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From: matthew.malthouse@guardian.co.uk
Date: Thu, 30 May 2002 18:18:58 +0100
Subject: Re: (urth) TBOTSS and colonialism

On 30/05/2002 14:57:43 Adam Stephanides wrote:

>on 5/28/02 2:00 PM, Dan'l Danehy-Oakes at ddanehy@siebel.com wrote:
>> Antelopes almost certainly have a radically different opinion of
>> lions than you do. For an antelope (at least one with inclinations
>> toward ethical philosophizing), to be killed by a lion is a great
>> evil indeed, and lions are evildoers.
>For a human to be killed by smallpox is a great evil.  But we don't
>smallpox viruses as evildoers, because they are incapable of moral
>Philosphical antelopes would presumably reach the same conclusion about
>lions (assuming they remained lions).

I'm glad someone has begun to make this distinction because I've felt
throughout this discussion that matter's have been confused by the loose
use of the word 'evil'.

To my mind an act can only be categorised as evil if there it is comitted
in the understanding that doing so transgresses some moral or ethical

What those constraints are will be defined by culture and belief.

For example a death by smallpox is tragic in a humanist view, but not
evil. It's just one of those chances that might happen.  It takes some
additional input - such as the belief in a deity and a directed purpose to
such an eventuality - to make such a death an evil.

So we (humanist or deist alike) consider murder wrong. To kill with intent
is evil.  To cause death inadvertantly is not, however tragic.

In considering the inhumi we should ask if they have an inherant moral
framework against which their actions can be judged or if their
consciousness, being as it is human derived, places them in the moral
framework of the humans on Blue and Green.

If one opts for the former it is difficult, if not impossible, to didscern
from the text what shuch a framework would be.  However to be
comprehensible to us it should certainly include that using prey (lion and
antelope like) is a life necessity and not an evil.

I personally opt for the second choice.  Pragmatically because this allows
the author to pose questions of evil in a single framework without the
complications of evaluating the alien.  Moreover the mechanism by which
inhumi attain consciousness seems to suggest that it is only within a
human framework that they act.

If that is accepted we have the conflict mentioned a while back. To
survive in the form they are they must continually commit acts that are
seen as evil: and given the premis just made which they must understand as

So we have within a single moral context conscious predators, evil, pitted
against prey which should be contrasted as good or innocent.

Nothing Lupine is ever so simple.

Clearly we have human elements in the book that are at best ambigous and
easilly seen as evil.  So here there is no innocent at all but rather
shades of guilt or sin.  We have speculted that the "solution" to the
inhumi problem might be becoming "good" if that is indeed the solution
we're told categorically that the humans can't do it.

The inhumi cannot both renounce evil and survive as they currently are.
Humans might do so, and in doing so co-incidentally rehabilitate the inumi
but they won't or can't except perhaps for the rare "saint". The conflict
is within human nature: those who cannot enact their own redemption
against those who could but won't.



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