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I had one of them this evening, after watching the debate and thinking idly for a bit.  I realized that despite the craziness of 2016, I do in fact still have utter faith that people are basically good, more specifically, that they are trying to do good.  Problem: the vast differences we see between different people in the way they try to do good, say the differences between between Clinton and Trump, arise at least in part because people appeal to different ethical schema.  Clinton goes about trying to do good in a meticulous, rational way, which I find personally appealing, emphasizing her specific, dearly held interests such as the good of the children.  Trump has a totally different approach, trying to do good in a more tribal way by freeing his people from governmental barriers in order to succeed as he has; unfortunately, he is highly irrational in the way he goes about this, narcissistic in his inability to use criticism effectively, and has absolutely no insight regarding his gaping flaws as a candidate (temper, temper, temper, inexperience, unwillingness to compromise, poor grasp of futurism, the list goes on).  But I don't want to just talk about politics.  The point is that everybody has a moral code which, despite what they might say, is peculiar to them.  Everyone is, I am convinced, trying to achieve some good somehow.  Even psychopaths like Shakespeare's Aaron the Moor, a character far removed from any normal who reveled only in what he knew to be despicable, is still human, because he was, in fact, pursuing a personal good--pleasure.  The problem there was that his pleasure was incompatible with functional society.  In a way, though psychopaths are classically the most terrifying characters we can imagine because they are so alien in their motivations, the more dangerous people in history--Hitler, for instance--clearly have something wrong with them, but are not psychopaths.  Rather, Hitler was horribly misguided, delusional, and unfortunately charismatic, so that his delusions misguided a whole nation in his attempt to do good by them.  Himmler, the psychopath behind the Holocaust, reportedly a good family man as well as mass murderer, would not have been so damaging without Hitler.  

The contrasts we see among people who share identities are as great and as little as the contrasts we see among people who claim to be completely different.  People that are diametrically opposed to each other in seemingly every way are still, I have faith, both reaching for something good.  Clearly, this faith is not necessarily reassuring.  

It would be much easier to believe that people are good or bad.  It would be so convenient to believe that Aaron, Hitler, Himmler, and so on, that all these hideous people were just evil.  It would be easier, because saying "they were evil" by way of explanation absolves us of any fear, because we are clearly good.  Us and them, I and Other.  However, once any glint of good is allowed in the Evil Ones, bad sneaks into the good.  This begs the question, if none are fully good, or if all are a different kind of good, then who is right?  We may all be aiming for good, but some must clearly hit much closer to the mark than others.

This is where people start trying to define objective measures of morality, something that has frustrated ethicists for thousands of years.  Aristotle equated goodness with happiness, and thus good acts were those that made one happy.  But then there's the problem of Aaron the Moor...  Kant appealed to duty to define moral acts, but then there is the innate problem of the people who do not feel duty-bound in the same way as Kant (and I) did.  Both Aristotle and Kant effectively fell into the same error, assuming other people would think the same way they do, have a developed conscience like them.  Their methods for achieving an objective morality only worked for people who were already fundamentally "moral," with similar opinions on what constituted happiness and duty.  Probably the strongest model for objective morality is utilitarianism, which says that a moral act is the option that maximizes happy outcomes for the most people.  It is still a flawed system, but more quantifiable, which is why it is favored in fields such as public health where objective ethical decision making really matters.  The final, intractable problem is getting people, with their myriad ideas of what good is, to agree to abide by the ethical models which have been objectively constructed to the best of our ability.

The problem of morality is multifaceted.  I believe that everyone is trying in some way to achieve good in their lives.  I may be wrong, but it will take some convincing to persuade me of the fact.  I don't think that this makes me an optimist per se, because the direction of my thoughts is not particularly comforting.  Rather, I would conclude that achieving any sort of unity on the subject of morality is still centuries away, and it will never be perfect unity until we are all bred and conditioned as in Brave New World, a setting which I am sure we can all agree is absolutely amoral.

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I had one of them this evening, after watching the debate and thinking idly for a bit.  I realized that despite the craziness of 2016, I do in fact still have utter faith that people are basically good, more specifically, that they are trying to do good.  Problem: the vast differences we see between different people in the way they try to do good, say the differences between between Clinton and Trump, arise at least in part because people appeal to different ethical schema.  Clinton goes about trying to do good in a meticulous, rational way, which I find personally appealing, emphasizing her specific, dearly held interests such as the good of the children.  Trump has a totally different approach, trying to do good in a more tribal way by freeing his people from governmental barriers in order to succeed as he has; unfortunately, he is highly irrational in the way he goes about this, narcissistic in his inability to use criticism effectively, and has absolutely no insight regarding his gaping flaws as a candidate (temper, temper, temper, inexperience, unwillingness to compromise, poor grasp of futurism, the list goes on).  But I don't want to just talk about politics.  The point is that everybody has a moral code which, despite what they might say, is peculiar to them.  Everyone is, I am convinced, trying to achieve some good somehow.  Even psychopaths like Shakespeare's Aaron the Moor, a character far removed from any normal who reveled only in what he knew to be despicable, is still human, because he was, in fact, pursuing a personal good--pleasure.  The problem there was that his pleasure was incompatible with functional society.  In a way, though psychopaths are classically the most terrifying characters we can imagine because they are so alien in their motivations, the more dangerous people in history--Hitler, for instance--clearly have something wrong with them, but are not psychopaths.  Rather, Hitler was horribly misguided, delusional, and unfortunately charismatic, so that his delusions misguided a whole nation in his attempt to do good by them.  Himmler, the psychopath behind the Holocaust, reportedly a good family man as well as mass murderer, would not have been so damaging without Hitler.  

The contrasts we see among people who share identities are as great and as little as the contrasts we see among people who claim to be completely different.  People that are diametrically opposed to each other in seemingly every way are still, I have faith, both reaching for something good.  Clearly, this faith is not necessarily reassuring.  

It would be much easier to believe that people are good or bad.  It would be so convenient to believe that Aaron, Hitler, Himmler, and so on, that all these hideous people were just evil.  It would be easier, because saying "they were evil" by way of explanation absolves us of any fear, because we are clearly good.  Us and them, I and Other.  However, once any glint of good is allowed in the Evil Ones, bad sneaks into the good.  This begs the question, if none are fully good, or if all are a different kind of good, then who is right?  We may all be aiming for good, but some must clearly hit much closer to the mark than others.

This is where people start trying to define objective measures of morality, something that has frustrated ethicists for thousands of years.  Aristotle equated goodness with happiness, and thus good acts were those that made one happy.  But then there's the problem of Aaron the Moor...  Kant appealed to duty to define moral acts, but then there is the innate problem of the people who do not feel duty-bound in the same way as Kant (and I) did.  Both Aristotle and Kant effectively fell into the same error, assuming other people would think the same way they do, have a developed conscience like them.  Their methods for achieving an objective morality only worked for people who were already fundamentally "moral," with similar opinions on what constituted happiness and duty.  Probably the strongest model for objective morality is utilitarianism, which says that a moral act is the option that maximizes happy outcomes for the most people.  It is still a flawed system, but more quantifiable, which is why it is favored in fields such as public health where objective ethical decision making really matters.  The final, intractable problem is getting people, with their myriad ideas of what good is, to agree to abide by the ethical models which have been objectively constructed to the best of our ability.

The problem of morality is multifaceted.  I believe that everyone is trying in some way to achieve good in their lives.  I may be wrong, but it will take some convincing to persuade me of the fact.  I don't think that this makes me an optimist per se, because the direction of my thoughts is not particularly comforting.  Rather, I would conclude that achieving any sort of unity on the subject of morality is still centuries away, and it will never be perfect unity until we are all bred and conditioned as in Brave New World, a setting which I am sure we can all agree is absolutely amoral.
I had one of them this evening, after watching the debate and thinking idly for a bit.  I realized that despite the craziness of 2016, I do in fact still have utter faith that people are basically good, more specifically, that they are trying to do good.  Problem: the vast differences we see between different people in the way they try to do good, say the differences between between Clinton and Trump, arise at least in part because people appeal to different ethical schema.  Clinton goes about trying to do good in a meticulous, rational way, which I find personally appealing, emphasizing her specific, dearly held interests such as the good of the children.  Trump has a totally different approach, trying to do good in a more tribal way by freeing his people from governmental barriers in order to succeed as he has; unfortunately, he is highly irrational in the way he goes about this, narcissistic in his inability to use criticism effectively, and has absolutely no insight regarding his gaping flaws as a candidate (temper, temper, temper, inexperience, unwillingness to compromise, poor grasp of futurism, the list goes on).  But I don't want to just talk about politics.  The point is that everybody has a moral code which, despite what they might say, is peculiar to them.  Everyone is, I am convinced, trying to achieve some good somehow.  Even psychopaths like Shakespeare's Aaron the Moor, a character far removed from any normal who reveled only in what he knew to be despicable, is still human, because he was, in fact, pursuing a personal good--pleasure.  The problem there was that his pleasure was incompatible with functional society.  In a way, though psychopaths are classically the most terrifying characters we can imagine because they are so alien in their motivations, the more dangerous people in history--Hitler, for instance--clearly have something wrong with them, but are not psychopaths.  Rather, Hitler was horribly misguided, delusional, and unfortunately charismatic, so that his delusions misguided a whole nation in his attempt to do good by them.  Himmler, the psychopath behind the Holocaust, reportedly a good family man as well as mass murderer, would not have been so damaging without Hitler.  

The contrasts we see among people who share identities are as great and as little as the contrasts we see among people who claim to be completely different.  People that are diametrically opposed to each other in seemingly every way are still, I have faith, both reaching for something good.  Clearly, this faith is not necessarily reassuring.  

It would be much easier to believe that people are good or bad.  It would be so convenient to believe that Aaron, Hitler, Himmler, and so on, that all these hideous people were just evil.  It would be easier, because saying "they were evil" by way of explanation absolves us of any fear, because we are clearly good.  Us and them, I and Other.  However, once any glint of good is allowed in the Evil Ones, bad sneaks into the good.  This begs the question, if none are fully good, or if all are a different kind of good, then who is right?  We may all be aiming for good, but some must clearly hit much closer to the mark than others.

This is where people start trying to define objective measures of morality, something that has frustrated ethicists for thousands of years.  Aristotle equated goodness with happiness, and thus good acts were those that made one happy.  But then there's the problem of Aaron the Moor...  Kant appealed to duty to define moral acts, but then there is the innate problem of the people who do not feel duty-bound in the same way as Kant (and I) did.  Both Aristotle and Kant effectively fell into the same error, assuming other people would think the same way they do, have a developed conscience like them.  Their methods for achieving an objective morality only worked for people who were already fundamentally "moral," with similar opinions on what constituted happiness and duty.  Probably the strongest model for objective morality is utilitarianism, which says that a moral act is the option that maximizes happy outcomes for the most people.  It is still a flawed system, but more quantifiable, which is why it is favored in fields such as public health where objective ethical decision making really matters.  The final, intractable problem is getting people, with their myriad ideas of what good is, to agree to abide by the ethical models which have been objectively constructed to the best of our ability.

The problem of morality is multifaceted.  I believe that everyone is trying in some way to achieve good in their lives.  I may be wrong, but it will take some convincing to persuade me of the fact.  I don't think that this makes me an optimist per se, because the direction of my thoughts is not particularly comforting.  Rather, I would conclude that achieving any sort of unity on the subject of morality is still centuries away, and it will never be perfect unity until we are all bred and conditioned as in Brave New World, a setting which I am sure we can all agree is absolutely amoral.
I recently purchased Neil Gaiman's new book The View from the Cheap Seats, a collection of essays, speeches, and introductions he wrote over the years (and yes, sister dearest, I intend to give this book to you as one of your birthday presents).  One of the entries is Gaiman's 2005 speech at the Nebula Awards.  (For those of you who are, as I was, unaware of what exactly the Nebula Awards are, they are the literary awards given out by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.  Sorta like the Hugos.)  I have been enjoying most of the writings in this book, but there were a couple pieces of this particular speech that really grabbed my attention.

First, a line that was just a good quote from a great man of words: "I'm occupying the awkward zone that one finds oneself in between receiving one's first lifetime achievement award and death..."  I do admire authors who manage to be witty and appropriately harness their command of the language both in fiction and in fact--see my gushy journal entry regarding Tolkien's essay on Beowulf.

Second, the middle part of the speech is about how the genre has grown and changed in the decades before 2005.  Science fiction and fantasy are both twentieth century phenomena, at least in their modern form.  Long somewhat haughtily disdained as a fringe culture and sub-par literature, scifi and fantasy, or "speculative fiction" perhaps, has "become a default mode."  The fringe has become mainstream.  In Gaiman's words, "There was a battle for the minds of the world, and we appear to have won it, and now we need to figure out what we're doing next," the point of course being that speculative fiction doesn't stop speculating just because everyone is doing it.  Science fiction and fantasy are different ways of stretching the imagination to new extremes, aiming always to do something new, not just the old things well.
The reason this second passage interested me is because it seems remarkably prescient of the kerfuffle afflicting the Hugo Awards for the past several years--these are the world fantasy awards.  There have, in fact, emerged several factions in the fantasy community surrounding the Hugos, to the bemusement of the mainstream media who would probably not cover the awards in a normal year.  Most of the community seems to be in the same boat as Gaiman (and me), celebrating everything that is new as well as good, and thus celebrating works that are diverse, and unusual, and edgy.  Meanwhile, there is a sizable contingent dubbed the "Sad Puppies" who wax nostalgic for the swashbuckling scifi of yore, and thus have grouped together into a voting slate to nominate more traditional works.  The Sad Puppies are joined by the "Rabid Puppies," who are likewise a voting slate for traditional works, but they're rather more angry at the perceived progressive agenda that sneakily proffers these newfangled diverse, unusual, and edgy books so unlike the swashbuckling the Puppies crave.  The reason this all made the news is because the slates have been so successful at gaming the system, and the community voters so miffed at the system being gamed, that rather a lot of categories ended up with no winners.  But I digress.
The point is that in 2005, Gaiman noted that there was a new tension in speculative fiction between the people creating the wonderful sorts of stories that brought the genre into the mainstream and the people who had grown up with those sorts of stories and were now bending and stretching to make something new and different.  There is nothing wrong with indulging in nostalgia.  There is nothing wrong with celebrating a new story told in an old way, or an old story told in a new way.  In fact, all of these are excellent uses of one's time.  But it is a problem when someone who, by virtue of what they have written, is a part of the community of speculative fiction and then decides they have a right to define the limits of acceptable speculation.  It's silly, and deeply ironic.  I don't think the tension is going to go away any time soon, though.  The genre is changing too fast at the edges, even while traditional sorts of stories continue to emerge every year.

That's all for now.  The book is enjoyable, so you should read it if you like that sort of thing.
Today there would be Flame and Thunder.  The Poet had said as much.  

Puppet picked up the tiny Being, barely taken shape after Flame and Thunder's first visit.  A little maple, a little ash, a patch of green, red cotton thread.  He looked at them and saw them willing to perform.  But more would be needed.  

Puppet strode to the middle of the room at sat upon the floor.  Send a thief to catch a thief; it is the same with fire.  Thunder would come later.  In perfect repose, he cast a lazy eye about his abode, following the shivering spotlight of two score burning wicks.  Candlelight was kin to Flame and would tease out the necessary ingredients...pieces...flotsam and jetsam.  Puppet grinned as the candle flames flickered and laughed about him.  He knew he was no Speaker and would ever be at a loss for words.  

Puppet followed his fire's wandering gaze.  His eye rested on a tangle of silk, but the fickle firelight left it.  Puppet's eye likewise disdained the now-shadow.  He turned instead to a wood carving knife, glinting gold and red.  A glance down to the Being was enough to know neither ash nor maple would be shaped today.  The winsome, gold, and eminently lustrous gleam agreed and moved on.  A draft of outside air guttered the light, draping an umbra over everything, except a stick of charcoal atop a mess of old paper.  Puppet grinned again.  How clever of his fire to hide every bright thing here, to expose only a thing of darkest black.  He reached forth one long arm and snatched up the lump of char in one hand, clasping the Being in the other.  Without even seeing, the match was plain.  A cold, black morsel of soft once-oak to marry together two hard, pale, nearly living shards of wood.

Puppet stood and took his place at the work desk, setting the Being and the charcoal with its paper before him, ready to draw.  Soon, the Poet would be bringing Flame and Thunder.  The Being would have a face.
Puppet Maker
There is a contest to produce fanart for Rothfuss' secondary characters going on, so here is an entry for Puppet.
kingkiller-fans.deviantart.com…

In Patrick Rothfuss' The Wise Man's Fear, we finally get a scene with the mysterious Puppet.  Kvothe takes the man who lives in the bowels of the stacks to be a "cracked" University student.  Puppet seems to have some kind of power though, a true E'lir (seer--first comes seer, then speaker, then namer), the sort of talent no one else really cultivates any more, but is hinted (in my reading at least) to have been standard in the original Arcana.  Puppet also has an eidetic memory when it comes to books in the Archives, and he makes the puppets that fill his rooms.  And, unlike every place else in the Archives, Puppet's rooms are lit with candles.

By way of explanation with regards to this little scene, Puppet is still working on the little marionette he started making when Kvothe first met him, and the doll is based on Kvothe.  I figure the puppets must hold some significance, at least to Puppet, so he devotes himself and his power to their creation.  As Puppet is E'lir, I wanted the writing to be very visual--Puppet sees what is.  He doesn't require a lot of rumination.  When he sees Kvothe, he doesn't get caught up in what Kvothe calls himself--he simply sees a man who is essentially flame and thunder, symbolically speaking.  And in Sim, he sees a poet.  
The rest is a little more complicated--I recalled the character Slorn from the Legend of Eli Monpress by Rachael Aaron.  That character traded his human head and human eyes for the head of a great bear, because animal eyes are able to see Spirits.  This allowed Slorn to become the greatest Shaper ever, because he could truly See, and thus truly understand, befriend, and work with all of the materials he used in his inventions.  My version of Puppet is similarly at one with the material world, so he uses candlelight, as kin to Kvothe's flame, to figure out what materials are truly suitable to the new puppet--the Being.  I know it's weird, but it's supposed to be.
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This isn't going to be an elaborate summary as I usually do for interesting dreams.  Essentially, I had a short dream this morning that was really just nasty bits of Shakespeare's Richard III, if Richard III was also secretly a dark wizard.  Instead of imagining and/or making up plots against himself then murdering/executing the supposed plotters for political gain, the wizard Richard can actually invade the minds of others and cause them to incriminate themselves so Richard is in the clear.  Or he can drive them to suicide, or simply curse them to make them fall ill for real.  And no one knows he's a wizard.  Or at least, no one knows that his powers are extensive enough to do this kind of damage.  You know the part of the play where Richard first convinces Lady Anne, whose first husband he stabbed, to marry him ("Yeah, I totally killed him because I was in love with you--that makes it better, right?"), then a few years later she conveniently "falls ill and dies"?  It's even creepier when he literally bewitches her to love him, then curses her to death.  Basically, in my dream, the Richard character was just as sneaky and conniving as the original but had the added terror of having an unholy power which he used not to overtly and recklessly dominate others but to secretly manipulate so as to get his way without anyone even realizing what he was doing.  Everyone felt sorry for him every time these "terrible personal tragedies" happened and respected his perseverance, because no one even suspected that they all happened by his design.

Interestingly, after rereading the above paragraph, I just now realize how similar are the characters of Shakespeare's Richard III and Jennifer Fallon's Makhas Damaran from the Wolfblade Trilogy.  Particularly my dreamed-up version of Richard III.  In Fallon's work, spoiler alert, Makhas is the title-less younger brother of Laran Krakenshield, the Warlord of Krakendar Province and husband to Marla Wolfblade.  In a dizzying but not entirely intentional series of events, Makhas gets his youngest sister killed, then has to get rid of his other sister to keep her quiet, and then also lets Laran die in order to keep his crimes secret.  He ends up as regent to Laran's young son Damin Wolfblade, heir to the throne.  Makhas ends up rather insane in the end, terrified of his crimes and terrified of losing his gains, and thus feverishly dedicated to Damin's future as a proxy for his own success.  But as he gets older (the books span a couple decades), he just gets worse, until, as they say, things come to a head and shit gets real.  It's riveting in the same way as watching the creation of a 70 car pileup in a snowstorm.

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Neferneferuaten
My precious...does not know...
Artist | Hobbyist | Varied
United States
Neferneferaten means "beautiful are the beauties of Aten," which I know sounds a little conceited. Let it be known, though, that I chose that name for its historical value rather than to describe myself. I wrote a paper on the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten, and I very much enjoyed his daughter's names.

I do better landscapes than anything else. I don't have the patience or the finesse to do fine detail on a complicated foreground element.
I enjoy anatomy, Medieval history, fantasy, Medieval poetry, and doing things outside.

Current Residence: where I am
deviantWEAR sizing preference: medium
Favourite genre of music: classical
Favourite style of art: I like to draw and paint, but I like looking at sculpture
Favourite cartoon character: The Professor from Futurama
Personal Quote: "It is important to cultivate a sense of whimsey"----me
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:iconcakecatlady:
Cakecatlady Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for the fav!Meow :3 
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:iconneferneferuaten:
Neferneferuaten Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
No problem!
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:iconthedaemonic:
TheDaemonic Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2013
Thanks for faving my piece 'Turning the Tide'! <3
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:iconneferneferuaten:
Neferneferuaten Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome.  Just gotta love decent Jennifer Fallon Fanfic!
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:iconyasminamihaylovna:
YasminaMihaylovna Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I have decided that I should draw Strell being menacing.  It shall happen when I next have a chance.
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:iconneferneferuaten:
Neferneferuaten Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist

Good idea.  Who shall he be menacing?

 

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:iconyasminamihaylovna:
YasminaMihaylovna Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
The masters, maybe.  Or just generally menacing.
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Stirzocular Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2013
thanks for faving Tol Sirion!
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:iconneferneferuaten:
Neferneferuaten Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Your welcome!
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s-kmp Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013
:w00t: Thanks for the Fave on [link] :)
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