Author Topic: Thought Police?  (Read 25017 times)

Offline GetCool

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Re: Thought Police?
« Reply #125 on: October 28, 2004, 01:49:33 AM »
One thing I'm curious about: are the gods in the Forgotten Realms universe supposed to be omnicient?  Meaning, can a certain paladin's or cleric's god know what's going on inside of his head?  If so, I can see how that would allow a paladin to fall simply by thinking something with which his god disagrees.

Offline neriana

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Re: Thought Police?
« Reply #126 on: October 28, 2004, 02:47:18 AM »
I can see that only if the god in question is evil, which precludes it for paladins.
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Offline Joe

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Re: Thought Police?
« Reply #127 on: October 28, 2004, 03:20:41 AM »
Thinking is not acting, and I am willing to bet that even the most upstanding people have had thoughts that may not be considered "good". If we were to be judged on our thoughts, I am sure many of us would be tried for murder a hundred times over.

Offline GetCool

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Re: Thought Police?
« Reply #128 on: October 28, 2004, 09:54:56 PM »
Thinking is not acting, and I am willing to bet that even the most upstanding people have had thoughts that may not be considered "good". If we were to be judged on our thoughts, I am sure many of us would be tried for murder a hundred times over.
But think about this in terms of religious orthodoxy.  Some religions in our real life world tell us that if you so much as think a certain thought, your fate is sealed.  Now, obviously, not all of us truly believe this, and our religions are not known in the Forgotten Realms, but in the FR we know that their gods are REAL (it says so in the FR rulebooks).  Given that, if a paladin's god in the FR says that thinking about killing someone is the same as murder and therefore you will be banished to another plane when you die, that WILL happen, assuming that this god is omniscient.  This was the question I was asking; I don't know enough about FR theology, so I don't know if any of the gods can get inside your head, but if they can, I can certainly see how a paladin may fall upon so much as thinking something.

Offline GetCool

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Re: Thought Police?
« Reply #129 on: October 28, 2004, 10:01:58 PM »
I can see that only if the god in question is evil, which precludes it for paladins.
Why?  Take Helm for example; we know that Helm values lawfulness.  So, let's assume that Helm doesn't like murder, since murder is against the law.  Now, I'm a Paladin of Helm, so if I commit murder, I will become a fallen paladin and possibly be punished by Helm.

But what if Helm can get inside my head and know my thoughts?  If Helm can do this, then even if I think about murdering someone, Helm may find grounds to punish me.

But, of course, I don't know if Helm or any of the other deities can go inside your head, so this is pure speculation.  But if they do have this power, then certainly I can see how characters can be judged by their thoughts.

Offline jester

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Re: Thought Police?
« Reply #130 on: October 28, 2004, 10:20:50 PM »
Quote
But what if Helm can get inside my head and know my thoughts?  If Helm can do this, then even if I think about murdering someone, Helm may find grounds to punish me.
So Helm is omniscient enough to see inside your mind, but not enough to see your future actions? If you are punished for a crime you are about to commit and it was this foresight that Helm needed for that, you would be even punished before the thought. Your mere existence guarantees your punishment, but where is your free will. Can you fail, if you cannot decide and choose? The sinner could not be punished without concept of choice as it would be his very nature that is punished. Someone who always dreams of killing his wife or eating children and never acts on that impulse but leads a normal life is as much beyond the reach of a god as someone who says he wants to rob a bank in public can be arrested. Anomen would not be punished by Helm perhaps as IIRC Saerk was guilty as by the Order who want their tinheads to adhere to their rulez. The tricky question for a paladin would be what happens when jurisdiction and justice collide?
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Offline neriana

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Re: Thought Police?
« Reply #131 on: October 28, 2004, 11:53:02 PM »
Punishing someone for thinking, not doing, is evil. Helm would not be so lawless as to go around saying "think what I want or you fall." Those "orthodox religions" are nothing like FR religions, and yes, any doctrine that says people should be punished for thinking is evil. Evil is uncompatible with paladinhood.
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Offline GetCool

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Re: Thought Police?
« Reply #132 on: October 29, 2004, 01:31:52 AM »
Punishing someone for thinking, not doing, is evil. Helm would not be so lawless as to go around saying "think what I want or you fall." Those "orthodox religions" are nothing like FR religions, and yes, any doctrine that says people should be punished for thinking is evil. Evil is uncompatible with paladinhood.
Take the beliefs of English Protestants of the Elizabethan era, for example.  They believed (at least the ones who subscribed to these beliefs) that even if you so much as think a sinful thought, you were guilty of that sin.  This is reflected in Shakespeare, Spenser, and a lot of the other literature from this time.  But they didn't think that God was evil.

Of course, like you said, our real life religion is not like the religion of FR.  I used my example of Helm hypothetically; I don't know enough about FR lore to know exactly what the role of the deities is and how much power they have, so I was speaking theoretically about what a FR deity may be able to do.  I was trying to find a theological explanation that could possibly justify the problem that this thread introduced, since paladins are so closely linked to theology.  I could of course be wrong about all of this, but I'm just trying to figure it out.

Offline fallen demon

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Re: Thought Police?
« Reply #133 on: October 31, 2004, 07:41:28 PM »
Besides, as a bhaalspawn you should never be lacking the urge to kill someone.  Unless someone wants to disable paladin as a pc class, I don't see how thinking about doing something wrong should cause falling.
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Offline Kish

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Re: Thought Police?
« Reply #134 on: October 31, 2004, 08:54:03 PM »
Forget as a PC class--if thinking about doing something wrong causes Falling, it shouldn't be a class available to any humans or quasi-human species at all.
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Offline neriana

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Re: Thought Police?
« Reply #135 on: November 01, 2004, 04:52:11 AM »
Punishing someone for thinking, not doing, is evil. Helm would not be so lawless as to go around saying "think what I want or you fall." Those "orthodox religions" are nothing like FR religions, and yes, any doctrine that says people should be punished for thinking is evil. Evil is uncompatible with paladinhood.
Take the beliefs of English Protestants of the Elizabethan era, for example. They believed (at least the ones who subscribed to these beliefs) that even if you so much as think a sinful thought, you were guilty of that sin. This is reflected in Shakespeare, Spenser, and a lot of the other literature from this time. But they didn't think that God was evil.

Shakespeare most certainly did not believe that thinking a sin was the same as acting it. He was the most brilliant playwright of all time and had an incredible knowledge of human nature, he wasn't a raving imbecile. (Nor was Spenser.) Many of his plays tease out the time between thought and action, and nothing is inevitable. Shakespeare cared about human beings more than anything else, about our thoughts and emotions, and about the wonderful and horrible things we decide to do based on those thoughts and emotions. If Othello had just had murderous thoughts about Desdemona, but had not strangled her, there would have been no tragedy. Lysander had murderous thoughts about Hermia at one point, but that was resolved easily enough when everything returned to its proper place.

Nor did "English Protestants" (everyone who practiced the one legal religion of the Church of England, in other words) of the time believe that thinking was the same as acting, not even Puritans (illegal but not to the degree that Catholicism was), who annoyed the bejeezus out of everyone else with their uptight doctrines. They got sent to the colonies so easily because England was trying to get rid of them. Further, the entire basis of Christianity is forgiveness (forgiveness is another theme which Shakespeare deals with a lot), which washes Helm right out.

The gods of Faerun do not work for a complex theology. In the D&D world, gods actually exist and they make their wills very clear. People don't have to war with each other over what Lathander "really" wants; he tells them. If you want parallels, ancient mythology has more, but it's still not the same, because again, in Faerun the gods exist, and prove their existence every moment.
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Offline GetCool

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Re: Thought Police?
« Reply #136 on: November 02, 2004, 02:23:43 AM »
Shakespeare most certainly did not believe that thinking a sin was the same as acting it. He was the most brilliant playwright of all time and had an incredible knowledge of human nature, he wasn't a raving imbecile. (Nor was Spenser.) Many of his plays tease out the time between thought and action, and nothing is inevitable. Shakespeare cared about human beings more than anything else, about our thoughts and emotions, and about the wonderful and horrible things we decide to do based on those thoughts and emotions. If Othello had just had murderous thoughts about Desdemona, but had not strangled her, there would have been no tragedy. Lysander had murderous thoughts about Hermia at one point, but that was resolved easily enough when everything returned to its proper place.

Nor did "English Protestants" (everyone who practiced the one legal religion of the Church of England, in other words) of the time believe that thinking was the same as acting, not even Puritans (illegal but not to the degree that Catholicism was), who annoyed the bejeezus out of everyone else with their uptight doctrines. They got sent to the colonies so easily because England was trying to get rid of them. Further, the entire basis of Christianity is forgiveness (forgiveness is another theme which Shakespeare deals with a lot), which washes Helm right out.
First of all, I'm not knocking Shakespeare (nor Spenser) as a "raving imbecile."  I've probably read more Shakespeare than any other writer (approximately 2/3 of the plays), and I love his work.  I agree with everything you said about Shakespeare.  I've also read through The Faerie Queene, but I must admit that I didn't care for it as much, and I struggled through it because of this.

In any case, I want to make this clear: when I equated thought with sin, I was treating it as part of the body of beliefs, not the entirety.  I am fully aware that forgiveness is a basis as well, and I never said that you are damning yourself eternally for thinking an evil thought.  I'm not a theologian, so I'm not claiming to be an expert on any branch of Christianity, or any religion for that matter.  But I made the previous statement because I have encountered it, and I have seen evidence to back it up (which I will try to provide, given some time... see below).

Additionally, I said that this idea is "reflected" in Shakespeare (and Spenser), not that it dominates their work.  I'll admit that I probably shouldn't have added "and Spenser," because I cannot, off the top of my head, think where any examples of this are in Spenser, but then again, I don't remember a whole lot of The Faerie Queene, and I was more or less assuming that, because it is a Protestant epic, that it would contain the same theological ideas as Shakespeare.  But in any case, this idea is in Shakespeare, because I know I've encountered it.  I know that it is in Hamlet for example, but I will have to take a look at the play again to provide examples.

On the subject of Hamlet, it is a deeply theological play.  I bring this up because you made the point that Shakespeare (such as your example of Othello) is often deeply psychologically rooted.  I agree with this point entirely.  However, we also can't overlook the fact that Shakespeare often contains a lot of religious content as well, and it can be true that a given play is both psychologically and theologically rooted.  Hamlet is a good example, for Hamlet's psychological problems that he deals with throughout the play are firmly based in a Protestant theological context.

Anyway, anything I say is worthless without textual evidence, so I will be back.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2004, 02:25:47 AM by GetCool »

Offline fallen demon

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Re: Thought Police?
« Reply #137 on: November 03, 2004, 07:35:05 PM »
Forget as a PC class--if thinking about doing something wrong causes Falling, it shouldn't be a class available to any humans or quasi-human species at all.
I know, but I felt others had already stressed this and wanted to add that it made even less sense in the setting of bgII.
And i'm sure GetCool has somesort of point, but i fail to see what Shakespeare's (or anyone else's) view of what one does reflect their thoughts has to do with whether or not sim should judge our characters for thoughts. 
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Offline Andyr

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Re: Thought Police?
« Reply #138 on: November 04, 2004, 12:17:29 PM »
I don't know about 2E, but in 3E...

Deities have class levels. Those with spellcaster levels tend to know all spells they can - and there are spells to look into the minds of others.

So, I'd suggest that most deities could in theory look into someone's mind if they wanted to.

I don't know that any of them could automatically, though. Possibly. In 3E, deities can sense events linked to their portfolio, so if thinking about doing Evil things falls into a deitie's portfolio then maybe? This could cover Shar and Cyric, I guess. Helm could perhaps sense it since his is Watching, though taken to an extreme that'd mean he'd automatically sense everything...

So, I dunno. :P
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Re: Thought Police?
« Reply #139 on: December 14, 2004, 12:21:44 AM »
I think people need to make a distinction between thought and desire.

"Ho hum, I wonder what would happen if I were to kill that person over there."
vs.
"It would really be convenient if that person over there wasn't alive anymore."
vs.
"Ohhhhh, I just wanna plunge my knife into that person's chest! Feel it go in again and again and again and again.

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