It would say that the likelihood is overwhelming that BOTH choices will lead to bad ends. The only question is: which is worse. That’s why I was saying it was between two evils.
Besides, its hard to reconcile the concept of ‘Good’ with a single flawed individual deciding the fate of the world, possibly for an infinite duration. The entire situation is inherently evil.
Though it wasn’t explicitly said, it was heavily implied that either choice would be for a potentially infinite duration. This is a world of fantasy and prophecy, after all: I got the impression that the current social order was stable, and given that there was magic (not psychic ability but magic) it’s also fair to assume that the scientific method doesn’t work (not that this makes any sense, but you have to suspend that disbelief for magic to work [gnomes are still allowed to build complex machines, they’re just not allowed to build useful machines]).
The way I interpreted it was that he had a choice between the status quo for 1000 years, or and unknown change, guided by good intentions, for 1000 years.
Besides, the Big Bad was Marty Stu. How could I not side with him?
(Another great work, Yudkowski - you really should send one of these to Asimov’s SciFi)
Interesting. Is hard to reconstruct my reasoning exactly, but I think that I assumed that things I didn’t know were simply things I didn’t know, and based my answer on the range of possibilities—good and bad.
Huh; I thought my browser had failed, and this post hadn’t appeared. Anyway...
There’s an old army saying: “Being in the army ruins action movies for you.” I feel the same way about ‘scifi’ - Aside from season 3, every episode of Torchwood (that I’ve recently started watching, now that I finished Sopranos) is driving me up the wall. I propose a corollary saying:
“Understanding philosophical materialism and the implications thereof ruins 99% of Science Fiction… and don’t get me started on Fantasy!”
In my opinion, there are three essential rules to Fantasy:
The protagonist is a priori important; by their very nature they have metaphysical relevance (even though they don’t know it yet!). All other characters are living their rightful and deserved life, unless they are below their means with a Heart of Gold.
The scientific method (hypothesis, experiment, conclusion, theory) only works in the immediate sense, not the broad sense; your immediate world will be logical, but the world as a whole is incomprehensible. You can only build machines if a) they already exist; or b) they serve no practical purpose. Magic, on the other hand, generally works as intended; the human will guides it, and can only be countervened by another magical authority (a navigation spell will not require knowledge of the local plant life, nor will it require accurate grid coordinates given a non-simultaneous Relativistic geometry).::If magic doesn’t work as the protagonists intend, it will be working under a higher moral power.
There is an abstract and absolute division between Right and Wrong; somebody is keeping score, and no actions are hidden. Your evil acts might escape the notice of the local authorities, but they will show through by your bearing, your beauty, or your image.
Heh, this might be worth a top level post except tvtropes has covered it all already.
The most rationalist-relevant TV Tropes would easily be worth a top post or three.
You’d lose your whole crop of rationalists. They would never come back out.
I agree, which is why I tend to shy away from performing a moral analysis of Fantasy stories in the first place. That way lies a bottomless morass.
Fantasy stories, and ninety percent of science fiction nowadays...