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[OpNet] With Great Power...


Alex McKenzie
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I was rereading the Thread on Heroes, when I had a thought.

Maybe the Spiderman quote isn't so naive after all. With Great Power Come Great Responsibility. I'm thinking, maybe you just have to look at it in a slightly less... conventional way.

You see, it occured to me that Responsibility has so many incarnations. We have responsibilities to ourselves, to our loved ones, to our employers, to our countries, to our kind. And those are just a few.

So, it made me wonder, to what does your responsibility lie? To use your powers for greatest good? To use them to sustain yourself financially? Just to use them period?

I look forward to your replies...

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For the record, I never said that Novas shouldn't be responsible with their abilities. What I did say, and will be vehement in my defense of, is that simply the possession of said abilities does not bestow any responsibilities to a "greater" cause.

The whole problem with Spiderman is that it is a tale of a young man with (compared to baseline humanity) extraordinary power, and the lesson of his life is that if you don't use that power for good you might as well be allowing evil to happen. Therefore, you have a responsibility because you have this power to do everything possible to prevent evil from acting upon those who do not have power equatable to yours.

Hence, Mr. Parker, who has great power, allows Thief X to escape, but Thief X later kills Mr. Parker's uncle. Hence, in not doing good, evil happened. Had Mr. Parker acted responsibly, this would never have happened.

This is a baseline parable. It's meant to control the thinking of anyone who might have above average potential that because they are special; the best thing they can do is share those special qualities with the others who are not special.

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My definition of "responsibility" is that with your power you must take on the responsibility of weilding power never seen in this great of level. Just flying around willy-nilly blowing things up in my opinion is childish and just plain wrong. But by following you concience in these matters does help things. Being a nova dosen't necessarily mean you're going to be a "Super Heroine", but it's fun.

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Intervention and the repercussions of intervention are another way of looking at it.

Are you in fact, responsible for the effects of your powers? Even if you're unaware of those effects? If so, why? For that matter, who is going to make you account for that responsibility?

Hazzard bled out heavy doses of radiation as a result of the use of his powers, but he neither felt any responsible nor did anyone make him accountable for his responsibility until he ran into Ryan a few months back.

Back to intervention. If I save a life and then that being takes someone else's life, am I not also responsible for that loss of life?

Let's say Peter Parker sees two (and only two) possibilities: In one, he stops the robber, but Uncle Ben hits a bus load of kids coming back from a field trip and kills them all. In the other, the robber kills Uncle Ben, but the bus gets home safely. Now, what does he do?

I know of people who daily risked their lives making life safer and better for humanity. They're good people, right? Likewise, I know people who feel that most of humanity is insignificant at best and a dangerous menace at worst. They daily risked their lives to make the lives of those like them safer and more secure. They were good people, too.

The first group didn't kill because they felt it is morally wrong. They were altruistic. The second group didn't kill their enemies because they feared the repurcussions. They were pragmatic.

To make it more convoluted, the first group would kill members of the second group if 'it was necessary' to save lives. Again, it is based on a moral decision of 'right' and 'wrong'. The second group goes out of its way to avoid killing members of the first group. For them, it is also a clear case of right and wrong.

Utopians and Terats? Could be, but try Hospitiliers and Templars during the Latin Invasion of the Near East (aka The Crusades).

The Hospitiliers, a militant Catholic Order, protected and defended pilgrims and merchants (both Christian and Islamic) going to and from Jerusalem. The Templars (also a militant Catholic Order) defended the holdings of Christians in the same region and often attacked Islamic caravans and pilgrims in the hope of driving them out, forever. The Templars would not attack fellow Catholics, while the Hospitiliers defended anybody.

How is this relevant today? Remember T2M attacking that rescue party who was trying to save that Iranian nova from being executed? Who was right? T2M tried to save alot of baseline soldiers and civilians from a terrible battle. The other team was trying to save some young kid they had never even met from being killed for something he had no control over (his eruption).

If you had been there, whose side would you have been on?

The kid escapes and T2M won't be allowed back in the country. If the kid doesn't escape, he gets executed, but maybe other confrontations can be headed off and other erupting novas protected.

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Quote:
Originally posted by Jager:
If you had been there, whose side would you have been on?


The kid's side. Which is the one side that wasn't represented by the time the shit went down.

T2M was there at the invitation of the government trying to make inroads and bring'em under the umbrella of the brighter tomorrow. I'm sure it wasn't briefed that way but would any of them have bailed on the mission if it had been put bluntly?

"Okay team; we're going to protect the rule of law. This will help all of us in the future, baselines and novas alike, despite the fact that this kid isn't going to live to see it."

Strange, but I can see Pax briefing that crap. And most of them rationalizing it as breaking eggs to make the omelet.

Then you have the Terats. By the time they arrived on scene they were spoiling for a chance to smack down the baselines and punk a couple of tomorrowites in the process. So maybe they were there doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, or maybe I just know nothing about Terats, but either way I'd have been there with'em.

Besides, god knows both sides could have used some professionals to keep it from degenerating into a quantum enhanced family footbal game the way it did. Nice to see that history thing is still working out for you. :P
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jager:
Intervention and the repercussions of intervention are another way of looking at it.

Are you in fact, responsible for the effects of your powers? Even if you're unaware of those effects? If so, why? For that matter, who is going to make you account for that responsibility?
Hazzard bled out heavy doses of radiation as a result of the use of his powers, but he neither felt any responsible nor did anyone make him accountable for his responsibility until he ran into Ryan a few months back.

Back to intervention. If I save a life and then that being takes someone else's life, am I not also responsible for that loss of life?
Let's say Peter Parker sees two (and only two) possibilities: In one, he stops the robber, but Uncle Ben hits a bus load of kids coming back from a field trip and kills them all. In the other, the robber kills Uncle Ben, but the bus gets home safely. Now, what does he do?

I know of people who daily risked their lives making life safer and better for humanity. They're good people, right? Likewise, I know people who feel that most of humanity is insignificant at best and a dangerous menace at worst. They daily risked their lives to make the lives of those like them safer and more secure. They were good people, too.
The first group didn't kill because they felt it is morally wrong. They were altruistic. The second group didn't kill their enemies because they feared the repurcussions. They were pragmatic.
To make it more convoluted, the first group would kill members of the second group if 'it was necessary' to save lives. Again, it is based on a moral decision of 'right' and 'wrong'. The second group goes out of its way to avoid killing members of the first group. For them, it is also a clear case of right and wrong.

Utopians and Terats? Could be, but try Hospitiliers and Templars during the Latin Invasion of the Near East (aka The Crusades).
The Hospitiliers, a militant Catholic Order, protected and defended pilgrims and merchants (both Christian and Islamic) going to and from Jerusalem. The Templars (also a militant Catholic Order) defended the holdings of Christians in the same region and often attacked Islamic caravans and pilgrims in the hope of driving them out, forever. The Templars would not attack fellow Catholics, while the Hospitiliers defended anybody.

How is this relevant today? Remember T2M attacking that rescue party who was trying to save that Iranian nova from being executed? Who was right? T2M tried to save alot of baseline soldiers and civilians from a terrible battle. The other team was trying to save some young kid they had never even met from being killed for something he had no control over (his eruption).
If you had been there, whose side would you have been on?
The kid escapes and T2M won't be allowed back in the country. If the kid doesn't escape, he gets executed, but maybe other confrontations can be headed off and other erupting novas protected.


Okay, I'm not the brightest Nova out there and I admit it. What does this have to do with acting responsibily with your powers? All it seems you've written here is a whole bunch of "what if?" choices, and these situations can easily be converted to ones that involve only normal people, who don't have any Nova powers at all. And it's written as though each outcome is crystal clear and you know ahead of time what the repercussions are going to be. Unless you can see the future, which I can't, you can't know how things are going to turn out. You just have to make the best decision based on what your conscience tells you.

Explain the relationship to the topic, please? Anyone?
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Quote:
Ms. Violette D'Aronique queried:
Explain the relationship to the topic, please? Anyone?


Short answer:
Not much. Although you could try and make a tenuous connection to personal responsiblity, i.e. what are you willing to tolerate.

I have a longer answer but I'll wait to post it until after Jager has the opportunity to explain his reasoning. I wouldn't want to detract from the clarity of his startling insights with my cynicism.

Bet you're stoked to see him back on the boards though, huh? :rolleyes:
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I think all that Jager is saying is that all actions have repercussions, and those of us who hold great power are capable of greater repercussions than others, so be careful what you decide.

Then again, that's just speculation. We'll have to wait for his response to know what he really meant.

[ 06-09-2002: Message edited by: Ashnod ]

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Sorry it took so long, but my reply got vaporized as I was about to upload.

To the operator of the kiosk, I'm sorry, but if I hadn't moved my head I would have picked up one of those pains that Advil just wont cure.

Anyhow, here it goes...

How do we determine where our responsibilities lie?

Your responsibilities to yourself are pretty clear. Fail to meet your physical requirements and your capacity to act is diminished. Fail to meet your mental requirements and your capacity to think in a clear manner is diminished.

Where do we go from here?

How about examining the principle of greatest good? Greatest good for who or whom? Greatest good for 'Me, Myself, and I'? Greatest good for my 'group' or my employer? My religious or social clique? My Nation, Race, or Species? How do we make these choices?

Why do I use examples, V? A sense of responsibility leads to actions. Actions lead to consequences. I like pointing that out to people, in case they might have missed it.

If this came across like I was bashing Utopia, I didn't mean it that way. It was a bad situation and sometimes being with an organization that's trying to make the world a better and safer place means working with bad people or enforcing bad laws. Utopia is the reason more nations haven't pulled a 'class act' like what China and Nigeria have done. More novas should appreciate that.

Utopia gets to play patty cakes with some real petty-ass governments. Some pretty cool terats get to hang out with some psychopaths and megalomaniacs. Maybe you and Ashnod should commiserate about it sometime. There is a reason I'm not a member of either organization. While I hate making those kinds of choices, I find it much worse when someone else makes them for me. Sometimes I like pissing off petty-minded assholes and breaking laws I feel to be unjust, and sometimes I feel it is better to 'play ball'. My choice and the consequences fall on me (if they figure out it was me, that is).

To answer the original post in a clear and concise manner: I believe that I should try to defuse conflict and save lives when I can. Do I believe my personal beliefs hold any validity for anyone else? No, but I try to support others who feel as I do. I do believe in a greater good and that I am aiding the lives and advancement of both our species.

Okay, Jack. Unleash the Cynicisms of Degradation! (I hear the Dogs of War are busy tonight)

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Do not act without being fully aware of the consequenses. If you do not have any forsight to predict the most likely outcome, then you're screwed. And I don't mean some power that lets you see the future, pure common sense will let you do it. That is how to be responsible with your power. Think before you act.

This is what I do anyway, sure my decisions often do not follow the moral majority, but I know what I do. I am completely responsible for my actions.

This is where my responsibility lies.

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