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  1.  (4896.1)
    Comments on the last few episodes have me musing on this, so I'll put the question to you, Whitechapel:

    What are the ethics of a post apocalypse world like the one in FA?

    Are they different if you live in Whitechapel with Connor and the others watching over you? What if you're in another town lacking such resources? What if you're a member of the nomad refugees?

    How do you survive... and still be able to look yourself in the mirror without feeling like the reflection's accusing you of something?
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      CommentAuthormister hex
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2009
     (4896.2)
    One does what one has to do. Simply by surviving, you survive. Ethics are nice and all but if it comes down to me or you ... fuck You, it's ME eleven times out of ten. Can't argue with that logic.
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      CommentAuthorFauxhammer
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2009
     (4896.3)
    I think the Freakangels, due to their abilities and their culpability for what happened, as well as by virtue of the fact that they have set themselves up as protectors of Whitechapel, have a duty to help where they can.

    If it's me, I'd do my best to protect my people, if I have any.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2009
     (4896.4)
    "How do you survive... and still be able to look yourself in the mirror without feeling like the reflection's accusing you of something?"


    I get that now.
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      CommentAuthormister hex
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2009 edited
     (4896.5)
    You're assuming there are mirrors left to look in.

    The FA's have THEIR OWN MORALITY. They can do anything. They can explode people by looking at them.

    The rest of Whitechapel is, as they say, a horse of a different colour ...

    Guilt is human and may be dealt with later, if at all. Guilt is a useless, if human, emotion.

    (I apologize to Lynn Truss for the profiligant use of commas. And any misspellings on my part.)

    EDIT TO ADD- profligate, I meant, although 'profiligant' is a perfectly cromulent word.
  2.  (4896.6)
    The human race would have to be spread pretty thin before it came to a 'It's me or you' situation. People have demonstrated many times too often that they do not want to think or fend for themselves, quickly turning to someone else who's charismatic and willing to lead them, if ever things fell that far apart.

    But just on case, I have cases of whiskey and bourbon set aside for trade. :)
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      CommentAuthorJay Kay
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2009
     (4896.7)
    @Val:

    True, and that's probably why the FA's have become the leaders of the group--and also probably why they haven't revealed their powers to the rest of the village (at least I don't think they have--let me know if I'm wrong). If the rest of them found out about their powers and their role in the end of the world, I think it's safe to say that the village would quickly turn into a mob.
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      CommentAuthorJon Wake
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2009
     (4896.8)
    Also, anyone who does that lone wolf my way or the highway better be made of solid steel, because they'll quickly be seen as dangerous and unpredictable by the tribal leaders and put to death.
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      CommentAuthorrazrangel
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2009
     (4896.9)
    There was a very fine op-ed in the New York Times a few days ago about what the world asks of us. It took a look at institutional thinking and found that it gives a framework to people for an approach to the world and to life. Now, it was may be a little bit too in favor of going with the system and a bit quick to dismiss the liberal, figure it out for yourself system with a kind of "kids these days" approach. But the original thought, somewhat paraphrasing Pres Kennedy, offers a chance to anyone who isn't sure what he wants out of himself to look at the world around him and see what the world needs of him.

    Between that op-ed and FreakAngels I've been turning over the good ole maxim "with great power comes great responsibility." On the one hand, you can dismiss it as hackneyed and see it with the sort of derisive recognition that no one can dictate, let alone enforce that responsibility. If someone falls down in front of you and asks you for a hand up and you refuse and simply walk on you can argue that no one can make you recognize the action of helping as a responsibility since there is no consequence to not helping. Furthermore what if that person was sick and you avoided contagion? Or maybe it was a trick and they would have picked your pocket? On the other hand, I see the maxim as an excellent counterpoint to "power corrupts...."

    A lot of power or a little power have no bearing on the ethics you accept. Even if you are a fictional character. But responsibilities should be scaled to said power. We, none of us can stop the strife in Israel/Palestine. But we, any of us, can remonstrate someone who defames the peoples of either country with derogatory language. We are the ethics that we practice and if we find instances when it's ok to forgo our ethics then we find it ok to forgo our very identities. If we say today is a bad day, today it's ok to be dishonorable, then we are dishonorable. Ethics simply aren't for sunny days only. They also apply when its raining, or they don't apply at all.

    I would submit, however, that the FreakAngels are having to make up their ethics as they go along. There's little institutional memory left in their world and they were young teens when they smashed the institutions that would have given them any fortification against self-doubt and questioning. So while we all make up our ethics as we go along and discover what works from the institutions we know and what doesn't, the Angels only have their gut feeling for what's right and a little bit of what they remember from childhood and from those few people who've survived.
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      CommentAuthormister hex
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2009
     (4896.10)
    @ razzangel - good points you make. With great power comes great responsibility and ALL of US have great power. Everyone. You, me, Warren, Paul, the fine, fine people at Avatar, the Freakangels, all of Whitechapel (both virtual & fictional) and dare I say it? the wider world beyond. And there's a buncha shit needs to get done. So let's work together and then complain together ONCE IT'S DONE. Dig? We Must. We're Only Human.

    I remember seeing Saving Private Ryan ... and there's a scene where American soldiers machine-gun Germans who ARE TRYING TO SURRENDER and all anybody could talk about was the opening bit and how that Tom Hanks sure can act! Nothing, no commentary and it passed by and you, the audience were meant to understand - they deserved it, those lousy Germans.

    ... But that happened everyday, in Dubya-Dubya Two - Sometimes, we didn't feel like taking prisoners. Or couldn't. Or whatever. First World War was probably worse. Far fewer cameras around, for one thing. Still, hard to match the ferocity and mendacity of the Last Good War, the Great Patriotic War, as the Russians apparently call it, the war of Captain America punching out Hitler (if only!) and the first and last time nuclear weapons were used in anger.

    One does what one has to do.

    Then again, does one massacre a bunch of helpless civilians out of pure, coldly logical pragmatic expediency?
    Depends, doesn't it? What day is it? Do we feel like taking prisoners or adopting waifs and strays? Or are we pissed off 'cause Jonesy copped it two days ago and we all liked him and somebody's gotta pay for it so it might as well be you, whoever-you-are.

    This is why Jesus said "You can't handle ten commandments? Then Rule #1 - Don't Be An Asshole."

    (Internet Jesus said the same thing.)

    And the Freakangels are only 23 (!). Remember when YOU were twenty-three? (And all you people who aren't yet? get ready to have an adventure.) Twenty-three is, give or take a couple of years, around about the time life gives you lemons covered in shit and expects you to make wine. Which doesn't help the ethical decision making process much. That's the time you have many hangovers and perhaps a few regrettable sexual encounters, if you do it right.

    Ethics go out the window on a flying carpet of rationalizations the minute self-interest gets involved. "Too bad I beat up that old lady at the bread riot today. Oh well, at least MY family has food tonight."

    To go against that is to go against human nature and more power to you, I say.
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      CommentAuthorhowyadoin
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2009
     (4896.11)
    Remember when YOU were twenty-three?
    Yikes. There's a thought to keep me awake at night.
  3.  (4896.12)
    Imo, a race has a better chance of surviving if it cooperates. The ethics of a drowned world should be identical to this world minus the details of reinforcement: if you do to others things the average person wouldn't wish done to them simply because you can, then you'll be ostracised for it, because that's the way the human head seems to work. If you cooperate and share, you'll gain trust and form mutually reinforced networks of individuals who can trade goods and ideas. It's called reciprocity bitches, and as far as I know, its the reason we're now a mostly networked global society linked by trade and communication, and not a world full of fully isolated warring tribes. Tricky as it is to believe if you watch the news regularly, as a race we seem to be hard wired to tend towards it as our previously most successful behaviour, and so after a period of chaos it follows that it will also dominate a post-crash world, all human creatures being on average the same (as long as they're born into an evolutionarily similar part of history).

    @mister hex
    I was 23 last year, and I quite enjoyed it ^_^
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      CommentAuthorJon Wake
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2009
     (4896.13)
    Additionally, a robust social network is the best defense you have against the inevitable raiders and scumfucks. All the guns in the world won't help you if it's you against the world. It's not a mistake of history that in every period of anarchy, feudal social order arises. It's not pretty, surely not by our standards, but it beats the alternative.
  4.  (4896.14)
    @John Wake

    I absolutely agree. Add to that the individual skillsets, i.e. Growing food, building and maintaining machinery, healthcare, etc., a society needs. No one person knows how/has the time to do everything.

    But again, this has been shown in FA with the introduction of each character. There is one thing that is special about the Freakangel apocalypse though and it hasn't been revealed yet. Episode 5 of the Freakangels is something I've carried in my head every new episode I read, partially because it's the classic Warren Ellis delivery moment, but mostly because it's the most telling in what has happened to make this world and it may still be happening. LOL/DIES.
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      CommentAuthorhowyadoin
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2009
     (4896.15)
    Additionally, a robust social network is the best defense you have against the inevitable raiders and scumfucks.
    Good point. Not an easy thing to maintain, though - here in the "real" world I'm seeing social networks falling apart all over the place lately, as more and more people are losing their jobs, etc.
  5.  (4896.16)
    All ethics are stories we tell ourselves after the fact to justify what we did. Because it is impossible to know what situations you will end up in, and how you will feel about them, you can never be sure that you'll obey any ethical code, be it that of society at large or one of your own devising. Personally, I take this as an incentive to try harder at developing and sticking to my own ethical code, but as the old saying goes: no plan survives contact with the enemy. How many people here still adhere to the ethical code that they formulated in their early teens (assuming that theoretical respondents are not still in their early teens, natch)?
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      CommentAuthorrazrangel
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2009
     (4896.17)
    @PaulGrahamRaven You've apparently reinvented the definition for the word "ethics."
  6.  (4896.18)
    @razrangel Thanks, I think. ;)

    The problem is that I usually end up debating this sort of thing with people who don't know what the term means at all, and hence default to definitions as a starting point. Mental note: Whitechapel has a higher % of non-idiots than reality.
  7.  (4896.19)
    @PaulGrahamRaven

    I think that if one pays enough attention to history and applies, it's easy to formulate good working ethics. First world society as it exists could fall from a huge calamity like an asteroid or comet strike, but it is pretty unlikely to fall because of the ethics we follow now and actually will right itself a little more easily because of them.
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      CommentAuthorrazrangel
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2009
     (4896.20)
    It wasn't really a compliment. Sorry.