Apr. 9th, 2017

beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I watch time travel shows. From my first and longest fandom, Doctor Who, up to the latest I may be falling out with, Legends of Tomorrow, I have watched a whole bunch of time travel shows. And a thing that bothers me is that somewhere in their decisions about the physics they make a whole lot of ethical decisions, often without meaning to, and the ethics of time travel is then held up as an entirely distinct thing from everyday ethics.

Time travel is the ultimate in the ends justifying the means.

Someone who knows The Future from a particular point, someone who knows who lives and dies, who by the conceit of this fiction is absolutely sure of the outcome because they've walked around in it, has two distinct categories of choice ahead of them.

Compliance and defiance.

They can either go along with what is, or say fuck it and try for what should be.

Read more... )




I'm with Terry Pratchett and Sam Vimes on this one. You do the job that's in front of you. Doesn't matter if you time travelled to get there, you save lives and stop bad guys.


But that leaves a writer in a shared universe an insoluble problem where they'd logically be changing history out from under their peers every single week. Or, of course, the choice to make good endlessly futile, and hope someone still wants to watch that.


And it leaves someone who can deliberately chose their destination in time with an infinite task, somehow choosing the best of all possible worlds, attempting to build heaven right here.




Heaven, or the afterlife and souls and so forth, is the other ignored and entirely writer dependent variable here. Read more... )



It's tempting to solve it by keeping theology out of one's science fiction, but DC very clearly does not do so. I mean they're using the Spear of Destiny, they're being religious, but I haven't seen it to know if they're doing so with clear theological underpinnings.




But a theological lens brings one set of consequences into sharp focus. It doesn't just matter who lives and how long, but how, right down to the details of their state of mind. And granted, many people are not religious, but if this whole being alive thing matters, if this thinking thing matters beyond its survival utility, if we are the universe seeking to understand itself? I choose to believe every last drop of understanding matters. Every last thought.

So a time traveller changing someone's understanding is also huge.

Read more... )



The time travel shows I stick with are the ones that choose life and freedom, the ones where you can make a difference, and the writers actually let it be a good difference when you do a good thing. Sure it can take you on a dance through consequences, but if the story tries to argue for choosing death and compliance with destiny, it loses me. We have to look at the world as it is right now in front of us and choose the best thing we can think of. We can't know the consequences, so we do the best we can with ethical rules we have, the ones that say free will and the time to use it are what really matters in life.

Yes that leaves time travellers in a never ending battle, but how does that differ from your average superhero?

So I want the show where the heroes are shown the book of destiny and say
No.

There's always a way out
There are no strings on me.



And then somehow when they act out of kindness and love and protect others, they work their way through the consequences to a better world.




Because the other thing, the one that says you've got to give up and let it happen?
Sucks.
A tragic hero gets ground down when they stand in the way of fate, but we don't have to only write tragedies.


A hero defies destiny to make things better.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I see a lot of arguments about economics that seem to be based on 'fairness' and how it isn't 'fair' to make x group support y group
but I get super mad when it's applied to corporations and like pensioners and children and so forth.

Like, dude, if full time work cannot support a worker from adulthood to the grave while they raise replacement workers, with a margin for supporting those who turn out not to be able to work full time, and necessarily including supporting those who support children etc

if full time work does not actually let your workers live

then a company is not paying it's own damn costs.

Seriously. That right there, your workers alive, is part of the costs of a business.

If the only way those workers can survive, at any point in their lives, sick leave or pensions or infancy, anywhen, if the only way they can survive is government support?

companies got to pay the government for the costs they've shoved off on it.

or else the business has failed and it's being propped up by the government.

no in betweens.



see also privatising profits while socialising risk, and how it skews hell out of the economy.




The robot revolution we need to worry about will change that cost, but the problem there is often just getting resources for the cost of extraction and manufacture, rather than including what usually gets shrugged off as environmental costs, and disposal or recycling, and somehow putting a price tag on how much of the actual resource it's using up in a finite system. Too many of the costs get shrugged off as invisible or, again, dumped on the government. Not making businesses pay tax sufficient to cover environmental regulation is, again, letting them get away with not paying all their own costs. Business has failed, government is propping it up.




I get really mad at economics that focuses too small to even make sense.



... I mean I daydream space colonies, and those are small, but in the sense that you can't get away from your consequences so they get really damn clear. Problem with some economics is focus too short small, consequences fall outside it, but consequences still real.

... and then we're screwed, by actions we had little to no control over.





I know I'd be awful at politics in the getting things done way, but so much of the time I read a real world thing and just want to... shout at people, mostly. Get them to pay attention. We're going to be up to our necks in consequence before people higher up the hill deign to notice, and that's just a really bad feedback loop.

Must think of something productive to do.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
It bothers me when writers use holy items without regard to the theology of that particular religion.

I mean sometimes it's because different denominations can't agree which way is up, let alone what's the significance of this, that and t'other.

And sometimes it's just being rude.

But it bothers me because it's sloppy storytelling, bringing up all these associations and then just shrugging them off because Our Thing Is Different.

The specific associated theology implies morality implies which actions make our heroes heroes. They can go with or against that, but to have it hanging around ignored is... tacky.

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beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
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