Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

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georgiedenbro
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Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

Postby georgiedenbro » 08 Nov 2016 17:39

DragEgusku wrote:Yes, the (D)universe is dangerous but without morality it is even more dangerous. That is my point. Man is his own worst enemy exactly because, among other things, of the lack of morality. Think of the Butlerian Jihad - it happened because men exploited other men using anything they could use - machines included - and their immoral actions sparked the Jihad.


We don't know that the exploitation using machines was immoral. At least, that's not a given from the text. Given the nature of a galactic ecology where technology is the main power, those who control it will have power over others. There is nothing moral or immoral about that situation; it is essentially a fact of nature. By removing the machines from the equation the ecology is redrawn, and so the landscape takes a new shape. Likewise I see no particular evidence from the text that mankind became more moral after the jihad.
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Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

Postby DragEgusku » 09 Nov 2016 07:44

Well, Mohiam said that men with machines enslaved other men. Enslaving is clearly an immoral action. And yes, mankind has not become more moral after the Jihad, in fact quite the opposite and this amplified the problem. That is why Leto have had to pay a very high price for his plan to succeed, in my opinion.

georgiedenbro
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Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

Postby georgiedenbro » 09 Nov 2016 12:35

DragEgusku wrote:Well, Mohiam said that men with machines enslaved other men. Enslaving is clearly an immoral action. And yes, mankind has not become more moral after the Jihad, in fact quite the opposite and this amplified the problem. That is why Leto have had to pay a very high price for his plan to succeed, in my opinion.


I guess my point is that enslaving is not necessarily a result of "wanting to enslave", like a plantation owner who knows he is taking in captured humans and forcing them to work for nothing. The ecology itself could create the conditions where enslaving just ends up happening. If you take capitalism, for instance, there is an inevitable result if left to its own devices where a powerful industrial and banking class will inevitably accrue power and assets and effectively control the economy. From the perspective of the day laborer he is completely at their mercy, even though not literally a slave. It is really not much different from feudalism, other than there is the possibility of migrating between financial classes. This is perhaps my personal read on it, but when the appendix says that men with machines enslaved other men, I don't take it to mean literally put them in a state of bondage as literal slaves, because I don't think that particular scenario would have been relevant in terms of Frank's thoughts on technology and politics. Rather, I think he meant that they ended up surrendering their will to machines, and to those who controlled the machines, and so I think it's entirely plausible to suggest that this surrender was entirely voluntary. From that perspective I don't think it would be strictly appropriate to call the 'slavers' immoral just on those grounds.
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DragEgusku
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Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

Postby DragEgusku » 09 Nov 2016 15:56

You keep talking about ecology and I keep talking about morality and I think that both are important for humanity not only one. If only ecology is considered important for humans then what makes it any different from social Darwinism? Nothing. We are animals but we also have the potential to become more than just animals - and morality plays a key role in this. Without morality we would regress back to the animal stage and that is why I insist so much on it.
I want to add more on this but I lack the vocabulary to express what I want to say - I'm still struggling with English. Maybe I will continue on this a bit later.

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Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

Postby georgiedenbro » 09 Nov 2016 16:12

DragEgusku wrote:You keep talking about ecology and I keep talking about morality and I think that both are important for humanity not only one. If only ecology is considered important for humans then what makes it any different from social Darwinism? Nothing. We are animals but we also have the potential to become more than just animals - and morality plays a key role in this. Without morality we would regress back to the animal stage and that is why I insist so much on it.
I want to add more on this but I lack the vocabulary to express what I want to say - I'm still struggling with English. Maybe I will continue on this a bit later.


Ok. I mean it's fine to disagree with Frank about this, but I think his point is that ecology necessarily shapes society. It's not like the Fremen wanted to have the customs and culture they had; it was forced upon them by their environment, and specifically by scarcity conditions. We could discuss their 'morality' as well, I suppose, but at any rate it doesn't seem to be central to the books. From that standpoint it's not a question of ecology being 'important' for people, it's more like it automatically shapes the landscape in which choices are made. Those choices can still go one way or another, but the available options are dictated by the ecology. Which options are picked from amongst those is perhaps a matter of strategy and morality.

It would not have been a viable option in Dune, for instance, for a House Major to be pacifist and kind to everyone. They would have been crushed. I think there was leeway for morality in that landscape, but it was fairly limited compared to what we think of today as 'moral.' It is my contention that the Atreides were absolutely as moral as a House Major could have been under the circumstances, and even so they regularly employed propaganda, mass extermination, assassination, and so forth. Any less ruthless than that and they could not have competed or survived. That's the ecology at work. The wiggle room comes into it in terms of them keeping their word, and in how they treated their people.
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Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

Postby Freakzilla » 12 Nov 2016 21:58

I see what you're saying and agree except that I don't think ecology is the right word to describe what frames morality in the Duniverse. Maybe the socio-political landscape?
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georgiedenbro
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Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

Postby georgiedenbro » 13 Nov 2016 19:08

Freakzilla wrote:I see what you're saying and agree except that I don't think ecology is the right word to describe what frames morality in the Duniverse. Maybe the socio-political landscape?


Sure, although pretty much every element feeds into what ends up being what I'm calling the 'local ecology': socio-political situation, technology available, scarcity and surplus in the markets, and physical features in nature as well which dictate how things must be done. Although I agree that "ecology" is perhaps the wrong word; "ecosystem" would be more accurate. Ecology is the study of ecosystems. I mainly use the word because it's one Frank used, but I'd be just as happy to call it "current realities" in some broad sense.
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