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A World Worth Saving?

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26 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Sat Jun 11, 2016 7:23 am

I'll be the jackass, and say i think the idea of a world worth or not worth saving is a broken premise to begin with. For starters, what are you evaluating?

It's certainly not the physical space, or the matter contained within it - that couldn't care less whether it ends or not. It's also not the non-sentient life, that just goes about it's business without generally pissing anyone off unless you wander into their territory uninvited. You can make the case that it's the systems of governance - and sometimes abominable oppression that a few people set up to rule over the many, but a system doesn't live or die, and there are usually ways to dismantle them that don't involve destroying worlds.

So, pointless as the above paragraph was, one can obviously only mean the people living within it. So how are we gonna do this? Say we have a perfect census that will determine without fail the general goodness level of every individual, and how much damage they do to each other. Say we establish a baseline for what's considered average good and evil, and manage to eke out a number that tells us in one go if the whole of the world's population passes or fails. Say it's below 50%; do we push the button? How about 30%, 15%, 5%? Is 5% worth sacrificing for the sake of killing the other 95?

And on that topic, once we reach those numbers, what are we doing it for? If a world is damned to begin with, and the only things we judge that by are the people, what's the higher value that we take upon ourselves to destroy the world for?

First off, in the absence of that perfect census, our impression of the general level of good or evil in the world is always empirical - and this is one area where the empirical isn't good enough by a long shot. Good people are generally content to live out their lives without making a big splash in the world at large: They'll make an honest living, protect their family, help out their neighbors when they can and maybe donate to charity. The really good ones will volunteer to go overseas and do humanitarian aid in places torn up by war or famine or disease or whatever.

By contrast, it's the evil people that will always be the tail that wags the dog. They're the ones that rise to power in banking, politics, pharmaceutical and medical insurance companies, oil industry, etc. Those are the ones who would sell everyone you hold dear to make themselves another million. Sure, there are probably outliers, but those often end up being people like Linda Peeno or Wendell Potter or Thomas Drake, who end up blowing the whistle and being cast out of the world-moving chain as a result.

If i were a betting man, i'd say the evil to good ratio in the current world is probably in favor of good by a decent margin, but again, those are the people who don't feel the need to make a splash. In a situation like that, are we gonna press the button? Wipe out all the good people, for the sake of... what, exactly?


To bring this all home, i'll bring up a world that wasn't mentioned in the Op - Lordran. It's a positively screwed up world, despite the honest effort many of the people moving it have made to try and make it better, even if not necessarily for everyone. As i go by it, it often feels like a dying wasteland just about ready to crumble, yet when i Link the Fire - and i always Link the Fire (except when i'm trying to get the achievements, but that's purely gameplay) - it's not for the world. It's not even for all the people living in it. It's for the few people i've met who persevere, who try to do something good in it, or are just plain innocent. That's the all of it, and that's all the reason i need. I do it for Anastasia, for Sieglinde, for Ingward, for Quelana, Irina, Karla, the Firekeeper, Siegmeyer, Solaire, Andre and Greirat. I don't do it for Frampt or Kaathe, though - screw them.

And quite honestly, if that's not what you're saving the world for, then wtf is it.

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27 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Sun Jun 12, 2016 4:05 am

Frieza2000 wrote:No, I did that on purpose. I like to trim my quotes both to highlight the part of the post that I'm referencing and to take up less space. In this case I used ellipses (...) to skip to the middle of the next sentence.
K wrote:I'll be the jackass, and say i think the idea of a world worth or not worth saving is a broken premise to begin with. For starters, what are you evaluating?

It's certainly not the physical space, or the matter contained within it - that couldn't care less whether it ends or not. It's also not the non-sentient life, that just goes about it's business without generally pissing anyone off unless you wander into their territory uninvited. You can make the case that it's the systems of governance - and sometimes abominable oppression that a few people set up to rule over the many, but a system doesn't live or die, and there are usually ways to dismantle them that don't involve destroying worlds.

So, pointless as the above paragraph was, one can obviously only mean the people living within it. So how are we gonna do this? Say we have a perfect census that will determine without fail the general goodness level of every individual, and how much damage they do to each other. Say we establish a baseline for what's considered average good and evil, and manage to eke out a number that tells us in one go if the whole of the world's population passes or fails. Say it's below 50%; do we push the button? How about 30%, 15%, 5%? Is 5% worth sacrificing for the sake of killing the other 95?

And on that topic, once we reach those numbers, what are we doing it for? If a world is damned to begin with, and the only things we judge that by are the people, what's the higher value that we take upon ourselves to destroy the world for?

First off, in the absence of that perfect census, our impression of the general level of good or evil in the world is always empirical - and this is one area where the empirical isn't good enough by a long shot. Good people are generally content to live out their lives without making a big splash in the world at large: They'll make an honest living, protect their family, help out their neighbors when they can and maybe donate to charity. The really good ones will volunteer to go overseas and do humanitarian aid in places torn up by war or famine or disease or whatever.

By contrast, it's the evil people that will always be the tail that wags the dog. They're the ones that rise to power in banking, politics, pharmaceutical and medical insurance companies, oil industry, etc. Those are the ones who would sell everyone you hold dear to make themselves another million. Sure, there are probably outliers, but those often end up being people like Linda Peeno or Wendell Potter or Thomas Drake, who end up blowing the whistle and being cast out of the world-moving chain as a result.

If i were a betting man, i'd say the evil to good ratio in the current world is probably in favor of good by a decent margin, but again, those are the people who don't feel the need to make a splash. In a situation like that, are we gonna press the button? Wipe out all the good people, for the sake of... what, exactly?


To bring this all home, i'll bring up a world that wasn't mentioned in the Op - Lordran. It's a positively screwed up world, despite the honest effort many of the people moving it have made to try and make it better, even if not necessarily for everyone. As i go by it, it often feels like a dying wasteland just about ready to crumble, yet when i Link the Fire - and i always Link the Fire (except when i'm trying to get the achievements, but that's purely gameplay) - it's not for the world. It's not even for all the people living in it. It's for the few people i've met who persevere, who try to do something good in it, or are just plain innocent. That's the all of it, and that's all the reason i need. I do it for Anastasia, for Sieglinde, for Ingward, for Quelana, Irina, Karla, the Firekeeper, Siegmeyer, Solaire, Andre and Greirat. I don't do it for Frampt or Kaathe, though - screw them.

And quite honestly, if that's not what you're saving the world for, then wtf is it.

Ah, well then Freiza that brings your initial post into much better context.

Now, Freiza & K, if it's all the same to you I'm going to continue discussion in relevance to both of your posts. I believe they will tie to mine quite nicely.

First and foremost I'll state by saying my opinions are based upon the amount of ability an individual has to create change, as well as how much the setting has stagnated from within. It's interesting that you bring up Dark Souls because I would like to think that the ending choices perfectly represent the ideas that are derived from this question. As player characters we never enter a world with the feeling of immediately abstaining. We explore, we fight, we learn. Otherwise the idea of understanding a setting is thrown out the window. The reason Dark Souls is quite good at portraying what is worthwhile is due to the fact that we only have the ability to choose once it is all over. We don't have the capacity to remain passive within the asylum.

If I were an inhabitant in any of these settings I would always attempt to do the "small" measures in my adventures. Save the innocent man, assist by act of charity. The question that would eventually come about is whether or not it is worthy to give greater effort, saving those who are a symptom of the problem?

What if we know with certainty to that we could save the world? What if we were all powerful in understanding, knowing results of our actions? Well to that degree I would say yes to considering almost anything worthwhile.  But even as PCs we don't have that ability, we can only base our choices upon empirical evidence. Yes we are a driving force. And yes our actions matter. But what I believe needs to be fully understood is that the effort could always go in vain. Or for that matter our efforts could be taken advantage of to do much worse.

Societies like Pre-War Fallout could continue to exist. Ethics like that of the Imperium of Man could be reaffirmed. An individual such as Wreav could come into power.

We may have made connections and found a reason to fight. But ultimately what it comes down to is whether or not PC has found enough ability to create a world worth fighting for, and for that matter, worth living in.

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28 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Wed Jun 15, 2016 8:53 pm

Ok then, if we're going to take a more realistic approach and consider the long-term ramifications of overthrowing the Empire and factor in the chance of you dying without accomplishing anything then yes, there's certainly a decision to be weighed in cases of regime change, but most of that hinges on your hypothetical life situation in the setting and your personal courage more than whether or not you consider the world to be worth saving from a more objective standpoint. If you're Luke Skywalker then you'll be a lot more compelled and obligated to do something about the situation than an average pilot who's thinking about joining the rebellion because he believes in the cause but his personal situation isn't really that bad and he's afraid of leaving his children orphaned. It's also worth remembering that in the real world probably 9 out of 10 violent regime changes create a situation that's worse than what they started with, at least in the short term, so one could be justly hesitant to risk their life for that sort of thing and wait instead for the empire to fall from within.

To give a general answer, when it comes to saving lives I'd err on the side of compassion. We never know all of the consequences of our actions, but unless something really bad was obviously going to happen I would choose to save the day no matter how miserable the lives I was saving were. I have the somewhat controversial opinion that there is no such thing as a mercy killing, that it's worth living even in the most torturous condition. In any case, I'm not the master of life and death, so rather than making a judgement call about what lives are worth saving I choose to save all of the ones that will let me save them.

When it comes to ending oppression I'd actually be very hesitant to resort to violence, even in the Luke Skywalker position. I would have to weight how evil the dominating power is, whether or not all peaceful options had been exhausted, whether there was a real chance of winning or not, etc. And I know that sort of case-by-case answer is what you were looking for, but I'm actually not familiar with the lore of any of the settings you said no to...and I can't think of one off-hand where I didn't think it was worth the hero's effort, so I guess a general answer's the best I can contribute.

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29 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Fri Jun 17, 2016 8:57 pm

Frieza2000 wrote:...so I guess a general answer's the best I can contribute.

^This! Saving aside, no matter what setting I will always attempt to the be the well meaning PC.

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