703 Heart Is Also Evil.

Thomas’ wordy nature is quite annoying, in light of the fact that I have to draw the fucking letters now too.  Even as I was writing this I was thinking about how long it was going to take to letter.  It had to be done though.  Had to…

It may sound strange to you, but this line of thought comes from a lecture I heard about the nature of God and why the universe is ordered the way it is.  Explaining it in detail would be too long and boring, but that’s still the genesis  of the idea.

By these rules even the Jedi mind trick is technically evil.  Hypnotism could also potentially fall under that heading.

Part of the reason why I like Captain Planet as an idea is the amount of ridiculous debates it can stir up.  Also green mullets.

Saving the Earth in front, party in the back.

As long as I’m at it, to stop people from thinking they were the direct cause of this page, the person who DID bring up Nina’s argument to me first was Agouti-Rex from http://www.murrypurry.com/


“Also green mullets.” Just busted out laughing. Thanks for making my 11 o’clock hour significantly less tedious.

Yay, my counter-argument made it into the comic… and was beaten right away. Let’s see how I can beat this one.

Ah yes, by not mind controlling the bad guys, Ma-Ti would indirectly be causing the deaths of anyone who suffered from the illnesses brought on by the pollution that the bad guys bring about from their schemes.

I love debating on the internet. Well, until it devolves into petty arguing where we just type angrily at each other.

Oh, as for the mind control, it wasn’t implied. We actually see future Ma-Ti make a rich guy give up some cash to a starving kid.

Quote: Oh, as for the mind control, it wasn’t implied. We actually see future Ma-Ti make a rich guy give up some cash to a starving kid.

Then we definitely see Ma-Ti turn to evil, for mind controlling somoene into giving money to someone else makes him not only a mind invader but a thief. Otherwise we fall pray to the “end justifies the means” approach, which is pragmatism rather than morality.

Anyone who has mind control(and uses it for good) knows it is a bad thing,(prof Xavier) but they do what they must for the common, even while it eats away at there souls.

It always driver’sem nuts in the end.

It’s an interesting question: Can any of the X-Men be completely sure their decision to be heroes is their own with Xavier around? They can cite their belief that “the professor would never do that”, which itself could be implanted. It’s borderline unfalsifiable.

This question was explored in a short-lived 90s DC comic called “Young Heroes In Love” where the groups leader, a powerful telekinetic also turns out to be a powerful telepath who manipulated the rest of the team into joining, either through events, mental tampering or both. His rationalization (and the way he claimed his power worked) was he could only accent or repress what was already there. He can’t edit who somebody is wholesale. It all hits the fan because he was trying to keep two heroes from hooking up, afraid that they would get in so deep with each other they’d quit the team. He kept redirecting the girl toward another hero who she was interested in but not nearly as interested in.

I think they touched on Xavier manipulating the minds of his students in the late 90s. just about the time I stopped reading them. My knowledge is limited, but I have a vague recollection of it being an issue at one point. I think the 3rd X Men movie touches on the idea that Xavier manipulated Jean Grey to supress the Phoenix persona as well. And Magneto is worried about him fiddling with his mind in every continuity, so apparently he wouldn’t put it past Charles.

Some of this stuff is also a theme in a more recent DC story arc to do with the JLA, or some group, trying to cover up a rape. At least I think that’s what was going on. I think Batman figures out that they tampered with his mind and he goes apeshit all over them.

Heart would only be good in a post apocalyptic world where zombies roam the earth, you’d command a zombie army. Well, unless zombies have no hearts, or however that shit works.

I always thought the natural fifth element would be electricity, but I guess that would make things too easy, so they use the life aspect of that and make lame ol’ heart.

Ma-ti would make a lame super villain at best. Like the wheel.

Actually, i thought the fifth power should be plasma (the fifth state of matter) or the power to connect imagination to reality. Both powers would be incredible especially the ability to connect imagination to reality, even if it was limited to the amount of energy stored in your body that is easily usable at the moment moment it would still be an extremely flexible and powerful ability. anyway both would be much more acceptable then heart.

Plasma is the *5th* state of matter? What’s the 4th then?

The 5th element (when it’s not a cute girl in a french film) was commonly called Quintessence, or (praise be to Wikipedia) Aether, the element of the heavens (…and may be staging a comeback from Michaelson-Morley as Dark Energy)

Ma-Ti could have had power cosmic but he got mind control. That’s a heck of a short-change.

Hypnotism CANNOT make you do anything you’d be completely opposed to doing. At worst it will make you do stuff that’s sorta embarassing. Period. I am good friends with a licensed hypnotist/hypnotherapist named Kevin Lepine who’s getting a show going in Las Vegas. I know what I’m talking about.

Hypnotism can be used immorally. I agree that in itself it isn’t evil–the things you DO when under hypnosis are not things you wouldn’t do otherwise, true. However, many false memories have been planted under hypnosis, with the false claim of recovering forgotten memories. The ability to repress and recover memories has been proven to be completely false, but planting memories is very easy to do–even when it isn’t done on purpose. Many people have been wrongly convicted due to this.

This is of course not hypnotism’s fault. The same false memories can be developed completely without hypnotism as well. Just saying it can and has been used immorally.

Magical Fictional Hypnotism can make you do anything that’s required by the story the author is trying to tell. Doesn’t always get treated with the severity it deserves, though.

But what you are willing to do can range from chicken mimicing to setting a man on fire, and nothing lowers your inhibitions like doing dumb stuff all day doing things you are willing to do but not necessarily interested in doing. Except Alcohol. And it’s a safe assumption that most people don’t mind getting a drink if they have time to be hypnotized. Anyways, mind control and hypnotism work differently. Mind control implys replacing the will of another person.

Also, I would be willing to remove free will from someone else if it was funny, or if I would gain from it. But not for the greater good. Thats not fun at all.

You know, I had Total Eclipse of the Heart out of my head for the first time in weeks until I read the line “bright eyes.”

Oh, Thomas. I know so many people you just can’t argue with. Poor Nina.

In Response to David above-

Using that line of thought, blaming Ma-ti for things he does not prevent. If he chose to take a left path, rather than a right one. Each led to a village, and each was dealing with a different pollution problem, he is to blame for the town he didn’t go too because he could have. Opens up all sorts of avenues of blame.

Also, what if the pollution, is a byproduct, of a facility making medicine to save an equal number of people some were else? Or what if Ma-ti, though lack of knowledge and foresight used his mind control powers to prevent something that needed to happen, for a greater number of people to be saved?

That mind control would be used for evil, I could certainly agree with. And that not all evil men are weak-willed, as well. Generally speaking the masters are often not and the minions often are, though either of those can be reversed. The only thing I would disagree on is the idea that they’re overcoming societal influence in order to be evil. The bent of mankind is towards selfishness, which breeds evil. To do good is to overcome that selfish nature. Sci-fi often understands this, that doing evil comes easily and doing good comes hard. Star Wars, for instance. The path to the Dark Side is the path of giving in to anger and hate and other base core instincts, not necessarily of a weak will, but of easy choices. Even a strong will may make an easy choice. To stand up for the right when the world is bent to evil is the hard choice, and requires far greater courage.

It may not be the way we humans *want* to look at ourselves, as inherently selfish and bent towards evil. But it is the most honest assessment. Even the small child has to be taught sharing with great effort, but knows ‘mine’ innately. From birth it is our nature to be consumed by our own desires.

If humans base traits were selfishness and greed, I don’t think we would have lasted as long as we have. We would have killed eachother off in the tribal stage. There is a third trait that can be manipulated to achieve a sembelance of peace: reason.

Take fallout series for instance: the moment you get into the game you can kill every trader you see for their money, and go buy some guns or whatever. But that money is a finite resource. It’s not replenishable by harvesting more traders (you killed them all). However, trading with the traders, though a slower process, gaurantees that you will be able to resupply so long as you have the caps. You will always have someone to go to in order to obtain ammo, and it is better than the alternitave (scavenging ruins) because there is a limited amount of ammo scattered throughout the wastes.

Basically, other human beings offer services that, though the value is given out in smaller increments, has a much greater net value than just taking what they have already.

Reason allows for foresight, and without foresight, we’d just care about satisfying our immediate needs, meaning we’d kill and steal whenever we needed new resources. If you want a world free of evil, then you need to teach people to extend their ability to reason, so that they can grow their foresight. That way they will realize that stealing, rape, murder, and lying all hurt them in the long run: you end up spending more effort and resources running/hiding from the law than you would doing honest labor.

If you want to some more detail, I would look to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYbuuf5fnck (might be hard to understand him, his austrian accent is pretty thick).

Like Jonathan B, when I was younger and more cynical, I used to believe that people were basically nasty, brutish and short-sighted. As always things are not as simple as we think:


Initially my response was something along the lines of: So, we are nasty only if we get a chance to think about it so short-sighted is actually good … this is why I love science!

Upon reflection, however, my thinking on this is as follows:
1) We are ‘programmed’ to be ‘generous’ and this suggests that this is an evolutionarily stable trait i.e. good for us in the long term. Also of note is our very strong predilection to punish selfishness (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_goods_game).
2) We can easily rationalize being selfish, which pays off in the short run, but typically has negative long-term consequences.
3) Reason combined with a focus on long-term consequences, particularly when coupled with a knowledge of history, suggest that we are all better off if most of us are ‘generous’ …

Only person I’ve read of that was able to stay good after using a form of mind control was Cadderly Bonaduce in the 3rd book of the Cleric Quintet, Nght Masks when he used it on the corrupted head priest.

1) Technically, Heart is not so much “mind control” but “emotional control”- instead of Professor X it’s more like the Mule from Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation and Empire”. It’s very close, but emotional control would have more evil overtones than mind control as the subject is given an opinion or emotion and its mind justifies its own path to that end.

2) The earth isn’t good or evil. Nature exists and it’s neutral. Show me a serene meadow and call it “nature” and I’ll show you billions and billions of cubic light-years of gas and dust and vaccuum that’s a lot more “natural” than any plant or animal, and none of it cares where we dump our trash. Nothing is stopping the Planeteers from using evil means to further the agenda of Gaia, since she cannot be evil (or good) herself.

FWIW, Tolkien considered Sauron’s potential use of the One Ring to totally enslave the minds of the people to be the foulest evil of all.

That’s a strong theme in the Silmarilion too isn’t it? The desire to dominate seems to be the main drive of all evil in that world. Starting with Melkor trying to change the song that makes the world.

I always wondered… Linka had telekinetic control over the wind, Gi had telikenetic control over water….

Does that mean Ma-Ti could theoretically rip a man’s heart out with his powers?

Also, has anyone else noticed that the elemental system corresponds to the States of Matter?

While true that mind control is techniquely evil, may i pose to you all this question?

There arises an evil so great that the only way to stop it is to become evil yourself. So, do you become evil in order to defeat evil, or remain just and allow evil to continue? Either way, evil remains.
For the record, the question is from the anime Code Geass, which i suggest you guys look up. The main character poses the question to a knight he is fighting, and declares since the knight chooses to remain just, that the main character would rather become an evil to stop a greater evil.
FYI, the main character also has the power to mind control anyone once. The series is all about moral ambiguity. And there are also giant robots. And until the last episode you wont really know if the main character was the hero or the villian of the series. Seriously, check it out

Depends on the absolutes. Is there absolute good and evil? If not, then you can rationalize any action as “good” as long as it produces more good than it spends in evil. If there is, then you are not evil but neutral- using evil means to accomplish good ends is not motivated by selfishness or personal ambition, therefore cannot be wholly evil.

If there is absolute good and evil, evil will always remain no matter what, or else good will have no meaning. If there is no absolute evil, then evil is a state of mind or being, and the only judge of evil is the tolerance of society… or the individual.

I’ve just realised the massive flaw in his argument. He’s presuming to live in a universe with Free Will and that any interference with it is evil. But he doesn’t live in a universe with Free Will. Every action of his is predetermined by Crave. Crave is their God.

What, everybody’s disputing the third panel, and nobody’s said anything about the second? The whole bit about “resisting societal influence to be evil” is terribly, terribly flawed.

First off, of course, there’s the fact that societal influence may itself be a pressure for evil rather than against it. The canonical example is of course Germany in the 1930s and early 1940s, but there are examples in the modern day in any country. (Exempli gratia.)

Second, there are many, many people for whom societal pressure simply has little or no effect. This is why we have the phrase “antisocial personality disorder” — a class of disorders including, but not limited to, psychopathy and sociopathy, and strongly associated with poor self-control. Such people will usually commit petty evils, rather than grand — e.g., a theft committed on the spur of the moment, simply because the thief had a passing urge to take something and didn’t even think about the possible consequences until after the fact.

Finally, while akrasia is clearly not always equivalent to weakness of the will, it does seem to occur as such, even in people who do not fit into the above category. This applies more to sporadic evil acts rather than consistently evil people, but it does seem to be the sort of thing Evil Future Ma-ti would meddle in anyway.

(For the record, though, I totally agree with everything in the third panel.)

I found your comic last week, and have been reading it during my downtime ever since…it’s fantastic. I love the variety of characters, and some of your one-liners are absolutely brilliant! There’s a sense of accomplishment with catching up on the 703 comics, but now I have to wait a full day for the next one…though I’m sure the build-up will only add to the enjoyment of the payoff. :)

Actually, I was reading a story on Fanfiction.net the other day that addresses the whole “becoming evil to defeat Evil” argument. The point made was this: if you know you must become evil to defeat an evil, don’t forget to factor your own destruction into the plan. That way you remove you own evil from the equation at the same time.
Now that I think about it, David Weber makes a similar point in his novel ‘In Fury Born’. One of the characters makes a suicidal attack on the antagonists headquarters -in a heavily populated civilian area- believing it to be the only way to stop him. The character KNEW that, even if successful, they would be unable to live with themselves. But allowing him to escape was -from their perspective- even worse.
Check it out, it’s a good read.

It depends on the beasts Ma-Ti has accessible to him. I mean… a pride of angry lions going “om nom nom” on humans can be pretty devastating. Not to mention that we aren’t even getting into the what if’s of genetic engineering. If something akin to a dragon could be made… could Ma-Ti utilize his powers to make it oh.. blow torch a couple of villains?

actually, the ones really defying years of tradition are the good guys when you think about it. being evil and standing by as the evil ones have their way has been the norm forever. before you doubt me i have this to say: search history as well as your feelings, you know it to be true!!!!

I wouldn’t say that being evil was the norm in the past, but rather the standards of what constitutes good behavior, what is meh everyday neutral stuff, and what falls into evil were steadily ‘rising’ through the ages.

i was prepared to make a long-winded rebuttal to thomas’s argument, but then i realized that giving the commenters a nudge to debate and discuss this kind of thing was your plan all along. you crafty devil.

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