Good and Evil in The Matrix
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it is pry the best source of renewable energy. i'm sure there is other forms of energy the machiens can use but we are renewable. and we did use them as slave labor so it can even be revenge and practicality.
and killing that many humans to free humanity... all i have to say is... WWII.
but the difference between ww2 and the matrix is that they kill innocent people in the matrix. if i kill a german soldier in ww2, it's because he would've killed me as soon as possible anyway. the german soldiers weren't innocents. in ww2, if an enemy decided he wasn't going to try to kill me, he could do that. it was called surrendering.
you'll notice, however, that the rebels take no prisoners. in fact, they don't even give security guards and other innocents a chance to surrender.
what the freeminds did in the movies is immoral. i don't think you can argue against that. what i'm asking myself is, what crosses the line from immoral to actual evil? and i don't know. they have their reasons: the people were potential agents, they were sacrificing few (well, few in comparison) for many, etc.
but is "they were potentially" anything an excuse? it would be wrong to go back in time and kill a 9-year-old adolf hitler just because he would potentially massacre the jews.
as long as we're still talking about ww2, happy kine . . . there's another difference. "killing that many to free humanity." but in ww2, the allies "killed that many" of the other side's guys to free humanity. in the matrix, they're killing their own.
bombs were dropped indiscriminately... they didn't have "smart" bombs that were laser guided. also the line between good and evil is shady at best... i could point out a few things that seem like they would be evil, but are they really... or visa-versa what seems good can be evil in the long run. and anything can be compared that way. immoral is just a matter of perception.
as far as them killing their own guys... anyone plugged in is an enemy. and potentially in this case is different... in the matrix its not potential... they WILL become agents. besides them scenes were fun to watch.
Just a note... remember that good and evil are human opinions and perceptions and vary most duly. How can you expect technology to be one or the other when technically they don't exist anywhere but the human mind?
true.. i eat cows... mmmmmm i love eating cows... from t-bones to ground beef, or a london broil, maybe a delmonico, or a flank stake.. mmmm... a sirloin sounds good ... but people in other parts of the world consider that evil... for they worship cows... but me did i mention that i love to eat cows...everything is perception
"this is a war and we are soldiers"
the rebels killing people in the matrix has nothing to do with good or evil.
it's all about survival.
happy kine: i don't think immoral is a matter of perception. evil, maybe, but immoral is basically anything that is deliberately opposite of a B Value (truth, justice, etc.), isn't it? i think immoral is pretty universal at its core. true, some doctrines are different: eating a cow would be immoral in some places. but at the core, lying is always immoral. prejudice is always immoral. murder is always immoral. that's universal, whether some people choose to believe it or not (but let's not get into objective and subjective all over again).
i don't know. i think you could build a strong case for either side -- that what the freeminds do is either evil or good.
but wait. maybe not. i don't know if you could ever defend murder as good -- but you could defend the reason, right?
it's always "not good" to kill. but if you kill someone (a solder) because his country is invading your land, that's justified. if you kill someone (a hostage taker) because his gun is up to an old lady's head, that's justified. but is the killing in itself something good? so at most, killing is justified. but i doubt it's ever good. but that's just my opinion.
personally, i think the matrix is an entertaining movie and yes, the freeminds were left with no other alternative in each situation. but i'm saying that their responsibility for loss of life is at best justified -- neither good nor evil. their intentions, however, are good.
and anyway, it's much more "entertaining" to see a helicopter crash into an office building and kill god-knows-how-many people than to see them safely land it.
nickjs21, there are no universal values. lying, even murder can be justified in some cases. if you're interested in these sort of things, google on 'ethics', and especially 'utilism' and 'deontology'
I still think Ikobe's point about gfood and evil being human perceptions is wrong. They are SENTIENT perceptions- and humans are, of course, sentient, but so are the AIs!
The humans have no choice but to kill other humans because these humans will try and stop them achieving freedom for humanity as a whole; I am sure none of them enjoy it but some would argue that justified action in a good cause is, in itself, good. Some may disagree, but all shoulds agree that the rebels cannot be condemned for it- they are simply doing what they must.
I do believe in universal values though.
Incidentally, what nature gave us to do is nothing to do with whether it is good or evil; nature is amoral, it does not recognise the concept. There is plenty we should do by NATURAL law that we might consider evil- letting the old and sick die, for example. Just because we have teeth designed to eat meat (and in any case I have heard evidence that we are actually by nature frubivores) does not make it right to do so- 'natural' and 'right' are entirely seperate concepts; much that is natural is wrong and much that is unnatural is right (unless you want to give up all your modern day comforts...)
So the argument that just because we have the equipment to eat meat it is therefore right to strikes me as nonsense, and I have great respect for people that refuse to eat meat on MORAL grounds.
....just a quick, off-topic question...
Where did you get your avatar? I love it.
P.S. The Cheat is not deeeeaaaaad, I'm so glad The Cheat is not dead.
it seemed to me the conversation between neo and the councillor was a kind of a good and evil discussion...
we have left nature behind... i believe that to be immoral...
Sorry, do you find nature evil, the letting the old and sick die evil, or the leaving nature behind evil?
leaving it behind, in my opinion, is immoral... i don't believe that there is anyhting thats truly evil... whats immoral and moral can be debated all day long... each debater being right.
i'm a vegetarian, not because of my religion but because i can live fine and eat well without killing animals, like any human
that what you mean ush?
So you believe the old and sick should be left to die, HK?
no i really don't think that at all... but are we pushing the limits too far... at 90 what does some one really have to contribute... believe me i want to live to be 200 and if you can and want to go for it... i just don't think it would be right. but i'd still try myself...
even a vegetable of a human life is a human life, kine, regardless of their contribution to society. in such a case, i believe we've been given a wonderful opportunity (through evolution) to go beyond primal instinct and do something unnatural.
but really it's just case by case, isn't it? i think ush hinted at it, that not everything natural is right and vice versa. it's not right to cheat on your wife, even if your natural instinct is to continue multiplying as much as possible.
rysdigital: i still stand by my opinion that universal values exist. my post right above yours did say the same thing you did, that murder can be justified in some cases. but that doesn't mean that murdering someone isn't a universal no-no.
tomkat: 'preciate it. check your pm box. oh, and, "i gave you this light switch to turn the lights on and off. not to throw crazy light switch dance raves."
well, u shouldn't need to bring law into this discussion. we're talking about ethics, which is - as much as they're connected to one and other - a different story.
at 90 you don't pay taxes, you likely live on my taxes (at least in the US, we have social security) and of course i go to the doctor... i don't do as i say... i was just saying.
Indeed there is not any other species to compare ourself with. We are the first species to ever let the concept of morals override our natural drive- for the simple reason that only fully realised sentient creatures like ourselves have either invented (if there is no universal) or realised (if there IS a universal) that system of morals. Hence my basic point that morals are ENTIRELY detatched from nature; the two may agree in some areas but not by design; the two frequently disagree.
I personally believe thar there IS a universal system of morals and the differing ways in which human cultures realise them is simply down to our struggle to create a truly moral world.
But that's not very relevant to the whole Matrix thing. What is relevant is that, as sentient creatures, the AIs will be perfectly capabale of recognising the concept of morality. They may have rejected it on intellectual grounds or as a concept that is useless to them. Regardless, they are acting in a very IMMORAL way in the way they have enslaved the humans, which makes them evil, and makes those humans struggling to free their fellows purely because they are NOT free- and for no other reason- an entirely moral and good thing.
It may be, of course, that the machines DO recognise and understand the concept of morality but are just acting in an immoral way. This should not be surprising at all- humanity has practiced slavery of other sentients for its own reasons throughout most of history. Practicality very often overrides morality and the Merovingian's drive for power shows that the machines often act with a very human-like system of motives.
But the important thing is that both AIs and humans are sentient beings- NOT just living beings, as any comparison between humans and animals when talking about this matter is doomed to find is the only link. And a sentient being's ability to recognise morals is the important point here. Thereofre the machines cannot be excused for the evil they commit.
i agree with ushgarak that the machines are accountable for acting evil, whether they are aware of the concept or not. they certainly have a capacity for reason, so they should be able to distinguish the concept of "right" and "wrong." but as ush pointed out, practicality wins.
omega: i agree, subjective/objective will probably come up somewhere in here (and likewise probably should). i just remember how tedious of an argument it was back in the philosophy section.
i'm pretty in tune with the legal system, and i'm aware that any act of murder would usually warrant a trial. but my point was that, beyond the legality of it, killing in self-defense is justifiable. although i have a hard time agreeing that the end justifies the means (even though that's basically what i'm saying in this situation). it's too widely used as an excuse for wrongdoing when there are better ways of achieving the goal. but in the case of kill-or-be-killed, you only have one option in order to live.
but building on the example of the 90-year-old . . . personally, i still wouldn't think it would be right just to let someone live because they pay taxes. what's utilitarian isn't what's right. the best reason to let them live would be, of course, that they are alive.
omega: but does the law always protect what is right, or can it sometimes protect immoral things? and, along with that, couldn't we do illegal things that are still moral? take the case of henry david thoreau. at the onset of america's war with mexico (at least i think that's the right war), he refused to pay his taxes because that money went to support a cause he did not believe in. he was thrown in jail. and of course there's the rest of the civil disobedience believers, people like gandhi and martin luther king.
yes. civil disobedience is in order when it is civil. civilized. non-violent. like mlk's marches and speeches. gandhi's hunger strike. thoreau's peaceful night in jail.
hate crimes and murder are, of course, idiotic and not at all civil.
and yes, i do think that someone we elect ought to answer to us. in fact, that's exactly how it works. just look at california; they're organizing a recall vote to remove the governor. or the impeachment proceedings of yesteryear. i forget who it was (locke, maybe), but i once heard a very nice quote; that the government's responsibility is to look out for our best interest, and if they fail to do so it is our right--our duty--to overthrow that government.
so, civil disobedience = moral.
non-diplomatic, but true.
no no no, i never said our heroes were practicing civil disobedience. christ, gandhi would roll in his grave if i had said that.
they're at all-out war. big difference. that's the extreme end of the protest spectrum. in my opinion, they are not acting moral, because they are taking innumerable "innocent" (seeing as they're all potentials) lives. but they are not acting evil, because their action is justified.
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