue? How does one "turn ones back" on society anyway? This is all rhetoric gone wild. "Moral" obligation? Maybe his/her moral obligation is to let this "society" collapse so a real one can form.
     
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  15. Denegroth

    Denegroth Banned

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    People toss this word "society" around like it means something. :supercool:
     
  16. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Banned Contributor

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    They're not following him, hes much closer to the aragorn/rangers of the North who keep everything functioning from the shadows. He's basically the rangers of LOTR combined into one character.

    It's not that it's flimsy, how do you defend against an organized secreted enemy who's members look just like your citizens, who's willing to spend millennia planning and infiltrating your society for the day they just turn on you suddenly and across the land? People so fanatical they'd rather kill themselves than talk? He manages to put a stop to it. Their society is behind the times as it's adapted for conventional warfare. It's like the jedi weren't adapted for the Sith's new rule of two. It's a bit harsh to say they all deserve to go down.
     
  17. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Benevolent Ochlocrat Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Sounds like China Mieville's Breach.
     
  18. Infel

    Infel Contributor Contributor

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    You lost me at "Bad shit has continued to happen for half a million years."

    Half a million years? HALF a MILLION? 500,000 years of people living in 'mild misery' and nobody decided:

    "You know what? We've got a lot of time on our hands and life isn't so great to begin with. How about, now hear me out, for an hour a day we start stockpiling weapons, or training our children in hand-to-hand combat, so that in maybe in.... eh, what the hell, lets be generous, 2000 years we can form a coup to murder this ass hole. Whaddaya' say?"

    Edmund Dantez had nothing better to do than live in misery for eight years, so he dug a foot a day and eventually failed to escape prison that way because he sucked. But then something else random happened and he got out. In eight years. And you're telling me no freak chances for freedom and a better life happened in five-with-SIX-ZEROS-years?

    If you have people who are upset with the way things are going, and you cram them all together, they get organized, and they start finding ways to get even. If they were humans, they'd fight and die for the CHANCE of a better life.

    Of course, they're not humans, so maybe they're just non-violent by nature, but then you're going to have to convince me why they've sat on their hands for half a million years.

    Half a million years.
     
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  19. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    In addition think how much a world can change in half a million years - a thousand years ag Britain had not yet been colonised by the normans, and the saxons were still ruling england in between fighting the celts and the danes with swords and clubs. Just over 500 years ago columbus 'discovered' america ...

    one hundred years ago we were fighting ww1

    the internet has only become a thing in the last twenty or so years

    Half a million years ago humans had not yet evolved (the oldest known remains of a bi pedal ancestor date from 4.3 million years ago)

    So i'd have expected some quite radical changes to society and indeed form in a 5M year time scale
     
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  20. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Banned Contributor

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    Thats's just a quirk of the setting.

    They grow up 100x slower than us and it takes 100 years just to get an elf or fairy to start crawling. They're still babbling after that long.
     
  21. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Thats still the equivalent of 5000 years - which is still a damn long time
     
  22. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Banned Contributor

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    You have to knock off the time when they were like barely sentient cavemen and their cities were crude dwellings. There wasn't all that strife then.

    It's difficult to revolt as there's such a huge difference between professional warriors, who are trained to use their spiritual/magical energy and those who aren't. Thats why the bandits had to go all covert on them, as they've never been able to conquer a major city in open war.
     
  23. antlad

    antlad Banned

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    I think this is interesting to explore.
    What physical changes would happen?
    What would gravity do to a body over that much time?
    What would breasts look like after nursing a child for 150 years?
    Would there be heavy depression?
    Do pets or other animals have a similar lifespan?
    How do economics work? And attitudes towards it? Do people get mad that a product they bought only lasted 3 weeks?
     
  24. Infel

    Infel Contributor Contributor

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    This is more of a personal opinion, but I would avoid 'adding 0's' if at all possible. What I mean by that is making things take longer just for the sake of it might create more problems than it helps.

    For example, a hundred years to start crawling? When it takes a lion like 3 years to reach adulthood? These elves would be the perfect prey for predatory species.

    Of course, that also opens up the door to interesting scenarios as @antlad said above. But if you're going to go that route, it should be intentional.
     
  25. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Banned Contributor

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    - An interesting fact is that elf and fairy babies start off only one inch tall. Very tiny, very fragile. Fairies are only one foot tall and can breed with elf males (who are the same height as human males in our world) to create elf or fairy babies. The demographic goes 50% elf male, 25% elf female 25% fairy. All fairies are female. As to what gravity does to em, meh I just go "magic" and move on as an excuse to not make em misshapen aliens. This is for a comic so their looks are more important than it would be for prose.

    Breasts on elf females are bigger on average and better at milk delivery as they can go year round, because believe it or not fairies are outgrown by their elf babies in infancy so the fairies can't deliver enough milk and the babies still throw up solids. So an elf girl can always get employment from a fairy.

    They don't get immortality related depression as they were created to be immortal. They weren't changed mortals.

    The 3 kind of unicorn (all are very rare) are the only immortal animals. All others are mortal.

    With the economy there is a big rich/working class divide. The dude in question, his home city is the most fancy looking artisan looking in the land. Even menial jobs there are highly sought after. They have the standard fantasy currency of gold, silver, copper pieces. Much of their taxes go to the Regent of that city and the royal family at the capital. People tend not to scam each other with faulty crap as eventually people start to know people's faces and it's hard to disappear unless you're willing to live like a vagabond.

    The
     

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