Forums

Power - Apparently, it's Evil

Quick find code: 341-342-139-65879726

of 6
Thatds

Thatds

Posts: 463Silver Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Really. It's the worst thing in RuneScape.

If you have power, you're bound to be the bad guy at some point, or in Guthix's case, you die as a relatively good guy without using any of it. Of course, relative to the other gods, it seems like everyone is a good guy.

Is it just me that sees this connotation with powerful characters being inherently flawed because they have the power, or is there something else I'm missing? Because it seems like in every god - Zaros, Zamorak, Saradomin, Bandos, Armadyl, even Seren - there's a dark side where the use of their power leads to something terrible, and even seems to control their actions directly.

Even Guthix had this side, where I'm fairly sure he sacrificed four druids to protect the Stone of Jas (which seems to have been a failed effort as it was later defeated by his own guardian, although before the guardian was his guardian).

Doesn't it seem that every god is just outright doomed because of their power, or is it just a subconscious process that the writers have that makes them display the incredibly powerful as amoral at best and immoral at worst?

Given, some of them claim to have learned from their mistakes - Armadyl, Seren - but how sure can we be that they're not just going to end up making the same mistakes across millennia, forgetting their own faults as their followers praise them and absolute power corrupts absolutely? I really don't think we can be sure at all.
Either get lucky or grind trying.

11-Feb-2017 21:26:33

Questcaping
Dec Member 2016

Questcaping

Posts: 543Steel Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
My personal view is that beings with that much power should not be able to use it to interact with mortals -- or at least, not for the long term. It's far too much of an imbalance. Where a war between mortals might kill thousands, a war of the same kind between gods might wipe out an entire world. People can recover from the former, but there'd be no one left to recover from the latter.

Guthix did the right thing in withdrawing, though of course not everything could be accounted for (cough Sliske cough).
Kara-Meir is not someone I'm happy with representing the Godless, but at least she doesn't have the power to wipe out continents.
V is honestly better to follow dead than alive. I appreciate the guy and the inspiration he's brought, and I mourn that, and I consider that his legacy. But I'm simultaneously somewhat relieved he never got to start the god war he planned, even to wipe out all the other gods. Divine destruction like this is exactly what Guthix was against.
Armadyl's admirable in his attempts to guide rather than lead, but it's not as if that makes him harmless. As much as he'd like to be mortal again, he's still got that power. I can see him either overstepping his bounds with it in a fit of anger, or withdrawing from mortals entirely, and I think in "phoenix mode" he's more likely to fall into the former. Either way, he's fallible, and with power like that, that's not something you can afford to be.
Seren's been with mortals far longer than is good for anyone. Even as a pacifist, using her power in their favour, she's ended up making them dependent on her in a way that's absolutely not sustainable. And that's not even to mention what she did to the Mahjarrat.

(By the way, to address your point on the Balance Elemental: Guthix didn't actually sacrifice them, they sacrificed themselves. First sentence said by the Balance Elemental echo in the Memorial to Guthix: "With heavy heart, I accept your sacrifice.";)
Questcaping the Finally Questcaped

Runefest 2017/2018 attendee

11-Feb-2017 22:13:44

Hguoh
Mar Gold Premier Club Member 2014

Hguoh

Posts: 7,424Rune Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
It's not that power makes you flawed/bad. When it comes to being flawed, everybody is. All power does is magnify what these flawed beings are capable of, which, in turn, makes their flaws more obvious and any errors more egregious.

Think of it like rain. One drop catches your attention, but it's only a little annoying. A large storm's worth, however, can cause large amounts of flooding and/or mudslides which are clearly deadly.

11-Feb-2017 22:35:38

Ancient Drew
Nov Member 2018

Ancient Drew

Posts: 5,732Rune Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
The problem lies with stigma against beings just because they have power, and this stigma rises from fear, jealousy and/or outright resentment. Personally, I don't really have any problem with the gods if they have decent intentions behind their actions. Prepare for hell on RuneScape in Naval Cataclysm!

Pokemon battle? Friend Code: 4614-0426-2439

11-Feb-2017 22:38:29

AttilaSquare

AttilaSquare

Posts: 1,693Mithril Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
This is a neat question. I'm going to propose that there are two sorts of power that affect sapient beings - coercion and persuasion. Often these are intermixed, but a distinction between them is possible.

Coercion goes against the will of sapient beings, such as if I seize you and forcibly make you bow to me, or it distorts the will of sapient beings, such as if I threaten to harm your loved ones if you do not bow to me. In both cases, the sapient being subject to coercion does not act because it values the act itself but for unrelated reasons or for no reason at all. (What determines to what extent a reason is 'related' or 'unrelated' is its own puzzle.)

Persuasion works in accord with the will of sapient beings. It involves revealing the value of certain actions - specifically without deception. Persuasion aids sapient beings in fulfilling their capacities to recognize what actions are worth doing and then doing them.

11-Feb-2017 23:12:45

AttilaSquare

AttilaSquare

Posts: 1,693Mithril Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Based on these ideas, there are several accounts of how sapient beings should relate to one another and to power. Some hold that sapient beings should never make use of coercion but only persuasion. Some hold that coercion is necessary, especially for children, because that's how embodied sapient beings learn - they learn how to engage in persuasion only after coercive training. Some hold that coercion is useful not only for education but also for preserving the commitments of a community to what they have previously been persuaded to accept, with law and legal penalties. Some hold that coercion is enough and that there's no need for persuasion. Some hold that all persuasion is deception and moreover that there really is nothing special about persuasion as compared to coercion. If we believe that both coercion and persuasion have appropriate uses among sapient beings, then further questions arise concerning who is responsible for determining when the use of coercion is appropriate and which commitments of a community ought to be preserved through coercion.

I think the reason that many powerful characters appear villainous is because we more readily identify coercion as power, rather than persuasion. Let's look at an example. Who is more powerful: a tyrant whose subjects obey him for fear of the punishment he will inflict upon them if they resist or a prophet who opposes the tyrant, dies a martyr, yet inspires generations afterwards to resist tyranny? Most will think the tyrant at first; only on reflection might one appreciate the power of the prophet and martyr.

Furthermore, coercion is easier to pull off - anyone with strength or weapons or servants can make use of it. Persuasion is difficult - it requires knowledge of one's audience and the ability to teach them something new. Again, these forms of power are intermixed - a tyrant must persuade his closest servants to follow him, so that together he and they might coerce a larger population.

11-Feb-2017 23:13:10

AttilaSquare

AttilaSquare

Posts: 1,693Mithril Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
This last example perhaps shows why power corrupts. Again, persuasion is difficult. But if I can persuade a few, I can coerce many. That is tempting. A faithful commitment to persuasion in all but the few carefully defined situations in which coercion is truly appropriate requires great virtue.

11-Feb-2017 23:13:34

Maiden China
Jan Member 2019

Maiden China

Posts: 5,142Rune Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Hguoh said:
It's not that power makes you flawed/bad. When it comes to being flawed, everybody is. All power does is magnify what these flawed beings are capable of, which, in turn, makes their flaws more obvious and any errors more egregious.

This

but also another thing... people are evil (you can say flawed if you want) and the law, the enforcement of it, and other people sort of keep you 'good'. You're probably not going to go rob a convenience store because you'll probably get arrested, do jail time, and the people in your life will think less of you
If you have the sort of power that puts you above the law, the law doesn't really effect you anymore. You have to start actively trying to be good, because other forces aren't going to do it for you anymore.
also, power generally destroys most of your relationships because they become imbalanced (you have power, they don't.. which is why guthix's relationship with seren is so much different than his relationship with juna) so people thinking poorly of you stops being a factor also
Carn

12-Feb-2017 00:43:16

Thatds

Thatds

Posts: 463Silver Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Xiao, your comment that people are inherently evil implies that there is no such thing as a moral compass that restricts us from heinous acts, which is, in my view, entirely false.

Rather, it implies that the moral compass is a social construct that came about, shall I paraphrase, 'because the people in power liked how it was when they were in power, so they used their power to make laws that everyone had to follow'.

People can be evil, but an exceeding amount of people can be incredibly kind. The mindset that everyone is an asshole won't only harm other people, it will also harm you, because the pain of living in what appears to be an evil world is particularly crushing and not at all pleasant.

Let me submit that the majority is not evil, but rather self-centered (as the world is experienced by our perception alone, and we cannot be made aware of what another's conscious experience is like), especially so when placed above the rest, and when you're up high enough, the people look like ants, and if you've ever seen an ant, you'll know why this causes particularly difficult issues for everyone involved.

Let me also submit that not robbing a convenience store solely because you're afraid of consequence of the law rather than the moral implications of the action itself is a borderline psychopathic method of thinking.

Laws don't exist to keep people from killing and stealing; they exist to punish those that do.

Being beyond the law, for the gods of RuneScape, is not being beyond prohibition of action; being beyond the law is being beyond consequence.
Either get lucky or grind trying.

12-Feb-2017 01:05:45 - Last edited on 12-Feb-2017 01:06:30 by Thatds

Elf of Seren
Nov Gold Premier Club Member 2012

Elf of Seren

Posts: 3,309Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
It's the standard trope.

"It's not that you have power, it's what you do with it,"

I think Armadyl has the best idea going in that the God's should use their power to care for their own immediate needs (food, shelter, etc.), and once that's done, assist those that are less fortunate.

Like the Jedi, or some other cheesy reference.
The RS Wiki will post your IP Address online

12-Feb-2017 08:08:54

Quick find code: 341-342-139-65879726Back to Top