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  1. - Top - End - #331
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    Default Re: Dragon Age: Veilguard

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    Sure, if it's possible to win by something like paralysis or sleep magic, that's probably better in most cases. I'm not saying that mind control is the most humane method possible, just that I don't see why it would be morally worse than killing them.

    But at this point we're probably just repeating the same arguments over and over.
    Bluntly, because its pointlessly cruel to them and you have to go out of your way to deliberately set it up that way if youre in a conflict where thats genuinely your best tool for the job, especially in Thedas. Its basically invariably cruelty for its own sake.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    Default Re: Dragon Age: Veilguard

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    Sure, if it's possible to win by something like paralysis or sleep magic, that's probably better in most cases. I'm not saying that mind control is the most humane method possible, just that I don't see why it would be morally worse than killing them.

    But at this point we're probably just repeating the same arguments over and over.
    Probably. I hope we've at least been able to make the reasons other people feel that way clearer for you.

    To whit, the answer that last question of yours from the opposing point of view: because it violates the person's mind and free will, striking at the heart of what makes a person who they are.
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  3. - Top - End - #333
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    Default Re: Dragon Age: Veilguard

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    Bluntly, because its pointlessly cruel to them and you have to go out of your way to deliberately set it up that way if youre in a conflict where thats genuinely your best tool for the job, especially in Thedas. Its basically invariably cruelty for its own sake.
    Pointless? I would think that it being an alternative to killing someone is pretty good point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zevox View Post
    To whit, the answer that last question of yours from the opposing point of view: because it violates the person's mind and free will, striking at the heart of what makes a person who they are.
    And that's pretty horrible, I don't deny that. But so is ending the person they are forever, and Dragon Age heroes do that all the time.
    Last edited by Batcathat; 2024-07-19 at 05:43 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #334
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    Default Re: Dragon Age: Veilguard

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    Pointless? I would think that it being an alternative to killing someone is pretty good point.
    If thats the only criteria then there are plenty of better options to take, so its still pointlessly cruel.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    Default Re: Dragon Age: Veilguard

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    If thats the only criteria then there are plenty of better options to take, so its still pointlessly cruel.
    Then so is killing them. Again, I'm not saying mind control is some super ethical option here, just that it seems hypocritical to me that we're fine with heroes killing their enemies by the busload, but them controlling the minds of their enemies (potentially leaving said busloads alive, if maybe traumatized) is some unthinkable sin.

  6. - Top - End - #336
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    Default Re: Dragon Age: Veilguard

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    Then so is killing them. Again, I'm not saying mind control is some super ethical option here, just that it seems hypocritical to me that we're fine with heroes killing their enemies by the busload, but them controlling the minds of their enemies (potentially leaving said busloads alive, if maybe traumatized) is some unthinkable sin.
    Yeah, sure, but thats not really the point. If all you have is a sword your nonlethal options are limited. If you are a skilled enough mage that you can learn to mind control someone through their blood (or even without the blood) you can learn to incapacitate someone in a way that doesnt involve torture, or kill someone without torture if thats what you need to do.


    You keep trying to compare the best case situation for mind control with the worst case for non mind control, but its not an equal comparison.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    Default Re: Dragon Age: Veilguard

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    Then so is killing them. Again, I'm not saying mind control is some super ethical option here, just that it seems hypocritical to me that we're fine with heroes killing their enemies by the busload, but them controlling the minds of their enemies (potentially leaving said busloads alive, if maybe traumatized) is some unthinkable sin.
    There's nothing hypocritical about believing that there are some things, however few they may be, more important than life itself, and that one of them is free will.

    We have another example of this over in Dragon Age's sister series, Mass Effect, for instance: rewriting the Geth Heretics. It's a fairly common take that destroying them being the Renegade option while rewriting them is the Paragon one feels backwards, because the latter eliminates who they are every bit as much as the former, but it also forces them to also become what you wish they were, which is worse than simply destroying them.
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    Default Re: Dragon Age: Veilguard

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    Yeah, sure, but thats not really the point. If all you have is a sword your nonlethal options are limited. If you are a skilled enough mage that you can learn to mind control someone through their blood (or even without the blood) you can learn to incapacitate someone in a way that doesnt involve torture, or kill someone without torture if thats what you need to do.


    You keep trying to compare the best case situation for mind control with the worst case for non mind control, but its not an equal comparison.
    Sure, if we're rating ways to incapacitate someone I can agree that something like a sleep spell would be nicer than mind control (probably paralysis, too, though I suspect it would be horrifying in its own way). But even if we say that stabbing someone is more okay, since the swordsman has less non-lethal options, what about mages who just go for straight up killing their enemies? They too could surely incapacitate someone in a different way.

    We can also look at the aftereffects of people in the games that have been mind controlled. Take bann Teagan in Origins, for example. He's mind controlled by a friggin' demon for what has to be at least several hours and seems entirely okay afterwards. So there's nothing suggesting that being mind controlled by a hero for two minutes would be such a horrific experience that death would be preferable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zevox View Post
    There's nothing hypocritical about believing that there are some things, however few they may be, more important than life itself, and that one of them is free will.

    We have another example of this over in Dragon Age's sister series, Mass Effect, for instance: rewriting the Geth Heretics. It's a fairly common take that destroying them being the Renegade option while rewriting them is the Paragon one feels backwards, because the latter eliminates who they are every bit as much as the former, but it also forces them to also become what you wish they were, which is worse than simply destroying them.
    Sure, I can see that. But changing who someone is forever and controlling what they do for a minute aren't really equal.

  9. - Top - End - #339
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    Default Re: Dragon Age: Veilguard

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    Sure, if we're rating ways to incapacitate someone I can agree that something like a sleep spell would be nicer than mind control (probably paralysis, too, though I suspect it would be horrifying in its own way). But even if we say that stabbing someone is more okay, since the swordsman has less non-lethal options, what about mages who just go for straight up killing their enemies? They too could surely incapacitate someone in a different way.

    We can also look at the aftereffects of people in the games that have been mind controlled. Take bann Teagan in Origins, for example. He's mind controlled by a friggin' demon for what has to be at least several hours and seems entirely okay afterwards. So there's nothing suggesting that being mind controlled by a hero for two minutes would be such a horrific experience that death would be preferable.
    Connor was mind controlled by a demon for not much longer and committed suicide rather than allow it to happen again in the bad future in Inquisition (assuming he survived Origins). Its also shown to be an appalling abuse of Teagan's dignity, to say nothing of his health, being forced to try and kill the Warden.

    As far as killing vs non-lethal encounters go, most of the time in Dragon Age you are not fighting opponents who would accept mercy anyway, being demons, undead, unintelligent beasts like Darkspawn, or fanatical bad guys like the Red Templars and Venatori.
    Last edited by Keltest; 2024-07-20 at 07:59 AM.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

  10. - Top - End - #340
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    Default Re: Dragon Age: Veilguard

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    Sure, I can see that. But changing who someone is forever and controlling what they do for a minute aren't really equal.
    They're not, no. But notice that every time you go to that argument, it's contingent upon the person keeping not just their life, but having their free will restored. And in situations where the latter doesn't happen, even you've agreed death may be preferable. So the underlying logic here is one even you are agreeing with, to some point.

    If you insist on comparing a worst-case or nearly-worst-case alternative scenario (death/serious injury) to the best-case scenario for how mind control is used (extremely brief use to capture someone), sure, you can argue in that situation mind control would be the lesser of two evils. But that is no more a fair comparison than comparing the worst-case scenario for mind control (permanent loss of self) to the best-case for other methods (minor injury or temporary disabling effects used to capture someone), and is undercut by the fact that anyone who was capable of using mind control in most fictions where it exists would also have other methods of subduing a foe that are just as effective without resorting to it. In other words, the sort of situation you keep positing is not just an unequal comparison, but would logically never exist. No one is going to find themselves in a situation where mind control is the best answer to a problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    Sure, if we're rating ways to incapacitate someone I can agree that something like a sleep spell would be nicer than mind control (probably paralysis, too, though I suspect it would be horrifying in its own way). But even if we say that stabbing someone is more okay, since the swordsman has less non-lethal options, what about mages who just go for straight up killing their enemies? They too could surely incapacitate someone in a different way.
    They could, yes. But what that does have to do with the discussion at hand, about the morality of mind control? If you're going to go back to the fact that you routinely kill people in video games, it will only return us to the point that video games rarely give you another way to end fights in the first place, even if you have the tools available to achieve a non-lethal result in theory.
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  11. - Top - End - #341
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    Default Re: Dragon Age: Veilguard

    Quote Originally Posted by Zevox View Post
    They're not, no. But notice that every time you go to that argument, it's contingent upon the person keeping not just their life, but having their free will restored. And in situations where the latter doesn't happen, even you've agreed death may be preferable. So the underlying logic here is one even you are agreeing with, to some point.
    Yes, but time matters. Barely anyone would think it wrong to tie up a defeated enemy, but almost everyone would think it horrible to keep a person tied up for the rest of their life.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zevox View Post
    If you insist on comparing a worst-case or nearly-worst-case alternative scenario (death/serious injury) to the best-case scenario for how mind control is used (extremely brief use to capture someone), sure, you can argue in that situation mind control would be the lesser of two evils. But that is no more a fair comparison than comparing the worst-case scenario for mind control (permanent loss of self) to the best-case for other methods (minor injury or temporary disabling effects used to capture someone), and is undercut by the fact that anyone who was capable of using mind control in most fictions where it exists would also have other methods of subduing a foe that are just as effective without resorting to it. In other words, the sort of situation you keep positing is not just an unequal comparison, but would logically never exist. No one is going to find themselves in a situation where mind control is the best answer to a problem.
    I'm comparing based on how they would be used in the same situation: combat. Where if you use violence to defeat the enemy, lethal force is likely to be required (and even if you try to avoid it, might happen by accident). While if you use mind control, using it for long enough to render the enemy harmless (say by disarming them and maybe tying them up) is likely minutes at most.

    And yes, maybe the person using mind control could use some other means of disabling them, but as I've already pointed out that's true of the mage who kills their enemies with fireballs, too. So if the mind control mage is inherently bad, then so is the blaster mage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zevox View Post
    They could, yes. But what that does have to do with the discussion at hand, about the morality of mind control? If you're going to go back to the fact that you routinely kill people in video games, it will only return us to the point that video games rarely give you another way to end fights in the first place, even if you have the tools available to achieve a non-lethal result in theory.
    See above. If we assume that anyone capable of mind control should be capable of other magic to defeat the enemy, then so should the other mages.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    Connor was mind controlled by a demon for not much longer and committed suicide rather than allow it to happen again in the bad future in Inquisition (assuming he survived Origins). Its also shown to be an appalling abuse of Teagan's dignity, to say nothing of his health, being forced to try and kill the Warden.
    Yes, I'm sure it was a horrible experience for both of them, especially for a young child like Connor. But if even two minutes of mind control would be some sort of incredible torture like you describe, then Teagan suffering it for hours or days would likely leave him rather broken, which definitely doesn't seem to be the case.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    As far as killing vs non-lethal encounters go, most of the time in Dragon Age you are not fighting opponents who would accept mercy anyway, being demons, undead, unintelligent beasts like Darkspawn, or fanatical bad guys like the Red Templars and Venatori.
    Sure, I'm not saying a hero needs to show mercy to all their enemies, just that I find it odd that killing them is alright but a method that might allow them to live is intrinsically horrible.
    Last edited by Batcathat; 2024-07-20 at 11:34 AM.

  12. - Top - End - #342
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    Default Re: Dragon Age: Veilguard

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    Sure, I'm not saying a hero needs to show mercy to all their enemies, just that I find it odd that killing them is alright but a method that might allow them to live is intrinsically horrible.
    Its because its torture, which is bad, and its never necessary, so it doesnt have any mitigating factors. Killing people is generally considered an unfortunate necessity when it comes up. Or just fortunate, when it comes to Darkspawn, which is why the Gray Wardens allow blood magic use.
    Last edited by Keltest; 2024-07-20 at 11:54 AM.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    Default Re: Dragon Age: Veilguard

    Quote Originally Posted by Zevox View Post
    They could, yes. But what that does have to do with the discussion at hand, about the morality of mind control? If you're going to go back to the fact that you routinely kill people in video games, it will only return us to the point that video games rarely give you another way to end fights in the first place, even if you have the tools available to achieve a non-lethal result in theory.
    Yeah. Mind-Control in games like this is rarely a non-lethal option, it's a temporary "go berserk and kill your friends for me" option where either the mind control itself is fatal or they still have to die to clear the encounter.

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    Default Re: Dragon Age: Veilguard

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    Its because its torture, which is bad, and its never necessary, so it doesnt have any mitigating factors. Killing people is generally considered an unfortunate necessity when it comes up. Or just fortunate, when it comes to Darkspawn, which is why the Gray Wardens allow blood magic use.
    I think you and I have different definitions of torture, because I think context matters. If you stab your prisoner to get them to talk or just to make them suffer, that's torture. If you stab your opponent in combat, that's just combat. Why should mind control be judged by a different standard?

    But it feels like we've repeated our arguments at each other (not to mention derailed the thread) long enough, so unless any of us comes up with something new, I think I'll bow out of discussion (Yes, that's me intentionally giving myself room to jump back in, leaving a discussion no matter how repetitive has never been my strongest side ). It's been interesting, but at the end of the day I think it just comes down to having different preferences.

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    Default Re: Dragon Age: Veilguard

    We're going in circles here again. Since the point of this is to explain the point of view to you, let's try another approach:

    The use of violence in these situations is justified by necessity: in order to protect oneself or others, when confronted with someone who intends them serious harm or death, nothing less will generally suffice. Mind control has no situation where it becomes such a necessity: if you have the ability to use it, you also have the ability to use less harmful means to achieve the same end, unless that end is domination of the person and use of them as tool, in which case it's horrific in and of itself.

    That may sometimes also be true of other Mages, but not always - usually basic damage spells are easier to pick up than disabling ones, as opposed to mind control, which is generally a very advanced technique known to few - and even if it is, that choice is foisted on the mage by the game not allowing them to end the encounter without depleting the enemies' hp, which then results in death, it's not one they can make themselves. Obviously if the game allowed the player to either kill or non-lethally knock out the foe with something like a paralysis spell, yes, the latter becomes better and you might even perfectly reasonably condemn someone who had the ability to do it but chose to do the reverse, depending on the situation. But that doesn't really happen, so it's a moot point.
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