tirsdag 1. mai 2007

Moldbug: What if there's no such thing as chaotic good?

This is an abbreviated post. The original can be found here

As I recall, the first edition of Dungeons and Dragons had an attribute called "alignment", which took one of three values: lawful, neutral, or chaotic. The second edition added another dimension to alignment: good, neutral or evil. These could then be combined to form nine alignments from lawful good to chaotic evil. I have the impression that most people made chaotic good characters. Me, I tend towards lawful neutral.

As a lawful neutral person, I suspect that the first edition was more accurate. Let's call its system the "linear model" and its successor the "planar model". To assert that the linear model is more accurate than the planar model, I have to assert that the extra dimension adds zero or negative information - noise. How could this be? Well, it might be that "chaotic good" maps to evil, which maps back to chaos. Since good is the opposite of evil, and chaos is the opposite of law, this answer implies that good is identical with law. Thus, "lawful good" and "chaotic evil" are redundant tautologies.

Of course, since nobody likes to see themselves as evil, my explanation for the existence of evil in the world is that it's caused by people who see themselves as "chaotic good".

Here's the "linearist" narrative:
Evil and malevolence are not the same thing. Evil and good are outcomes; malevolence and benevolence are intentions. Planarists confuse malevolence with evil, leading some of them to attempt the eradication of evil by the eradication of malevolence, resulting in entirely too much attention being paid to what people are thinking, all while largely ignoring the consequences of the thoughts in question.

Planarists have redefined "justice", which used to mean "accurate application of all official rules", into "making sure the gravy all goes around", which we might also call "social justice" if we wish to be specific. An example of social justice is shown in the planarist treatise "A Theory of Justice". Social justice is identified with chaotic good, so logically anyone who is against chaotic good must be against justice...

Anyway. I should stop insulting the planarists. I'm a linearist, but I think the planarists are benevolent. They mean well. It's not like they're trying to do evil. It just sort of happens. And the problem is that the links between benevolence and good, or between malevolence and evil, are fairly weak. And by focusing on the intentions, the planarists do poorly at outcomes.

For example: In the UK between 1900 and 1989, as the concept of social justice moved from being the program of a political faction to a universally shared ideal, the crime rate (number of offenses known to the police, per capita) rose by a factor of 46. That is, it's not that crime, per capita, went up by 46%. It's that it went up by 4600%. (The number is now back down to 37.)

I assume the planarists never intended this. Admittedly, this is an uncontrolled experiment, but history is stingy with the controlled experiments, let alone the double-blind experiments.

Ingen kommentarer:

Legg inn en kommentar