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Author Topic: EP519: Artemis Rising – In Their Image  (Read 13684 times)

FireTurtle

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Reply #25 on: February 18, 2016, 07:42:49 PM
Ultimately what I'm seeing in this tangential thread is an argument over an individual's right to direct their fate. Whereas, the question might be "Does the good of the many outweigh the needs of the few?" It seems that the teddies have circumvented this conundrum by just designating the outliers as "Outliers" and consigning them to their fate.

To be honest, I'm a little disturbed by the "colonialist" perspective that seems to be dominating this tangent. Murder is a human concept. Teddies are not human, therefore can we really apply our morality to their existence? Time and again here on earth certain cultural practices have been deemed barbaric and attempts have been made to eradicate them to "benefit" the participants with the somehow unpredictable result of total societal collapse. Why do we know better than the Teddies?

“My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world and exiles me from it.”
Ursula K. LeGuin


Not-a-Robot

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Reply #26 on: February 18, 2016, 08:49:04 PM
To be honest, I'm a little disturbed by the "colonialist" perspective that seems to be dominating this tangent. Murder is a human concept. Teddies are not human, therefore can we really apply our morality to their existence? Time and again here on earth certain cultural practices have been deemed barbaric and attempts have been made to eradicate them to "benefit" the participants with the somehow unpredictable result of total societal collapse. Why do we know better than the Teddies?

Hah.  I had the same feeling.  I just failed to articulate it above.



Unblinking

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Reply #27 on: February 18, 2016, 09:48:25 PM
To be honest, I'm a little disturbed by the "colonialist" perspective that seems to be dominating this tangent. Murder is a human concept. Teddies are not human, therefore can we really apply our morality to their existence? Time and again here on earth certain cultural practices have been deemed barbaric and attempts have been made to eradicate them to "benefit" the participants with the somehow unpredictable result of total societal collapse. Why do we know better than the Teddies?

I may have not conveyed myself unclearly, but I wasn't trying to say that that protagonist was correct.  Especially when dealing with an alien species, our understanding may have no basis whatsoever.  Speaker for the Dead was very good at conveying that ambiguity and it's one of the reasons I liked that story and this one.

I think the protagonist thought she was doing good by trying to prevent teddies giving themselves up for death.  I can understand why she believes that.  I don't necessarily think that she is doing a good thing thing, and like I was trying to say about her behavior being dictated by the church's desire to expand (a kind of colonialism as you say) but which isn't necessarily in anyone's best interest. 

But, I also don't think it's clear cut that just because a teddy has asked for death, that it means that the teddy WANTS death.  Those are very different things, and I feel like, in her position, that would at least be a thing worth thinking about and discussing with the teddies.  For instance, that starving teddy's purpose is to starve, but when offered food it snatched that food up and ran.  If that teddy really WANTED to starve, then why does it do that?  From that it seems to me that it's at least possible that none of the teddies (or just some subset of the teddies) want to die any more than I want to die, but that they feel obligated to seek death by social pressures acting upon them. 

If one supposedly wants to starve but finds it very difficult to starve because your body makes you want to eat, is it okay to feed you?  Maybe the teddies would view that act like giving a recovering alcoholic a shot of whiskey--something that would be hard to resist but is ultimately going to wreck you.

I'm not really taking a stance on any of this, just saying that I think there's a lot of interesting ambiguity and I love that about this story.



matweller

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Reply #28 on: February 19, 2016, 05:05:42 AM
Were we really in better physical shape, when life expectancy was in the 30's?

Were we really in better mental shape?
I don't know. Have you ever worked in a nursing home?

I'm not really taking a stance on any of this, just saying that I think there's a lot of interesting ambiguity and I love that about this story.

Agreed completely. I wasn't stating facts or even opinions, just throwing out possibilities to consider. Thinking all sides of a question is my specialty. Deciding on the best path after isn't always... :P

One of my favorite aspects of the recent rash of apocalypse stories in the world is the number of authors that acknowledge and account for the survivors that suddenly find themselves without a source for their meds.



Lionman

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Reply #29 on: February 19, 2016, 05:47:56 AM
Overall, I really liked this story.  For me, and my personal experiences, it really connected.  At first, I wasn't sure if I liked the use of the scents the Teddy's gave off or not, but then later, as we encounter the Teddy whose purpose is to starve, I felt like that writing mechanic really started to work the way the author hoped it might.

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Not-a-Robot

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Reply #30 on: February 19, 2016, 08:30:19 AM
Were we really in better physical shape, when life expectancy was in the 30's?

Were we really in better mental shape?
I don't know. Have you ever worked in a nursing home?

- Aging researcher here

There are many therapies that extend life expectancy.  Many of those therapies also extend quality of life and have anti aging effects.  Are there some therapies that only extend life expectancy?  Yes, but most also extend quality of life.  Nevertheless, be are all going to age and die (if we're lucky) when it comes to that point, our bodies and minds go, but we have managed to push the biological age of an individual back with modern therapies. 

In other words, there are always going to be nursing homes, and we are always going to lose our bodies and minds before the end of life.  But this is something that has previously happened at a younger physical age.



matweller

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Reply #31 on: February 19, 2016, 02:36:53 PM
Were we really in better physical shape, when life expectancy was in the 30's?

Were we really in better mental shape?
I don't know. Have you ever worked in a nursing home?

- Aging researcher here

There are many therapies that extend life expectancy.  Many of those therapies also extend quality of life and have anti aging effects.  Are there some therapies that only extend life expectancy?  Yes, but most also extend quality of life.  Nevertheless, be are all going to age and die (if we're lucky) when it comes to that point, our bodies and minds go, but we have managed to push the biological age of an individual back with modern therapies. 

In other words, there are always going to be nursing homes, and we are always going to lose our bodies and minds before the end of life.  But this is something that has previously happened at a younger physical age.
I probably should have added enough smilies to make it obvious that was very tongue-in-cheek. Mostly because I know my answer to the original question is that yes, I think from a higher-level view of the human animal, our species probably was probably hardier in a lot of ways in those earlier times. Mind you, some of the biggest jumps in life expectancy have come not from surgical or pharmacological advances, but from simple habit changes like hand washing and I'm not above removing dysentery from the list of life span reducers. And while I wouldn't propose a stop to the search for knowledge, I've sometimes wondered about the long term benefits of technologies that weaken the species by keeping abnormalities in the gene pool that would have otherwise been weeded out.

Though, as has come up in discussion of other stories that explore the topic, I also love the idea that some of those abnormalities could actually become advancements in themselves or by being allowed to develop into their next evolution. For example, we believe autistics may be super-high functioning within their own minds, they just lack the ability to articulate what's going on in there, so what if the next evolution of that was telepathy that allowed them to communicate with each other, and the next evolution of that was complete physical transcendence?

Regardless, I'm secure in the belief that I am not an evolution of anything and have asked my wife that when I get to be on the edge of daftness, if I walk off into the woods, she should not send anyone to find me for at least a week, and then the search party should come with shoves and just bury me where I lay. I expect that will be sometime in the next 25 years or so.



SpareInch

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Reply #32 on: February 19, 2016, 06:59:11 PM
- Aging researcher here

You mean you research ageing? Or that you're  a researcher who's knocking on in years? :P

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Thunderscreech

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Reply #33 on: February 19, 2016, 07:24:19 PM
You mean you research ageing? Or that you're  a researcher who's knocking on in years? :P
We're allele curious, tell o'mere.



biomathics23

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Reply #34 on: February 19, 2016, 10:31:07 PM
I'm not really taking a stance on any of this, just saying that I think there's a lot of interesting ambiguity and I love that about this story.

Precisely what I enjoyed about it too.  Great fodder for discussion, especially among the inquisitive and open-minded.  I would also enjoy a sequel with a second human church of a different religion in the area to see how that would shake things up for the preacher.



FireTurtle

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Reply #35 on: February 20, 2016, 02:05:04 AM
I'm not going to do quotes merely because my iPhone is a cumbersome mechanism for that. Suffice it to say I'm responding to the responses to my "colonialist perspective" mini-rant. I guess what I failed to say --in light of further clarifications- is that no one is talking about this (until now) from the Teddy's perspective. If someone comes along and tells you you no longer have a purpose (aka reason for being a part of God, reason for existing) whether it be starving or being a "worshiper" how's that gonna work for you?
The MC never questions her own purpose, but feels free to question the Teddy's. Hmmmm

“My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world and exiles me from it.”
Ursula K. LeGuin


johnnaryry

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Reply #36 on: February 21, 2016, 10:04:00 PM
This one is still rattling around loose in my psyche -- and will most likely continue to do so for quite some time. I plan to share it with my Dad who's a Deacon in the Catholic Church.



Unblinking

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Reply #37 on: February 22, 2016, 04:21:53 PM
I'm not going to do quotes merely because my iPhone is a cumbersome mechanism for that. Suffice it to say I'm responding to the responses to my "colonialist perspective" mini-rant. I guess what I failed to say --in light of further clarifications- is that no one is talking about this (until now) from the Teddy's perspective. If someone comes along and tells you you no longer have a purpose (aka reason for being a part of God, reason for existing) whether it be starving or being a "worshiper" how's that gonna work for you?
The MC never questions her own purpose, but feels free to question the Teddy's. Hmmmm

I have been thinking about it from the Teddy's perspective, I guess I didn't say that?  I guess I thought that angle was clear enough from the story that we were all thinking it?  Maybe not?  

It would certainly be troublesome for someone to come into your world and declare that every belief that has given you purpose, that is your path to seeking god, is wrong.  I also think that, to the starving teddy, it might not be the worst thing in the world to be told "Hi, have some food.  If you don't starve, it's worth considering that God maybe won't die because of it."

I certainly think that she SHOULD question her purpose there and should take a more nuanced empathetic approach, but I thought it was internally consistent for a missionary to NOT do so given that the occupation involves trying to bring others into the fold.  

Quote
For example, we believe autistics may be super-high functioning within their own minds, they just lack the ability to articulate what's going on in there, so what if the next evolution of that was telepathy that allowed them to communicate with each other, and the next evolution of that was complete physical transcendence?

For what it's worth, I don't think that autistic people need to reach another stage of evolution and I'm not sure there's evidence that they are a new evolutionary thing, rather than just normal variation in brain functionality that has been around for all of human history but not recognized as such.  I think that neurodiversity is as important as biodiversity to allow the human species to be as flexible as possible for survival.  If we all think the same way, then the species as a whole is vulnerable to environmental conditions that are less easily resolved by that kind of thinkers.  


(I also don't think it's necessary for every person or group of people to serve a purpose in a measurable sense to be valuable.  That line of thinking can start down a scary path of eugenics leading to a set of characteristics that define a master race and how best to engineer that master race)
« Last Edit: February 22, 2016, 04:25:13 PM by Unblinking »



matweller

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Reply #38 on: February 22, 2016, 08:14:19 PM
Quote
For example, we believe autistics may be super-high functioning within their own minds, they just lack the ability to articulate what's going on in there, so what if the next evolution of that was telepathy that allowed them to communicate with each other, and the next evolution of that was complete physical transcendence?

For what it's worth, I don't think that autistic people need to reach another stage of evolution and I'm not sure there's evidence that they are a new evolutionary thing, rather than just normal variation in brain functionality that has been around for all of human history but not recognized as such.  I think that neurodiversity is as important as biodiversity to allow the human species to be as flexible as possible for survival.  If we all think the same way, then the species as a whole is vulnerable to environmental conditions that are less easily resolved by that kind of thinkers.  

(I also don't think it's necessary for every person or group of people to serve a purpose in a measurable sense to be valuable.  That line of thinking can start down a scary path of eugenics leading to a set of characteristics that define a master race and how best to engineer that master race)

I don't think autistics need to evolve either. It was a story idea. I like fiction. It's why I'm here.

Nor was I advocating eugenics. Like most things humans do, it could be beneficial, but we cannot handle the responsibility. We can't get US citizens to agree that all children should be cared for and fed regardless of the circumstances of their birth -- we're clearly not ready for the moral questions involved in eugenics. Save that for when we get to Star Trek's post-economy civilization.



Unblinking

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Reply #39 on: February 22, 2016, 10:14:15 PM
I don't think autistics need to evolve either. It was a story idea. I like fiction. It's why I'm here.

I didn't think you were saying autistics need to evolve but that you were suggesting autism might be a sign of an intermediate stage of evolution, and I was responding to that?  If we were just talking about potential ways to explore the topic in stories then I can't argue with that!  I really enjoyed "Movement" by Nancy Fulda here on EP, for example.

Nor was I advocating eugenics. Like most things humans do, it could be beneficial, but we cannot handle the responsibility. We can't get US citizens to agree that all children should be cared for and fed regardless of the circumstances of their birth -- we're clearly not ready for the moral questions involved in eugenics. Save that for when we get to Star Trek's post-economy civilization.

I didn't mean to say that you advocate eugenics.  But I've had conversations where the topic of the evolutionary advantage of this human trait or that human trait and whether these would be advantageous traits and it seems like those conversations tend to start getting into uncomfortable territory of eugenics more often than not (whether either person advocates it or not).  I guess I didn't have any specific point with saying that, other than that, even if we can all agree on what is a good survival trait and what isn't, deciding what to do with that information can lead down some paths that get uncomfortable pretty quickly.  I should have considered more carefully, I didn't mean to imply.




Aaaanyway...  maybe I should stop speaking up now?  We are rather far afield, and I think I may have caused offense with my previous post.   I should let people talk about the story.  :)



Not-a-Robot

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Reply #40 on: February 23, 2016, 10:26:55 AM

I didn't mean to say that you advocate eugenics.  But I've had conversations where the topic of the evolutionary advantage of this human trait or that human trait and whether these would be advantageous traits and it seems like those conversations tend to start getting into uncomfortable territory of eugenics more often than not (whether either person advocates it or not).  I guess I didn't have any specific point with saying that, other than that, even if we can all agree on what is a good survival trait and what isn't, deciding what to do with that information can lead down some paths that get uncomfortable pretty quickly.  I should have considered more carefully, I didn't mean to imply.


It's far too complicated when you consider trait-linkage, sexual selection, reproductive advantages, penetrance, environmental change, social selection...

Furthermore, many people forget (mainly because there is only one species in the Homo genus) that evolution is not a straight line. It doesn't move in steps, but branches like a tree (see phylogenetics).
« Last Edit: February 23, 2016, 10:28:56 AM by Not-a-Robot »



Not-a-Robot

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Reply #41 on: February 23, 2016, 08:57:43 PM
You mean you research ageing? Or that you're  a researcher who's knocking on in years? :P
We're allele curious, tell o'mere.

Haha.

Today I discovered that I am one day older than yesterday.



Devoted135

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Reply #42 on: February 29, 2016, 08:27:47 PM
Wonderful, fascinating story, and such an interesting discussion! One thing that I don't believe has been emphasized here is that she pretty much says outright that she's brand new at being a preacher, and she's not terribly comfortable in the role. When she accidentally witnessed the ritual funeral, she immediately snapped back into warrior mode and had to actively talk herself down. So, every time she did something that a more traditional preacher/priest/pastor probably wouldn't or should do, I just attributed it to that.

One of my favorite parts came when she realized that she could be doing charity work. (Coercing food out of the restaurant was one of those "good intentions... interesting methods" moments). I love that to us it makes perfect sense that a preacher would do charity work, but to the Teddies this was very much outside their understanding of her purpose. I was hoping for the story to go more strongly down that path, but it was still lovely to see this thread of the story.



adrianh

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Reply #43 on: March 02, 2016, 01:58:09 PM
While I liked some of the world building, and the Teddies' religion, it didn't quite work for me.  Although I did appreciate the irony of the Teddies' religion being the forcing factor for the preacher finding her purpose on Landry’s World.

At some points she was completely certain of her own rightness (her very black & white reaction to the T's religion), in others very passive (her lack of interest in the T's religion until it was basically forced upon her, her passive acceptance of her low church attendances). Her behaviour and reactions felt kind of inconsistent to me.

I think part of the problem for me is that I never got a feel for the preacher's own religion — so as a reader I don't have anything to contrast the Teddies against (and it didn't really feel like the preacher did either).



eytanz

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Reply #44 on: March 05, 2016, 04:08:52 PM
Moderator's note:

I didn't split out the speculation by Mat about evolution and the place of aging/suffering/mental illnesses/eugenics in human society, and the responses to it, from the thread earlier because many of the responses were in the same posts as comments on the story, and the discussion seemed to stop. However, as it looks like it has started again, I'm splitting the most recent contributions out of this thread, and into this one. Please continue that aspect of the conversation there rather than here.



nospammers

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Reply #45 on: March 07, 2016, 01:28:13 PM
I'm surprised by those who seem to assume ministers will always be completely consistent in their thoughts and actions, and perfect in their fulfillment of their roles. (Especially a brand new one!) I'm fairly sure there is no point in seminary training where they suddenly become no longer human like the rest of us.

I greatly respect the fact that the author explored the idea of what forms religion might take in other cultures without making it painfully clear what they think the right answer must be for all cultures everywhere and everywhen. She didn't preach at us, she showed a fallible human, ex-drunk, ex-Marine trying to build a new life as an inexperienced minister on that foundation, thrust into a totally alien culture and trying to figure out how to deal with all of that.

It seems to me entirely believable that an alien culture could develop with the "one purpose" idea. I think there might be other aspects to that--for example, teddies voluntarily ending their lives because they're sick to death of doing nothing but that one purpose...but I'm anthropomorphizing. I agreed with Mur's comments at the end that she'd like to have explored all of this more, but the author left us at just the right place.



adrianh

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Reply #46 on: March 07, 2016, 04:23:32 PM
I'm surprised by those who seem to assume ministers will always be completely consistent in their thoughts and actions, and perfect in their fulfillment of their roles. (Especially a brand new one!) I'm fairly sure there is no point in seminary training where they suddenly become no longer human like the rest of us.

It was how the character changed over time that I found unconvincing. I couldn't connect the person who spent weeks preaching to an almost empty church, to the person who ran out and guilt tripped the restaurant owner into charitable contributions. I can believe a character going from a -> b, but the transition in this instance didn't really convince me.



Scatcatpdx

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Reply #47 on: March 30, 2016, 06:05:25 AM
I like the story it hit me in the gut. I noted some did not  get  the religion of the teddies. let me explain in two names:

Rich Warren
Joel Osteen

It is  the  feel Good, Purpose Driven  therapeutic, moralistic  deism with a helping of American consumerism.

I came out of them mega church , seeker sensitive movement. While the teddies response was disturbing it was understandable. I seen some who were tormented  in their faith  because   what the person on the stage is pushing  the stage  ; the person feel they  haven’t found their purpose, not extreme in their faith or not  “missional”. The purpose drive dribble almost destroyed my Christian faith ,I finally pulled back from the abyss  leaving American Evangelism for Reform  and Anglicanism.
As an added bonus the  aliens are furries. The only black spot was Mur Lafferty  outburst at  the end.  
« Last Edit: July 16, 2016, 06:49:57 PM by Scatcatpdx »



cloudscudding

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Reply #48 on: January 08, 2017, 03:24:31 AM
Hello, everyone! Author here.

I loved watching listener/reader reactions and the discussions that came out of this story. I'm popping in to remind you that this story, along with all Artemis Rising stories and this list, is eligible for award nominations for stories from 2016.

If you have particularly liked one of these stories, nominate it! It's a great way to help a story reach a wider audience.

Until next, happy listening!



CryptoMe

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Reply #49 on: November 15, 2017, 05:42:49 AM
The story was okay, but I had a really (and I mean really) tough time with the "pink-ness" of the teddies and their candy-floss happy smell. I just found it weird and it jarred me out of the story every time.

The philosophy debate was worthwhile, though.