Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

The Definition of Evil--and Giant Robots!

So here I sit once again missing church because of the truly hideous cold virus I have picked up. And since Maureen is away making beautiful music, y'all get the benefit of my random neural firings.

Maureen and I have known each other for a long time. She has a true talent for introducing me to books, music and media to which I then become as hopelessly addicted as she is. Just call her the pusher of pop culture (and high culture too).

Her newest project was to get me to watch the anime series The Vision of Escaflowne which combines truly visionary fantasy, great storytelling, romance and. . .em. . .giant robots. I never thought I would care about a giant robot show but this show is so much more than that. It is a meditation on responsibility and honor and friendship and love and--well check it out if you can.

The show also asks the following important question about evil:

Is it worse to do evil because:

A) one is an insane sadist who cares for nothing and no one


B) one believes it will create a glorious new world of some kind?

My money is on B. I'm much more worried about someone willing to do terrible things in order to "help" me than someone who just has no control at all.

Some people think that because spiritual people are concentrating on the afterlife, they are more dangerous because they are willing to act now according to what will happen then. This was certainly true of the September 11th hijackers.

However, as Lois McMaster Bujold has pointed out, the teachings of most religions encourage their members to always put people before principles. It is when we are willing to sacrifice people for some abstract notion of "right" that we get into problems. You should read LMB btw. She is another one of Maureen's contagious obsessions.

Which leads to the next question: Is it evil to get someone hooked on a show and then leave town before said show can be exhaustively discussed?