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Old January 9 2009, 03:55 AM   #41
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Location: Montgomery County, State of Maryland
Re: Contradictions between Firefly series & Serenity

Christopher wrote: View Post
^^I don't think anyone's accusing you of racism, simply of being too influenced by a superficial resemblance. If they'd both been blue-eyed with wavy blond hair, I think David cgc's post would be exactly the same except for one sentence.

Early and the Operative were nothing alike. At best, the Operative was the kind of man that Early only liked to imagine he was. Early acted smart and philosophical and self-controlled, but he was really a neurotic sadist. He had pretensions to intellectualism but was a thug at heart. His motivation was to make a profit and to hurt people in a way that let him pretend he was doing it for a justifiable reason. He had no ethics beyond self-gratification and self-aggrandizement.

The Operative was just the opposite. He truly was an intelligent, sensitive man, but he was unassuming and humble. He had no illusions or pretensions about what he was. He was an idealist who had to act like a thug for the greater good. His motivation was to protect a system that he believed worked well for the majority of people, even if it regrettably meant sacrificing the minority in the process. He got no profit or pleasure from it, and was convinced he would be forever deprived of the fulfillment he strove to give others. His ethics were questionable, but profoundly felt and deeply self-abnegating. And he did the right thing at the end, something Early would never have done, because for him the right thing was merely to satisfy his own needs.
Exactly. If anything, Early and the Operative represent two different philosophical systems.

The Operative is the true believer who, at the end, finds out that the God he's been serving is a false God -- in finding out that the Alliance created the Reavers in their attempts to pacify people and then covered their role in the Reavers' creation up, the Operative discovers that the previously mostly-benevolent Alliance was, in fact, fundamentally corrupt and authoritarian. He becomes the Existentialist who realizes that God is dead but that he still needs to empathize with other people and treat them morally.

Early, on the other hand, is a Nihilist. He's the man who realizes that there is no God, but takes this as meaning that since nothing inherently means anything, there is nothing wrong with hurting others. He's the Nihilist who takes the death of God to mean the nullification of life and existence itself, who believes in nothing real. He's a much simpler, much more immoral person.
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