0199 - Vices - 2021.07.26



What do you enjoy doing? Who do you enjoy being? Are you the person you want to be, when you're in the middle of doing what you want to do?

I suppose one of the major themes of Forward, if Forward can be said to have themes, is how people can still be dysfunctional and miserable when they get everything they need - or when they get what's right, or when they get what's healthy, or when they get what they say they want. Human beings, fundamentally, need more than the things that human beings need.

(This isn't to say that we shouldn't give people what they need, of course. I've accepted that I'm never going to get abs from doing situps, but that doesn't mean I should stop doing situps.)

How would you define the Vices, if various religions hadn't already delineated them? Aside from the standard seven, I have a tendency to be a workaholic, and to feel pointless guilt if I don't get an arbitrary amount of work done, I suppose that could be a vice. I tend to form opinions about politics or world events without seeking out diverse perspectives, that might be a vice. I overcommit and say yes to things I shouldn't, that's definitely a vice.

Terry Pratchett, through the mouth of Granny Weatherwax, said "Sin... is when you treat people like things. Including yourself.". I approve of all things Pratchettian, of course, but I do find that I have to treat people as things sometimes - especially myself - because we are things. I'm a person riding around in a thing, and if I don't bear the thing-ness of my person in mind, I'm liable to lose hold of both.

Zoa definitely treats itself as a thing, and, in doing so, abdicates morality in favour of mere practicality. Lee, in contrast, focuses on emotional and psychological realities - and projections thereof - without paying heed to practicality whatsoever. Are either of those mindsets vices, necessarily? Are they sins for which Lee and Zoa need to repent? Would repentance even have any meaning or value, here?


0199 - 2167/07/06/16:47 - Lee's apartment, living room.
CP: See, this... this is exactly what I... I don't want to engage in any...
CP: Th-this is that judging-by-appearances that you talked about, Lee. P-people see my upgrades and my size and my alterations and my muscles and my superficial masculinity, and... and they associate all of that with aggression, they think that I...
CP: I don't want to beat you up, Zoa. Th-that is not a service that I w-would like advertised to me, in future.
Zoa: Noted. Caleb Paratta does not gain enjoyment from inflicting violence on robots, got it.
CP: Well, I... I didn't say that. Destroying robots... I'm made for it, I'm good at it, and when I get... when I get angry... it's... I mean, I enjoy the activity quite a lot. It's invigorating. I'm... I'm alive, when I do it.
CP: But I don't want to enjoy it. I don't want to be the person who does that. Does that make sense?
Zoa: Gonna be honest... no it doesn't. Why would you not want to do things that you enjoy? If you can indulge in an activity that is pleasurable to you, and doesn't hurt anyone, and isn't ethically problematic... why wouldn't you?
CP: I don't like the person... I don't like the thing that I am when I'm in that angry mode. When I'm d-done b-being that person, I... I get scared. I get really scared of what would happen if I did hurt someone. I get scared of losing myself. And then I get sad about that. And that sadness can last for days. It's a cycle, that's what Ziggy says.
LC: Maybe that's been my problem, all this time. I've been indulging in the things that I enjoy too much, and it made me into a type of person that I don't want to be. Your vice is Wrath, and mine is Sloth... or maybe Gluttony?
Zoa: And neither of you is Lust, which is very inconvenient.
LC: No, Lust is your vice, Zoa.
Zoa: I'm a thing, things don't have vices. Unless you count my hands, which are technically a type of vice.
CP: N-not a g-great advertisement for your, uh... for h-hand... stuff.
Zoa: Oh, I'm not rated for straight handjobs. Oral or nothin'! I'm liable to yank your junk clean off if a servo fires wrong.
LC: Didn't feel the need to mention that little detail until just now, huh?