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Old June 24 2009, 11:10 PM   #46
hyzmarca
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Re: Borg Theories

So, what you're saying is that you have no proof of the correctness of your belief, you are just assuming that it is true due to emotion.
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Old June 24 2009, 11:18 PM   #47
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Re: Borg Theories

hyzmarca wrote: View Post
So, what you're saying is that you have no proof of the correctness of your belief, you are just assuming that it is true due to emotion.
No, I'm saying that common sense should tell you that it is true and that you fail at being human if you think otherwise.
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Old June 24 2009, 11:22 PM   #48
hyzmarca
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Re: Borg Theories

Sci wrote: View Post
hyzmarca wrote: View Post
So, what you're saying is that you have no proof of the correctness of your belief, you are just assuming that it is true due to emotion.
No, I'm saying that common sense should tell you that it is true and that you fail at being human if you think otherwise.
There is no such thing as common sense.

Logic should tell you that you that it is false.

If all cultures have the right to self-determination, what of the right of self-determination of a culture that determines it wishes to conquer other cultures? In order to respect its right of self-determination, one would have no choice but to permit its aggression.

And if aggression is impermissible, then cultures do not truly have a right to self-determination.

By your analogy, the Nazis would be evil, but the Allies would be equally evil for stopping them.
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Old June 24 2009, 11:27 PM   #49
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Re: Borg Theories

hyzmarca wrote: View Post
If all cultures have the right to self-determination, what of the right of self-determination of a culture that determines it wishes to conquer other cultures? In order to respect its right of self-determination, one would have no choice but to permit its aggression.
No, because that is not self-determination, that is aggression. It is, in other words, the deliberate valuation of one's own culture's power over another culture's and a denial of that other culture its right to self-determination.

The right to self-determination, more specifically, refers to the right of any culture to make decisions for itself that do not interfere with the rights of other cultures to make decisions for themselves.

To make a symbolic analogy: I have the right to swing my arm wherever I want so long as it does not hit your nose.
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Old June 25 2009, 12:50 AM   #50
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Re: Borg Theories

Sci wrote: View Post
Da'an wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post

They need both. There's no point in telling a plausible but uncompelling story.
Real life doesn't work like a TV show, that origin idea is good because it's so plausible.
Of course it doesn't.

But Star Trek is not real life, nor has it ever been particularly Realistic/Naturalistic. Star Trek, at its best, is a well-written Melodrama. And there's nothing wrong with that or dramatically inferior about that; Realism/Naturalism is not inherently superior to Melodrama.

But Trek's first obligation is to tell a good story, not to end up sounding like a newspaper article.

ETA:

Myasishchev wrote: View Post
Personally, I like this a lot better than the origin in Destiny. It's far more interesting. The origin in Destiny is more like the origin of a supervillain.
I don't think that's an accurate characterization. It's not the origin of a supervillain so much as it is an examination of how existential angst can mutate into pure nihilism because of our choices. There's a reason the Borg were born in the unforgiving winter of an arctic circle -- it's about the loneliness of facing your own imminent death and how you choose to react to it.

Do you accept that all things, even yourself, must come to an end? Or do you cling to life against all else, putting aside questions of morality or honesty or decency or compassion? Do you recognize that it is better to die alone but with integrity, or do you choose to victimize others in an attempt to cling to life and avoid the loneliness that results from that choice?
No. Yes. The second one, maybe. In the context of Destiny,


For my money, that's far more meaningful than yet another tired allegory about the dangers of society abusing technology that I've seen five million versions of.
It's pretty good, yeah. But for my money less intrinsically fascinating than "another tired allegory." And jihadi Bynars are more intrinsically fascinating than space zombies. And that's all Destiny does, is provide a moving exploration of the genesis of space zombies. "The hunger," indeed.

It's all in the execution, though. Sure, a boring story about a failed transhumanist experiment isn't interesting, but that's circular logic.
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Old June 25 2009, 01:08 AM   #51
hyzmarca
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Re: Borg Theories

Sci wrote: View Post
hyzmarca wrote: View Post
If all cultures have the right to self-determination, what of the right of self-determination of a culture that determines it wishes to conquer other cultures? In order to respect its right of self-determination, one would have no choice but to permit its aggression.
No, because that is not self-determination, that is aggression. It is, in other words, the deliberate valuation of one's own culture's power over another culture's and a denial of that other culture its right to self-determination.

The right to self-determination, more specifically, refers to the right of any culture to make decisions for itself that do not interfere with the rights of other cultures to make decisions for themselves.

To make a symbolic analogy: I have the right to swing my arm wherever I want so long as it does not hit your nose.
In other words, it is self-determination unless you personally disagree with it, in which case it is not.

Your analogy is good, but it is also false. Laws against violence are are limitations on self-determination, all laws are.

The right to self-determination is not an absolute in any legal or ethical theory, it can always be abridged for the greater good. This we call this abridgment of rights for the greater good rule of law. The only question is whose law, whose rule.

Modern democratic governments believe that they derive the right to impose the rule of law from the consent of the governed. That is a lie. They derive the right to make law from the consent of a majority of the governed, the rest are held hostage by force of arms. Disagreeing with the law does not exempt one from it.

It is permissible to impose rule of law by force of arms. It is often necessary. It is usually necessary. The only question is whose law and whose arms.

Rights are not physical things, they are not tangible things, they are not real things. They are ideas, invented by men and imposed by law. Laws are not physical things, they are not tangible things, they are not real things. They are ideas, invented by men and imposed by violence.

When systems are law clash, they tend to be normalized to each other, making them more compatible. This can be done through violence, or through negotiations, which carry the implicit threat of violence.

When two totally incompatible systems of law clash, conflict is an inevitable necessity. The inability to normalize relative to each other means that one or the other or both must eventually be destroyed.

Compromise requires understanding that values and laws different than your own are perfectly valid. It also requires a willingness to empathize with someone who is different from you.

The Borg are a rarity in that their very simple law is totally incompatible with our own more complex system of laws. Normalization is impossible, destruction is the only option. Even so, it is unwise to call them evil.

Evil is a label that makes it easier to kill. For this reason, it is a very useful label to impose on one's enemies. Nazis are evil, so we can kill them without feeling bad; Jews are evil, so we can kill them without feeling bad. It serves no other useful purpose. And it is dishonest. It distorts our perceptions of ourselves as much as it distorts our perceptions of our enemies. It makes peace more difficult, it makes mercy more difficult, it makes forgiveness more difficult, and it makes their opposites far too easy. We can label our enemies as evil because of their actions and then we can feel confident in our righteousness as we do exactly the same things, worse even.

No man calls himself evil. We all know in our hearts that out actions, no matter how abhorrent that they may seem, are absolutely right. Once you label yourself good, and your enemy evil, there is no line that cannot be crossed. The greatest atrocities are not committed by a demon or a devil, but by a saint.

Anyone deluded by absolute conviction is in danger of violating their own values. And this is why I oppose labeling the Borg as evil. This is why I oppose labeling anyone as evil.

Certainly, I oppose those who are injurious to myself, and those that I value, but I must be honest with myself about that opposition and I demand no less from anyone else, lest opposition turn to righteousness and righteousness turn to enormity.

Last edited by hyzmarca; June 25 2009 at 01:24 AM.
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Old June 25 2009, 02:07 AM   #52
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Re: Borg Theories

How, exactly, do you define the term "evil?" What do you mean when you use that term?
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Old June 25 2009, 04:00 AM   #53
hyzmarca
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Re: Borg Theories

In this context,

evil
–adjective
morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked:
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Old June 25 2009, 05:24 AM   #54
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Re: Borg Theories

hyzmarca wrote: View Post
In this context,

evil
–adjective
morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked:
And what does that mean?
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Old June 25 2009, 05:24 AM   #55
Da'an
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Re: Borg Theories

hyzmarca wrote: View Post
In this context,

evil
–adjective
morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked:
Ah, but from which perspective?

This is all verging into the territory of moral relativism, if you subscribe to that philosophy, assimilation is good and individuality is bad if you're Borg, and slavery is good and sufferage is bad if you're a white male in America of a century ago, and human sacrifices are good if you're an ancient Mayan (or Aztec, I forget which).
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Old June 25 2009, 05:51 AM   #56
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Re: Borg Theories

hyzmarca wrote: View Post
Any nanotech origin for the Borg comes pre-Jossed. The Borg got their nanotech from Species 149. Assuming that there numbering scheme makes any sense, that was early in their carreer but still well after they started doing their Borg thing.

I prefer the gradual transhumanist explanation, because it's so believable. Start with one small neurological implant that becomes ubiquitous due to it's utility, perhaps a wireless DNI that allows one to operate a computer and access the internet with thought alone. From there, you start adding features and designing new implants. Practically everything that the Borg has is of serious utility value to an individual. most woundly want all the implants, but many would want at least one or two. The DNI is a no-brainer, and super strength is nice, too.

Now, the problem comes in which the DNI implant starts being used for P2P chatting rather than just as a fancy keyboard and moniter. At first its no problem, because the brains remain seperate. But firmware updates that allow more inttimate mind sharing are inevitable, untill you end up mini-collective clusters, originally consisting of groups of friends, lovers, nuclear families, and workgroups. Politicians might also use it to reach a consensus more easily. But it's still very good. It's a tool, not a yoke.
Of course, it becomes fashionable to implant young children with DNI, because it aids learning and makes childrearing much easier. Young parents never have to face the frustration of not knowing what their crying baby wants, a simply mind-meld would clear everything up.

It would likely remain good for several generations. Disease isn't eleminated, but it is reduced. Violent crime is practically non-existant, as criminals would have to feel exactly what their victims felt. The network is global now, so you're linked to every other mind in the world, but that's alright, it's actually very useful. Being linked to every mind also means being linked to all the knowledge and experience of the whole. Problem solving becomes much easier.

It only becomes a problem when the children grew up linked to the Collective have children, and their children have children, and those elders who knew what it was like to be individuals died of natural causes. Over time, over the course of centuries, perhaps millennia, this society forgets individuality all together, remembering it only as a ecco of an ancient memory. That's when they become dangerous. That's what makes them Borg.
Ignoring the debate over whether the Borg are evil or not (I personally think they are), I find this origin concept the most compelling. I can't help but feel that it's the closest to what the intended original point of the Borg was.
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Old June 25 2009, 04:45 PM   #57
hyzmarca
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Re: Borg Theories

Sci wrote: View Post
hyzmarca wrote: View Post
In this context,

evil
–adjective
morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked:
And what does that mean?
A label used in combination with a moral realist philosophy to justify feelings of outrage and the accompanying desire to inflict punishment.

Da'an wrote: View Post
hyzmarca wrote: View Post
In this context,

evil
–adjective
morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked:
Ah, but from which perspective?

This is all verging into the territory of moral relativism, if you subscribe to that philosophy, assimilation is good and individuality is bad if you're Borg, and slavery is good and sufferage is bad if you're a white male in America of a century ago, and human sacrifices are good if you're an ancient Mayan (or Aztec, I forget which).
Trek, TNG especially, is very relativist. Sure, they'd usually lecture the member of the "backwards" alien culture about how much more evolved they are, but moral judgment was usually reserved for Very Special Episodes in which the aliens represented real-world discrimination that the writers wished to speak out against.
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Old June 25 2009, 05:52 PM   #58
TedShatner10
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Re: Borg Theories

The Borg Collective are unambiguously villainous antagonists - they carry out the theft of whole civilizations and the kidnapping of trillions of people on a galactic scale, killing billions who get in their way. They're mass enslavers and technological rapists who violently absorb cultures enmasse, so they're bad guys through and through.

However what is reactionary about the demonization of the Borg is that they're cyborgs and they're a collective, which is not bad in of itself depending on the context. There was nothing wrong with the Mongolians being nomad horsemen, but it was their war crimes and aggressive conquest of Eurasia that had earned them their infamy. The way our technology has progressed since the airing of "Q Who?" points our civilization more towards the Borg Collective instead of the United Federation of Planets, with our Internet being a primitive form of the Borg Collective.

If we meet people from the future when we're a space faring society they're going to be like Data and Seven of Nine, instead of O'Brien and Scotty. If we're going to be deep in space for years/decades/centuries at a time, our warm and fleshy bodies are going to be a detriment, and nano machines will be useful in repairing our ships and our bodies. Brain implants make communications to computer nodes and each other more efficient.
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