Are there any positive traits of the Jovian Junta?

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Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
LatwPIAT wrote:

LatwPIAT wrote:

I fail to see your point here. Could you please state what the point you're trying to make is?

You seem to be saying that your main problem with the autonomists is that they seem too perfect because you agree with them. Are you saying something else? If yes, then what are you saying? If no, why is that a problem?

branford branford's picture
Smokeskin wrote:LatwPIAT

Smokeskin wrote:
LatwPIAT wrote:
Smokeskin wrote:
I didn't say everyone thinks these things are bad. I said some do.

Sure, you think drugs are fine. But to many drugs are evil, drug dealers are the ultimate criminal, they believe even recreational users should get long prison sentences.

The same with a work ethic. Some of the most prominent conservative bioethicists like Fukuyama argue that nootropics should be banned (and we're even talking Ritalin for children who suffer from ADHD) because it reduces the need to work for your achievements, and that devalues their human dignity. And the whole talk of moochers.

Just because your ideals align with the autonomists, that doesn't mean everyone does.

Let me rephrase that; I have these beliefs, and I know that such beliefs are common. The reason there's so little comparative criticism of the Autonomist Alliance is probably because very few people who are likely to be interested in Eclipse Phase are likely to also hold traditionally conservative beliefs about work ethics, welfare, and recreational drug use. In short, the kind of person interested in EP is the kind of person likely to agree on some level with the political ideals of the Autonomist Alliance.

So along comes post-scarcity tech like AI, advanced robotics, and nanomanufacture, and that allows a society of people who are relatively unproductive to still have a high standard of living.

Some of these people make techno-progressive democratic states like Europa, others the technosocialism on Titan, some party hard on Scum barges touring the solar system, some band together in anarchist habs.

Where is the problem? It seems natural that a society of people that you agree with would of course seem perfect to you. How could it be otherwise?

I think one of the problems in any discussion is the failure to acknowledge that EP is not really a true "post-scarcity" setting. In fact, "scarcity" is one of the primary themes of the game, most notably the scarcity of morphs, living space and actual physical materials and resources needed to build the wonderful toys with "advanced robotics and nanomanufacture." Also, the resources that do exist, require very skilled, diligent and time-consuming maintenance and repair, much of which cannot be done robotically (and/or someone has to build, upkeep and repair the robots).

It's great to have a society where you could purportedly create art by day, and have orgies by night, but someone still has to engage in the difficult and lengthy training to understand the advanced technology and then actually engage in many unpleasant, but absolutely necessary jobs like maintain the lavatories and oxygen scrubbers. As just years earlier, humanity almost became extinct, a professional military and security apparatus would also be well-advised.

As for the original point of the thread, many, including myself, still criticize the setting as naively and uncritically resolving virtually all doubts in favor of the "techno-progressive" factions, almost rendering them near platonic ideals of human generosity and cooperation, while portraying more conservative or capitalistic elements in a one-dimensional fashion that often is little more that talking-points from Worker's World or a college freshman sociology class.

I enjoy the setting and game (with some necessary fixes). However, the authors were certainly capable of producing a setting that was far less black-and-white and could offer even greater (and grayer) role-playing possibilities and inclusiveness. Their failure to do so was an unfortunate lost opportunity.

LatwPIAT LatwPIAT's picture
Smokeskin wrote:You seem to

Smokeskin wrote:
You seem to be saying that your main problem with the autonomists is that they seem too perfect because you agree with them. Are you saying something else? If yes, then what are you saying? If no, why is that a problem?

No. I am saying that because a majority of EP fans will tend to agree with the policies and philosophies of the Autonomist Alliance, they will not have any reasons to critique those aspects of the AA. Hence, there will be less criticism of the AA on these forums.

Especially when taking into account that the criticisms you presented as ones that should exist were exactly the kind of thing said presumed majority would hold as "good", or otherwise not see as "bad"; short work weeks, recreational drug use, body modification as a form of self-expression, etc.

Because people don't think this is something that needs criticism, you won't see that type of criticism.

@-rep +2
C-rep +1

branford branford's picture
Smokeskin wrote:branford

Smokeskin wrote:
branford wrote:

It's not that the Jovians could be Space Nazis, it's that they were intentionally and gratuitously designed and written to actually be Space Nazis that could be killed or defeated without compunction or remorse. The canon text in both the core and Rimward offer Jovians as one-dimensional, mustache twirling, incompetent Luddite villians for the express purpose of being the "bad guys" and foil to the "good guy" anarchists.

The repeated threads about the Jovians simply demonstrate that below the surface of express Jovian canon (and the obvious biases of the authors) lie a polity that may (and should) have ideas, motivations and competencies that are realistic, very sympathetic, nuanced and entirely appropriate for a post-apocalyptic horror setting.

If I described North Korea to you at the political level, would you assume that all their citizens were like that? That the people are just a bunch of mindless, great-leader-loving drones? Taleban ruled Afghanistan, do you think all Afghans are fanatical terrorists?

Really, people are a very varied bunch. Sure you can generalize, but it is going to cover a wide spectrum of personalities and nuances. This doesn't have to be spelled out all the time in every description. There are good people in the JR and the PC, and there are selfish pricks in the AA. This goes without saying, really.

Although I completely agree that generalization about people is imprudent since individuals in any culture can be quite different, it really doesn't address my particular point.

The authors very clearly set-out to portray the Jovians, and to a lesser extent the PC, as "very bad guys," and the anarchists as the "good guys" in the setting. There was no real attempt to provide any nuance or "realism" to the more conservative factions, while the more left-wing groups and individuals are clearly idealized and romanticized. Although such depictions are obviously well within the purview and discretion of the authors, such black-and-white portrayals limit role-playing possibilities under the established setting. In fact, if the authors tried to avoid lazy generalizations about people, as both you and I suggest, we would likely not even be having this discussion about the Jovians.

capybara capybara's picture
branford wrote:Smokeskin

branford wrote:

There was no real attempt to provide any nuance or "realism" to the more conservative factions, while the more left-wing groups and individuals are clearly idealized and romanticized.


Well, the Jovians are social conservatives who actually have a very good reason to be socially conservative (TITANS), unlike today. Doesn't get more positive than this, in my opinion.

As far as other right-wing ideologies go, there are Ultimates and Extropians, both (generally) good guys.

Tiberia Tiberia's picture
I think one aspect that hasn

I think one aspect that hasn't been touched on is that not everyone today agrees with transhumanism, and to have the main representation of their viewpoint be such a caricature is insulting and smacks of ad hominem and straw-manning.

One of my friends whom I game with I would call bio-conservative. This contrasts with my transhumanist views, and we have debated (argued) about it a couple of times.
I want him to be able to join me in this game I am excited to play, because he is one of my closest friends. I have been reading the core book cover to cover just so I could be as ready to run the game as I could be. I feel it would be a great shame to have him left out of this because the people he agrees with are written as North Korean Nazis. Saying that this just isn't a game for him to play is close minded, and is closing a door to discussion and exploring the different sides of this topic.
Not getting to game with one of my closest friends would be a tragedy, and it is one that I'm sure many of us might face with friends who are more bio-conservative, or are simply scared by the Ship of Theseus problem.

When I do finally run this game I can of course make changes to the junta to make them less evil, and focus on the bio-conservatism. That is the beauty of table top games. don't like something? change it. which in itself is a pretty trans-humanist sentiment. fitting.

Another problem, and i think some of you have touched on it already is that the Junta feels more like N. Korea, then Nazi Germany. North Korea is dangerous, but No-one sees them as having a real chance at winning, just of causing great misery before going down. Nazi Germany posed a real threat, because the idea that they might win was heavy on people's minds.
So The Junta is a caricature, and not threatening enough to be the big bad.

capybara capybara's picture
Actually, I'm not quite sure

Actually, I'm not quite sure it's the authors who make the Junta seem North Korean Nazis, not us. We read "biocon, catholic, authoritarian" and instanlty see Nazi North Korea, but if I'm not mistaken, nowhere does the corebook explicitly state that the Junta is an exceptionally bad place to live in. One example that comes to mind is naming a moon after Pinochet. To a person raised in a traditional liberal narrative this is an instant red flag that brings with it all sorts of unpleasant associations. On the other hand, I sincerely like Pinochet, so it doesn't seem that much of a caricature to me. I would probably name a moon or two for the guy myself.

What I'm trying to say here is, I guess, that it may be our personal bias that makes the Junta not grey enough.

branford branford's picture
Tiberia wrote:I think one

Tiberia wrote:
I think one aspect that hasn't been touched on is that not everyone today agrees with transhumanism, and to have the main representation of their viewpoint be such a caricature is insulting and smacks of ad hominem and straw-manning.

One of my friends whom I game with I would call bio-conservative. This contrasts with my transhumanist views, and we have debated (argued) about it a couple of times.
I want him to be able to join me in this game I am excited to play, because he is one of my closest friends. I have been reading the core book cover to cover just so I could be as ready to run the game as I could be. I feel it would be a great shame to have him left out of this because the people he agrees with are written as North Korean Nazis. Saying that this just isn't a game for him to play is close minded, and is closing a door to discussion and exploring the different sides of this topic.
Not getting to game with one of my closest friends would be a tragedy, and it is one that I'm sure many of us might face with friends who are more bio-conservative, or are simply scared by the Ship of Theseus problem.

When I do finally run this game I can of course make changes to the junta to make them less evil, and focus on the bio-conservatism. That is the beauty of table top games. don't like something? change it. which in itself is a pretty trans-humanist sentiment. fitting.

Another problem, and i think some of you have touched on it already is that the Junta feels more like N. Korea, then Nazi Germany. North Korea is dangerous, but No-one sees them as having a real chance at winning, just of causing great misery before going down. Nazi Germany posed a real threat, because the idea that they might win was heavy on people's minds.
So The Junta is a caricature, and not threatening enough to be the big bad.

I agree completely. The fact that the game basically presumes agreement with the belief that "bioconservatism" (however and to what extent that may be defined) is "bad," and that the primary and largest bioconservative faction is, at best, a poor caricature of conservative or religious America, can be jarring and needlessly insulting. It is quite possible to believe that prudence should prevail over access to potentially dangerous technology as well as hold somewhat conservative political, cultural and economic views, and yet still play and enjoy a science fiction and post-apocalyptic rpg, provided the authors do not gratuitously insult much of their intended audience, particularly in the USA. This is all the more evident as the setting involves a near extinction-level series of events just a few years earlier caused by computer and biotechnology run amok and with Firewall's, the primary PC organization, mission to combat similar threats to humanity.

The Game Information section of Rimward essentially reads as an admission by the authors that they might have pushed well past the limits of what is inclusive and acceptable with the Jovians.

branford branford's picture
capybara wrote:Actually, I'm

capybara wrote:
Actually, I'm not quite sure it's the authors who make the Junta seem North Korean Nazis, not us. We read "biocon, catholic, authoritarian" and instanlty see Nazi North Korea, but if I'm not mistaken, nowhere does the corebook explicitly state that the Junta is an exceptionally bad place to live in. One example that comes to mind is naming a moon after Pinochet. To a person raised in a traditional liberal narrative this is an instant red flag that brings with it all sorts of unpleasant associations. On the other hand, I sincerely like Pinochet, so it doesn't seem that much of a caricature to me. I would probably name a moon or two for the guy myself.

What I'm trying to say here is, I guess, that it may be our personal bias that makes the Junta not grey enough.

We're not interpreting the text as implying that the Jovians are Space Nazis. The authors quite explicitly concede that, as presented, the Jovian are in fact Space Nazis.

Rimward, p. 195 (emphasis added):

RUNNING THE JOVIANS

There are many ways to handle the Jovian Republic
in a campaign. As superficially presented, the Jovians
are portrayed as bad guys, both for their throwback
attitudes towards transhumanity, their militaristic
ways, and their fascistic government. It is certainly
easy to play this up by highlighting their expansionism
and belligerence towards other polities, their slingshot
taxation and invasive naval patrols, or the way they
repress their own populations and commit civil rights
violations. This villainous empire niche is often
important for certain scenarios—nobody minds
shooting space Nazis, right?

capybara capybara's picture
That doesn't mean that

That doesn't mean that Jovians ARE Space Nazis. They can be played as such, yes. But nothing here - nor militaristic ways, not fascistic government, nor invasive naval patrols - implies that they can be ONLY that.

Unless we begin interpreting the text under the influence of our specific biases, and then, yes, fascistic government = space nazis.

Tiberia Tiberia's picture
If every problem can be

If every problem can be explained away as just our personal bias, then where does that leave room for discussion and critique? Saying that it is just our biases that make the Junta seem like Nazi N. Koreans rings hollow to me. It is saying that it is a figment of our imaginations, and purely illusionary. BUT not one person has actually been able to name a positive quality of the Junta. The closest have been the theories that the Junta keep the AA and PC from going to war, and that the Juntas might be the best hope against the TITANS, and a few other similar ideas. These aren't really positive qualities, just reasons they might be needed. There has been no virtues to make them be anything other then the people you should root against.

We can run it however we like, and I will likely do just that. But as written it excludes and alienates those who might share different viewpoints. Having the only notable representation of bio-cons be de facto morally black villains is an unfair way to treat a dissenting opinion.

I feel it might be necessary to say again that this does not make the Setting as a whole bad. This is still my favorite setting, and I'm sure most of us would agree it is a good setting.

branford branford's picture
capybara wrote:That doesn't

capybara wrote:
That doesn't mean that Jovians ARE Space Nazis. They can be played as such, yes. But nothing here - nor militaristic ways, not fascistic government, nor invasive naval patrols - implies that they can be ONLY that.

Unless we begin interpreting the text under the influence of our specific biases, and then, yes, fascistic government = space nazis.

Any individual from any faction can certainly be played against type, regardless of game or genre.

However, the OP inquired if there was anything positive about the Jovian Junta as presented in the actual setting materials. (the fact that the Jovians are casually, universally and repeatedly referred to simply as the "Junta," is all one really needs to know in order to adequately answer the question.)

The Jovian Republic, and the vast, vast majority of Jovians, are expressly shown to be and intended as Space Nazis. This depiction encompasses their core ideology, economy. military, social sphere, relationships to technology and other factions, and even religion.

To portray the polity itself as anything but Space Nazis really requires squinting real hard and then still altering the setting. The authors consciously and most definitely wanted Jovian to be one-dimensional Nazis. As they themselves stated, "nobody minds shooting Space Nazis."

I most definitely agree that the Jovians need not truly be Nazis, but the authors made such an endeavor unduly difficult.

The more I think about the depiction of Jovians as a surrogate for American neoconservatives or those who are religiously devout (of which I am neither), particularly from a group of authors who claim to want to be inclusive and accepting of diverse beliefs, the more offensive the stereotypical and hyperbolic caricature appears.

Given the very low esteem that anarchists have in our culture, many Americans and others, ranging from conservatives to those who are left-of-center, may agree with the basic, general belief that "nobody minds shooting anarchists" (although very few would condone actual violence). However, I very much doubt that the authors or many posters on this board would be nearly as amused or passive if such a sentiment appeared in the rpg, no less EP. Why should conservatives or anyone else be any less offended?

Pyrite Pyrite's picture
Tiberia wrote:not one person

Tiberia wrote:
not one person has actually been able to name a positive quality of the Junta. The closest have been the theories that the Junta keep the AA and PC from going to war, and that the Juntas might be the best hope against the TITANS, and a few other similar ideas. These aren't really positive qualities, just reasons they might be needed. There has been no virtues to make them be anything other then the people you should root against.

We can run it however we like, and I will likely do just that. But as written it excludes and alienates those who might share different viewpoints. Having the only notable representation of bio-cons be de facto morally black villains is an unfair way to treat a dissenting opinion.

So how would you want to rework the Jovians? What redeeming qualities would you write into them for your own game?

'No language is justly studied merely as an aid to other purposes. It will in fact better serve other purposes, philological or historical, when it is studied for love, for itself.' --J.R.R. Tolkien

Freedom Geek Freedom Geek's picture
Smokeskin wrote:

Smokeskin wrote:

]Most people perform much better with some outside need. Few have that internal drive to really get up and push hard and work for something without a carrot and also a bit of whip.

And yet open source programming projects are a thing. Get rid of all the stress associated with the work, get rid of the deadlines, make it easy to come in and start spending as much or as little time as you like on the project - and getting started becomes a lot easier because it's not a commitment.

Quote:
It is anyone's guess if the rep economy is actually so close to a traditional economy that unless you produce value for the society your life quality will drop significantly. In that case, the whole 4 hour workweek is an illusion though.

I think the four hour work week is the amount required to maintain that quality of life.

Quote:
But let us compare two courses you could take in EP.

You could join a scum barge, and ten years later, man you partied a lot, did a lot of drugs, had a lot of sex, barrels of fun. That's pretty much it. Yeah, you dabbled in a few projects, but never really completed them because it is always like this:

Or you joined a 35 hour workweek hab. Still plenty of fun in the weekends, but the weekdays you work. Maybe you're helping build morphs for those in cold storage, or on a research team, or harvesting raw materials for hab construction. But you'll have accomplished something, achieved goals, acquired skills, built stuff, helped people, and you'd have done it together with colleagues working on a common task. You'd look back at those 10 years and feel they were worth something.

Which is the happier life? Which society is better off and able to do most good, the one with the hedonistic lifestyle or the productive one?

As someone being crushed under the weight of a PhD you could not pay me enough to convince me to join the 35 hour work week hab.

But let's imagine another of these sorts of juxtapositions, a scum barge is a rather extreme case after all:

You spend 10 years on a 'free time' focused hab. You read frequently on a broad range of topics - from physics to history. Although this is not necessarily useful as jobs tend to require specialized knowledge you feel that your horizons have been broadened. You find yourself relaxed and actually enjoying life for the first time in years.

You spend 10 years on a 'work' focused hab. You feel like your under constant pressure due to stress and deadlines. No matter what the work entails, even if its your favorite thing in the world, you won't enjoy it if it has stress and deadlines. Even when you're not working you feel miserable because of this and feel like you should be working. You constantly wonder if you're going to fail miserably, and when you scrape by it brings you not joy but dread for the next challenge.

For me that's the couple of months I had of free time between my honours year and PhD and my PhD respectively. And when I completed my Honour's year research thesis, obtaining a first class honours, I felt some small joy from accomplishing that but I was mostly just happy that I wouldn't have to work for a few months.

-

capybara capybara's picture
branford wrote:

branford wrote:

I most definitely agree that the Jovians need not truly be Nazis, but the authors made such an endeavor unduly difficult.

I honestly don't see where exactly. Yes, they are fascists. But this is one-sidedly bad only for someone who isn't familiar with the positive sides of, say, Franco's Spain, Pinochet's Chile or Lee's Singapore. Yes, they are corporatist Catholics, but this is an absolute negative only to those unfamiliar with all the great work Jesuits and Opus Dei do all around the world. And so on.

In my impression, the authors simply state that the Jovians are conservative christian fascists. Nowhere do they say this is a fundamentally bad thing. My personal political views are borderline right-wing extremist, but I can't say I'm offended by the portrayal. There are plenty of positives to work with and no negatives for the sake of negatives. Everything is plausible. I'm easily offended by leftists, but here I honestly don't see a reason to be.

branford branford's picture
capybara wrote:branford wrote

capybara wrote:
branford wrote:

I most definitely agree that the Jovians need not truly be Nazis, but the authors made such an endeavor unduly difficult.

I honestly don't see where exactly. Yes, they are fascists. But this is one-sidedly bad only for someone who isn't familiar with the positive sides of, say, Franco's Spain, Pinochet's Chile or Lee's Singapore. Yes, they are corporatist Catholics, but this is an absolute negative only to those unfamiliar with all the great work Jesuits and Opus Dei do all around the world. And so on.

In my impression, the authors simply state that the Jovians are conservative christian fascists. Nowhere do they say this is a fundamentally bad thing. My personal political views are borderline right-wing extremist, but I can't say I'm offended by the portrayal. There are plenty of positives to work with and no negatives for the sake of negatives. Everything is plausible. I'm easily offended by leftists, but here I honestly don't see a reason to be.

Respectfully, the view that actual fascism is not fundamentally bad is certainly a very minority viewpoint. To those individuals who are just simply run-of-the-mill nationalists, conservatives, capitalists or devout religious believers, accusations and portrayals as fascists is most insulting. Nevertheless, if you find significant merit in fascists (I will assume that you do not subscribe to fringe Nazi or neo-Nazi ideologies), it is unsurprising that you find the Jovians less offensive than others, despite all the one-dimensional and stereotypical extreme right-wing tropes that encompass the Jovian Republic.

Quite frankly, as I read the Jovian setting materials, the Junta could not be portrayed in a more gratuitously negative and evil (and inept and useless) manner unless they started rounding-up and killing Space Jews.

As a politically moderate and fairly secular Jew who lost much of his family in the Holocaust, and as mentioned earlier, can only partially sympathize with the Jovians to the extent that they are survivors of a near-extinction event who are now taking prudent and difficult precautions to prevent a repeat of the disaster, making me not only feel empathy for depicted fascists, but outright defending them, is no easy task.

capybara capybara's picture
branford wrote:

branford wrote:

Respectfully, the view that actual fascism is not fundamentally bad is certainly a very minority viewpoint.

This is what I meant to say - it is all about viewpoint. The authors could give the Jovians some universally negative trait (genocide? slavery? actual nazism? majority of right-wingers end up as exhuman?) but didn't. Jovians are a latin american junta in space; whether a latin american junta in space is a bad thing or not is still debatable, both in and out of character.

We all have our biases -you think "holocaust" when you hear "fascist" (despite actual fascism having very little to do with holocaust; and some fascist regimes, like the Chilean junta, having an amicable relationship with Israel). Me, I think "USSR" when I hear "socialism" (I come from a White Russian family, "socialist" is basically a dirty insult for me) - also not a fault of the EP team.

I agree that right wing in EP got less love and attention than the left, but there's nothing I would dare to call intellectual dishonesty. If anything, given the (publicly admitted) left-wing bias of the EP team, the portrayal is remarkably neutral.

branford branford's picture
capybara wrote:branford wrote

capybara wrote:
branford wrote:

Respectfully, the view that actual fascism is not fundamentally bad is certainly a very minority viewpoint.

This is what I meant to say - it is all about viewpoint. The authors could give the Jovians some universally negative trait (genocide? slavery? actual nazism? majority of right-wingers end up as exhuman?) but didn't. Jovians are a latin american junta in space; whether a latin american junta in space is a bad thing or not is still debatable, both in and out of character.

I agree that right wing in EP got less love and attention than the left, but there's nothing I would dare to call intellectual dishonesty. If anything, given the (publicly admitted) left-wing bias of the EP team, the portrayal is remarkably neutral.

I do not suggest that the authors are not entitled to their political, social, religious or economic viewpoints, nor imply that they need to alter their work to satisfy me or anyone else. We are certainly free to choose whether to buy their books, and I am comfortable with my choices or I would not be commenting here.

However, in an otherwise very rich and diverse setting, I found that their sometimes lazy and stereotypical depictions of various factions (obviously meant as reflections of their views of contemporary groups like American conservatives, capitalists and the religious), and the entirely uncritical portrayal of their favored left-wing ideologies, detracted from an otherwise great game, mainly by unnecessarily forcing a black and white "good guy" and "bad guy" dynamic. It may be morally uncomplicated and fun to sometimes shoot Space Nazis, but making the Jovians (and PC) one-dimensional villains lessened certain mature role-playing opportunities that a more realistic and nuanced view would have provided. Insulting many of their less liberal customers was also imprudent.

capybara capybara's picture
How would you change the

How would you change the Jovians to make them less offensive? The question is not rethorical, I'm genuinely interested in what you have in mind.

The way I see it, most of their supposedly "bad" characteristics - bioconservatism and authoritarian government - stem directly from a very real need to counter potential TITAN threats.

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
branford wrote:

branford wrote:

I think one of the problems in any discussion is the failure to acknowledge that EP is not really a true "post-scarcity" setting. In fact, "scarcity" is one of the primary themes of the game, most notably the scarcity of morphs, living space and actual physical materials and resources needed to build the wonderful toys with "advanced robotics and nanomanufacture." Also, the resources that do exist, require very skilled, diligent and time-consuming maintenance and repair, much of which cannot be done robotically (and/or someone has to build, upkeep and repair the robots).

It's great to have a society where you could purportedly create art by day, and have orgies by night, but someone still has to engage in the difficult and lengthy training to understand the advanced technology and then actually engage in many unpleasant, but absolutely necessary jobs like maintain the lavatories and oxygen scrubbers. As just years earlier, humanity almost became extinct, a professional military and security apparatus would also be well-advised.

Of course there is still scarcity, but at the personal level, not really. With a power source, living space and a bit of raw material, your fabbers and whatnot can pretty much recycle all your volatiles and make what you need.The overhead needed to maintain your life is pretty low.

Robotics are advanced and easily match and surpass human physical capabilities, and AIs have a skill rating of 40. On top, you have self-repairing smartmaterials, and the lavatories are probably just a maker that break down your waste for the raw materials for other uses.

As to the high level stuff, there are most likely geeks who like to program or tinker with the hab machinery, and gungho types who think that military training is sooo fun (the community actually gives you military hardware to play with, and actual combat when you have your ego on backup isn't even something you have to view as a big deal).

And if that doesn't cover it, there is the 4 hours per week community service required.

Quote:

As for the original point of the thread, many, including myself, still criticize the setting as naively and uncritically resolving virtually all doubts in favor of the "techno-progressive" factions, almost rendering them near platonic ideals of human generosity and cooperation

Actually, they just allow people to use the tech that is available. They aren't overly generous. An EP hab only requires 4 hours per week per person to work. People aren't on welfare.

Regarding cooperation, if you assume that there's not disagreement in an anarchist hab, I think you're doing the overgeneralization thing again. Of course people have different ideas of how to go about things.

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
branford wrote:

branford wrote:

The authors very clearly set-out to portray the Jovians, and to a lesser extent the PC, as "very bad guys," and the anarchists as the "good guys" in the setting. There was no real attempt to provide any nuance or "realism" to the more conservative factions, while the more left-wing groups and individuals are clearly idealized and romanticized.

Perhaps your problem is that you actually sympathize with progressive values more than you like to admit?

When you are actually bioconservative, it has consequences. You are denied technology that could help you and others. For example the use of Ritalin to help children with ADHD, this is one thing current bioconservatives are often against. They have their reasons, but let us not pretend that this is without consequence. The same with the opposition to stem cell research (which iirc even went so far as to ending public funding during the Bush administration and a ban on creating new stem cell lines), this has had a real impact on medical research and people will suffer and die because of the delay in the treatment to help them. Again, the bioconservatives have their reasons, but to people who don't share their values it can be seen as pure evil.

When we started doing organ transplant, there was also a huge bioconservative opposition to that. That also had consequences. Eventually, most bionconservatives accepted organ transplants (I guess that once you or a family member needs a new kidney or heart, it becomes so close that the wisdom of repugnance doesn't seem like that strong an argument any longer, and over time that will happen to so many members in the movement that it reaches a critical mass). But we still have people with very strong ideas about this, like Yehova's Witnesses who are opposed to blood transfusions even to the point of letting their children die.

In EP, medical technology is WAY above our level. The benefits of using it fully are tremendous. You're smarter, stronger, happier and completely disease-free in an advanced biomorph, and on top there's healing vats. If you choose to live in a Flat (or your government forces you to remain in one), your life quality is going to be significantly lower. Similar arguments apply to the use of nanotech and AI.

The nuanced and realistic depiction of JR is that their citizens don't enjoy the benefits of a progressive way of life. And when the autonomists are described as enjoying the benefits of a progressive way of life, that is not idealized and romanticized, that is realistic. If you don't think that biotech, nanotech and AI could ever be as good as they're depicted in EP, that's a technical discussion. But given their efficacy, the differences in using them or not seem to be portrayed quite accurately.

bblonski bblonski's picture
branford wrote:

branford wrote:

It's not that the Jovians could be Space Nazis, it's that they were intentionally and gratuitously designed and written to actually be Space Nazis that could be killed or defeated without compunction or remorse. The canon text in both the core and Rimward offer Jovians as one-dimensional, mustache twirling, incompetent Luddite villians for the express purpose of being the "bad guys" and foil to the "good guy" anarchists.

I guess I simply have to disagree, and I think it's unfair to assume intention on behalf of the creators when they've made statements that that is not the case. Sure, the Jovians have more than their fair share of troubles, but I didn't find the canon text to be nearly as damning. The Jovians are often described as a mix of right-wing conservatives, left-wing environmental extremists, religious fanatics, and pragmatic atheistic military officials; hardly one-dimensional. Their fear of AIs and unregulated technology is entirely justified. And it's explicitly stated that they are not Luddites since they have access to the same technology as everyone else, they just regulate it more. I even reread all the sections I could find on Jovians after I saw all the criticism thinking I had missed something. They didn't seem any less nuanced then any of the other factions. The only thing that really stuck out to me was when the Jovian patriot stated his own democracy was a sham. That was pretty hard to swallow, but I considered how many people I know that consider their own government a sham and still consider themselves patriots.

The Autonomists are far from the good guys. Life in the Autonomist Alliance is described as "often harsh and deadly," and they are clearly reliant on software piracy for most of their economic output. They are full of insurgents, extremists, hackers, drug dealers, singularity seekers, and criminals. Autonomist space clearly had the most plot hooks to me because of the number of things that go wrong and the lack of authority to take care of problems. It's basically the wild west where the players are the cowboys that have to regularly save the townsfolk.

Even Firewall is described as "rogue operation that meddles in heavy shit that we have no authority to get involved in and that we sometimes get people killed as a result," and it's implied their leadership can't be trusted, and they're the good guys.

branford wrote:

The repeated threads about the Jovians simply demonstrate that below the surface of express Jovian canon (and the obvious biases of the authors) lie a polity that may (and should) have ideas, motivations and competencies that are realistic, very sympathetic, nuanced and entirely appropriate for a post-apocalyptic horror setting.

I often see that those threads, like this one, have a large number of supporters who think that the Jovians ARE realistic, sympathetic, nuanced, and entirely appropriate, as well as many who disagree. It appears to be a hotly debated and highly politicized topic. I find it fascinating, personally. I'm not sure how 2 groups of people can read the same source material and have such differing interpretations. I guess that's why politics exist in the first place. All I can do is express that, personally, I did not find the Jovians described by the text as simplistic or evil as most detractors try to describe them. They're certainly not as bad as some of the criminal organizations. I find it odd that the people most sympathetic to the Jovians usually have the most simplistic and extreme interpretations of them.

branford wrote:

The three short paragraphs on p. 195-6, at best, represent an acknowledgement by the authors' of justified criticism that they entirely failed to present a deeper, more comprehensive or relatable faction in the EP universe. Nevertheless, no additional or revised materials are presented in Rimward or anywhere else to actually correct this deficiency in the official setting.

Again I have to disagree. I found the added Jovian material explained a lot of their apparent deficiencies. For example, how they have higher cancer rates because they refuse to use the latest treatments that involves letting loose NANOSWARMS in you body. You know, nanoswarms like the ones that destroyed Earth. Also, their "sarcophagus" habs may not be as fancy as what some other people have, but they are a time tested technology that isn't going to have a lot of surprises and doesn't rely on crazy amounts of AI automation. I can easily see why a conservative government would choose proven technologies over potentially exploitable experimental technology. Their citizenship through military service make a lot of sense given the circumstances. And the information on the Catholic Church tempering the governments military zeal and giving hope and moral guidance to the populace gave some nice positive nuance to the rather sparse information on religions in EP, which is another common complaint I see.

I'm sure the creators tried to address criticisms and add more nuance, but "entirely failed" is a bit unfair considering that the criticisms are hardly universal. The authors are trying to explicitly call out how to make the Jovians more nuanced and sympathetic, something which I thought was already apparent. Those "three short paragraphs" are more dedicated text than any one faction got in the Core rulebook, and about as much text as was dedicated to describing the New Economy, so it's hardly insignificant. I still don't see why you dismiss it when it is explicitly trying to address your complaint. What exactly about their suggestions do you find insufficient to have nuanced sympathetic Jovians?

branford wrote:

As an aside, I also found the authors' decision to keep Europa firmly out of the control of the Jovians most interesting (unlike the admittedly more nuanced relationship with the city-states of Callisto). Europa, with its vast oceans, has always captured the imagination of the public due to the possible presence of alien life, and has been a premier setting in science fiction rpg's set in our solar system.

I imagine it's mostly due to the fact that Europa was well established before the Jovians came and seems mostly uninhabitable to unmodified morphs. The Jovians probably don't value the research there as much as the other factions and it's not worth the resources for a full scale invasion. Although it looks like the Jovians are willing to bully them even if Europa remains defiant. But I'd hardly say Europa has nothing to fear, they're just not top of the hit list.

I think we sometimes forget that this is an RPG setting and not a history/political textbook. Honestly I find EP one of the most nuanced and well thought out settings out there. At least all these different political ideologies are all plausible and working to some extent in the EP universe. Compared to settings like Shadowrun, W40K, Star Wars, etc, EP is extremely fair and almost flattering to right wing ideologies by comparison. Personally I've never encountered a more nuanced setting. I hear GURPS Transhuman Space might do it, but I haven't read it yet.

There was a reddit AMA where the Eclipse Phase creators said they intended for the only "good guys" to be Firewall and the only true "bad guys" to be the Exsurgents. Some factions are more sympathetic than others, but they wanted all to have redeeming qualities. I'm inclined to take them at their word. They did explain that a lot of their freelance writers liked the anarchists so they got a lot more fiction from the anarchist's point of view which I think explains some of the apparent bias.

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Tiberia wrote:If every

Tiberia wrote:
If every problem can be explained away as just our personal bias, then where does that leave room for discussion and critique? Saying that it is just our biases that make the Junta seem like Nazi N. Koreans rings hollow to me. It is saying that it is a figment of our imaginations, and purely illusionary. BUT not one person has actually been able to name a positive quality of the Junta. The closest have been the theories that the Junta keep the AA and PC from going to war, and that the Juntas might be the best hope against the TITANS, and a few other similar ideas. These aren't really positive qualities, just reasons they might be needed. There has been no virtues to make them be anything other then the people you should root against.

There are many positive qualities. They are not depraved, drug-abusing slackers. They do not resleeve and lose their soul in the process. They are not using risky technologies.

You may think those arguments are bad, but never the less, those are the arguments that form the basis of their society, and you just need to look at present day political themes to see how relevant they are and how many people share them. Take the war on drugs, the opposition against so-called moochers, the pro-life movement, government surveillance - these are not fringe issues that only a few extremists are in favor of, they are highly relevant and based on the exact same memes that underly the Jovian Republic.

Tiberia wrote:

We can run it however we like, and I will likely do just that. But as written it excludes and alienates those who might share different viewpoints. Having the only notable representation of bio-cons be de facto morally black villains is an unfair way to treat a dissenting opinion.

Far from everyone would label the JR as morally black.

I do agree that we could have used another bioconservative faction. Today, the extreme left is a strong bioconservative voice in the debate.

uwtartarus uwtartarus's picture
Are the JR bioconservative

Are the JR bioconservative for the sake of being biocon or are they partly reacting to being surrounded by hostile culture? Does this affect the validity of their beliefs? They can't have internal discussions of how biocon to be when the outside is so damn technoprogressive and thus any step towards a moderate stance is tantamount to treason and a threat to the humanity of the Republic.

I too have a player who is personally VERY biocon and reacted VERY poorly to the only visibly Bioconservative faction being a right-wing dictatorship. A possibly lost player that I deeply regret and endeavour to court further as I love EP despite their blatant biases for sociopolitical beliefs that I personally endorse with fervor.

Exhuman, and Humanitarian.

uwtartarus uwtartarus's picture
Smokeskin wrote:

Smokeskin wrote:

I do agree that we could have used another bioconservative faction. Today, the extreme left is a strong bioconservative voice in the debate.

The constantly anti-scientific attacks on GMOs is a prime example of leftist bioconservativism that is about as wrong as anti-evolution based education.

Exhuman, and Humanitarian.

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
capybara wrote:

capybara wrote:

As far as other right-wing ideologies go, there are Ultimates and Extropians, both (generally) good guys.

Hah. The Ultimates are generally not liked on these forums, and I've received a ton of flak and even had a forum member tell me he would physically assault me and be proud of it because I made pro-Extropian comments.

I also cringe awhen I hear Extropians being called right-wing. Bundling them in with a right wing that is almost entirely in favor of exploitative state capitalism gives off the wrong idea.

obsidian razor obsidian razor's picture
Quote:As far as other right

Quote:
As far as other right-wing ideologies go, there are Ultimates and Extropians, both (generally) good guys.

Odd... it doesn't strike me that the books paint the Ultimates as good guys. In fact, they are constantly portrait as brutal and unsympathetic and at several times they are called neo or techno fascist (which I belive it's an accurate way of framing them if you compare their ideology to fascist movements, minus the nationalism).

Extropians are tricky, and it's even said in Rimward. They are a weird collage of both right-wing ultra libertarians and left wing mutualists. Frankly I find Extropia one of the scariest places in EP because of how utterly uncaring it is towards everyone.

branford branford's picture
Smokeskin, I've already

Smokeskin, I've already stated that I tend to lean left of center politically in the USA (which is probably center or slightly to the right by many European standards). My more liberal politics, however, does not deprive me either sympathy or understanding of viewpoints with which I may not agree, including some elements of bioconservatism, at least as they may be relevant as viewed through the prism of EP.

Conservatives, at least in the mainstream, are not Luddites, intentionally cruel or masochistic or deniers of science or the benefits derived thereof. Much of their opposition to some of the issues you mention are far more nuanced than you present. For instance, opposition to stem cell research was often due to the fact that the cells were procured from aborted fetuses, not to the research itself. Although I personally am pro-choice, if you believe life (soul?) begins at conception (and even EP science does not provide any real answers), the use of such cells would clearly be abhorrent. Nevertheless, the opposition mainly was to the government funding of such research, not a universal prohibition. Similarly with drugs like Ritalin, the opposition is often focused on the over-prescription of potentially mind altering drugs and/or the use of such drugs when the underlying problems are not physiological. This is similar to the debate about anti-depressants, and supported by some recent studies, that show the unnecessary (over)administration of these drugs have actually led adolescent and teenage suicide. Conservatives also claim to believe in an ideology of personal responsibility that runs counter to "elective" use of some drugs to alter personality defects rather than cure disease, and of course, the opposition to the use of other illegal drugs like cocaine, heroin and meth.

A lot of these issues are also not really part of the conservative vs. liberal dynamic in much of the USA. Our constitutional jurisprudence, consistent with our founding cultural values, emphasized the freedom and practice of religion, and provides protections for religion, speech and other related rights well in excess of much of ostensibly more liberal Europe. Although conservatives are using these legal precedents the last few years to their advantage, liberals relied on these laws and ruling for much of the 20th century. By way of example, the recent Supreme Court case that permitted Hobby Lobby to not pay for certain methods of birth control provided by insurance was the result of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a law championed by liberal icon Ted Kennedy, passed almost unanimously in both houses of Congress, signed into law by Democrat Bill Clinton, and used by some groups to imbibe otherwise illegal drugs in furtherance of non-mainstream religious ceremony, hardly a conservative position.

Additionally, as another poster has mentioned, much of the bioconservatism of today is the province of the progressive left, not political conservatives or the religious. For instance, the opposition to genetically modified foods is almost entirely an issue for the left, and primarily centered in Europe. If that was extrapolated to the future in EP, the AA would be starving while the Jovians feast.

With respect to the Jovian Republic, unlike your portrayal of medicine in the Republic, the text explicitly mentions that "Jovian medtech is on par with the best found elsewhere in the system," medical nanotech is allowed under supervision of a professional, and exowombs, childcare facilities and schools are top of the line. (Rimward, p. 36-7).

Moreover, I would choose to live in the reliable, if slightly cramped and outdated, Reagan cylinders rather than some of the tin can death traps inhabited by some science-loving techno-progressive groups in the outer system.

The Jovians also seem perfectly happy with their way of life. The vast majority are quite content to live in their original body (with a shiny soul!!!) and have no desire to resleeve. To many educated and experienced Jovians, the "benefits" of a "progressive" life are nothing but a curse that invites Armageddon. In light of setting comments like the "Morph Conspiracies" from the Morph Recognition Guide and the fact that humanity was almost extinguished barely a decade earlier by technological and biological horrors that other factions of transhumanity continue to carelessly investigate, it's a good bet that the Jovian's fear and precautions are well-founded and probably correct. My well-used and slightly pudgy Flat is looking better ever day . . .

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Freedom Geek wrote:

Freedom Geek wrote:

As someone being crushed under the weight of a PhD you could not pay me enough to convince me to join the 35 hour work week hab.

Your current behavior suggests otherwise. You could just drop the PhD, but instead you do the work because you expect some future reward from it.

Freedom Geek wrote:

But let's imagine another of these sorts of juxtapositions, a scum barge is a rather extreme case after all:

You spend 10 years on a 'free time' focused hab. You read frequently on a broad range of topics - from physics to history. Although this is not necessarily useful as jobs tend to require specialized knowledge you feel that your horizons have been broadened. You find yourself relaxed and actually enjoying life for the first time in years.

You spend 10 years on a 'work' focused hab. You feel like your under constant pressure due to stress and deadlines. No matter what the work entails, even if its your favorite thing in the world, you won't enjoy it if it has stress and deadlines. Even when you're not working you feel miserable because of this and feel like you should be working. You constantly wonder if you're going to fail miserably, and when you scrape by it brings you not joy but dread for the next challenge.

For me that's the couple of months I had of free time between my honours year and PhD and my PhD respectively. And when I completed my Honour's year research thesis, obtaining a first class honours, I felt some small joy from accomplishing that but I was mostly just happy that I wouldn't have to work for a few months.

If you hadn't just been working hard on your honour's thesis, you wouldn't have been nearly as happy with the time off though. If you've been slacking for 6 months, it would just have been another month of slacking.

Regarding your PhD thesis, if we compare that to just broadening your horizons on your own initiative, wouldn't you say that you're going way more in depth with the PhD material? And that you're putting extra effort into actually making really, really sure that your research says what you think it says - while when you're broadening your horizon, you tend to set a lower bar before you're happy to say "that's probably how this works"? Also, you're putting in the work to make your research presentable and peer reviewable, something you wouldn't do otherwise. In the future, other scientists can refer to your work and learn from it.

If you were just broadening your horizons, would you ever publish? Or would you publish much less compared to your current situation and likely future - now your PhD and then perhaps working as a scientist, with your employer expecting you to put in the work and do the science and publish results?

And how would society be? I think that if we had to rely on only the truly driven who would do research and publish on their own initiative, progress would slow to a halt. Most progress comes from scientists and engineers in universities and private R&D departments who are doing a job and working hard because that's what it takes to keep their job or get that promotion.

With you getting a PhD, you are a very intelligent person who is likely going to provide a lot of value to society. But it also sounds like that if I gave you $5 million (or a fabber), your value would drop to zero. And if it wasn't be just you, or just in science, but most people in most jobs, then what would the consequences be for you and everyone else? Getting the opportunity to just relax and enjoy life and do what you want may be personally good, but if everyone does it, it will have consequences.

In EP, society wouldn't fall apart like it would today if everyone slacked off, because they all that wonderful tech. But it would still slow progress down. The resources that had to be harvested and the habs and morphs that had to be built to save the people in cold storage, that wouldn't happen. Those people would never get back to life, and their instantiated relatives would live their lives missing them. The PC is going at it full throttle with everyone busting their ass off, and they're going to win if the autonomists don't keep up. Luckily for the autonomists, they have places like Extropia and Titan who are pushing the envelope. They're the ones who long term might be able to stand up to the PC.

So yeah, I'm not in favor of a laid back society. When people say that the short work week of anarchists is universally regarded as a good thing, that's just not true. I and I'm sure many others don't feel that way.

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
branford wrote:Smokeskin, I

branford wrote:
Smokeskin, I've already stated that I tend to lean left of center politically in the USA (which is probably center or slightly to the right by many European standards). My more liberal politics, however, does not deprive me either sympathy or understanding of viewpoints with which I may not agree, including some elements of bioconservatism, at least as they may be relevant as viewed through the prism of EP.

Conservatives, at least in the mainstream, are not Luddites, intentionally cruel or masochistic or deniers of science or the benefits derived thereof. Much of their opposition to some of the issues you mention are far more nuanced than you present. For instance, opposition to stem cell research was often due to the fact that the cells were procured from aborted fetuses, not to the research itself. Although I personally am pro-choice, if you believe life (soul?) begins at conception (and even EP science does not provide any real answers), the use of such cells would clearly be abhorrent. Nevertheless, the opposition mainly was to the government funding of such research, not a universal prohibition. Similarly with drugs like Ritalin, the opposition is often focused on the over-prescription of potentially mind altering drugs and/or the use of such drugs when the underlying problems are not physiological. This is similar to the debate about anti-depressants, and supported by some recent studies, that show the unnecessary (over)administration of these drugs have actually led adolescent and teenage suicide. Conservatives also claim to believe in an ideology of personal responsibility that runs counter to "elective" use of some drugs to alter personality defects rather than cure disease, and of course, the opposition to the use of other illegal drugs like cocaine, heroin and meth.

We totally agree. I mean, I disagree with all the individual points you've lined up there. But there are many people who feel that way, and these sentiments are accurately portrayed in the Jovian Republic.

For example, you mention drug use, just like I did previously. Even if some forum goers think that liberal drug use is a good thing, a lot of people don't feel that way.

branford wrote:

Additionally, as another poster has mentioned, much of the bioconservatism of today is the province of the progressive left, not political conservatives or the religious.

I brought that up, so no disagreement there :)

branford wrote:

With respect to the Jovian Republic, unlike your portrayal of medicine in the Republic, the text explicitly mentions that "Jovian medtech is on par with the best found elsewhere in the system," medical nanotech is allowed under supervision of a professional, and exowombs, childcare facilities and schools are top of the line. (Rimward, p. 36-7).

Moreover, I would choose to live in the reliable, if slightly cramped and outdated, Reagan cylinders rather than some of the tin can death traps inhabited by some science-loving techno-progressive groups in the outer system.

The Jovians also seem perfectly happy with their way of life. The vast majority are quite content to live in their original body (with a shiny soul!!!) and have no desire to resleeve. To many educated and experienced Jovians, the "benefits" of a "progressive" life are nothing but a curse that invites Armageddon. In light of setting comments like the "Morph Conspiracies" from the Morph Recognition Guide and the fact that humanity was almost extinguished barely a decade earlier by technological and biological horrors that other factions of transhumanity continue to carelessly investigate, it's a good bet that the Jovian's fear and precautions are well-founded and probably correct. My well-used and slightly pudgy Flat is looking better ever day . . .

Exactly. To a lot of people, the Jovian Republic has many redeeming qualities. It is perfectly likely that some people would set up their society exactly like this.

It is not my thing, but just because I disagree almost entirely with the JR, I'm not going to label them as unrealisticly one-dimensional or singularly evil.

branford branford's picture
I was re-reading the section

I was re-reading the section of Rimward that discusses how only Jovians who have served in the military are real citizens, rather than simply civilians. It unsurprisingly reminded me of the classic book Starship Troopers by Heinlein where only those who completed military service had the franchise to vote in the Federation. It also reminded me of the Verhoeven cinematic monstrosity that wantonly caricatures the book and does to Heinlein what EP does to those who hold conservative or religious views, particularly the Jovians.

I would very much like to see the Jovians re-written with a nod to the Starship Troopers novel. A society run by veterans that is most certainly right-wing, with definitive fascist leanings, and more than willing to employ violence to solve problems, but nevertheless is extremely competent, determined, democratic and civic-minded, as well as multicultural and generously provides for its population, both veteran citizen and civilian alike.

Such a polity could be expansionist or aggressive, but not unreasonable. Factions like the Titanians and Europans, no less the smaller anarchist groups, would most certainly no longer view Jovians as non-threatening and pitiable. Proper use of the resources in Jovian space would also make them excellent, if reticent, trading partners for the PC and Extropians, as long as the latter respected the cultural and religious sensitivities of the former. Even with a more careful and reserved attitude towards transhuman technologies and a slight isolationist streak, they would become a more central, essential and respected faction, rather than the butt of jokes about conservatives.

I think I would also balance the Jovian bioconservatism by concurrently emphasizing and expanding upon their definitive and more sympathetic reclaimer ideology. Moreover, as many Jovians are high-ranking military, blood and bone, refugees from the Fall, potentially possessing many very valuable scientific and military Earth artifacts, more stories should focus on other factions attempting to obtain these items via subterfuge and theft, rather than let them sit in museums or vaults never to be put to "proper" use, and the challenges of procurement when facing-off against some of the tightest and most paranoid (and mesh and hacking resistant) security anywhere in the system.

It might even be interesting to discover a Pandora Gate in Jovian space, and explore what other factions and groups would or could offer the paranoid Jovians for access. Maybe the Jovians would permit their "friends" to use the gate, but only with a Jovian "minder" for security.

Freedom Geek Freedom Geek's picture
Smokeskin wrote:Your current

Smokeskin wrote:
Your current behavior suggests otherwise. You could just drop the PhD, but instead you do the work because you expect some future reward from it.

The "free time" option was not available to me. It was either get stressed doing a PhD or get stressed doing comparatively mundane programming work.

That's not to say I wouldn't do research in the free time context but doing it without this damned sword of Damocles hanging over my head all the time, doing it at my own pace, would be a significant improvement.

Quote:
If you hadn't just been working hard on your honour's thesis, you wouldn't have been nearly as happy with the time off though. If you've been slacking for 6 months, it would just have been another month of slacking.

The time off wasn't made much more enjoyable by that. It was like the relief you get after a horrible nightmare ends - it doesn't justify the nightmare or much improve your day after the first 5 minutes.

Quote:
Regarding your PhD thesis, if we compare that to just broadening your horizons on your own initiative, wouldn't you say that you're going way more in depth with the PhD material?

And that you're putting extra effort into actually making really, really sure that your research says what you think it says - while when you're broadening your horizon, you tend to set a lower bar before you're happy to say "that's probably how this works"? Also, you're putting in the work to make your research presentable and peer reviewable, something you wouldn't do otherwise. In the future, other scientists can refer to your work and learn from it.

If you were just broadening your horizons, would you ever publish? Or would you publish much less compared to your current situation and likely future - now your PhD and then perhaps working as a scientist, with your employer expecting you to put in the work and do the science and publish results?

And how would society be? I think that if we had to rely on only the truly driven who would do research and publish on their own initiative, progress would slow to a halt. Most progress comes from scientists and engineers in universities and private R&D departments who are doing a job and working hard because that's what it takes to keep their job or get that promotion.

With you getting a PhD, you are a very intelligent person who is likely going to provide a lot of value to society. But it also sounds like that if I gave you $5 million (or a fabber), your value would drop to zero. And if it wasn't be just you, or just in science, but most people in most jobs, then what would the consequences be for you and everyone else? Getting the opportunity to just relax and enjoy life and do what you want may be personally good, but if everyone does it, it will have consequences.

In EP, society wouldn't fall apart like it would today if everyone slacked off, because they all that wonderful tech. But it would still slow progress down. The resources that had to be harvested and the habs and morphs that had to be built to save the people in cold storage, that wouldn't happen. Those people would never get back to life, and their instantiated relatives would live their lives missing them. The PC is going at it full throttle with everyone busting their ass off, and they're going to win if the autonomists don't keep up. Luckily for the autonomists, they have places like Extropia and Titan who are pushing the envelope. They're the ones who long term might be able to stand up to the PC.

So yeah, I'm not in favor of a laid back society. When people say that the short work week of anarchists is universally regarded as a good thing, that's just not true. I and I'm sure many others don't feel that way.

In my experience funding seems to be the limiting factor in research, not willing scientists and engineers. Look at the open source software movement. You wouldn't be able to have your strict deadlines and required work and expecting scientists to plop out a paper ever 6 months regardless of whether they've made enough progress to justify such a thing. But give them the resources they need and they'll do interesting stuff with it.

Why maybe in such a world I wouldn't have had my love of computer science soured like it is right now. Societal structures would have to be reworked, yes, but I can imagine that you could come up with a PhD equivalent that meshed with the free time social context - that allowed people to take their own pace.

Besides - why do we progress in the first place? To improve the lives of people in future. If everyone is going to be chained to the icon of work to the end of time then that is in my mind throwing away the great progress that automation can provide us.

And as for all the people still waiting to be resleeved and similar I was under the impression that it was mostly due to artificial scarcity/the PC wanting a nice constant stream of indentures. Plus most of the work for that can probably be automated.

-

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
branford wrote:

branford wrote:

I would very much like to see the Jovians re-written with a nod to the Starship Troopers novel. A society run by veterans that is most certainly right-wing, with definitive fascist leanings, and more than willing to employ violence to solve problems, but nevertheless is extremely competent, determined, democratic and civic-minded, as well as multicultural and generously provides for its population, both veteran citizen and civilian alike.

The competent political leaders who are fair and generously provide for the population, that practically never happens, anywhere. Left to right, libertarian to authoritarian, it's a pipe dream. You'd only give that to any faction if you wanted to make some sort of hamhanded ideological point.

Tiberia Tiberia's picture
I would also make them less

I would also make them less isolationist in regards to other factions. And rather then have them turn away humanitarian aid packages sent by the Titaniansm have them at the very least accept them after inspection (they have aid packages sent to them and they destroy, or waste them, how are they not at least in part North Korea?). As for adding more positive qualities I was thinking of taking a page from Cuba's book. Cuba has really good Doctors.
I imagine the Jovians would have the best medical care. Everywhere else if you die you just need to get a new body, so medical care is more of a convenience and money saving option, then a vital service to save one's life. In the Junta if you die you are dead, so it is more important for doctors to be skilled at preventing death. So it could very well be that the Junta could send humanitarian aid for disasters in the form of doctors. To the transhumans they may not be as vital, but many of them seem to forget that there is a shortage of bodies.

those are the two main things that come to mind; tad less isolationism, good doctors.

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Freedom Geek wrote:Smokeskin

Freedom Geek wrote:
Smokeskin wrote:
Your current behavior suggests otherwise. You could just drop the PhD, but instead you do the work because you expect some future reward from it.

The "free time" option was not available to me. It was either get stressed doing a PhD or get stressed doing comparatively mundane programming work.

Even if you didn't require a well-paid job? Consume less, get a smaller place in a cheaper area, sell the car. Go simple living, so you can make do with a part-time job. Is that really impossible?

branford branford's picture
Smokeskin wrote:branford

Smokeskin wrote:
branford wrote:

I would very much like to see the Jovians re-written with a nod to the Starship Troopers novel. A society run by veterans that is most certainly right-wing, with definitive fascist leanings, and more than willing to employ violence to solve problems, but nevertheless is extremely competent, determined, democratic and civic-minded, as well as multicultural and generously provides for its population, both veteran citizen and civilian alike.

The competent political leaders who are fair and generously provide for the population, that practically never happens, anywhere. Left to right, libertarian to authoritarian, it's a pipe dream. You'd only give that to any faction if you wanted to make some sort of hamhanded ideological point.

I unreservedly disagree. Despite the criticisms leveled at our political leaders, both on the left and right, in Europe, America and most of the developed world, our populations live with an excellent standard of living, higher than at any other time in history. The very definitions of "poverty" have actually changed in our countries to reflect this development. Are our leaders geniuses or our societies near perfect? Of course not, but we're doing pretty damned well for chattering, contentious and very imperfect humans. Could we do better? Possibly, but that does not diminish the advancements in our cultures or how good the vast, vast majority of us really have it. In fact, I believe we take for granted the wealth, opportunities, safety and resources available in our first world societies, and the leadership necessary to ensure that it continues. Complaining that our governments and leaders are not pure or generous enough can often be dismissively slotted into the category of "first world problems."

Moreover, I never suggested that the leaders of my re-imagined Jovian Republic would be unattainably perfect or incorruptible, or even anything like the paragons of cooperation and industry that characterize the members of the AA in EP. ;) I only meant to suggest that the "new and improved" Jovian leaders would generally be diligent, well-meaning, competent and simply not horribly corrupt, just like the leadership of most modern democracies today, once the partisan hyperbole and bickering is set aside. What constitutes "generous" is also ripe for dispute, particularly in a post-apocalyptic, yet almost post-scarcity, setting like EP.

Freedom Geek Freedom Geek's picture
Smokeskin wrote:Even if you

Smokeskin wrote:
Even if you didn't require a well-paid job? Consume less, get a smaller place in a cheaper area, sell the car. Go simple living, so you can make do with a part-time job. Is that really impossible?

In our society jobs don't all come in part time and full time versions. Some jobs do but for the most part the part time ones are a different set of jobs. Low status, entry level drudgery work that I'd quite possibly find even more terrible than this current work. Jobs not in my skill set - often manual labor. At least with this PhD it's work that I might have enjoyed some parts of if not for the deadlines and stress - and I get flexible hours. If I could for instance work a programming job for 20 hours for precisely 50% pay I'd strongly consider that - but that isn't the offer I find myself presented with.

At uni other people worked part time or over the summer for extra spending cash. Not me, not worth it.

-

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
branford wrote:

branford wrote:

I unreservedly disagree. Despite the criticisms leveled at our political leaders, both on the left and right, in Europe, America and most of the developed world, our populations live with an excellent standard of living, higher than at any other time in history. The very definitions of "poverty" have actually changed in our countries to reflect this development. Are our leaders geniuses or our societies near perfect? Of course not, but we're doing pretty damned well for chattering, contentious and very imperfect humans. Could we do better? Possibly, but that does not diminish the advancements in our cultures or how good the vast, vast majority of us really have it. In fact, I believe we take for granted the wealth, opportunities, safety and resources available in our first world societies, and the leadership necessary to ensure that it continues. Complaining that our governments and leaders are not pure or generous enough can often be dismissively slotted into the category of "first world problems."

Our wealth, opportunities, and resources did not come from our political leaders. The advances in science and productivity that has given us that can't be attributed to them.

What you're saying is comparable to saying "yeah sure, you gave that investment banker $1 million, and sure he overcharged you by $100,000 for handling the funds and a holding company paid him $100,000 to invest the rest of it in one of their daughter companies and that cost you another $400,000 - but you got $500,000 back, that's a lot of money in anyone's book!"

branford wrote:

Moreover, I never suggested that the leaders of my re-imagined Jovian Republic would be unattainably perfect or incorruptible, or even anything like the paragons of cooperation and industry that characterize the members of the AA in EP. ;)

But the autonomists aren't paragons of cooperation. They're not even necessarily nice. They just don't have leaders that force crap on them. They can resleeve into a high-quality morph instead of it that being banned like in the Jovian Republic. When they have the feedstock they can freely produce goods on their fabbers without being price gouged by patent and licensing fees like in the PC. They don't have armed men that are deployed to punish citizens for "victimless crimes". They don't have leaders that can force taxes on citizens and then choose how to redistribute the funds, which is the required basis for corruption to exist.

branford wrote:

I only meant to suggest that the "new and improved" Jovian leaders would generally be diligent, well-meaning, competent and simply not horribly corrupt, just like the leadership of most modern democracies today, once the partisan hyperbole and bickering is set aside.

I don't have any doubt that our leaders are generally diligent, well-meaning and competent when it comes to their own careers. The ones that make it to the top must be quite capable (though the needed skill set is more like what an entertainer or networker needs, rather than that of a top executive). But when it comes to displaying the same qualities in working for the interests of the citizens, in general that's really not happening.

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Freedom Geek wrote:In our

Freedom Geek wrote:
In our society jobs don't all come in part time and full time versions. Some jobs do but for the most part the part time ones are a different set of jobs. Low status, entry level drudgery work that I'd quite possibly find even more terrible than this current work. Jobs not in my skill set - often manual labor. At least with this PhD it's work that I might have enjoyed some parts of if not for the deadlines and stress - and I get flexible hours. If I could for instance work a programming job for 20 hours for precisely 50% pay I'd strongly consider that - but that isn't the offer I find myself presented with.

At uni other people worked part time or over the summer for extra spending cash. Not me, not worth it.

Yeah, you'd likely have to go below 50%. Something like a student's job (though if you provided better work once that's recognized I think you'd be able to get a better deal and more interesting work).

Doesn't this line of reasoning show that there is an amount that does indeed convince you to accept the downsides of work?

Maybe that would work out in the same way in EP. Sure, you could join an anarchist hab, but everything there has that DIY feel because that's what most of it is, and you can't pay anyone to work you - people might do you favors, but they might also not. It's not really a high quality of life. In an Extropian hab, you have to work for the nice things, but there you can buy stuff that professionals made, professionals that are working their butts off so you'll buy their stuff instead of the competitors'. And there's an actual service industry. Don't you think it would be much nicer?

Freedom Geek Freedom Geek's picture
Smokeskin wrote:Yeah, you'd

Smokeskin wrote:
Yeah, you'd likely have to go below 50%. Something like a student's job (though if you provided better work once that's recognized I think you'd be able to get a better deal and more interesting work).

Doesn't this line of reasoning show that there is an amount that does indeed convince you to accept the downsides of work?

It's not that there's a raw amount that can convince me to work. It's more that I have a certain standard of living I'm happy with and I am not willing to work to raise it above that level and the EP 'free time' hab already has over that minimum level so money can't be used to convince me to abandon it. I mean obviously if the choice is between working 35 hours and living naked in the woods I'll work 35 hours but if the choice is between 4 hours with an upper middle class lifestyle and 35 hours with a yacht and similar - screw the yacht.

Research has shown that money makes people happier but only to a certain point. Once you're making ~$65K a year more money won't make you happier. If you're too poor then the stresses of money overshadow the stresses of work and the deadlines of bill payments overshadow your work deadlines in severity.

Quote:
Maybe that would work out in the same way in EP. Sure, you could join an anarchist hab, but everything there has that DIY feel because that's what most of it is, and you can't pay anyone to work you - people might do you favors, but they might also not. It's not really a high quality of life. In an Extropian hab, you have to work for the nice things, but there you can buy stuff that professionals made, professionals that are working their butts off so you'll buy their stuff instead of the competitors'. And there's an actual service industry. Don't you think it would be much nicer?

I use open source software. I admit it can be a bit troublesome at time but it's not worth 35 hours a week to overcome.

And EP society has AIs. An actual service industry is just conspicuous consumption like handcrafted goods.

-

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Freedom Geek wrote:

Freedom Geek wrote:

Research has shown that money makes people happier but only to a certain point. Once you're making ~$65K a year more money won't make you happier. If you're too poor then the stresses of money overshadow the stresses of work and the deadlines of bill payments overshadow your work deadlines in severity.

I agree. I was filthy rich before the financial crisis and seriously it doesn't mean a thing, at least to me. The one exception is for dating. I believe that the quality of the partner you're going to spend at least a significant part of your life with and possibly have children with, that impacts your happiness A LOT. And money helps a lot when you're dating.

There's a few more things to it than just saying it doesn't make you happier though. People chase extra money anyway, and making more money does make you happier, just only for a short while. There's not really a payoff from going on that treadmill (unless you can keep advancing without getting into a career bracket where the competition and stress is so massive it makes your life suck), but the psychological pull is there for a lot of people.

Also, there seem to be a lasting happiness from being richer (or having higher status) than those around you. Moving to a rich neighborhood is apparently really stupid.

Quote:

And EP society has AIs. An actual service industry is just conspicuous consumption like handcrafted goods.

AIs have a max skill of 40, so there's going to a noticable difference. Getting shopping advice from an AI compared to a skilled shopping assistant is going to be significant. You're going on a date and you want your outfit to be put together by someone with Fashion: 40 or Fashion: 80?

ORCACommander ORCACommander's picture
And this is the flip sign of

And this is the flip sign of the coin of making your source material open ended and up to interpretation: people arguing back and forth over which interpretation is the best one and no one giving ground because they are all right

smokeskin you keep on forgetting that the US is not as densely built up as Europe is. We can't get rid of our cars because public transit infrastructure sucks. cheaper areas to live mean high crime rates and land lords who do not maintain the property if renting. I am an outlier in that i do not have a car and it limits me to jobs within a 10km radius. Most employment opportunities are 20-30km away at the least

I heard a good comparison between Nationalist and Patriot a long time ago. A nationalist is proud of and will blindly support his nation state no what it does or what it might be. a Patriot Still loves his nation state but is not blind to its faults and willing to correct them.

A large problem we have here is essentially that most EP fluff cannon comes in the form of snippets and novellas. None are really long long enough to fully flesh out the universe, partly because of printing costs and partly do to this being a rpg after all, nor is able to give us a terribly diverse caste of characters which are meant to be more mechanical examples than anything else.

Quite frankly the Source material gives a nice scatter gun effect of different factions but even then there is no really faction for myself i would call my own but if i had to choose in setting i would be both titanian and argonaut

personally i like the more Heinlein view of the republic but i would also mix in that bsg reboot vibe.

Also the director of starship troopers formally apologized to Heinlein after he received all that flak and decided to actually read the book. Maybe also add in some Havenite regime under robs piere from the honorverse novels

But ya the biggest thing that we keep on tripping over is Dictatorship. Culterally america finds these repugnant and we spent the better part of 3 decades overtly policing them. And i hate to juxtapose on your european brethren smokeskin but you folks also knee jerk at them because you see another WW2 scenario

as for making your own more right wing sympathetic faction as i recal there are faction creation guides in the books but the biggest problem is real estate

and while it is true that all this fluff is necessary for good roleplay just remember that what it all boils down to is a stat block. a set of rules for making your character without being completely open ended. It is merely to give rhyme and reason to the stat block so you get those moments of Oh that makes sense

So can we turn this back into a brainstorming thread instead of a socio-political-economic debate?

Panoptic Panoptic's picture
@OP

@OP

The Jovians have an actual military, are concerned about X-risks, and are less likely to fall victim to their technology than the other factions. Of course, their paranoia hinders them from actually doing all that much and OOC they are a bit of a straw man faction.

On 'IC Talk': Seyit Karga, Ultimate

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obsidian razor obsidian razor's picture
Quote:In an Extropian hab,

Quote:
In an Extropian hab, you have to work for the nice things, but there you can buy stuff that professionals made, professionals that are working their butts off so you'll buy their stuff instead of the competitors'. And there's an actual service industry. Don't you think it would be much nicer?

I really love EP because it has not one, but several very different versions of the future and what it's heaven to some, it's nightmare to others.

For me Extropian habs are terrifying. I believe in social equality and social support, mostly because I'm 100% convinced that life isn't fair, work can't overcome some things and also, you can get unbelievably unlucky and not being able to recuperate ever on your own. In Extropia you're on your own, it's an ultra individualistic "no one cares but you" style society that, as correctly represented in the books, it's a paradise for a few with ample resources and a nightmare for those stuck at the very bottom, with no hope of ever getting out.

If I was in the EP universe I would emigrate to Locus as soon as I could, as from what I read on the text, it sound like my ideal society.

So yeah, tastes as varied as people.

capybara capybara's picture
Freedom Geek wrote:

Freedom Geek wrote:

Research has shown that money makes people happier but only to a certain point. Once you're making ~$65K a year more money won't make you happier.

There's also progress. A hundred years ago things we normally include into our standards of living today, like running hot water, electricity and near-unlimited access to books, were a privelege of the rich. So while from our viewpoint a life in an anarchist hab may be heaven on earth, to an average transhuman it must seem full of hardship and self-imposed poverty.

Freedom Geek Freedom Geek's picture
Smokeskin wrote:AIs have a

Smokeskin wrote:
AIs have a max skill of 40, so there's going to a noticable difference. Getting shopping advice from an AI compared to a skilled shopping assistant is going to be significant.

I saw an article from 1995 once about internet shopping and why it would never take off citing a similar reason - you'll never have a salesperson to help you.

I have never had a positive experience with a salesperson - most of the time I just feel like they're trying to upsell me. :P

Quote:
You're going on a date and you want your outfit to be put together by someone with Fashion: 40 or Fashion: 80?

I question the wisdom of going to a professional fashion designer for a date. The purpose of dating should be to determine compatibility - unless you're exceedingly desperate you're not just trying to catch anyone you can. If you spend the dating process trying to pretend you're someone you're not then the relationship is on shaky grounds as the other person is in love with the mask - not you.

I'd dress myself. Reasonably smartly, mind you, but with clothes that are actually part of my existing wardrobe.

capybara wrote:
There's also progress. A hundred years ago things we normally include into our standards of living today, like running hot water, electricity and near-unlimited access to books, were a privelege of the rich. So while from our viewpoint a life in an anarchist hab may be heaven on earth, to an average transhuman it must seem full of hardship and self-imposed poverty.

How much worse off are they really though? They have mesh connections. They have nanofabricators (unrestricted ones at that, a luxury the inner system people don't possess). They can download anything they really need.

Maaaybe they have smaller feedstock allowances.

-

capybara capybara's picture
Freedom Geek wrote:

Freedom Geek wrote:

Maaaybe they have smaller feedstock allowances.

There's also peer pressure - I'd imagine that people spending their allowance on self-indulgence and not on something beneficial to their collective take rep hits. It's probably way harder to be a hedonist in Autonomist space.

MAD Crab MAD Crab's picture
And are more likely to die

And are more likely to die from exsurgents. Or WMDs. Or have their hab taken over by a charismatic cult. Or a have their home overrun with MRAs.

An anarchist hab as described is an open forum without mods. Keeping it civil would be... Interesting.

Pyrite Pyrite's picture
capybara wrote:Freedom Geek

capybara wrote:
Freedom Geek wrote:

Maaaybe they have smaller feedstock allowances.

There's also peer pressure - I'd imagine that people spending their allowance on self-indulgence and not on something beneficial to their collective take rep hits. It's probably way harder to be a hedonist in Autonomist space.

Unless your hab has the -Hedonism motivation, I really don't see this at all from the way that the culture has been described. spending your allowance on things for your friends or the community can certainly get you rep gains, but I don't see someone who polices people's usage of their basic allowance becoming very popular unless they are a fantastic demagogue.

'No language is justly studied merely as an aid to other purposes. It will in fact better serve other purposes, philological or historical, when it is studied for love, for itself.' --J.R.R. Tolkien

Leng Plateau Leng Plateau's picture
MAD Crab wrote:An anarchist

MAD Crab wrote:
An anarchist hab as described is an open forum without mods. Keeping it civil would be... Interesting.

Though if you think about it in that way you could definitely have community appointed moderators. Not to mention the fact that many trollish behaviors are curtailed by knowing that those you are trolling know where you live.

At least with Lovecraft, nobody pretends the gods are nice. And wherever you end up, there is guaranteed to be tentacles.

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