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All the idiots on the Arcanan side?

"Hell's Gate" and "Hell Hath No Fury", by David, Linda Evans, and Joelle Presby, take the clash of science and magic to a whole new dimension...join us in a friendly discussion of this engrossing series!
Re: All the idiots on the Arcanan side?
Post by PeterZ   » Wed Jul 15, 2015 4:50 pm

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n7axw wrote:I think that the Arcanans are being painted with too broad of a brush here. Most of the difficulty seems to be coming out of the Mythalan (sp) culture. The Andrans have their honor code and this Harshu seem willing to sacrifice himself to satisfy it after allowing Neshok to torture prisoners.

IIRC, it will turn out that most of Arcana is going to be horrified at how the war started and the treatment of prisoners in their possession once the truth is full out. And it eventually will.

Don


I actually don't believe they are painted with too broad a brush. Their failings stem from a prejudice that borders on bigotry. Not everyone has that prejudice, but it is prevalent enough to regularly spark the sorts of reactions that RFC and LE so accurately capture. This prejudice stems from their having been unified for 2 centuries and to some extent because of Magic. Those that have the Gift are likely very politically powerful. There are exceptions, but those exceptions will prove the rule: that absent Magic a person or people are simply less....important. This mindset creates blinders that will take quite a few clue sticks to alter. One expression of those blinders is prejudice to one extent or another.

That sort or prejudice isn't as pervasive in Sharona. With people that truly do experience what others do, many of them can actually walk in another people's shoes. However as MTB and I have mentioned a time or two, Sharonans have a tendency to take things personally. 20% of the Sharonan population experience what others do almost at first hand via the Voice network. So, almost everyone that experienced Shaylar's last message from Darcel also experienced his love for her. In a sense they also loved her. When entire societies are moved by the same passions, that society can go to serious extremes and be extremely stingy with forgiveness for transgressions against those passions or themselves.

So, where they are freer from "sin" in one way(bigotry/prejudice), they are more exposed to it in others(vengeance/unforgiving).
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Re: All the idiots on the Arcanan side?
Post by Mil-tech bard   » Wed Jul 15, 2015 6:28 pm

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A couple of points from this observation --


That sort or prejudice isn't as pervasive in Sharona. With people that truly do experience what others do, many of them can actually walk in another people's shoes. However as MTB and I have mentioned a time or two, Sharonans have a tendency to take things personally. 20% of the Sharonan population experience what others do almost at first hand via the Voice network. So, almost everyone that experienced Shaylar's last message from Darcel also experienced his love for her. In a sense they also loved her. When entire societies are moved by the same passions, that society can go to serious extremes and be extremely stingy with forgiveness for transgressions against those passions or themselves.

So, where they are freer from "sin" in one way(bigotry/prejudice), they are more exposed to it in others(vengeance/unforgiving).



First, much of the Sharonan's vengeance from Shaylar's voice-cast will be blunted if she gets to resend with language translation.

Second, it won't make much difference to Sharona if its six or more months down the road as other events -- The death of the Carinath Crown Prince and the murders witnessed by the Boy-Voice of his mentor and father -- will have been added on top of Shaylar's.

In fact, the boy-voice's voice cast of his father's murder will be worse with full Andaran language translation rather than better.
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Re: All the idiots on the Arcanan side?
Post by n7axw   » Wed Jul 15, 2015 8:31 pm

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PeterZ wrote:
n7axw wrote:I think that the Arcanans are being painted with too broad of a brush here. Most of the difficulty seems to be coming out of the Mythalan (sp) culture. The Andrans have their honor code and this Harshu seem willing to sacrifice himself to satisfy it after allowing Neshok to torture prisoners.

IIRC, it will turn out that most of Arcana is going to be horrified at how the war started and the treatment of prisoners in their possession once the truth is full out. And it eventually will.

Don


I actually don't believe they are painted with too broad a brush. Their failings stem from a prejudice that borders on bigotry. Not everyone has that prejudice, but it is prevalent enough to regularly spark the sorts of reactions that RFC and LE so accurately capture. This prejudice stems from their having been unified for 2 centuries and to some extent because of Magic. Those that have the Gift are likely very politically powerful. There are exceptions, but those exceptions will prove the rule: that absent Magic a person or people are simply less....important. This mindset creates blinders that will take quite a few clue sticks to alter. One expression of those blinders is prejudice to one extent or another.

That sort or prejudice isn't as pervasive in Sharona. With people that truly do experience what others do, many of them can actually walk in another people's shoes. However as MTB and I have mentioned a time or two, Sharonans have a tendency to take things personally. 20% of the Sharonan population experience what others do almost at first hand via the Voice network. So, almost everyone that experienced Shaylar's last message from Darcel also experienced his love for her. In a sense they also loved her. When entire societies are moved by the same passions, that society can go to serious extremes and be extremely stingy with forgiveness for transgressions against those passions or themselves.

So, where they are freer from "sin" in one way(bigotry/prejudice), they are more exposed to it in others(vengeance/unforgiving).


Hi PeterZ,

I'm pretty new to the multiverse and although I've read the books am scarcely well rehearsed. But my basic assertion here is the core problem here is the xenophobic character of the Mythalan culture which has had a disproprtionate inflence on events at the portal. This is something that the rest of Arcana wouldn't share.

Do you disagree with that?

Don
When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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Re: All the idiots on the Arcanan side?
Post by Ramhawkfan   » Wed Jul 15, 2015 9:28 pm

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I'm pretty new to the multiverse and although I've read the books am scarcely well rehearsed. But my basic assertion here is the core problem here is the xenophobic character of the Mythalan culture which has had a disproprtionate inflence on events at the portal. This is something that the rest of Arcana wouldn't share

Don[/quote]


The biggest problem with that is that the idiot that shot Shayler' s team leader, and the commander that ordered his men to shoot at Arthag were Andaran. I believe Neshok, the guy doing all the torturing is also Andaran..
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Re: All the idiots on the Arcanan side?
Post by PeterZ   » Wed Jul 15, 2015 10:39 pm

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n7axw wrote:Hi PeterZ,

I'm pretty new to the multiverse and although I've read the books am scarcely well rehearsed. But my basic assertion here is the core problem here is the xenophobic character of the Mythalan culture which has had a disproprtionate inflence on events at the portal. This is something that the rest of Arcana wouldn't share.

Do you disagree with that?

Don


Glad you are migrating a tad, Don.

Yes, I do disagree. I view the Mythalan, Ransaran and Andaran cultures as different approaches to addressing the same quandary. The US addressed it with the assertion that all men are created equal in their founding documents. We had the advantage of having fewer manifest inequalities between human beings than the Arcanans. Our fundamental assertion is harder to justify when some people can change reality with a disciplined thought while others can't.

Mythalans, like the principled Conservative Association members believe that they are due their advantages because they are fundamentally greater than most human beings. All men are obviously not created equal, because some can do magic while others can't in the multiverse. That advantage comes with a greater responsibility. Many in both groups ignore the responsibility and simply revel in the advantage.

Andarans address the inequality with layers upon layers of codes of honor. Honor in the words of Liam Neeson's character in Rob Roy, is a gift a man gives himself. The honorable Andaran limits himself with a set of codes that bind whatever power he might possess as surely as cutting off access to magic would limit a mage.

Ransarans don't bind themselves with codes of honor, but with a powerful belief. The belief that all men in some way have an intrinsic value. This may or may not be equal in all men. Exactly how this manifests has yet to be shown.

All three of these societies have addressed the issues surrounding the inequality between the Gifted and mundane. All three have approached the question surrounding how to mitigate the advantages of the Gifted to those less fortunate, less able, less Gifted....created less than those with the Gift.

So, no, I don't think the Mythalans in any way influenced the fundamental prejudice, yes even bigotry, of the Arcanas against people from a society devoid of magic. Mul Guthick's plan took advantage of what was already there. Arcanans are prone to prejudice and bigotry when it comes to non-magic using peoples.
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Re: All the idiots on the Arcanan side?
Post by brnicholas   » Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:59 am

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I think bigotry is the wrong explanation for the Arcanan failure to treat Sharonans with proper respect as people and as military enemies.

I believe the right explanation for the failure to treat them as serious military threats is lack of imagination and is paralleled by the Sharonan failure to worry about the mobility that transport dragons gave the Arcanans. It is really hard to take seriously something you had never imagined was possible. Just as the Sharonans didn't imagine that moving an army 10,000 strong 4,000 miles in two weeks was possible the Arcanans didn't imagine that supporting an army 10,000 strong 30,000 miles from your homeland without magic was possible.

I believe the right explanation for the failure of the AEF to treat the Sharonans with proper respect as people was the Arcanan hierarchical and listener oriented culture combined with mul Gurthik being at the top of the hierarchy.

By hierarchical I mean that when an Arcanan (at least within the Arcanan cultures we have seen so far) is in conversation with with another person he is restricted to a degree in what he can say and very seriously restricted in how he can say it by the relative rank of the person he is talking to. This makes knowing how the person you are talking to ranks relative to yourself extremely important.

By listener oriented I mean that when communication fails it is generally assumed to be the listener, not the speaker, (especially if the listener is senior) who is responsible for the failure and for correcting it.

This culture is not necessarily evil, it permits far quicker reaction to threats and easier mobalization of resources then more egalitarian cultures. This can be useful in many circumstances, but in this case (because the senior person was working on an agenda other then the good of all) it worked out really badly.

In summary, my judgement is that the AEF's behavior resulted from mul Gurthik successfully manipulating Harshu into launching a reckless and unjustified attack and supporting his attack with torture. The steps Harshu had to take to get his men to accept the torture meant that the officers were also looking the other way or even supporting freelance torture. Some of Harshu's juniors tried to warn him that the intelligence reports being given were inaccurate but because it is a hierarchical culture they didn't speak directly and when he didn't understand their indirect speech, because it is a listener oriented, culture they didn't try again. The failures leading to the AEF's behavior are mul Gurthik's and Harshu's everything else is simply what I would expect out of a large force of human soldiers whose officers are not making it very clear mistreatment of prisoners is unacceptable.

Nicholas

PS - It isn't relevant to this thread but in my view both Jasek's and Thalmayr's behavior in their respective first contact attempts is adequately explained by the hierarchical culture and the resulting need to establish what the hierarchical relationship is with any dialogue partner.
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Re: All the idiots on the Arcanan side?
Post by PeterZ   » Fri Jul 17, 2015 12:04 pm

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Well, Nicholas, yours is one interpretation of the books events.

I find it difficult to believe that a hierarchical society would simply ignore laws and codes of behavior established by the armed forces supreme commanders. They have laws establishing acceptable behavior for the treatment of prisoners. These laws are established by leaders far above the field commanders we have met. I agree that the Arcanan organization we have seen is hierarchical. Some other factor or factors played a role to allow this hierarchical armed force to ignore laws/orders/SOPs established their ultimate leaders. What are they?

I contend that prejudice drove the common Arcanan soldier to used the inaccurate intelligence to support ignoring those laws and rules of conduct as they relate to Sharonans. Its either that or the influence of the hierarchy is much weaker than has been observed.

Yes, I agree that mul Guthick encouraged the intelligence to be presented in ways to foster mistreatment of Sharonans. He did so by choosing an amoral bigot to control the intelligence briefings. Further, he encouraged Harshu to think in terms of securing an advantage for Arcana at nearly any cost. Harshu set aside any consideration besides achieving the military objectives. Harshu allowed torture and execution of POWs to gain intelligence. He allowed the expedient of killing all voices rather than securing them upchain and out of contact from other Voices. He allowed the murder of civilians and children to achieve his military objective. This isn't accepting collateral damage, this is ordering willful, unnecessary and premeditated murder of civilians and at least 1 child.

All of these expedients are against their law. The law established by Harshu's and mul Guthick's superiors, their commanders in the hierarchy they belong to. If hierarchy was the driving factor, Harshu would have followed established law. No, Harshu's prejudice asserted that it is more important for him to gain his military objective rather than treating Sharonans like any other Arcanan.
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Re: All the idiots on the Arcanan side?
Post by n7axw   » Fri Jul 17, 2015 1:54 pm

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PeterZ wrote:Well, Nicholas, yours is one interpretation of the books events.

I find it difficult to believe that a hierarchical society would simply ignore laws and codes of behavior established by the armed forces supreme commanders. They have laws establishing acceptable behavior for the treatment of prisoners. These laws are established by leaders far above the field commanders we have met. I agree that the Arcanan organization we have seen is hierarchical. Some other factor or factors played a role to allow this hierarchical armed force to ignore laws/orders/SOPs established their ultimate leaders. What are they?

I contend that prejudice drove the common Arcanan soldier to used the inaccurate intelligence to support ignoring those laws and rules of conduct as they relate to Sharonans. Its either that or the influence of the hierarchy is much weaker than has been observed.

Yes, I agree that mul Guthick encouraged the intelligence to be presented in ways to foster mistreatment of Sharonans. He did so by choosing an amoral bigot to control the intelligence briefings. Further, he encouraged Harshu to think in terms of securing an advantage for Arcana at nearly any cost. Harshu set aside any consideration besides achieving the military objectives. Harshu allowed torture and execution of POWs to gain intelligence. He allowed the expedient of killing all voices rather than securing them upchain and out of contact from other Voices. He allowed the murder of civilians and children to achieve his military objective. This isn't accepting collateral damage, this is ordering willful, unnecessary and premeditated murder of civilians and at least 1 child.

All of these expedients are against their law. The law established by Harshu's and mul Guthick's superiors, their commanders in the hierarchy they belong to. If hierarchy was the driving factor, Harshu would have followed established law. No, Harshu's prejudice asserted that it is more important for him to gain his military objective rather than treating Sharonans like any other Arcanan.


Harshu is not the first commander to subordinate moral behavior to the mission. However, I'm remembering that along with expecting to see Neshok called to account when the tab comes due with his superiors, he expects to be called to account himself. That seems to be part of his honor code. That certainly doesn't change what happened or the need for accountability. But for what it's worth, it's something.

Don
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Re: All the idiots on the Arcanan side?
Post by PeterZ   » Fri Jul 17, 2015 2:22 pm

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n7axw wrote:
Harshu is not the first commander to subordinate moral behavior to the mission. However, I'm remembering that along with expecting to see Neshok called to account when the tab comes due with his superiors, he expects to be called to account himself. That seems to be part of his honor code. That certainly doesn't change what happened or the need for accountability. But for what it's worth, it's something.

Don


I agree with you, Don. Harshu isn't amoral nor without honor. My point was simply that he would not have treated other Arcanans as he treated Sharonans in pursuit of his military goals. If he fears Sharona, why agree to a course of action that might antagonize the object of his fear to incandescent levels? If he is driven by securing benefit for Arcana, why risk exacerbating a war that might cost exponentially more blood and treasure than a peaceful negotiated settlement? What motive or POV would drive Harshu to accept mul Guthick's suggested course of action if not prejudice? The sort of prejudice that manifests in the casual disregard of certain others rather than a burning hatred.

I am really trying to find an alternative motive or guiding principle here. I really don't see one.
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Re: All the idiots on the Arcanan side?
Post by n7axw   » Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:28 pm

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PeterZ wrote:
n7axw wrote:
Harshu is not the first commander to subordinate moral behavior to the mission. However, I'm remembering that along with expecting to see Neshok called to account when the tab comes due with his superiors, he expects to be called to account himself. That seems to be part of his honor code. That certainly doesn't change what happened or the need for accountability. But for what it's worth, it's something.

Don


I agree with you, Don. Harshu isn't amoral nor without honor. My point was simply that he would not have treated other Arcanans as he treated Sharonans in pursuit of his military goals. If he fears Sharona, why agree to a course of action that might antagonize the object of his fear to incandescent levels? If he is driven by securing benefit for Arcana, why risk exacerbating a war that might cost exponentially more blood and treasure than a peaceful negotiated settlement? What motive or POV would drive Harshu to accept mul Guthick's suggested course of action if not prejudice? The sort of prejudice that manifests in the casual disregard of certain others rather than a burning hatred.

I am really trying to find an alternative motive or guiding principle here. I really don't see one.


Of course Harshu is prejudiced. Hello... the man is human. We are all prejudiced. The best of us try to rein it in so that it doesn't bring harm to others. Sometimes we are successful and sometimes, well...

The point with my too broad of a brush remark is that there are some Arcanans who are trying to mitigate the situation as best they can by protesting the treatment of prisoners, Hasek and Gadrial with their treatment of their charges. These people are recognizing evil as they see it and within the linits they find themselves in trying to work around them.

In fact the Accords imply and seek to codify the notion that even enemies are human beings and should be treated as such. That offers the hope that Hasak and Gadrial might not be exceptions after all. Too optimistic? Maybe... Silly me, huh.

Don
When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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