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[OpNet] Taking Nova Life


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This stems mostly from the conversation Apep and I with Jager in Ibiza recently, but much of it has seen its way onto Opposing Views in the past.

Jager trains baseline teams in guerilla tactics, arms them with heavy weaponry, gives them a variety of combat training, and then employs them in a variety of tasks. One of these missions, and he readily admits to this, is the taking of Nova life.

Without getting into the unimaginably complicated reasoning behind this, I want us as a community to talk about how this makes you feel. How do you, as a Nova, feel about the fact that one of your own race is training a separate race in tactics designed to eliminate us?

[This message has been edited by Ashnod (edited 06-21-2001).]

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The thought of anyone training people to kill anyone else doesn't exactly set me on fire. I see the victims of violence every day in my job and I think its deplorable that anyone should deliberatly train another to kill.

I don't see a distincation between Nova and baseline in this. I know that you draw a line between Nova and Baseline Ashnod, but I can't.

What I'd like to know is why is Jager doing this?

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It is my understanding that Jaeger is teaching these tactics to be used only in exceptional circumstances and in the use of self defense.

Now, myself, I am responsible for participating in events that led to the deaths of six novas in my lifetime. I do not see any difference between the fact that I, a Nova, was responsible for those deaths or if they had been caused by natural catastrophe, animal attack or just really bad sushi. They are dead and I mourn their loss.

Now, of course Jaeger needs to realize that he has made himself responsible for these baselines and their knowledge. Should they act outside of his influence or design, either by diseminating the knowledge without his approval or by acting out on their own, he still needs to be held responsible for their actions. You don't give a child a gun and then proclaim innocence when they use it.

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Cannot draw a distinction between Nova and baseline, Trauma? I'm wondering how that it possible.

For example, baselines train baselines to kill baselines all the time. This is accepted by their community as necessary. Baselines train baselines to kill other species as well. This is considered necessary. Baselines train other species to kill baselines....when? The closest you can really come to this are attack dogs, which are not usually trained in taking baseline life but that occassionally happens as a result of their conditioning. I think, were it publically known, that a baseline trained, let's say CHIMPS for Cornelius's sake, to kill baselines, a good portion of the baseline nation would be rather outraged at this.

Now..let's modify this argument. Jager could be training Novas to kill Novas. We'd call that a necessary police action in some circumstances. But training baselines to kill Novas...? You'll have to forgive me that I draw a line between the races here, Trauma...they are not our equals regardless of their sentience. Sentience does not mean equality. I'm sorry if that offends some of the sensibilities of the people out there, but it's true.

[This message has been edited by Ashnod (edited 06-21-2001).]

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Trauma, unable to draw a line between Nova and baseline? I honestly don't think you are that limited. I feel perhaps, you do see the difference and quite vividly, but you prefer to deny it.

Now, while I have put down the baseline species as a whole, for the most part those are the result of an occasional snit. I don't consider myself as being inherently better than the entire species. Now, I am smarter, faster, and damnit, more charming than any singular baseline, but I don't damn the entire lot of them. I appreciate the sum total of their knowledge, their culture and their art. I apprectiate many things they have done as a group. However, I still see a strong line of separation between myself and them.

But, back to the subject. Wizard, I agree that comparing Jaeger's project to attack dogs and such is not particularly apt. Attack dogs react to command words or specific situational stimuli, these humans will have the freedom of choice to decide whether or not to use their deadly abilities. That makes them much more of a danger. So, what I ask is this, Jaeger, if you send your attack baselines at me, if I send them back to you in body bags, will you take it personally?

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Now, I am sitting there, wondering why any of what happened mattered and then it hit me (no, not Apep).

"Why do I do any of this? Is Ashnod just that much right and am I that much wrong?"

Okay, I moved on, physically, but I continued to think back over our discussion. Finally, I realized something that Apep had said. Something about me not understanding Chrysalis and I am thinking that I did understand it. Then, I had that epiphany.

There had been a time when I really had understood it, but I had so immersed myself in starting my life over, I had forgotten so much of who, and what, I was.

The teams are being broken up now. My few surviving veterans will be placed out of harms way (as much as any place is out of the way as far as novas are concerned) and the newbies will just have to go their seperate ways. They don't know anything that would make them any more of a threat to us.

James, first, why would I insult you by sending baselines to try and kill you? I am not sadistic, nor do I dislike you. If you had run across some of my folks by accident and they got killed, would confronting you bring them back? No. I would probably try to figure out what went wrong. They shouldn't have engaged you in the first place. If I really wanted you dead, and didn't feel like taking on the challenge myself, I could always hire your fellow Teragen member, Epoch for the task.

Trauma,the teams were tactical and logistical support. They did manage to do a bit of rescue work on the side. We did freelance intelligence work, primarily. On the side, we did disaster relief, hostage rescue, freed slaves, and other pointless endevours that the world cared nothing about. For the record, my baseline teammates managed to kill zero novas. They did manage to save two, but they were just doing their jobs. Sadly, the two baseline would be heroes were killed a few weeks later when one of my operations areas was attacked by unknown forces. James remembers the incident.

Wizard, my knowledge of history holds multiple examples of humans using animals in warfare and the like, up through WW II. As the argument against me didn't involve a sentiant training a non-sentiant race, I simple didn't see the relivance.

Pity about the dolphins and porpi. Most of them were killed in the training. I also heard that someone was trying to train orcas to attack divers.

As a last point, the training a baseline recieves to fight another baseline is usually of little or no use when fighting a nova. Conversely, any training a nova recieves for fighting another novas is very useful in fighting baselines. Life is just unfair that way.

Ashnod, I guess I should thank you. You cleared up something that has been bothering me.

Why wasn't I happy?

Okay, there was this nice feeling I got when I saved a life or stopped some sicko from wasting thousands of lives, but it passed. I mean, if I saved the baselines today, they are just as likely to get killed tomorrow, or in the upcoming war, right? If I saved a nova, how was I to know if they would eventually join other novas in killing or enslaving the baseline population? Hell's bells, I helped novas escape to the Teragen! What was I thinking?

Wait, I was hoping I could make the world a better place. I was thinking that if I just kept trying to have the races work together, a major race war could be diverted. I was thinking that saving lives was its own reward.

The Null Manifesto tells me to ignore my baseline heritage and become the nova I was 'meant' to be. I wasn't meant to be a social worker. I don't bring peace to the nations of the earth. For as old as I am, I am not all that impressive. I can't raise mountains or stop the seas. I have some difficulty hailing a cab in London (the fact that I can actually get one at lunchtime proves that I am a nova, by the way).

Back to the happy thing. What was I good at? The background my baseline education gave me could have allowed me to be anything I set my mind to, but that really has no relivance. As a novas, what I was really good at was killing people. I was really sneaky, they could never see me coming, and I could punch my finger through a battleship's hull like it was so much hot butter.

Thing was, I didn't want to be that person. So, I tried other things. I was a cop, but I had to follow the law. I could tell when someone was guilty and I could track them down. Still, baseline laws were frustrating to me, because not only did I have to know they were guilty, I had to prove it. Gathering evidence legally is tricky business. Letting off parents who sold their kid for body parts because they wanted the insurance money still grates on me.

Next, I was a spy. I was a fine spy. That was kind of nice, but I really didn't get to do much good as a spy, just steal things.

You see, my instinct could tell me if someone was a threat or not. They could tell me if their taint had warped their mind and if they were a danger to those around them. I could study someone and tell if they were going to do bad things. And, in most cases, I could stop them. It felt good to do so.

Thing was, baseline concepts of justice, due process of law, and the law itself held me back. If I hunted down and dealt with these people, wouldn't I be just as bad as they were?

Ashnod has been telling me that this isn't the case. She tells me that I have shackled myself with so many baseline conceptions that I am a traitor to my own race. That hurt. Not just the words, but because they came from somebody who was intelligent and articulate.

Don't get me wrong, Ashnod doesn't advocate me running around and killing my fellow novas. She just wants me to be my nova self.

Here is my dilemma: If I am to free myself from baseline restraints, what's to hold me back from doing what I feel is right?

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Intelligent and what? You're not talking about the same painted Jezebel that I know is going to burn in the fires of hell soon.

Your arrogence still amazes me. Firstly that you think that just because you can do a few tricks that you are better or even different from everyone else. Thats what caused the slave trade.

Secondly, that you assume that you are the voice of your little group of Satanically empowered wannabies.

You cry and wail simply because Gods chosen wish you dead? Do you not kill each other? Do you not fight over the petty little breadcrumbs thrown to you from the table of Lucifer Mal?

Pathetic dogs.

Having unusual powers doesn't make you better, in this case it has doomed you. I cry for your souls at night, I do. It's good people like Trauma and Jager that make me think that perhaps hunting you down like dogs is not what God truely wants. But it isn't so. I read the rest of the diseased rantings of your overly self-impressed mutual appreciation society and know that my way is just. It is the way of God.

You kill yourselves. You kill innocents. You moan and whimper when those innocents think to strike back.

Go on then, continue to inflate your heads and stroke those massive egos all you want. You cannot escape Gods wrath. You shall all die in agony as his holy fire clenses your twisted plagued ridden bodies.

Except for Trauma and Jager. You have proven yourselves worthy. You have shown compassion and love. For you this agony shall not be your burden.

I will make sure your deaths are as quick and as painless as possible. It's the least I can do.

Rest assured though, even those of you who are most perverted, I shall pray for your tainted souls even as you are being cast down. Even misguided animals such as yourselves deserve pity.

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Huh? I think I just got an "Atta-boy" from Ryan.

Ryan, when I am done with this life, I'll make sure your the first one I come looking for. Thanks for your consideration.

As I am not going to be saving many more lives, the fires of Hell might be most appropriate. There is the fact that I should also be displacing my Judeo-christian belief structure, but I think my instincts are up to the task. That could just be foolish pride, though.

So, Ryan, do you pray for the souls of all those novas you have killed?

[This message has been edited by Jager (edited 06-22-2001).]

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You know I can't believe I'm even trying to talk to you after the things you said to me, but I surprise even myself sometimes. How I even managed to walk away is beyond me.

You're saying that baseline restraints are what has held you back from hunting down people you see as threats and Killing them?

Is this what would make you happy? is this what would solve that happiness problem? Maybe starting to finally let go, not surpress your potential will make a difference. I never claimed to understand you Jager, but I am completely confused by you. Don't ask me to put my finger on it, I just don't understand.

What is it that you really want anyways? And damn you for not telling me about all the good stuff your people did, all I knew was about the bad, of coarse I'd react to you the way I did. What were you thinking?


Would you care to meet me in person? We could talk theology or something.


[This message has been edited by Apep (edited 06-23-2001).]

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I can be an ass at times. I actually didn't expect to see you in Ibizia and it set me off on the wrong foot. Perhaps you are a better person than you think you are.

Morality is based on what? If a nova is to really free themselves from baseline culture, shouldn't that imply re-examining our moral codes? What is wrong and right? Are we each bound solely by our own instincts, or do we share some common bond? Epoch takes money to kill novas. What kind of person does that make him? Beyond a Terat, that is. Is he any different from Totentanz or Ryan?

I know it sounds simplistic, but if you can kill someone and they give you cause, why don't you kill them? Yes, I am serious about this.

I sent you a message through Ashnod. It might clarify a point or two about me. As for confusing you; I confuse myself. That is why I am asking these questions.

I don't know what I want, really. I would like to be happy. That wouldn't suck. I would like to think there could be a time when novas and baselines could live together in peace, but I am unsure of that being possible.

I am suitably damned, then.

I told you the bad stuff because I would rather deal with your hatred and contempt than have you feel betrayed by me later when those activities came to light. Having been betrayed, I perfer not to do it to others. We just never got past the anger stage for me to explain myself. If there is a next time, I will try harder.

By the way, I liked your outfit.

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I do indeed pray for and weep over those who I have had to kill. To do otherwise would be to fly in the face of HIS teachings. I do not hate any of you. I pity you.

If you feel that you are becoming rabid then I am truly sorry for what will have to be done.

As for the rest of you insipid unbelievers, you keep telling me that you are going to put me down. Fine, my God is stronger than your satanic powers. You claim (a lot of rubbish) that you are all very powerful and could crush each other. Prove it. I am one baseline protected by my fate. Find me and kill me.

What you can't? How surprising....you are all full of wind. All talk. I at least have others who have seen the results of my actions on His behalf.

How do we know that you are who you say you are? For all I know you are some greasy haired 12 year old with access to a computer. Cetainly thats what Apep and Lucious sound like. Spoilt little children...yes it fits.

Keep talking, it's vaguely amusing.

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Ryan, have you ever tried to take on Hazzard or Totentanz? You know, folks with the blood of thousands, of not hundreds of thousands on their hands. Since your still posting and they're still up and walking around, I don't believe so.

Why don't I do something about it? Well, beyond my cowardly desire to keep breathing, their has been some sort of willingness on my part to avoid killing.

I am curious about one thing. Why does God want you to kill us? Exactly what was his message that told you that he couldn't or wouldn't handle us himself? If novas exist, we exist for a reason. Maybe we are here to temp or decieve humanity. If Lucifer is my boss, he is being strangely quiet about it. Now, I have known novas who did believe that they were agents of satan, but I have also known some who thought they were agent of God. Most novas I know just believe we are some sort of being that may be evolving into something else. Sounds pretty human to me.

Ryan, you have killed 6 novas so far, right? The three elites I am aware of and two that I have no recollection of. The last one, though, had the distiction of being a researcher, healer, and scientist who in a moment of rage took the life of someone who had wronged her. Sometimes, I think your too proud of what you do. Think on it. Why does God want you to kill the healers and the teachers but leave the murderers and assassins alive?

How can a God that I love so much allow you to do what you do in his name? Maybe your that lesson that I need to understand, that test that I have to find my way through.

"God loves, Man kills."

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Taking the life of a self-aware entity is never right or moral. Sometimes it is necessary.

That does not make it acceptable, right, or intelligent.

Harming others harms the self.


There are no stupid questions.

Only stupid answers.

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Please enlighten me Ryan, What is it that I've said that has upset you enough that you feel the need to insult me? Never have I insulted you and yet you continue. I have already offered you proof as to who I am. But you ignored my invitation all together. Perhaps you are fearful that your faith will not protect you when you are face to face with one of "satan's chosen"? As for finding you and killing you? don't flatter yourself. I have far more important things to occupy my time, as do many of us here. Your time will come, I'm certain of it. You are familiar with divine justice?

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Stheno, how do you come by that decision? I am not ridiculing you and it pretty much mirrors some of my own beliefs, but where does it come from? If I build a foundation without looking at the stones, the house will fail when it is put to the test.

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I based my decision on a number of principles, primarily upon conclusions I have reached privately about how novas should behave if we are to exist as social entities.

The thesis begins thus:

A thing which has no demonstrable consequences does not, in an empirical sense, exist. A self-aware entity which is not consequential for other self-aware entities might as well be an object. Hence the need for social interaction among novas - baseline needs for social interaction are more complicated.

If we do not interact socially, we might as well not exist.

From the need for social intercourse, it follows that there must be specific parameters within which that social intercourse must take place, and that those parameters or rules must be consistent and generally acceptable.

Social intercourse among novas will, in the current situation, also inevitably include baselines, and so they must be included in these parameters.

IF social interactions are to be possible, and to take place within specific, consistent parameters, then it is clear that the parameters must be defined.

I leave it to others to suggest what those parameters must be, as I do not claim to have any monopoly on answers.

I know what my answers are.

They will almost certainly not be yours.

I do not think I can phrase the entirety of my reply in words.

I am an entity with neither gender nor emotions. The closest I come to passion of any kind is the identification of my survival as desirable, and curiosity.

My conclusions, and the parameters I identified for acceptable social behaviour, are based in that fact.

If you wish further clarification, I will attempt to give it.

I do not wish to burden the readers of this board with more excessively long posts.

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Stheno and Jager,

There are two possible responses I can give to you on this. The first, and most open to debate, is what qualifies as self-aware? Are we defining this merely in terms of sentience, which everyone will admit to understanding but debate on its actual defintion, or, more abstactly, in terms of an awareness of other entities beyond your own.

A rock, by both definitions, is not self-aware. It can exert a certain degree of influence upon its surroundings, yes, but this is non-voluntary and is dependant upon outside forces for this influence to happen. A rock ina stream will slowly errode as the current passes over it, but because the rock is there it may prevent part of the stream bed from erroding at the same rate as the concurrent side, thus allowing the development of a tributary.

A tree, on the other hand, fits one definition but not the other. Is a tree

sentient? Not as we, meaning Novas or baseline, currently define sentience.

There is no observable communication, nor are telepaths and other various sensitives able to detect a "personality" or "individual mind" within it. However, as many of our more florally-minded Novas will tell you, the tree is aware of environmental issues such as air currents, soil content, the presence of other trees in its immediate vicinity, etc. There are also those that will argue that a grove of trees, which shares a common root system, actually comprise a single entity which is aware of all its individual branches and trunks. Kind of a collective intelligence. But does it interact on any social level aside from the need for survival with its brethern?

Doubtful. Does that preclude it from being considered self-aware, merely because it has no social needs above its continued existence? Or, by your thesis, could that merely be the acceptable parameters for which its social existence is defined?

Consider this: is a planet that sustains 180,000 different variations of planet life, 57,400 variations of mammalian life (all with the comparable intelligence of the Terran feline species), 12,000 variations of avian life (with the comparable intelligence of the Terran owl), 5,300 variations of

reptile life (with the comparable intelligence of Terran gecko), and 3,900

variations of marine life (with the comparable intelligence of the Terran

squid) merely an object, lacking an as we would define "sentient" species? Or, it is a vast and very complex social structure whose parameters are defined on a scale below the recognition of such by Nova and baseline


I once overheard an argument that without a sentient species to observe and appreciate the life that existed, that life may as well not have existed because there was nothing there to appreciate the fact that it did exist. I'm not going to make that decision for anyone, but I will state that if

Nova and baseline vanished from the earth, the earth would continue, and the

countless species remaining on it would undoubtably be aware of the other's

existence, though perhaps not on a scale that would be to our liking.

Another example I would present to you: Take a barren planet, for the sake of argument, Mars, and place Antaeus there, without Nova or baseline companionship. Return ten years later and see what has developed. My bet is

probably a 100-square mile wide of new speciation, likely all new and evolved to suit the Martian climate. Now, by Stheno's defintion, for 10 years Antaeus has not been "consequential" to other self-aware entities, but the universe has felt the consequences of his presence and there are life forms (who could be self-aware by the 2nd definition) now existing where there wouldn't have been had Antaeus not been on Mars. It would also be foolish to state that for those ten years, Antaeus ceased to exist because he had not made a demonstrable consequence on another self-aware being. And

were explorers to go to Mars, they would find his work, and it would not be therefore be consequential to them, even though they maybe completely ignorant of its origin?

Stheno is correct that Novas, unlike the trees in the prior definition, require social parameters on a more involved scale, and that each of those parameters are defined by the individual Nova. Stheno is also correct that in the current situation, Novas and baselines include themselves within the other's paramaters.

Herein lies the conundrum:

Baselines will require the presence of other baselines for meaningful social interaction. A baseline completely isolated from other baselines will, in most cases, begin to break down mentally. This includes situations in which a single baseline must interact with only Novas.

Novas will require the presence of other Novas for meaningful social interaction. Similar to baselines, if a single Nova were forced to keep company with nothing but a group of baselines, the Nova would feel an

emptiness and longing. For all of those who disagree, I challenge you to spend ten years in the company of only baselines, having no contact either in person or through the OpNet with your fellow Novas, and see how good of company those baselines tend to be for you. In Stheno's definition, after a

time, baselines will cease providing you with demonstrable consequential interactions.

Stheno's entire thesis is based upon the idea that in order for something to

consider itself empirically alive, it must have meaningful social interaction. The difference in the two above examples is that in the first a single baseline in a group of Novas will begin to feel like they don't exist receiving no interaction they as baselines find as meaningful, and a single

Novas in a group of baselines will begin to feel the baselines are no important to them than the aforementioned rock, receiving no interaction from those baselines that Novas find as meaningful.

Baselines do not require Novas. They've gotten along without us for several

centuries. Novas do not need baselines. Socially, they provide us nothing truly meaningful that cannot be provided by other Novas, unless you require idolation or worship from other beings, in which case your fellow Novas probably aren't too apt to supply you with it.

The idea of defining a series of parameter for Nova/baseline social interaction is therefore only feasible given the current situation, which is that we are both currently inhabiting the same geographical locale and still involved in a heated ideological struggle over whether or not Novas are human or something different. Given a more ideal situation, where Novas are

recognized both by themselves and by baselines as a separate species, the social parameters are going to be altered quite drastically from theircurrent norm.

See...you can take away the Novas, and the baselines will eventually revert to the social interaction they had with each other previous to 1998. They don't need us anymore than we need them on a social level. You will have Novas like Jordan Rossi who will say we need social parameters with baselines so that we don't have a war or that we don't destroy the planet. This is true, in so far as much as we as Novas want the baselines here with us, or want to inhabit this world.

Whether you or not you like that conclusion is immaterial, it is truth. It's a hard, brutal thing for both baselines and Novas to accept. Neither of us need the other. Both of us would, generally, be better off without the other. That's the terrifying heart of the matter. However, while we don't

need the other, it is necessary for us to develop social parameters if we wish to co-exist on the planet.

I'm not arrogant enough to say that I know how social paramenters between Nova and baseline should be defined, I just want everyone to know how paradoxally meaningless and important they are.

[This message has been edited by Ashnod (edited 06-24-2001).]

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Here is part of my conflicted nature. We are decended from earlier sapiens who have imparted on us certain mannerisms and behaviors. They evolved from social creatures and we in turn are social creatures, right? Likewise, most of us retain a desire to preserve our lives, to seek nourishment, and to procreate. From these inherited desires, humanity has built other social activities that we as novas inherit from our societies. Theft and murder are precieved as wrongs because they cause an assualt on the social body. How can we work together if we fear that another member of our group may suddenly kill us. Likewise, once something is gained, having it removed by another member of the social body is counter productive (no, I am not talking about taxes here). An example would be this: you make a salad, put it on your plate, sit down to eat it and then have a family member eat it off your plate. It isn't done without fear of retribution because it violates the family social dynamic. If this continud to happen in your family, you would leave, or you would starve.

I don't think it is possible to remove all baseline social norms from nova society, but were do we draw the line? What common ground can we agree on?

Seriously, is nova life sacred? If it is, what constitues a violation of that social contract? Is a nova that kills other novas removing itself from the social contract?

What about nova property and privacy? Do we allow a nova to experiment with fusion technology when a failure could result in a devastation of the local area? How do we decide where one nova's rights end and the rights of society begin?

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Ashnod, thank you very much. You have given me much to consider.

However, I think you missed one or two important elements of my thesis, perhaps because I explained it inadequately.

Your example with Antaeus is not particularly relevant. Consequentiality is not something for which time is all that relevant. Antaeus, in your action, has had a consequential social/physical interaction: it merely took a long time for the interaction to be registered and become consequential.

As to your other points about novas in baseline company and baselines in nova company, I have to say that I had hoped for better argument.

They are unsubstantiated assertions and nothing more.

Perhaps they are correct, though I can guarantee that in my case they are not.

I do not feel.

I based my thesis upon the need for an entity to have visible proof that it's interaction with the universe is meaningful. At some point in time, this interaction must assume a social aspect. Meaning is a social function, not anything inherent in the universe.

For the purposes of my thesis, the degree to which the social contact is satisfactory in an emotional sense is not relevant. It only matters that there be some relevant, consequential interaction.

As to your point about the fact that parameters for social interaction must include baselines only because we currently occupy the same geographical space, you are entirely correct.

A question, however.

If we leave, or if the baselines disappear, or the need for the development of such parameters should simply disappear, does that annul any need we should have for the development of reasonable ethical parameters from which we can develop generally acceptable parameters for social interaction with other self-aware entities ?

(the point you make about plant and animal life is very interesting, but I do not at the moment have the time to deal with it. My apologies)

If we should encounter an extraterrestrial species, should we treat it with the same philosophical contempt as baseline humans ?

(I apologise for the use of the loaded word, I shall attempt to find a better phrasing and amend this later)

I believe most of us would say that the answer to that question is no.

How can we develop "principles" for any kind of social interaction and not apply them universally ?

Note that I speak of ethics and fundamental principles, not of morality.

If it is wrong to kill novas, how can it not be wrong to kill baselines ? And how can we justify outrage at baseline retribution for such actions, as seems very common in the Teragen at the moment (it is not ubiquitous, but the maturity level of the average terat is not exactly exemplary)?

That is my return question for you, Ashnod, along with an observation: race is a social construct. Identity is a social construct. How does this impact your thesis as to the social incompatibility of baselines and novas ?

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As a species based on homo sapien sapein, we are caugth up in some of their social dynamic. How many of you have offsrpring? How many of you care for those offspring? If you do, you are inheriting that human social dynamic.

Likewise it is against the human social dynamic to kill other humans. No society accepts the random, purposeless killing of its own members by other members of the same society. Humans require cause. They label people to be from other social groups (religious, ethnic, racial, sexual, etc.), they cite economic necessity (killing your daughters so you sons survive, the need for living space), and react to aggression.

Wizard, that is more or less what I am aiming at. Is there a basic social framework that novas are aiming for here? If we don't have some sort of social understanding as a group, tragedy is very likely.

A clearer example of what novas are heading for is the late twentieth century civil war in Somalia. No winner or loser (unless you count the civilians caught in the middle) because neither of the various factions had enough strenght to bring a down a decision. We will have our Waco's. If we do decide on a common bond among us, there will always be dissenters. Others, who are in this new social dynamic will decide that something must be done about these dissenters unless we decide to become pacifists, inwhich case, the dissenters may decide to do something about the pacifists. In most cases, though, the majority will fall upon the non-conforming minority whose only real options are conversion or flight.

The American Civil War does bring up an interesting social dynamic. The American Union was brought together in a time of great pressure. At the time, it was decided to accept legal slavery as the law of the land. As the Union grew, that dynamic began to change. Slave holding as a way of life retreated south and west, but failed to become accepted beyond a certain point. The portion of the Union that continued to find slave-holding necessary decreased. Finally, this minority was afraid that the social dynamic would be changed by the majority and they reacted violently.

There is a lesson in that for us all. Let's be careful what comprimises we take, for they may come back to haunt us.

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Honestly I have no answers on this train of thought, well, none that I have not already expressed. But, to get back to the meat of the thread I have thought of a few instances. So, to those of you out there who hesitate to answer the question as to killing without knowing the circumstances, this might help. This being the case, the question is; Is the killing of a Nova acceptable under the following circumstances?

1. A baseling trying to protect his/her property?

2. A baseline trying to protect his/her family?

3. A baseline trying to protect his/her life?

4. A baseline trying to protect the integrity of his/her mind/personality?

5. A baseline trying to protect another baseline's property, life, and/or the integrity of their mind/personality?

6. A baseline trying to avenge the loss of another baseline's property, life, and/or the intergrity of their mind/personality?

Now, these questions do not of course cover the entire gamut of possibilities but I ask them because as Nova's these are often the situations that we put baselines in. Now, the integrity of mind/personality I find to be especially important. I myself, with only minimal enhancement of the force of my personality can in fact manipulate weaker baseline personalites. We have all heard of or seen for ourselves examples of extremely charismatic or beautiful Novas altering the lives of baselines through simple requests. Every Alejandra concert leads to hundreds of conversions to the Catholic faith. Should baseline's feel obligated to protect themselves from our merest presence?

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In essence, if a faction of a society finds the society as a whole to be constrictive, does that faction have the 'right' to rebel? For that matter, what are the rights of a society to defend itself?

What about exile or emigration? What about seccession (taking your property with you when you go, land included)?

It isn't so much that the nations of the earth mind novas becoming independant; it is that we have the power to claim territory, people, and resources as our own entity? If we all just left for deep space tomorrow, they really shouldn't care one bit. It is the fact that this is also our home (and that is important to many of us) that causes much of the tension. Why should we leave?

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we should leave because we choose to, if at all.

As to society having rights, those rights have their basis in the need humans have for social constructs to facilitate survival - to rise up in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs requires an ever more complex social structure for baseline humans and for many novas.

All novas have the potential to transcend that need, while baseline humans in general do not.

Social groups exist because their existence tends to either protect the majority of the member entities from harm, or to increase their material and psychological comfort.

All social groups either fulfill this function for their members in some way, or appear to do so.

Human social interaction is based upon the fact that social interaction is necessary for physical survival, and that unregulated social interaction tends to become self-destructive - war is a good example of this, as is the ultimate outcome of the law of the jungle. There is a reason for the fact that all openly slave-owning societies found their slaves in rebellion, given enough time.

For these reasons, baseline human interactions are based upon the following ethical principals, generally:

1-It is not acceptable to take the life of another.

2-It is not acceptable to act in such a way as to endanger, in a real sense, the physical comfort or liberty of another.

That is a very basic summation of the foundation of ethics. All human societies either devise a morality based in whole or in part on these two principles, or pretend to.

My question is, do these criteria not also apply to novas in the light of my arguments in previous posts.

And if they do not, why not ?

"Species" is just a word.

One treats a dog and a cat differently because they have different behavioural characteristics, not because they are different species.

Genetic difference is not a sound or sane basis for determination of ethics.

Or is it ?

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Some of the human social dynamic have been brought about by sources that may not apply to novas.

Humans gather for mutual protection and support. Many novas are already so powerful that only other novas constitute a threat for them.

Human dynamics concerning taking a social fellows life is based on that need of co-operation. "I don't kill you because I need you as part of the social group."

I am not arguing nova morality, I am wondering about the nova necessities that may bind novas togther. What I am learning is that novas are such a diverse group even in their basic needs that no common ground can be found at this time.

How do novas who are effectively immortal relate to those who aren't?

What about comparing the needs fo those who are burning columns of flame and subsist on ambient radiation to another who has to subsist on certain kinds of tree bark?

Are novas so diverse, that no common ground can be found?

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That, Jager, is precisely my point.

The only common ground I can find for novas in terms of social interaction is that which is common to all sentient entities: the need for social interaction as a way to validate existence.

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Then we are in even more trouble than I intially thought. Quite frankly, it is probably only the relative immaturity of our race that has kept us from each others' throats this long. How much longer do we have before we start tearing eachother apart?

If we remain in a baseline human social dynamic, we will come to dominate it. This isn't egotism; novas accummalate significant personal and material power. By existing, we have consequences to the people around us comparitably to the power we wield. Whether that power is a helpful or baleful influence has yet to be seen.

If the only instinct we share is that of self-preservation, we are likely to fall upon eachother like maddened dogs.

If we stand outside the baseline human social dynamic, we are, by default, its enemy.

If we stand alone, we are the enemy of each and every one of us.

If I have missed out on my correlations here, let me know. I can't say I am overly happy with any of this.

[This message has been edited by Jager (edited 06-26-2001).]

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Exactly Jager, exactly.

There is a certain amount of hope.

Tendencies within baseline humanity have caused it to avoid Hobbes' "state of warre" by constructing limiting parameters which define acceptable behaviour.

Ultimately, novas will probably do the same, out of necessity. Otherwise, we will find that Homo Sapiens Novus annihilates itself in an orgy of self-destructive madness.

That is the entire basis of my belief that we must[\b] develop a set of ethical and moral parameters for nova behaviour.

Since currently, we occupy the same planet as Homo Sapiens Sapiens, and since baseline humanity will remain an element in nova society for as long as we occupy the same space as baselines, the ethics and moral code we design must also apply to baselines, and must govern acceptable nova/baseline interactions in a way which is acceptable to the majority of both baselines and novas.

Otherwise either novas will destroy humanity, novas will destroy themselves, or humanity will destroy novas - in this case, "humanity" includes those novas who choose to define themselves as human.

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Wow, I don't check up on things for a couple of days and this is what I find. I think you supposed thinkers overanalyze everything. You'll have to forgive me if a lot of that didn't digest with me to well.

You have such little faith in our kind, as do the rest of you. The common ground that we all have is that we are each responsible to recognize the consequences of our actions. That is all. If we are to destroy ourselves, like some of you fear, then we deserve it. Nature will have then made it's decision.

Please do not limit us in your perceptions just because our social desires are similar in many aspects to humanitys socitety. They are not the only social creatures. Orchas, wolves, gorillas, to name a few.

I think we all owe it to ourselves to deconstruct ourselves of the socially constructed mind, and supplant it with a mind of your own individually chosen construction. Deny and reject the heard. If we do do not break out of this shell, surely our worst fears will happen, we will destroy the baselines and problably ourselves as well. The cultural and social values of the masses, whether propounded by conventional religions or by mass media, or whatever, are seen as obstacles to our development.

It's all as simple as taking responsiblility for our actions, evolution, and effectiveness. Quantum enables us to influence or change events in ways not understood nor anticipated by baseline society, before we put it to use we must first develop a sound and sophisticated apriciation for the ethics governing our own motives, decisions and actions. It must become second nature to ourselves to carefully pre-evaluate the consequences of what we wish to do, then choose the course of wisdom, justice, and creative improvement.

Am I making any sense? I'm sure my pretentious elders will pick my opinions apart here. but I encourage you, if I am wrong, then enlighten me.

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I do not think you are wrong Apep. I can also appreciate the views of both Jager and Stheno, a lot of what is said here makes a lot of sense.

I cannot see us in the role that Mal or any of the other visionaries have for us as a race. We sometimes seem to forget that for every thoughtful, intelligent Nova that erupts, there are likely to be ten others who have no interest in anyone other than themselves. The sad fact is that most Nova's documented erupted due to violent stimuli. For every Nova that erupts while trying to put a bandage on his/her finger, another ten have erupted in a war zone, gang activity, or other arguably negative situations.

Which means that many Novas had very little in life before they erupted. They may have had little money, education or luck. Suddenly to be gifted with god like powers is a huge change for the human psyche, along with all the trauma that goes with eruptions. We have many of the same drives and goals that we had in our previous lives, you don't change attitudes that have been with you your whole life overnight just because you can turn your boss into a penguin all of a sudden.

On the whole most Nova's are interested purely in themselves. This is not a bad thing. When you are used to having nothing, to have such new options available to you drives fuels your self-confidence. You are after all one of the very lucky few. In my experience at least put two Nova's in a room together and they are unlikely to get along. We are used to being the special ones in a group. The adored ones, as such many of our kind have little or nothing to do with other Novas. Why would they?

A simple way to start a fight is to put two Novas in a room with a cameraman with only one picture left to take.

We may yet be united. We may in the future find a cause that unites us all rather than a cause that unites a few who believe they talk for the rest. But for the moment we are about as united as a party full of alcoholics with only one can of beer between the lot of us.

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Apep, think about the commonality you share with other novas. We all start out on the simplest levels (family and friends) and work out from there. I don't know about you, but I have found that a large sections of novas have fundemantal problems relating to each other at the basic level. I don't think I have seen anyone relate using non-baseline parameters, even the few terats I know. This may not be a bad thing, but is gives me pause before jumping off into the uncharted territory of the nova psyche.

I apologize if my questioning nature annoys you.

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I'm not sure how to fit this in too well, but I have the feeling -- and it feels quite soon -- that there will be issues that transcend such things as these little organizations. There is this horrible feeling that whatever it is...whatever it is I feel lurking as a dark cloud over all of our destinies, will only magnify matters to a globally devastating calamity. I...I cannot get any clear idea...I know I sound like I'm rambling, but we're talking about differences in nova or baseline life, are we responsible, is it morally obligated, blah blah. It's just that I feel...no, I know these are petty matters, and there's way more in store that I believe none of us will be prepared for.

Well, with that ominous message, I think I need to go get myself something to drink. I need to get the horrible pictures I see in my mind to go away. I don't know how much more I can say...or what I can handle...I don't know...

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I am not going to deny it; I am a bit of a coward. Last time I jumped, it was the wrong way and I almost didn't get back out.

Nexus, while I don't think the fundamentals of relationships are trivial, I can understand other people not worrying about them. You seem to be having some major problems. Do you often get such 'flashes'?

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Bus broke down on route to sector 1 subsection 4, quadrant 5, bus was fall of personnel on route. We are creating new parts needed, as spares where not put in transport, some quarter masters gone get my boot up there bio/mechanical arse. Possible spare parts being scrounged, by tact and int personnel.

Int informs us there may be a service station here, or in the process of being set up. used protocols, which gave us address of info site, understood this site to be used to communicate.

We are to ground at point charlie 7 delta 4 gamma 2. Will change position as scheduled, await reply.

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Yes, I get flashes fairly often. Some are clearer than others. It's hard going about your every day existence, such as it is, with these pounding headaches I get sometimes and these things I see.

My only reference here to the taking of life, any life, is of course impossible to get any conclusive opinion one way or the other. It's so subjective. I just think there are things happening that we are simply not aware of, and...I can see we won't be aware of it until it's too late. I have no idea what it is, or when this will happen specifically, I know it sounds all vague. I just know that it will affect baseline and nova life beyond what we imagine possible at this point...way beyond.

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Originally posted by Savant:
What, exactly, is the difference between a baseline taking a nova life and a nova taking a baseline life?

The former is more unlikely than the latter. Neither is more or less ethically right or wrong than the other. Regardless of my belief in the Terat philosophy I do not espouse the casual killing of baselines.
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I'm curious as to why you feel my statements regarding Nova/baseline interaction are "unsubstantiated assertations and nothing more." Obviously, I wouldn't have put those ideas in print if I didn't feel them legitimate. Nor have you taken any real measure of proving just how unsubstantiated they are, aside from just casually throwing the phrase out.


What exactly is a "casual" killing?

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