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Deep Space Nine What We Left Behind, we will always have here.

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Old September 16 2013, 07:07 AM   #1
SJSharksfan39
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"Even the Lies?" "Especially the Lies"

I was watching The Wire tonight (Great episode) and I was trying to think about Garak's development as the series went on, from being Tain's son to trying to even get him to accept him and I was wondering if this episode laid a much bigger groundwork in terms of the overall character arc. Garak tells 3 stories to Bashier, and at the end it culminates to him and Bashier sitting down for lunch and we get the great back and forth between them. The thing I don't really know is were all those stories true, or at least true in only the way Garak could tell them? Maybe I don't get the significance of the ending, or maybe I'm reading too much into it but was there something bigger in that final scene than just the two of them sitting down for lunch?
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Old September 16 2013, 09:18 AM   #2
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Re: "Even the Lies?" "Especially the Lies"

I think a few other lines from other episodes shed light on the way his mind works. Things like, "I never tell the truth because I don't believe there is such a thing," or "The truth is usually just an excuse for a lack of imagination."

I would say Garak's opinion is that truth is subjective - every person has a different view of what the 'truth' is, from their own perspective. And I suppose Garak is just someone who accepts that, and works with it rather than trying to force one objective version of 'truth' into a situation.

Look at the show as a whole - we see it as Sisko being the big hero. But Dukat would think he was the hero and Sisko was the villain, unfairly blocking him from his rightful place as the master of the galaxy. Which one is the truth? It depends.

One of Garak's stories in "The Wire" is about his 'friend' Elim. He explains how he tried to betray his friend Elim and blame everything on him, only to find that Elim had beaten him to it. Then we find out that Elim is Garak, they are the same person. So what we have to take from that is that Garak believes he betrayed himself - in other words, that everything that happened was his own fault.

From one perspective, the 'Elim' story was a complete lie. From another, it's totally the truth.

So I guess what Garak is trying to teach Bashir in that "Even the lies" scene is that there is truth in every lie. Something there is true as someone understands it. You can't say that something is a complete lie or a complete truth, because someone else would see it differently. That's how Garak's mind works - he accepts that and goes with it - and he probably sees it as vital to surviving in the world to which he was accustomed. And now he's trying to teach that to Bashir, to broaden the doctor's mind from the typically Starfleet black-and-white to a more Cardassian grey.

And yes, I think it does signify the way both characters develop over the course of the show. Garak is teaching Bashir, but Bashir is teaching Garak at the same time. They practically swap places. Bashir becomes suspicious, distrustful, involved in shady dealings and nefarious secret organisations. Garak becomes one of the team, working for the greater good, a trusted friend and confidant, a righter of wrongs.

And it could be said that that begins in "The Wire," with Garak opening Bashir's eyes to the complexities of life and truth. And at the same time, Bashir is showing Garak what it is to be a friend, by staying by his side no matter what the truth may or may not be.

.
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Old September 16 2013, 10:24 PM   #3
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Re: "Even the Lies?" "Especially the Lies"

Good and evil is an opinion, that's why there can't be an objective political truth.

Someone's terrorist is another one's freedom fighter.
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Old September 16 2013, 11:12 PM   #4
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Re: "Even the Lies?" "Especially the Lies"

lvsxy808 wrote: View Post

And yes, I think it does signify the way both characters develop over the course of the show. Garak is teaching Bashir, but Bashir is teaching Garak at the same time. They practically swap places. Bashir becomes suspicious, distrustful, involved in shady dealings and nefarious secret organisations. Garak becomes one of the team, working for the greater good, a trusted friend and confidant, a righter of wrongs.
I wouldn't go that far. The only reason Garak really became "one of the team" was because they were in a war where his skills would be useful. I think the only thing they trusted was his dislike towards the Dominion was genuine.

Bashir did become more suspicious and distrustful and involved in shady dealings. But that last part really wasn't his fault as he was targeted by 31 and not the other way around.

Did they rub off on each other at least a bit? Sure. I don't think they fundamentally changed the core values of each other though.
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Old September 16 2013, 11:59 PM   #5
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Re: "Even the Lies?" "Especially the Lies"

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
Good and evil is an opinion, that's why there can't be an objective political truth.

Someone's terrorist is another one's freedom fighter.
BS. Moral relativism is garbage when you apply it to murdering defenseless people.

Garak has lived in a world for years where there's no such thing as the truth, there's only different stories you use to maneuver people. So he has adopted those stories as a method of expressing truth, regardless of their factual accuracy. He told Bashir three stories which are along the lines of what actually happened as his way of maneuvering his naive friend the arm's length away he wanted him at.
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Old September 17 2013, 12:19 AM   #6
JarodRussell
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Re: "Even the Lies?" "Especially the Lies"

JirinPanthosa wrote: View Post

BS. Moral relativism is garbage when you apply it to murdering defenseless people.
When you make a surprise air attack on a military base, the soldiers are usually also defenseless.

It's all relative.
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Old September 17 2013, 12:47 AM   #7
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Re: "Even the Lies?" "Especially the Lies"

tomalak301 wrote: View Post
I was watching The Wire tonight (Great episode) and I was trying to think about Garak's development as the series went on, from being Tain's son to trying to even get him to accept him and I was wondering if this episode laid a much bigger groundwork in terms of the overall character arc. Garak tells 3 stories to Bashier, and at the end it culminates to him and Bashier sitting down for lunch and we get the great back and forth between them. The thing I don't really know is were all those stories true, or at least true in only the way Garak could tell them? Maybe I don't get the significance of the ending, or maybe I'm reading too much into it but was there something bigger in that final scene than just the two of them sitting down for lunch?
Oooooooooh this is such a great Garak episode!!!!! Probably my favorite.
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Old September 18 2013, 10:29 PM   #8
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Re: "Even the Lies?" "Especially the Lies"

Garak is an amazing character...
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Old September 18 2013, 10:30 PM   #9
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Re: "Even the Lies?" "Especially the Lies"

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
Good and evil is an opinion, that's why there can't be an objective political truth.

Someone's terrorist is another one's freedom fighter.
I disagree with pretty much this entire post.
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Old September 18 2013, 10:51 PM   #10
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Re: "Even the Lies?" "Especially the Lies"

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
JarodRussell wrote: View Post
Good and evil is an opinion, that's why there can't be an objective political truth.

Someone's terrorist is another one's freedom fighter.
I disagree with pretty much this entire post.
If good and evil aren't opinions, what are they? Is there factual evidence of what they are...? Or opinions formulated collectively throughout history? Just because quite often enough it's morally accepted what actions are good and evil, what actions are right and wrong, doesn't change the fact these are collective opinions. Few people universally accepted to be evil, actually believe they're evil and doing wrong after all.
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Old September 19 2013, 06:35 AM   #11
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Re: "Even the Lies?" "Especially the Lies"

R. Star wrote: View Post
Few people universally accepted to be evil, actually believe they're evil and doing wrong after all.
Irrelevant. A person can be evil, whether or not they think they are.
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Old September 19 2013, 06:46 AM   #12
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Re: "Even the Lies?" "Especially the Lies"

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
R. Star wrote: View Post
Few people universally accepted to be evil, actually believe they're evil and doing wrong after all.
Irrelevant. A person can be evil, whether or not they think they are.
I share that opinion. I should hope most people do. But it's still an opinion.
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Old September 19 2013, 09:07 AM   #13
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Re: "Even the Lies?" "Especially the Lies"

R. Star wrote: View Post
Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
R. Star wrote: View Post
Few people universally accepted to be evil, actually believe they're evil and doing wrong after all.
Irrelevant. A person can be evil, whether or not they think they are.
I share that opinion. I should hope most people do. But it's still an opinion.
Post-modernist non-sense.

Any moral code must have as raison d'etre 'the most happiness for the most people'. This is a necessary condition for any moral code worth this name (but not sufficient for some which invoke other objectives).

Based on this, objective (aka the same for all rational actors) moral rules can be and are derived.
Meaning, good and evil are most definitely NOT an opinion.

PS - Do tell, R. Star, JarodRussell& co, when was all this post-modernist non-sense ever helpful?
BTW, making humanities departments staff at universities delude themselves that they're cool, sophisticated and fair by indulging in white guilt and disparaging western civilisation is not even close to any relevant definition of the notion 'helpful'.

PS2 - R. Star, you really shouldn't take your moral and life philosophy cues from an, at best, mediocrely plotted Star Wars movie.
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Old September 19 2013, 02:25 PM   #14
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Re: "Even the Lies?" "Especially the Lies"

Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
Any moral code must have as raison d'etre 'the most happiness for the most people'. This is a necessary condition for any moral code worth this name (but not sufficient for some which invoke other objectives).
That's utilitarianism. While a perfectly reasonable ethical approach, and one I mostly agree with, it is not the only valid one. Deontological ethics emphasizes the morality of an action regardless of its consequences. Virtue ethics emphasize the effect actions have a person's inner self. Kantian ethics simply state that actions are ethical if it still makes sense to do them when you assume everyone will make the same choice in the same circumstances. There are more.

Based on this, objective (aka the same for all rational actors) moral rules can be and are derived.

Meaning, good and evil are most definitely NOT an opinion.
Unfortunately, while utilitarianism appears to provide an objective basis for morality, in practice it does not. It cannot solve disagreements about how to quantify "good", for starters; and even if you have a basis for that, no one can absolutely predict which actions will produce the most good in the long run.

Utilitarianism is very much an "end justifies the means" philosophy, which is one of its dangers. If a million people's lives will be improved by killing 100 people now, utilitarianism says to kill them. Deontological and virtue ethics would probably not permit this, regardless of its future consequences.
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Old September 19 2013, 03:01 PM   #15
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Re: "Even the Lies?" "Especially the Lies"

Lindley wrote: View Post
Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
Any moral code must have as raison d'etre 'the most happiness for the most people'. This is a necessary condition for any moral code worth this name (but not sufficient for some which invoke other objectives).
That's utilitarianism. While a perfectly reasonable ethical approach, and one I mostly agree with, it is not the only valid one. Deontological ethics emphasizes the morality of an action regardless of its consequences. Virtue ethics emphasize the effect actions have a person's inner self. Kantian ethics simply state that actions are ethical if it still makes sense to do them when you assume everyone will make the same choice in the same circumstances. There are more.
Deontological ethics build their rules, ultimately, on the evolutionary characteristics/hardwired values of the human brain with secondary additions of utilitarianism AKA objective standards (Kantian - its ethics including the categorical imperative you mentioned - and virtue ethics are deontological ethics).

These are objective standards as well, but rather unhelpful by comparison to utlitarianism.
I stand by my afirmation - a moral code that does not create the most happiness for the most people does not deserve to be called 'moral'.

Based on this, objective (aka the same for all rational actors) moral rules can be and are derived.

Meaning, good and evil are most definitely NOT an opinion.
Unfortunately, while utilitarianism appears to provide an objective basis for morality, in practice it does not. It cannot solve disagreements about how to quantify "good", for starters; and even if you have a basis for that, no one can absolutely predict which actions will produce the most good in the long run.
A 'good' action is defined as an action that causes 'the most happiness for the most people'. Happiness meaning from material wealth, rights, emotional well-being, satisfactions, etc.

Almost always, these 'good' actions are similar and easy to deduce - which is why the best deontological morals (such as Kant's, for example) are applicable, incorporate utilitarianism (with some exceptions).
You cannot predict with certainty the consequences of an action; but you can predict the probable consequences of most actions. Sometimes, the predictions are wrong - but most often not.

Utilitarianism is very much an "end justifies the means" philosophy, which is one of its dangers. If a million people's lives will be improved by killing 100 people now, utilitarianism says to kill them. Deontological and virtue ethics would probably not permit this, regardless of its future consequences.
Utilitarianism is an 'end justifies the means' philosophy only if taken very naively. For example:
How likely is that 1 million people's lives will be improved in the future by killing 100 people now? Invariably (in an 'end justifies the means' situation/decision), the answer is 'not very' or 'impossible to say to any meaningful degree'. As such, as per utilitarianism, killing 100 people now is not justified.

Not so if you go by ideology - you know, the 'break eggs to make an omelet' vision of every totalitarianism in history.
There's a VERY LONG road from utilitarianism to totalitarianism, Lindley. So long, it can only be taken intentionally.


PS - I'll ask you the same question I posed to R. Star, etc:
When was all this post-modernist non-sense ever helpful?
BTW, making humanities departments staff at universities delude themselves that they're cool, sophisticated and fair by indulging in white guilt and disparaging western civilisation is not even close to any relevant definition of the notion 'helpful'.
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