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Author Topic: The Villainy of the Ur-Quan  (Read 6816 times)
Valaggar
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Re: The Villainy of the Ur-Quan
« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2007, 02:12:13 pm »

Let's see what the Groombridge God Paul Reiche III himself says about "evil" races:
[IRC1998]
<_Stilgar> <Spyhunter> Fwiffo: "How does an "Ultimate Evil" -race in an SC2 -style game behave when meeting the player?"
<Fwiffo> You mean the big carnivorous teddy bears on Spathiwa?
<Xxyl> I believe those were those "Evil Ones"
<_Stilgar> <Spyhunter> Fwiffo: "No, I mean the main enemy in the game. Wink"
<Fwiffo> Oh yeah. Well, I rarely paint someone as absolutely "evil" -- it's all a matter of perspective.  What is interesting is why people (aliens) do things that seem evil to you or me, and what prevents us from doing the same.
[/IRC1998]
You see, in his universe at least (if you want to extend the discussion to real life as well, I think that the Starbase Cafe is the right board for that - and to sum my views, doing evil is not the same as being evil: someone who doesn't do evil on purpose is not evil, and someone who wants to do evil but the circumstances don't permit him to do so IS evil), as long as you have a good motivation, you're not absolutely evil.

So, let's see.
The Ilwrath:
But `evil' is that which is morally bad or wrong. And if your actions are judged by your society as correct, aren't you, in fact, good?
Hmmm... We ARE All Evil.
We All Behave In A Mutually Agreed-Upon Fashion Of Murder, Torture, Deceit And So Forth.
Our Uniform Acceptance Of This Heinous Credo Creates An Orderly And Cooperative Society
Which Hardly Seems Evil.
Evil Is Doing Things That Make Others Hurt Or Fear.
We ALL Do That, Of Course.
But Since We ALL Do Such Things, As Sanctioned By Our Culture,
It Would Be `Bad' To Do Otherwise.
Which Means...
Er...
Puny Hu-Man, Do Not Play With Words! You Anger Both Dogar And Kazon! Now You Must Die!

Themselves they agree that their evil status is relative! They act in the way sanctioned by their society as right, and as such they are not evil, because they do what they believe is right!

In general:
"Evil" Star Control races are evil as a species, thus they are programmed to be evil. Individuals of those species can, however, be truly evil if they do evil on their own free will, not as a consequence of their nature.

Quote from: Cedric6014
I'm am not sure how you figure Umgah can develop hyperbiotechnology and starflight and not have the intellectual capaicty for morality. Have I missed something? where does it say they have the emotional capacity of a child?
There are multiple types of intellectual capacity. Advancing in one direction does not affect the other zones. They have the type of intelligence that allows them to develop "hyperbiotechnology" but they lack what a Human would deem a mature personality.
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Re: The Villainy of the Ur-Quan
« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2007, 08:04:46 pm »

Heh. I had a feeling that the topic would go this way. These type of things always do.

Is it really so easy to pin down what is "evil" and what is "good"? I, for one, don't think so. It's a matter of perspective most of the time.

For example, are humans to be considered evil for what we did to the Androsynth? From the sounds of it, we did some horrible things to them, forcing them to flee Earth. Are we not villains, then, in their eyes?

How about siccing the Ilwrath and Thraddash on one another? It may be somewhat unintentional ("Seek new prey!" doesn't tell them specifically who to go after, but it does tell them to go after someone else), but we still caused the near annihilation of two entire sentient species. Genocide is an evil act regardless of who it's towards, isn't it?

To the Yehat Royalists, we've done something completely atrocious: we've started a huge civil war for them after they've had 2000 years of peace.

The VUX...we're not exactly kind to them, either. Sure, they hate us merely for our appearance, and seek to destroy us because of it. We find out that, insult or no, they still would've hated us. And yet...from as far as I can tell, humans are disgusted by the sight of the VUX as well, even though we should have gotten over such silly appearance-based prejudice long ago. Isn't prejudice evil?

How do we even know that the Captain was sincere when apologizing to them? Maybe he just liked bugging the ever-loving hell out of them. What about ZEX, who even the manual says "got what he deserved" through his violent death at the hands of the Beauty? Did he really deserve death?

Even near the end of the game, you have to do something morally questionable, but arguably needed. You have to have the Dnyarri invade the minds of the Kohr-Ah and Kzer-Za. The Dnyarri, who enslaved the Ur-Quan and forced them to kill friends and strangers alike. The Ur-Quan had to go through pain the likes of which you or I will never experience just to get away from them, and here you are, making them relive the nightmare.

This is all not even mentioning what we've done to our own people over the course of history.

Some of this behaviour is necessary or unavoidable, of course. But just because it is necessary, does that cancel out its “evilness”? After all, I’m sure the other races think the same thing about the way they act towards others.

Whose morality is right? Is it acceptable to force your views onto others who don’t understand them?

I am, of course, thinking too much about this. SC2 is only a game. Yet…can’t the same kind of questions be put to use in the real world?

For me, it’s dangerous to label people as “evil”. And even though SC2 is just a game, I can’t hate any of the aliens for what they do. I understand where they’re coming from, even though I don’t think they went about it in the right way.

Paul Reiche III was interviewed once and had an interesting take on the Ur-Quan and such. Let me see if I can find it again… Ah! Here, buried in this PDF! :

Quote
The always jovial head of TFB, Paul Reiche III, kindly took time out from his Christmas holidays to talk. “We intended for the alien races to exemplify human personal and cultural foibles in a focused and exaggerated manner,” humbly understating that he did what we think all good science fiction should do. He also revealed a human side to the ominous Ur-Quan: “My own take on [them] came from my relationships with people who had experienced significant childhood abuse and how those traumas produced distinctly odd behaviors in adults. [Their] doctrines were the overtly crazy but internally reasonable responses to their treatment by the Dynarri, and the pain they had to endure to win their freedom from slavery.” Further running themes examined cultural intolerances (racial, religious, gay etc.), as seen in the Androsynth’s oppression by “normal” humans.
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Valaggar
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Re: The Villainy of the Ur-Quan
« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2007, 09:44:54 pm »

The Captain has the option of being evil, but you are not required to pick those dialogue options. He also is forced to do evil at times, but as long as he doesn't do it for the sake of evil, but to assure the survival of all other sentient life, he is not evil himself.

Also, CeeVee:
From what you're saying, it seems that you think evil is completely relative? It's not so. An evil act is whatever makes someone (including you, though if you have to choose between your suffering and another person's suffering, you should choose yours, of course) suffer. An evil person is a person who commits evil acts (while having other alternatives) knowing that they're evil. However, an evil person is not evil in the same degree as its act, and is always redeemable, and also you can't tell if (s)he is actually evil or not only by seeing his/her actions, so you indeed shouldn't label persons as "evil", as you don't know if you're right.

Quote
How do we even know that the Captain was sincere when apologizing to them? Maybe he just liked bugging the ever-loving hell out of them. What about ZEX, who even the manual says "got what he deserved" through his violent death at the hands of the Beauty? Did he really deserve death?
Morally, he didn't deserve death. What the manual says is just a way of saying "he messed with dangerous creatures, his eventual death was certain" - think Steve Irwin. As to The Captain apologizing - his lines don't seem to sincere, indeed, especially that one with "reverse psychology".

Quote
For example, are humans to be considered evil for what we did to the Androsynth? From the sounds of it, we did some horrible things to them, forcing them to flee Earth. Are we not villains, then, in their eyes?
Of course those humans who acted as slave masters to the Androsynth did evil. Certainly on purpose. Certainly they were evil.

Quote
How about siccing the Ilwrath and Thraddash on one another? It may be somewhat unintentional ("Seek new prey!" doesn't tell them specifically who to go after, but it does tell them to go after someone else), but we still caused the near annihilation of two entire sentient species. Genocide is an evil act regardless of who it's towards, isn't it?
The Captain went overboard when he found himself in the place of Dogar and Kazon. He is somewhat forgivable. As I've said, it's not how grave the evil deeds are, but how deep their effects on the evil doer are.

Quote
To the Yehat Royalists, we've done something completely atrocious: we've started a huge civil war for them after they've had 2000 years of peace.
There are also good parts to the Yehat Rebellion - unity between the Yehat and the Pkunk and the overthrowing of the tyrant Queen and her cronies from the High Perch. Sometimes you have to fight for your ideals.

Quote
The VUX...we're not exactly kind to them, either. Sure, they hate us merely for our appearance, and seek to destroy us because of it. We find out that, insult or no, they still would've hated us. And yet...from as far as I can tell, humans are disgusted by the sight of the VUX as well, even though we should have gotten over such silly appearance-based prejudice long ago. Isn't prejudice evil?
Err... the VUX started. We are merely replying in kind. We behave much more polite with Admiral ZEX... though it may be just for acquiring the Shofixti Maidens.

Quote
Even near the end of the game, you have to do something morally questionable, but arguably needed. You have to have the Dnyarri invade the minds of the Kohr-Ah and Kzer-Za. The Dnyarri, who enslaved the Ur-Quan and forced them to kill friends and strangers alike. The Ur-Quan had to go through pain the likes of which you or I will never experience just to get away from them, and here you are, making them relive the nightmare.
You HAVE to. It's, anyway, better than letting everybody die, isn't it?
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Re: The Villainy of the Ur-Quan
« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2007, 11:14:58 pm »

Also, CeeVee:
From what you're saying, it seems that you think evil is completely relative? It's not so. An evil act is whatever makes someone (including you, though if you have to choose between your suffering and another person's suffering, you should choose yours, of course) suffer.

Even if it is only temporary suffering, and even if it's good for them in the long run?

An evil person is a person who commits evil acts (while having other alternatives) knowing that they're evil. However, an evil person is not evil in the same degree as its act, and is always redeemable, and also you can't tell if (s)he is actually evil or not only by seeing his/her actions, so you indeed shouldn't label persons as "evil", as you don't know if you're right.

What if this person feels that they have to do such acts, even if they know deep down that the act itself is wrong? Are they still an evil person? The Ur-Quan feel that they have to go to such extreme lengths to keep themselves safe, even though they may not be sure their way is correct, thus the whole conflict between the two sub-races in the first place.

Certainly I don't think that either of their ideas were the way to go (although I'd much prefer the Kzer-Za's), but to paint them as completely evil for their choices even though they're most likely too psychologically (and possibly biochemically) damaged to make a proper decision seems...unfair at best.

What I'm trying to get across is that things don't just simply fall into "good" or "evil". There's a lot of gray area in between. Also, I don't think anyone thinks of themselves as being evil, except for the Ilwrath. Even they're quite confused on that front. Wink

Morally, he didn't deserve death. What the manual says is just a way of saying "he messed with dangerous creatures, his eventual death was certain" - think Steve Irwin. As to The Captain apologizing - his lines don't seem to sincere, indeed, especially that one with "reverse psychology".

That's how I usually choose to interpret it, but I dunno. The word "deserves" just doesn't sit right with me.

The Captain went overboard when he found himself in the place of Dogar and Kazon. He is somewhat forgivable. As I've said, it's not how grave the evil deeds are, but how deep their effects on the evil doer are.

Why is he forgivable, but none the Hierarchy races are? This is the kind of question I'm asking towards those who see the Ur-Quan and battle thralls as nothing but pure evil. What is evil to those posters?

I'm not sure that I understand your last sentence.

There are also good parts to the Yehat Rebellion - unity between the Yehat and the Pkunk and the overthrowing of the tyrant Queen and her cronies from the High Perch. Sometimes you have to fight for your ideals.

Of course! It's just that the Royalists don't view it that way. The Captain is horrible to them because he just came barging in and filled the Rebels' heads with a bunch of nonsense and lead them into a war.

What would you guys think if the Yehat did the same thing to us? They would obviously be in the wrong, wouldn't they?

Err... the VUX started. We are merely replying in kind. We behave much more polite with Admiral ZEX... though it may be just for acquiring the Shofixti Maidens.

Heh! "The VUX started it!" That sounds like such a childish thing to say. Maybe you didn't mean it that way, but I laughed nevertheless.

But seriously, is it really mature, advanced, or right of us to do the exact same thing towards them?
"You're ugly as all hell!"
"NO U!"

You HAVE to. It's, anyway, better than letting everybody die, isn't it?

Certainly! Cheesy I like living. Living is good. The Ur-Quan are still going to hate you forever for letting the Dnyarri loose on them, though.

I guess what I'm trying to do is get people to see the other side of the conflict, and to think about why certain acts are wrong beyond "We're the protagonists of the game", "Well, we're humans and humans are always right in sci-fi", and "It's evil because I've always been taught that it is". That, and maybe help them see that these things can be a little more complicated than they seem to be at first.

Yes, even in a computer game from the early 90s.

Edit: Also, I love this previous thread on the nature of evil in SC2. Love it forever. It goes into much more depth than I ever could.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2007, 12:35:44 am by CeeVee » Logged
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Re: The Villainy of the Ur-Quan
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2007, 12:56:29 am »

An evil act is whatever makes someone (including you, though if you have to choose between your suffering and another person's suffering, you should choose yours, of course) suffer.
Now define suffering! Grin

What would you guys think if the Yehat did the same thing to us? They would obviously be in the wrong, wouldn't they?
I'm not a Royalist, or any Earthling parallel to that. The Royalists were more evil than the less loyal starship clans; if the Yehat came to Earth and set us in an inevitably successful revolution against our planet's corrupt upper classes, I would think that more good than evil.
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Re: The Villainy of the Ur-Quan
« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2007, 01:02:31 am »

To bring you on the same level as the Yehat Royalists, you'd have to think that the upper class was doing a really good job. You believe in them, and they're the good guys to you.

Then how would you feel, if someone caused doubt in them enough to start a rebellion?

That's what I ment, anyway. I'm sorry if I wasn't clear. I'm working on that, really I am.
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Re: The Villainy of the Ur-Quan
« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2007, 01:49:37 am »

To bring you on the same level as the Yehat Royalists, you'd have to think that the upper class was doing a really good job. You believe in them, and they're the good guys to you.
No, they're not doing a good job - they (turned my whole race over to the Ur-Quan). I want to believe in them, so I try not to think about it, but really I know that they are in the wrong. I can't stand the internal conflict, and when someone comes and makes me see things clearly, it's liberating.
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Re: The Villainy of the Ur-Quan
« Reply #22 on: June 21, 2007, 08:44:30 am »

Also, CeeVee:
From what you're saying, it seems that you think evil is completely relative? It's not so. An evil act is whatever makes someone (including you, though if you have to choose between your suffering and another person's suffering, you should choose yours, of course) suffer.

Even if it is only temporary suffering, and even if it's good for them in the long run?
I think I've answered this question when I've spoken about the Yehat Rebellion.

An evil person is a person who commits evil acts (while having other alternatives) knowing that they're evil. However, an evil person is not evil in the same degree as its act, and is always redeemable, and also you can't tell if (s)he is actually evil or not only by seeing his/her actions, so you indeed shouldn't label persons as "evil", as you don't know if you're right.

What if this person feels that they have to do such acts, even if they know deep down that the act itself is wrong? Are they still an evil person? The Ur-Quan feel that they have to go to such extreme lengths to keep themselves safe, even though they may not be sure their way is correct, thus the whole conflict between the two sub-races in the first place.

Certainly I don't think that either of their ideas were the way to go (although I'd much prefer the Kzer-Za's), but to paint them as completely evil for their choices even though they're most likely too psychologically (and possibly biochemically) damaged to make a proper decision seems...unfair at best.

What I'm trying to get across is that things don't just simply fall into "good" or "evil". There's a lot of gray area in between. Also, I don't think anyone thinks of themselves as being evil, except for the Ilwrath. Even they're quite confused on that front. Wink
Of course. However, shades of gray are closer to either black or white. I mean, dark gray is much more similar to black than white.

The Captain went overboard when he found himself in the place of Dogar and Kazon. He is somewhat forgivable. As I've said, it's not how grave the evil deeds are, but how deep their effects on the evil doer are.

I'm not sure that I understand your last sentence.
I mean that any evil deed you do has an effect upon yourself, more than on the person on which you do it.
Evil deeds change your nature, turning you evil.

Err... the VUX started. We are merely replying in kind. We behave much more polite with Admiral ZEX... though it may be just for acquiring the Shofixti Maidens.

Heh! "The VUX started it!" That sounds like such a childish thing to say. Maybe you didn't mean it that way, but I laughed nevertheless.
It's good that you laughed. On our subject again: I didn't say that it is right to do so. I said that we don't do like this normally. We feel free to say so because the VUX do, too.

You HAVE to. It's, anyway, better than letting everybody die, isn't it?

Certainly! Cheesy I like living. Living is good. The Ur-Quan are still going to hate you forever for letting the Dnyarri loose on them, though.
Some bad things are better than other bad things.

I guess what I'm trying to do is get people to see the other side of the conflict, and to think about why certain acts are wrong beyond "We're the protagonists of the game", "Well, we're humans and humans are always right in sci-fi", and "It's evil because I've always been taught that it is". That, and maybe help them see that these things can be a little more complicated than they seem to be at first.

Yes, even in a computer game from the early 90s.
Of course it is more complicated than it seems. However, you are right with "Well, we're humans and humans are always right in sci-fi". Indeed, sci-fi is (almost) always written so that the humans are always right, but that's a problem with those specific universes, I mean that the humans are indeed always right in sci-fi. Full stop. Everything is written so that humans take the place of the victim or the saviours.
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Re: The Villainy of the Ur-Quan
« Reply #23 on: June 21, 2007, 07:49:56 pm »

An evil act is whatever makes someone (including you, though if you have to choose between your suffering and another person's suffering, you should choose yours, of course) suffer.
Now define suffering! Grin
Take a knife and cut a piece of your meat with it. This is physical suffering.
Force yourself not to talk for days on end, or walk naked in the public street and let everybody laugh at you. This is psychical suffering.
Try these things, and then, if you still don't know what suffering is... we'll see.

EDIT: This topic has deeply derailed. What about moving the last few posts in Off Topic?
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Re: The Villainy of the Ur-Quan
« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2007, 10:06:09 pm »

Valaggar. Sheesh...

I asked for a definition. You are trying to give me the general idea. I already have that. General ideas are fine for obvious distinctions. Definitions are necessary for edge cases. Many of the situations in Star Control 2 are edge cases.

Your comment was not pertinent to this discussion. If you make another comment I would like it to be pertinent. Do you understand?
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Re: The Villainy of the Ur-Quan
« Reply #25 on: June 22, 2007, 11:18:37 am »

Quote from: Elvish Pillager
I asked for a definition. You are trying to give me the general idea. I already have that. General ideas are fine for obvious distinctions. Definitions are necessary for edge cases. Many of the situations in Star Control 2 are edge cases.
This would call for a definition of evil, not suffering. Suffering is obvious - suffering is anything you don't like.
Just show me the "edge case" suffering and I'll see.

Quote from: Elvish Pillager
Your comment was not pertinent to this discussion. If you make another comment I would like it to be pertinent.
What comment? I think all of them were pertinent to this discussion.

Quote from: Elvish Pillager
Do you understand?
Yes.
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Re: The Villainy of the Ur-Quan
« Reply #26 on: June 22, 2007, 12:24:53 pm »

Quote from: Elvish Pillager
Do you understand?
Yes.
Wrong again. You actually didn't understand what I was saying. Darn.

Anyway, edge cases of "suffering":
- being instantly vaporized.
- being forced to see things clearly when it's easier to remain ignorant.
- physical pain when you are detached enough that you can ignore it easily.
- physical pain when you're a masochist.
- being stopped from taking something you really really want.
- being stopped from taking something you really really want when it would only hurt you.
- hating something, regardless of the reason.

Ones that pertain to SC2:
- being instantly vaporized.
- being forced to see things clearly when it's easier to remain ignorant.
- having your race under an Oath of Fealty when it doesn't effect you personally.
- being mind-controlled when it means you get to hang out with Syreen.
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Re: The Villainy of the Ur-Quan
« Reply #27 on: June 22, 2007, 01:21:04 pm »

Well, these are not suffering examples. You don't feel anything when you are instantly vaporized, you enjoy physical pain when you're a masochist, and so on.
They are edge cases for evil, not suffering.
So the definition of evil needs to be expanded.

For example:
- if you vaporize someone, you violate his right for life, taking someone's life (and not in self-defense)
- if you force someone to see things clearly when it's easier to remain ignorant, it depends - if this will actually help the person in the long run, good. If it will not, you're just making that person suffer, so it's not good
- physical pain when it can be easily ignored - regardless of the intensity, it's still pain, so suffering, so evil
- physical pain when you're a masochist - you are feeding the person's masochism, so it's not good.
- being stopped from taking something you really really want - the same thing as forcing someone to see things clearly: if it helps in the long run, it's good. Otherwise, it's not.
- hating something, regardless of the reason - you do evil to yourself, in this case, and an injustice to whatever you hate
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Re: The Villainy of the Ur-Quan
« Reply #28 on: June 22, 2007, 02:11:49 pm »

Well, these are not suffering examples.
None of them are?

I think the last one in the SC2 section is clearly suffering... well, whatever Roll Eyes

Well, then, I guess I just misjudged what the edge was for you;

how about:
- being provoked/insulted viciously
- having your best/favorite possessions stolen
- dead friend
- being told that your race has been conquered
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Re: The Villainy of the Ur-Quan
« Reply #29 on: June 22, 2007, 02:24:01 pm »

These are clearly well inside the definition... However, I don't understand, why would the last SC one be considered suffering? You don't seem to experience any negative sensations due to mental compulsion, and hanging out with the Syreen is pleasant... OK, up to a point.
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