Lit Socrates in Star Wars: Vergere in the NJO and philosophy

Discussion in 'Literature' started by DigitalMessiah, Aug 2, 2013.

  1. AlyxDinas Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2010
    star 4
    A utilitarian judgement is still gardening. There's no such thing as an impartial choice. All choices favor something. You're still assigning worth. Deciding something is "bad" (a category which I assume includes evil things) or, in the case of a utile decision...an expendable asset...is no better or worse than a Jedi killing a Sith because they are evil.

    Plainly put: making a decision that will affect lives and choosing to save the most lives is still "playing god". Any choice which involves saving lives is. After all, who are you to assign numerical value to lives?

    EDIT: It's a rhetorical question, by the way. Who are you to assign a value and make those choices? You're a gardener.
    Last edited by AlyxDinas, Aug 8, 2013
    darth fluffy likes this.
  2. Darth_Pevra Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2008
    star 5
    It is certainly different than cutting the bad weeds as there are no bad weeds in the scenario I described. There are only flowers. No intelligent being is any more worthwhile than the next (like is the case with bad weeds and flowers), but of course, two lives is a greater number than one.

    I am not assigning numerical value. Where do I do that? I say every intelligent being is exactly as much worth as the next. If anyone assigns different values it is those who kill based on "evil" and "good", the most subjective terms of all.

    The only assumption I make (that I am aware of at least) is that intelligent life does have an intrinsic value.

    Is it playing god when you are completely objective and act with the cold logic of a robot?
  3. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    Ah, I see. You can do whatever you want, so long as you maintain your Jedi calm? So long as you can tell yourself you're valuing life? You can kill and kill and kill and kill, so long as you don't lose your temper?
    AlyxDinas and darth fluffy like this.
  4. Darth_Pevra Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2008
    star 5
    That's pretty much how the force works in the movies, yes.
  5. AlyxDinas Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2010
    star 4
    It is, possibly, worse. Assuming such a state can actually be achieved, which I would say is impossible. At least someone who distinguishes weeds from flowers cares to look at them with a discerning, careful eye.

    But it doesn't matter, you're just a gardener with a different method and predicament. There is an infestation threatening your farm. So, to save the most of your crop, you're willing to scorch a portion of your field that's already affected and kill off a section of your harvest to protect the rest of it.
    darth fluffy likes this.
  6. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
  7. Darth_Pevra Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2008
    star 5
    I am not even sure what you are getting at. When Jacen kills and kills and kills in Traitor and keeps calm while doing it Vergere is totally proud of him.
  8. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    He wasn't calm. Otherwise why was Jacen upset with himself?

    "I don't feel much like a hero."

    "You saved me. I was out of control—"
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Aug 8, 2013
  9. Darth_Pevra Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2008
    star 5
    All I see in the world is people who kill other people because they think the other side is evil. Therefore, I trust the robot minded more.

    Unless I can somehow turn the infestation to my side or all diplomacy fails, yes. Scorching it is then the only option.
    DarthRelaxus likes this.
  10. Darth_Pevra Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2008
    star 5
    He was quite calm on his last mission with Ganner.
  11. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    And who did he kill?
  12. AlyxDinas Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2010
    star 4

    These choices are not unique to utilitarian thought. Nor are they anything Vergere prohibits. Greatest number of good for the greatest number of people, Vong or Republic, is probably as utilitarian as you can get. Particularly because it's not discriminating on species or ideology.
  13. Darth_Pevra Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2008
    star 5
    Maybe when she made the distinction between bad weeds and flowers? I am not sure how that fits with utilitarianism or "pragmatic approach" how I prefer to call it.

    You are correct, he didn't directly kill anyone. He just sacrificed Ganner and the Vong warriors who fought him.
  14. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    It's really hard to argue someone that lives in their own reality.
  15. Darth_Pevra Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2008
    star 5
    It's really hard to argue with someone who resorts to personal attacks when he has no argument.
  16. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    *Sigh* I have no argument? I'm not depending upon the distortion of facts to support my predetermined conclusion. Not wasting my time anymore. You've proven that your mind is closed; you will never change your mind, so why should I waste my time trying to show you how other people read the book? You know, all these posts in this thread that get something else out of the book. You know, the whole reason this thread exists, to see what other people got out of it.
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Aug 8, 2013
  17. Darth_Pevra Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2008
    star 5
    Close minded? From someone who seems to think Vergeres words are divine fountain of wisdom that shall not ever be questioned? I've already made quite clear that I don't think everything she taught was bad. Like when she helped Jacen learn to rely on himself.
  18. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5

    So, back to the topic, I'm wondering if there's an even deeper meaning to the novel beyond purely dialectical monism. The last suggestion I made of Nagarjuna deals with Buddhism and emptiness, and thus isn't strictly compatible with the Force, but it's a dialectical monism system that Nagarjuna uses to argue something rather interesting. He applies dialectical monism to existence and emptiness, and consequently one are the same. He argues for the idea of dependent origination, no one thing originates on its own. We're all waves in the ocean. You can't capture a wave in a bucket, as a wave is an emergent property of the ocean, and all waves are the same thing.

    How he applies it to Buddhism is to argue that there's no difference between Nirvana and Samsura. Consequently, everyone has a Buddha-nature, everyone is already Buddha, even if we don't realize it yet.

    The idea of dialectical monism might not be the final lesson, but a means to an end of demonstrating something deeper. How would you apply this idea to the Force?

    Edit: And speaking of the garden metaphor, it occurred to me that Vergere's lesson to Jacen, about the garden, if we apply that to the galaxy and assign Jacen this role of being the most important gardener, well, through Jacen's inaction in the Yuuzhan Vong War, by the time of Traitor, Jacen's garden had become overgrown with weeds!
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Aug 8, 2013
    DarthRelaxus likes this.
  19. AlyxDinas Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2010
    star 4

    You're missing the point. Regardless of what she says about making a choice between weeds and flowers, Vergere has very large value for life. Vergere, by and large, dedicated herself to protecting lives on both side of the conflict. Pursuing the greatest amount of good for the optimal amount of people. That is utilitarianism, as defined by Bentham. (Pragmatism is different from utilitarianism, for the record.)

    I'm, at this point, unsure of what you believe the garden metaphor actually means. What is actually being said. You seem to want to suggest that making choices between good and bad is somehow a morally bankrupt action. That reaching a point of serene detachment where life is a homogeneous commodity of singular value is a good thing. Which would explain why you believe Vergere is evil; namely, because she refutes the idea that detachment allows an individual's actions to be honest. Killing, and killing, and killing does not suddenly become a good act because we're approaching it as a numbers game.

    In fact, it becomes more dangerous.
  20. HWK-290 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 29, 2013
    star 2
    Wanted to address this point:
    And Jacen agreed with you...
    ...until he decided he wasn't going to stand by and let one particular stock of "flowers" crowd out and strangle the rest the way invasive species are prone to do.


    Jacen's choice:
    Chooses to protect innocents from fanatics.


    Vergere's choice:
    Chooses to value the free-thinking maverick over the mindless conformist. "A man chooses, a slave obeys."


    Pevra's choice:
    Chooses to sanctify all life regardless of circumstances.


    If you want to label any of the above as social Darwinism, by all means, go ahead. I'll keep on referring to them as personal values.




    You can apply this same logic to the inverse. How do you define "need" when it comes to defending yourself and others?
    Last edited by HWK-290, Aug 8, 2013
  21. Darth_Pevra Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2008
    star 5
    She has? But as I pointed out in the other thread, she was perfectly fine with torture, deaths and all kinds of mayhem just in the service of her force vision. I don't believe that everything is prewritten, carved in stone until eternity. Therefore if someone sacrifices so much for the sake of a dream I am rather appalled.

    Well, I think differently. Thinking in numbers is how I want a leader to act, but of course the burden is very heavy. For that reason alone I wouldn't want to be, say, President. I am not sure what the good and evil distinction is "good for" at the global scale. Isn't that one reason why we go to war? Because we think the other side is evil and deserves what is coming for it? Because we want to punish them?
  22. AlyxDinas Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2010
    star 4
    @Darth_Pevra: Hypothetical: there is a bioweapon that can destroy the Vong. A pathogen that, if used against them, could utterly destroy them, ending the war and stopping anymore Republic citizens from being killed. Do you use it?
  23. HWK-290 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 29, 2013
    star 2
    Haven't I read this before somewhere...? [face_thinking]
    DarthRelaxus and Force Smuggler like this.
  24. Darth_Pevra Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2008
    star 5
    No. Because the war could probably be won with conventional means, yielding less victims on both sides.
  25. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    Nope! [face_tee_hee]
    Force Smuggler likes this.