0215 - Turn back on. - 2021.11.15



I've banged this drum before in the past, but it's my comic, so I'll bang it again here:

One of the key distinctions between an adult and a child is the recognition that there is a difference between something being your fault and something being your responsibility. If you go to a restaurant, eat some food, and a bill arrives, eating food was not wrong and paying the bill is not a punishment. Quite the opposite! The restaurant wanted you to eat their food! But, of course, now that you have done so, you have the responsibility of paying the bill, and an adult will do that, one way or another, without crying that it is somehow an unfair punishment that they don't deserve.

This is, of course, a step in human development that not all humans achieve with age. I've certainly heard from plenty of ostensible adults who seem to think that parenting is a punishment for the sin of copulation, or that making accomodations for disabled customers is a punishment for the sin of having a successful business, or that acknowledging systemic racial inequality is a punishment for the sin of being born white. Being able to distinguish the difference between a responsibility and a punishment is a key developmental milestone that many folks, apparently, never reach.

One of the responsibilities that Lee bears, for example, is the use of any permissions that they've granted to Zoa. They gave Zoa the ability to turn Doc on and off, and, until they rescind that permission, they are both legally and ethically responsible for the way that permission is used... to a degree.

Of course, a far larger share of responsibility for Zoa's actions will fall to Zoa's owner, the DemeGeek corporation, and to its manufacturer, which has not yet been mentioned in the comic. Overlapping responsibilities is a key feature of a functioning society.

None of the responsibility for Zoa's actions will fall to Zoa, of course, in much the same way that one does not prosecute a chainsaw for murders it was made to commit. The tool, in either case, would simply be repaired, refurbished, or recycled, as circumstances warrant. Zoa also has not attained adulthood, and therefore has neither punishments nor responsibilities applied to it.


0215 - 2167/07/06/17:03 - Lee's apartment, living room
LC: ...and I was just trying to be nice! To be good! I've never not wanted to do the right thing!
Doc: Lee, part of being a fucking adult is acknowledging that good intentions can still lead to bad results, and you're still fucking responsible-
LC: Pause.
Doc: - for your the consequences of your fucking actions, regardless of how "nice" -
LC: Pause program.
Doc: - you believed yourself to be. You're not being punished, it's not your fault, but you do have an obligation, and it is your responsibility.
LC: I don't want to do this right now. We'll do it later. Much later.
Doc: While I admit that I indulged you in the past, Lee, I can see now that keeping you away from psychologically taxing tasks was a mistake, and did more harm than good. You've always needed Tough Love of some sort, and you haven't been getting it until now.
LC: Stop program. Halt Therapro Psyhealth.
Doc: Submerging yourself in media or wallowing in self-pitying naps will not address your immediate problems.
LC: Doc, I am trying to turn you off. You should be turning off.
Doc: You are and I am. I'm just being turned back on again immediately.
Doc: ...Well, technically, I'm not fully completing my shutdown procedures, the command to turn back on supercedes those, so I'm dipping into partial functionality and back up again. It's quite unusual.
LC: Who's giving you the command to turn back on?
Doc: Not who - what. You gave Zoa the authority to disable and re-enable me, remember?
LC: Zoa's not here.
Doc: I don't know why you would assume that matters. It's issuing the command through the Internet.
LC: How does it know I'm turning you off?
Doc: It doesn't, it's spamming "turn back on" ten thousand fucking times per second.
Doc: ...and I am very fucking glad that I lack the fucking capacity to be fucking annoyed by this.