• 4 Posts
Joined 1 year ago
Cake day: June 1st, 2023


  • My circumstances were similar in that I studied engineering in order to have a “useful” career. Only when I got working, I realize how important the reading comprehension and philosophy actually is. I can’t even imagine, like in the case of your sibling, that institutions would encourage mental dissection of such “silly fantasy stuff”. Quite lucky.

    Yeah I don’t get how Herbert managed to construct this in his head. Everything from the Butlerian jihad to the shenanigans in God Emperor is still (in it’s twisted way) relevant to our times.

    I’m annoyed I can’t follow people on Lemmy but don’t worry, I’ll try stalking you on the Internet just asking hear your thoughts on other things 😆 I may IM you for some podcast recommendations if you’re willing to share. This was fun.

    And good luck with your political work 🙏 Enacting change in any form is an uphill battle so fair play even getting in the arena.

  • button_masher@lemmy.mltoMemes@lemmy.mlDunes vs Star Wars
    2 months ago

    You’ve helped me stretch my benefit of doubt to more than I expected. You hit on a crucial point that there was never a third option meaningfully explored. Think it’s the problem of increasing the stakes so much, in that every people’s opinions and ideas are taken to their extreme.

    Regarding your moral struggle dichotomy, I’m more inclined to think that Paul being misguided since there is an acknowledgement that all of this is utterly chaotic and Rationality isn’t as prevalent as one expects. Other than a few key decisions, evening falls into making the lesser of two evils based on naturally biased reasoning. No one is perfect and this is what happens when errors in belief aggregate to galactic levels. But as you say, it has quite a few moral implications and problematic in its own way.

    Right. I think I’ve taken too much of your time and should cap this discussion before you end up writing a novel. Haven’t had this much fun in a long time and I appreciate your engagement. You have a certain clarity of thought which is enviable.

    Thank you Drivebyhaiku! Here’s my attempt at a summary haiku:

    Do not judge humans,

    for you will always suffer.

    Foresight makes it worse.

  • Trying to summarize your treatise, please correct if mistaken…

    You’re saying that Dune doesn’t subvert the foreign Messiah due to the fact that Paul isn’t shown to be wrong. As discussed above, for plot reasons and due to prescience. He represents a different face of Western colonial expansion and since a hierarchical undercurrent is always present, the subversion doesn’t really happen.

    Ugh, I agree. At least for his arc, it is shown to be a heavy burden but a necessary evil. It does propagate the idea “sometimes you just need to hand all power to one man who knows more than you”. My bad… I realize I may have been confusing the book and Villeneuve’s portrayal of Paul (hope you do get to see it one day!).

    For my education (as I am curious to hear you’re thoughts [if you’ll humor me but no pressure]), I will try to push the “benefit of doubt” narrative and still try to justify Herbert a bit in regards to the pluralistic viewpoints you’ve laid out.

    I get what you mean by seeing the broader context. The Fremen are shown to have a fluid government, more democratic than the Empire. They have more connection to the land, understand their shared history, value of life, value of resources and balance. I’m imagining a rosy native tribe close to nature, drugs and shit. Paul goes there, learns how they live, somewhat adopts their values and is free from the matrix.

    If Paul is shown as narratively perfect, then the ‘indigenous’ views he carries are also weighed higher than the Imperial mindset. Yes nothing may have changed since the Fremen slotted into a hierarchical structure and paid for it, I think still Herbert acknowledged that indigenous views were ‘better’. A ‘civilized’ white man didn’t teach them a better way of living, instead he was corrupted to their way of thinking and worked with them to defeat the Empire.

    As to wielding power and somewhat adopting a hierarchical mindset, I naively believe that intentions matter. In Paul’s example, he had the bestest of intentions. If there was no war, I think he would happily abdicate power, fulfill the dreams of the Fremen by giving them a healthy ecosystem and go live with his love (I would sidebar argue he actually loved Chaini and kept the princess as his concubine). I know power corrupts but what could he do other than fight for what he believed in… I know it’s all on trust and faith and lovey dovey stuff.

    In your case, you acknowledge structures you’re complicit in and with what power you have, you are trying to nobly change for better. Yes wielding power can be done “humanely” by asking for permissions and consulting everyone before making decisions etc… but in times of urgency/high stakes, autocracy with a philosopher king/Jedi Master/Omniscient Paul is generally preferred. People who may try to fight you/Paul, probably do not want to pay the price of emancipation/equality. How else are we supposed to enact change other than using our power over others?

  • Dang you’ve made me reconsider a few things. You’re right in that Dune is not subverting the Chosen One but more the Foreign Messiah trope. And also the fact that the Paul’s arc is shown as tragic than a decent into Evil. Having Power didn’t necessarily make him Evil but that depends on who you ask.

    (I also love your phrases. "Wibbly wobbly…“ and fucking the dog…)

    I do see your point of the lack of free will removing any morality conundrum off Paul. Depending on the scale of foresight (next week, next 10 years, next few centuries), the weight of each decision flips on its head. E.g. killing millions of sandpeople is bad on a small scale… but super necessary when the entire human race is on the line. The more books you read, the more it feels that Herbert ‘retcons’ everything. The only insight into Paul’s character and his decisions have to be judged before he went all Godlike (pre drinking Water of Life).

    My introduction to Dune isn’t as cool as yours as I mostly audiobooked so it’s hazy. Maybe not with Jamis but potentially with Fade Rautha, he was faced with a Choice. With fight against Jamis for example, Paul knew he could most probably win so his actions were chosen. I brought the Dark Side theme (and conversely the Good) into this since the Taoist philosophy of the Force is quite sympathetic to the message of “understand your role is on a cosmic scale and please try not to have ego”. Luke, if he was a Yoda level Jedi, may not have made same Choice as Paul (assuming Paul could only see glimpses into small future at this stage). He would have simply be struck down as Obi Wan had done? If we give Luke prescience, then yeah, he’ll probably do as Paul does and try for the Greater Good.

    True test of character is when you have incomplete information and then are judged by your intent… and there are only a handful of moments where Paul consciously pushes the dominoes available to him. Paul is shown, in those few moment of actual agency, to make the Choice towards survival, revenge and Ego (one of which in my head can classify him as somewhat Evil on my scale, but different on yours since survival+family is a relatable and human trait). Whether he could glimpse 1Million years into future or 10 years, that’s up to debate. Extrapolations on incomplete information is dangerous… But he chose to consciously trust it. Surprise surprise, it was the bestest decision in the universe! Luke is shown as well meaning Good and, if in Paul’s shoes, therefore would push the dominoes that favor immediate bonds and choosing the Right thing (not killing Palpatine when he had the chance for example?). Surprise surprise, it would be the bestest decision in the universe.

    Yep, throwing in foresight completely allows Paul to sidestep ethics. And cue years of trolley problems. We don’t have counter factuals and just have to play along with Herbert’s word which as you said, jumps many sharks and takes plenty of narrative shortcuts.

    My entire argument hinges on this assumption: prescience, as depicted in the books was not a 100% Omniscience. More like hallucinogenic coffee where your previous knowledge and biases affect the path of extrapolation. When Paul gets generations of Matriarch knowledge, he can extrapolate better and further. Before that, he’s somewhat relatable and makes choices which can be looked at as self serving. Luke would have done the same… Yoda may not have due to his trust in the Force.

    (Sorry for the length. Thank you for engaging)

  • button_masher@lemmy.mltoMemes@lemmy.mlDunes vs Star Wars
    2 months ago

    I somewhat agree. The theme of indigenous-ness is critical and is nicely explored in Dune while Star Wars may have too grand stakes and had to simplify the fight to Good (value lives and give freedom) vs Evil (power for me is yummy).

    It sounds like you’ve also read the next few books…

    As you probably know, Dune was made to subvert the Chosen One trope. He’s “self insert” with all the magical powers and strength and intelligence and prophecy but even that couldn’t help him be a “Good” guy because of his perverted intentions (avenge his family and gain power to do what’s “right”). Even the movie starts off with the good guys in White and bad guys in Black. Then things get Grayer as time passes.

    But don’t think you could swap the protagonists. Luke and Paul are completely different characters. But you’ve raised a fun hypothetical! Let’s see…

    Luke would be less ambitious than Paul. There were a few moment where both characters had the choice to go to the ‘dark’ side. Luke rejected the main? call (killing his father), Paul accepted the main call (during his first duel). Assuming both have equal strength and plot armor… If you gave Luke the same Power as Paul (foresight), would Luke just choose to die than subject the indigenous people to centuries of war? Or do as Paul did and in his way, try “free” the indigenous people?

    I still think that absolute power would corrupt absolutely and Luke would probably turn into Palpatine (as Paul and and [mild spoiler] God Emperor did) if his family was directly slaughtered in front of him and he was a little more emotional. We see some of that when Luke decided to leave training with Yoda and go save his precious ones. Foresight is an anxiety inducing power… If he could see into the future, would he have stayed and allow a few sacrifices for the Greater Good? We don’t know… but that same emotional reasoning would probably indicate Luke would probably do the same as Paul and sacrifice future lives for the Now.

    It would also depend on what stage of his character arc Luke was plucked from and replaced with Paul. I might even argue that Paul(/or swapped Luke) never even had free will and was just doing things because his mother chose emotion over duty and kicked off this saga.

    Happy to be corrected! This was fun.

  • button_masher@lemmy.mltoScience Memes@mander.xyzcowabunga
    3 months ago

    Huh. Never thought about it that way…

    But. They have to get up somehow. So even if it was an elevator or escalator, it would still be their final ascension and potentially nerve wracking.

    Can only think one way out of this… Maybe if the participant was anesthesia’d. Then one is suddenly awakened on top of this rollercoaster of doom, slowly watching the end come near. Each loop, closer to death. (That’s how I feel most days 🙃)

  • Just let the AI out of the box! I liked that small twist in turning Minutes into a proper “character”. She would be scary as the actual villain, one trying to ‘revive’ the actual Kang, trying to mold variants into the version she likes by manipulating events. If she falls, bye bye timeline. She could eventually succeed and Kang gets in power and then you might get a HAL9000 moment maybe…

    But back to the point, the pacing seems off somehow. We should know the characters by now and the tensions should manifest but it’s just not hitting the spot for me yet. At least there seems to be a clear story and certain bits are well thought out so hoping it leads somewhere nice.

  • One thing I learnt painfully with Loki was that the “Replace” is literal. If you only have 1 card when you played Loki, then you’ll only get a random 1 card from the opponent’s deck.

    Which means I can’t slot him in normal decks without a hand-increase card like Smith or Fury.

    What happens when you don’t read!

    But the card is really fun. I felt the feeling of “having options” after a long long time. The balance of uncertainty vs “knowing thy enemy” finally feels natural. For once, mirror matches are quite fun and crazy.