Playing God


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Post November 21, 2009, 03:53:31 PM

Playing God

This one reminds me of a comic SCIFI story (or twilight zone) I think it was the comic book, circa 1970's, in which aliens took the word for war out of our lexicon.

This one is Interesting. Sort of somewhere time wise in between current movie version of "The Day The Earth Stood Still", and my FINAL NOTICE where the Gods have given up.

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Post December 04, 2009, 11:55:26 AM

Playing God

I know that Bill_Wolfe was asking about reasons why UFOs might pick up humans – so here’s a story about one more, although I believe it’s meant to be more of a parable than a true account.
This tale was easy to read and a pleasant enough story.
The only thing that bothered me was the main character saved a woman from being stoned, and in so doing, contributed in a small way to the death of 4 of her attackers. What I’m hearing is, “It was just a woman – was her life worth killing four men who were stoning her?” The answer is “Yes”.
Let me put it this way: There is a black man about to be lynched in the Deep South 60 years ago. The killing is stopped, but four clansmen die in the ensuing chaos. Who’s going to worry about the Klansmen? Live by the sword and you will die by the sword. Why is it so clear that murder is murder when it's a man, but the line is blurred when it's 'just a woman'?
It amazes me that women can be killed out of hand and no one gives it the amount of weight it deserves. Women die every day from domestic abuse and men say, “She deserved it – if she didn’t want to be beaten she could have left.”
Later in the story, the main character saves an elephant & feels good about it - is a woman's life worth less than an elephant?
Overall, this is a good story, light entertainment. But that attitude really bothers me.
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Post December 04, 2009, 01:56:19 PM

Re: Playing God

bottomdweller wrote:What I’m hearing is, “It was just a woman – was her life worth killing four men who were stoning her?” The answer is “Yes”.

Women die every day from domestic abuse and men say, “She deserved it – if she didn’t want to be beaten she could have left.”

Later in the story, the main character saves an elephant & feels good about it - is a woman's life worth less than an elephant?
. . . But that attitude really bothers me.


Sounds like a Green Room discussion is about to start.

Men say? Really? All men say these things?

Do we need to call a bellhop to handle the excess baggage? (A very wise woman once suggested that phrase to me.)

We're all guilty of it, but it's also always a mistake to use generic terms like men, women, blacks, whites, reds, liberals, conservatives and. . .of course. . .the ubiquitous they.

None of the groups above are ever homogenous when it comes to attitudes, actions or personal hygiene.

Just as a matter of accuracy, why not say 'some men'? Hell, even saying most men gives the rest of us an 'out'.

Because: believe me, as a father of three daughters (and grandfather of two more of the little female monsters), I consider it my duty to protect women from predation, regardless of the source.

Would it have made you feel better if it were four women wearing false beards (a la Life of Brian) who died in the ensuing carnage after the main rockthrower got his 'intervention?'

I flat-out didn't see the same problem with this story that you did. He was happier about the elephant because nobody else was killed due to his interference. It had nothing to do with the relative worth of the 'saved' party.

And yes, many women are absolutely abused, mistreated and even killed by the men in their lives. And I don't know why. But it isn't because men don't care.

'Cause some of us do.

Bill Wolfe
"I am Susan Ivanova. . . .I am the Right Hand of Vengence. . .I am Death Incarnate, and the last living thing that you are ever going to see. God sent me."
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Post December 04, 2009, 02:33:22 PM

Not "men's life more valuable", but "four liv

I'm with Bill on this. In his first try at "playing God", the protagonist was horrified because his instinctive actions caused more harm instead of preventing harm. His later, more considered intervention accomplished the goal without any obvious, immediate negative effects. (Confronted by the first situation again, he would not simply say, "Stop!" He would influence the men to feel empathy for the victim (male or female), so they would ALL decide to stop (instead of slaughtering each other over their suddenly-different interpretations of holy writ).

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Post December 04, 2009, 03:34:27 PM

Jack chuckled. "Minna was hot, ...
Jeff shrugged. "Welcome to parenthood....
Jack laughed. "Emotional...


Looks like another case of main character's name changing during the story Robert.

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Post December 04, 2009, 03:46:54 PM

harm

Robert said: "...his instinctive actions caused more harm instead of preventing harm."
That's exactly what I'm talking about. The main character's yelling 'stop' did not cause more harm than good! It saved a woman's life! Those men just wanted to kill someone - so they ended up killing each other - which was just deserts, if you ask me. The main character did more good than harm. One woman wrongly facing death was saved while 4 evil men met their death - sounds about right to me!
How about if that elephant would have been saved - but the other elephants had turned on the poachers and they had gotten stomped on and killed. Would we be saying that the guy had done more harm than good?
Call a bellhop - someone has got baggage, and it's strewn all over the hallway!
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Post December 04, 2009, 04:28:55 PM

Tourist

Okay - howsabout there's a tourist in a big city and four gang member surround him, hell bent on taking his wallet and his life. Suddenly, there's a booming voice from above telling them to 'stop'. While the thugs look up, the tourist escapes into a Hilton Hotel. When the gang members see that the tourist is gone, they begin to fight amoungst themselves and the gang members kill each other. OOOOhhhh- poor gang members! What an evil voice from above that killed four men! Huh?
No, I don't think so - they got what was coming to them in spades!
A woman is about to be stoned when a voice tells the men about to murder her to stop. The woman escapes and the men get into a fight between themselves and the four men are killed. Exactly the same thing...a good thing happened. They got what they deserved!

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Post December 04, 2009, 04:41:36 PM

This story reminded me of On A Pale Horse by Piers Anthony. The main character of Anthony's novel kills death and then has to take death's place. The main character has to learn the ropes and in the process comes to terms with how reality really works.

The premise of this story is one element that makes me think of Piers Anthony's novel, but I also think that there is an adolescent male wish-fulfillment quality that both have in common. The situations that the main character is asked to witness and affect are only presented in a very superficial way to the reader. They are stocked with stereotypical characters: the girl who lost her virginity, the black junkie... great white hunters? Life is more complex than this, isn't it? Situations are relative depending on perspective; they're gray, not so black and white. Jack suggests this a little bit in his protests, but that's as far as it goes in the story. Wouldn't the story be far more interesting if Jack had to struggle with these complexities in his new job. Maybe the people he was saving would be better off dead. What does Jack know of their lives. He sees the situation the way we would see a scene on TV and is asked to judge based on his first impression, without any details. And the consequences of his actions are shrugged off in the story as well. Jack has a momentary bad feeling about the men that ended up getting killed. But what of their families. Think butterfly effect. But in the reality of the Zoomarians and this story it can work that simply. Matilda's gut reactions will be accurate and Jack will be a good God if he aspires to be like her.

This is why I think the story is just adolescent wish fulfillment. (BTW, the completely objectified holographic Minna helps, I think, to make my point, since I don't see any irony in the author's use of her.) There's nothing wrong with the adolescent male wish-fulfillment story. Adolescent male's love them, especially if, in this case for example, Jack ends up with the real-life version of Minna. There's nothing wrong with it, but it's not going to appeal to everyone.

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Post December 04, 2009, 05:24:35 PM

Re: Tourist

Okay, I get it.

First there was:
bottomdweller wrote:The main character's yelling 'stop' did not cause more harm than good! . . . .just deserts, if you ask me. The main character did more good than harm.


And then there was:

bottomdweller wrote:OOOOhhhh- poor gang members! What an evil voice from above that killed four men! Huh?
No, I don't think so - they got what was coming to them in spades!



One thing to remember is that the guilt, the feeling of 'wrong' was just the character's reaction. It wasn't a pronouncement that THIS IS THE TRUTH WHICH CANNOT BE QUESTIONED. So the character (the nameshifter) was a soft-hearted guy who trapped spiders and let them go, outside. Me, I squash the suckers flat.

And that's one of the reasons that the Zoomerzooms won't be asking me to be god, any time soon.

I could write a character who cried if a butterfly splatted against the windshield, but that doesn't mean that's how I. . .or anyone reasonable, would feel. So the guy felt guilty that he was inadvertently responsible for the death of four people.

Sheesh. Lighten-up.

And don't forget, in some societies, stoning was the punishment for all kinds of 'sins', and men were stoned, as well. Don't blame the individuals, blame the religion. Just 'cause you and I don't buy into any of that hocus pocus crap (from our prospective), doesn't mean we're any better than those who do. (or is it. . .hoodoo?)

You know what they would have called self-proclaimed atheist in ancient Israel?

A suicide.

So yeah, I'm glad that those guys killed each other and the girl got away, too. I'd like to slow roast anyone who would do such a thing.

Good thing they don't offer me the god job. I'd be one mighty vengeful SOB.

And we've got too many of those, as it is.

Bill Wolfe
"I am Susan Ivanova. . . .I am the Right Hand of Vengence. . .I am Death Incarnate, and the last living thing that you are ever going to see. God sent me."
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Post December 05, 2009, 10:20:32 AM

All I am saying is, the author should have used a better of example of how he tried to do something good and it ended up like pooh-pooh. I could think of all kinds of deals where good intentions take a disasterous turn.
And who says people who are a little more hard-cored wouldn't make better gods than someone who cries over the death of a butterfly. I once actually saw an acquaintance of mine sit down on a sidewalk beside a McDonalds and mourn for 5 minutes over a dead bird in the parking lot. Come on now. That bird needed to die so it wouldn't compete for resources that should have been used by its descendents. Right or wrong?
And when the religion plays a part in the violent behavior of people - as is often the case - we tend to try to be "understanding". "Their religion told them to do that - so we should look the other way." Poppycock!

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Post December 05, 2009, 12:57:43 PM

How about we bring back the God of the Old Testament? Now there was a vengeful creature. Floods, fire, pestilence , droughts, locusts, skin eruptions (remember Job?).

How many of us would survive, I wonder?

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Post December 05, 2009, 01:22:24 PM

Note to self: Giving the power of life and death to ...

Bottomdweller will probably be avoiding international air travel, because HER "extra baggage" charges would be pretty high... :roll:

We seem to be arguing a LOT about who deserves to live and who deserves to die -- if WE were given the power of life and death.

Anybody who attacks a woman deserves to die! Confirmed terrorists deserve to die! Um, people who might possibly be terrorists deserve to die, or at least be tortured, especially if they have funny sounding names or need a compass to figure out which way to face when they pray! Uppity blacks deserve to die! Oppressing whites deserve to die! Big-endians deserve to die! (Hey, which end of the egg you should open IS of cosmic importance.).

Each of us has a particular definition of "capital crimes"; some are very narrow; some are very broad; some items occur on most people's lists (harming a child); some occur only rarely (er, opening the wrong end of the egg). From the sound of this thread, some of us would happily do violence to those whose lists are different from our own.

So whatever the author's intentions, whatever the perceived quality of the writing, the author HAS succeeded in evoking some strong (if unintended) reactions. He has made us THINK, and FEEL (and comment). And for that, he should be applauded.

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Post December 05, 2009, 09:01:14 PM

baggage

Once upon a time a king seeking enlightenment went to visit a respected sage. The king explained his mission to seek enlightenment and his history to the sage.

The sage listened and nodded as the king spoke.

The king then asked the sage what he could say to enlighten him.

The sage said, "First let us have some tea." After the tea was prepared and the the best cups laid out, the sage, as honor would have it, filled the kings cup first. He poured and poured and poured.

The king at first was silent. But he couldn't contain himself any longer and exclaimed, "Are you mad? You keep pouring to over fill there is no more room in the cup. It will take no more!".

The sage looked at the king and said, " As is this cup overfilled, so to is your mind and opinions."

My take of a zen story.

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Post December 06, 2009, 01:35:03 PM

zen

I know something of Zen. Here's a story from Zen:
A Zen preist awoke and called two of his followers to him. "I had a wonderful dream last night," he told them.
"Go wash your face," said the first follower.
"I'll make tea," said the 2nd.

That's Zen - est - the moment - the now.

Honestly, I've been called for jury duty and they'll probably throw me out because I've actively crusaded against the death penalty and will not back anyone being put to death - no matter what the circumstances. However - if one person is trying to kill another, and they are killed instead - I say life balances itself. The voice in the sky that allowed the woman to escape while 4 of the stoners were killed - that's life balancing itself. Karma? - why not.
Personally - I'm a big believer in Karma, life balancing itself - therefore: nothing is ever lost forever, nothing is ever stolen - only borrowed, to be returned in this lifetime or a future lifetime.
UFO stories have become a kind of jokish way to tell some political or emotional punchline. They're like: A man dies and goes to heaven and St. Peter stops him at the gate and says...
In the same way, UFO stories say: A man goes aboard a UFO and he's asked to...end world hunger, end war, stop atomic weapons, etc. etc.
It's a cute story, I just didn't like the example he gave of the woman being stoned. The character saved a woman's life - the consequences were not of his making - the hatred in the stoners (ha ha - the stoners) both for themselves and those different than they were is what killed them. The voice in the sky did a good thing by allowing the woman to escape certain death. End of story. Period.
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Post December 06, 2009, 02:50:05 PM

the moment

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Post December 06, 2009, 08:42:22 PM

karma, briefly stated: what goes around, comes around.

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Post December 07, 2009, 09:23:39 AM

circular thoughts

What goes round, keeps going. There is no come-back.

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Post December 07, 2009, 09:49:52 AM

karma

Karma even Simpler: Don't start no shit, won't be no shit.
Story: A woman is being stoned 2 millinia ago. A man steps between her and the crowd. "Let ye who are without sin, throw the first stone!" Suddenly there's a little plink as a stone hits beside the frightened woman's feet.
Jesus turns around and exclaims, "Mother - Sometimes you make me so MAD!" (Catholic humor)
No, really, it's in the New and Improved New Testament...Amazon.com...a bargain at any price...
Hey ma! Come see this! Somebody's persecuting the Catholics Again!!
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Post December 07, 2009, 10:19:45 AM

Re: karma

bottomdweller wrote:. . .Suddenly there's a little plink as a stone hits beside the frightened woman's feet.
Jesus turns around and exclaims, "Mother - Sometimes you make me so MAD!"



The way the priest told the joke to me:

[font=Arial Black]"Aw C'mon Ma! I'm tryin' to work, here!"[/font]

BW
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Post December 07, 2009, 11:28:26 AM

religion

How do we know there will never be a woman in Heaven? In Revelations 8:1 it tells us '...and there was silence in Heaven for half an hour...' and we all know a woman can't keep quiet for 30 minutes.
We've gone from preaching to meddling, I fear. Let's read and blast another story.

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Post December 07, 2009, 12:29:46 PM

karma (in Hinduism and Buddhism) represents the sum of one's actions in this and previous existences and how it will affect his or her fate in future existences.

What goes around, comes around.

gino

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