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  • #31
    If I have to choose between a Technocracy that has dominated the scientific and philosophical development of the world for over a century and a Technocracy that better represents the modern western image of The Man, I'm going with the former. In a mage-centric game I'd prefer to have the Technocracy have as much influence in the USSR as anywhere else. I honestly don't see why they wouldn't experiment around with both theoretical and practically (and impractically) applied communism.

    Plus, I find the Soviet approach to politically constrained science to be very representative of similar problems within the Technocracy itself.

    Going back to the original question, I'm not sure how much of a difference there would be in the Technocracy itself. Many of the policies it has backed such as massive industrial networks and supply chains and the collective advancement of science work equally well in either system.


    Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post
      If I have to choose between a Technocracy that has dominated the scientific and philosophical development of the world for over a century and a Technocracy that better represents the modern western image of The Man, I'm going with the former. In a mage-centric game I'd prefer to have the Technocracy have as much influence in the USSR as anywhere else. I honestly don't see why they wouldn't experiment around with both theoretical and practically (and impractically) applied communism.

      Plus, I find the Soviet approach to politically constrained science to be very representative of similar problems within the Technocracy itself.
      Agreed. In fact, my biggest pet peeve about that last two Mage supplements (Technocracy Reloaded and Victorian Mage) is that they both treat the evils of Western society (embodied mostly in the Order of Reason/Technocracy) as something seemingly uniquely Western, glossing over similar issues that arose in other parts of the world. So I definitely endorse the idea that the Technocracy embodies the scientific and philosophical development of the world for over a century — so much so that in my head-canon, the modern Technocracy has multiple roots, not just the European Order of Reason. And even where its origins aren't diversified, its membership and their contributions are. The modern concept of Communism, for example, didn't come out of Marx's Germany; it came out of Lenin's Russia.


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      • #33
        Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post
        If I have to choose between a Technocracy that has dominated the scientific and philosophical development of the world for over a century and a Technocracy that better represents the modern western image of The Man, I'm going with the former. In a mage-centric game I'd prefer to have the Technocracy have as much influence in the USSR as anywhere else. I honestly don't see why they wouldn't experiment around with both theoretical and practically (and impractically) applied communism.
        This fits with the old canon stuff which IIRC has the OoR starting to dig roots in Russia with Peter the Great's reforms and efforts to westernise the country. The USSR being some kind of non-Technocratic haven is v. hard to square with them having been in there for two centuries already.

        Plus, I find the Soviet approach to politically constrained science to be very representative of similar problems within the Technocracy itself.
        This is quite odd since Mage canon says the time period that said issues were most prominent the Etherites had a decent deal of influence within the Soviet government, up to about the end of the Stalin era.
        Last edited by Czernobog; 06-22-2021, 01:27 PM.

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        • #34
          I would also add that Marx's ideal communism is antithetical to the World of Darkness, and what the Technocracy has done to it is a symptom of that incompatibility, not its cause: Marx's theory involved human nature evolving over time toward people becoming more innately altruistic, to the point that the profit motive that he saw as the heart of capitalism would fade away, taking capitalism with it and leaving a kind of utopian state in its place, where everyone would voluntarily work for the collective good.

          Contrast this with the premise behind the World of Darkness, which assumes the opposite about human nature: rather than becoming better people over time, the World of Darkness posits that people are inherently jerks; and if anything, human nature is getting progressively worse. The Technocrats in Russia noticed this (in the form of “the workers of the world aren't uniting or rising up against their capitalist masters the way Marx predicted they would”) and decided that the process needed to be helped along; and in so doing, they ended up subverting the original concept and producing another version of a totalitarian system: since the people couldn't be trusted to achieve the communist ideal on their own, they needed the Technocracy to lead them there.

          In short, it isn't even the case that Marxist idealists are a minority in the Union. They may be; but even if they are, it's a moot point because the Technocracy's overall mindset puts even those idealists who want the Union to eventually become obsolete in the position of destroying the very ideal they were trying to salvage.

          As to Etherites in Stalinist Russia: I see them as attempting to rescue communism from what Russia was turning it into. They had more influence in Russia than in, say, America, because they weren't confronting the Red Scare in Russia: they were at least nominally working in favor of the dominant paradigm, even if their main contribution was to work to undermine the government control that had been imposed to try to force communism to work. So yeah; the Etherites had a decent deal of influence at the time. But even then, it wasn't as much influence as the Technocracy had.

          Alternatively, they were the dominant influence in the early Society Union; but they were the well-intentioned extremists who screwed it up, and the Union simply took the ball and ran with it.


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          • #35
            Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
            Agreed. In fact, my biggest pet peeve about that last two Mage supplements (Technocracy Reloaded and Victorian Mage) is that they both treat the evils of Western society (embodied mostly in the Order of Reason/Technocracy) as something seemingly uniquely Western, glossing over similar issues that arose in other parts of the world. So I definitely endorse the idea that the Technocracy embodies the scientific and philosophical development of the world for over a century — so much so that in my head-canon, the modern Technocracy has multiple roots, not just the European Order of Reason. And even where its origins aren't diversified, its membership and their contributions are. The modern concept of Communism, for example, didn't come out of Marx's Germany; it came out of Lenin's Russia.
            Yup. I assure you, much of the world was like you. I am chinese. If China was given half the chance, they would have crushed Europe and Africa in an iron and steam fist. And let's not forget about the various things the Europeans stole from us. Like Gunpowder. And the printing press. And the civil service exams.

            Actually makes me mildly peeved. "Wow, you really think that centralised, wide-scale governance is something unique to western governments and you are the only empire in history? Guess again."

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
              As to Etherites in Stalinist Russia: I see them as attempting to rescue communism from what Russia was turning it into. They had more influence in Russia than in, say, America, because they weren't confronting the Red Scare in Russia: they were at least nominally working in favor of the dominant paradigm, even if their main contribution was to work to undermine the government control that had been imposed to try to force communism to work. So yeah; the Etherites had a decent deal of influence at the time. But even then, it wasn't as much influence as the Technocracy had.

              Alternatively, they were the dominant influence in the early Society Union; but they were the well-intentioned extremists who screwed it up, and the Union simply took the ball and ran with it.
              Also note that this era was a time when things were more peaceful between Technos and Trads, so Technocratic and Etherite influence on the early USSR needn't be *that* mutually exclusive.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Czernobog View Post
                This is quite odd since Mage canon says the time period that said issues were most prominent the Etherites had a decent deal of influence within the Soviet government, up to about the end of the Stalin era.
                I can easily accept Etherite influence in the Stalin Era, but the way that scientists would have rivals removed or executed as enemies of the state/party/ideal is much more Technocratic. An individual Etherite might certainly crush his rivals with anything he can get his hands on, but the faction is too individualistic to leverage power, paranoia, and fear like that.

                Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                As to Etherites in Stalinist Russia: I see them as attempting to rescue communism from what Russia was turning it into. They had more influence in Russia than in, say, America, because they weren't confronting the Red Scare in Russia: they were at least nominally working in favor of the dominant paradigm, even if their main contribution was to work to undermine the government control that had been imposed to try to force communism to work. So yeah; the Etherites had a decent deal of influence at the time. But even then, it wasn't as much influence as the Technocracy had.

                Alternatively, they were the dominant influence in the early Society Union; but they were the well-intentioned extremists who screwed it up, and the Union simply took the ball and ran with it.
                On the flip side I could very easily see the Etherites pushing the USSR in a more totalitarian direction to patch the flaws with communism. A lot of them are very at home with that kind of centralized power in the hands of the suitably enlightened.


                Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

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                • #38
                  Much of the discussion about the history of the Technocracy, and its varying degrees of authoritarianism over the decades (or centuries), can be resolved by examining the evolution, rise, and apex of the New World Order -- not as the ideological descendants of the Cabal, but rather the Ksirafai -- the Ksirafai may have defected to the Hermetics, but their methodology and purpose remained. In light of that, discrete economic or political theory is of secondary importance and instrumental to the acquisition, consolidation, and exercise of power.

                  And, that leads to the elephant in the room: would the New World Order have a vested interest in the corruption and eventual collapse of an economic and political system intended to give rise to a classless global society? And if so, how might that vested interest might have conflicted with the interest of the Syndicate, its chief rival within the Technocracy for influence over the Masses?
                  Last edited by Theodrim; 06-23-2021, 11:18 AM.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Theodrim View Post
                    New World Order have a vested interest in the corruption and eventual collapse of an economic and political system intended to give rise to a classless global society? And if so, how might that vested interest might have conflicted with the interest of the Syndicate, its chief rival within the Technocracy for influence over the Masses?
                    The Technocracy orchestrated the eradication of a whole Convention because they tried to level the playing field with mages (the Syndicate still defend the decision today). They don't seem to have trouble with lending the means of production, but in general they see themselves as an elite that deserves to have an edge over the common populace - If someone convinced them that there was a risk for their own position of power if a classless society was achieved, they would oppose it (well, the power-hungry Masters would).
                    From the High Ups perspective, it could be simply that the experiment didn't yeld the amount of power they hoped - not necessarily power over the masses only, but also power over the world. Or it could be a conspiration to make sure nobody believes such a society it's possible, that way their power it's secured behind an extra layer of Paradox

                    And as for how the Syndicate conflicts with the NWO over this - they don't. They may say they do, but in actions they've proven to be together in their elitism:

                    *The Syndicate were the main faction behind the fall of the Craftmasons (Because they feared their proposal would be rejected by the masses?. So, you kill them all because paradox?, really?). And instead of being ashamed of it, they still defend their course of action in the modern era (and they claim Robin Hood as one of them, don't they? . I'm pretty sure he was a Craftmason in Cruzade :P).

                    *Their power base includes banks and great fortunes. They're the most prominent mage faction in Wall Street, the IMF, the World Bank. Aren't they? It makes me want to sing the socialist march with how clearly aligned with leftist movements these institutions are...ah...but I guess they fail at turning these institutions to the left because...Ehh..The Masses? Yeah, it's the masses. We control economy until that makes us look bad, and then it's the masses fault - if ItX can do that with weapons, and VE with colonization, sure we can do it with economy. Wonder if NWO can also blame the masses for authoritarianism, while taking credit for every good political thing in history...

                    *They *say* they are against scarcity, but they also make abundantly clear that it's impossible to end it.

                    One has to read a little beyond their propaganda...knowing that they killed the main faction of idealists searching for equality, you have to question that perhaps the one talking in the Syndicate book isn't exactly genuine about *wanting* to do what the Craftmasons wanted, but latter, "when the masses are ready", because currently it's impossible. Such talk ain't a good sign for any faction of mages. Especially when they also talk about how they're the "elite", that they deserve their position to be above the masses - and not just politically, they talk about material confort there.

                    I think the Syndicate could be in favor of a classless society as long as they can keep being "more equal" than the rest. And NWO it's the same, lack of classess doesn't need to be the same as lack of hierarchy.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Aleph View Post

                      Stuff.
                      What a comprehensive, indicting, and not-at-all biased and selective accounting of the Order of Reason's history and how it relates to relations between Conventions you've written, that of course absolves everyone but the High Guild and Syndicate of wrongdoing. Why, it's almost as if the Craftmasons single-handedly starting the Ascension War and going on to write the Theses of Languedoc simply didn't matter, and the Gabrielites and Ksirafai had nothing whatsoever to do with the destruction of the Craftmasons. I'd almost believe it myself if I didn't own the fucking book.

                      But bang-up try at diverting the subject from power dynamics within the Technocracy and how that might impact the Syndicate's relationship with other Conventions vis-a-vis vested interests, and whether or not perceived discrepancies might be better-resolved examining the issue through that lens as opposed to entirely within the context of a single Convention.
                      Last edited by Theodrim; 06-24-2021, 06:27 PM.

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                      • #41
                        (please disregard. Post should have been handled as a private message.)
                        Last edited by Dataweaver; 06-24-2021, 07:03 PM.


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                        • #42
                          One of the reasons that I prefer to the Syndicate to the NWO is that when the plan doesn't match the people, the Syndicate is more likely to say "we must revise the plan" and the NWO is more likely to say "we must revise the people." That said, one of the conceits of Mage is that Mass Ascension is theoretically possible. As dark as the argument "later, when the masses are ready" is, in Mage it is possible to say it, to mean it, and to achieve it.

                          But the real issue with any serious attempt at a classless society is finding some kind of agreement on what that means. Are we talking equal social standing? Equal in net worth? Equal possessions? Equal responsibilities? A solution for one meaning is going to look dystopian to another.

                          There are classless society models that work for the Syndicate, they just aren't the same models that work for the NWO, and those aren't the same models that work for ItX. In fact the only thing most of the Technocracy can agree on is that they don't want that model (whatever that model happens to be).

                          The upshot is that the grand Conspiracy that is the Technocracy can work together towards a classless society only so long as that goal remains in the future. When it starts to look plausible it becomes a threat. In other words, the real issue is that must happen "later, when the Technocracy is ready for it.


                          Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

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                          • #43
                            But the real issue with any serious attempt at a classless society is finding some kind of agreement on what that means. Are we talking equal social standing? Equal in net worth? Equal possessions? Equal responsibilities? A solution for one meaning is going to look dystopian to another.
                            I'd think the more basic issue would be that it didn't in any meaningful way produce the thing it set out to: the collective ownership of the means of production. The problem with communism wasn't that it solved one equality at the expense of another, it's that it didn't really solve any of them. (Maybe networth which didn't have any meaning under most versions of Communism).

                            Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post
                            One of the reasons that I prefer to the Syndicate to the NWO is that when the plan doesn't match the people, the Syndicate is more likely to say "we must revise the plan" and the NWO is more likely to say "we must revise the people."
                            I would say that's the problem with the way the Syndicate and NWO divide up their responsibilities. It's a very 90s idea of market and state as very distinct entities.

                            The Syndicate may say they revise to suit people, but they also claim huge political projects like the Euro which have very clearly not been revised to fit people.


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                            • #44
                              I think in this case the 'means of production' is probably something along the lines of

                              'Can we make everyone just as powerful as mages? No? The plan isn't done.'

                              Cars were once Correspondence + Forces foci who could not be used in public. Radios were once vulgar. The internet was once something only present in Technocratic constructs. Sewers were once things not to be seen by common man.

                              edit: I am exaggerating, but it won't be totally wrong to say that Jeff Bezos has more similarity with the world's poorest beggar than a Mage has with the mortals around him.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post
                                But the real issue with any serious attempt at a classless society is finding some kind of agreement on what that means. Are we talking equal social standing? Equal in net worth? Equal possessions? Equal responsibilities? A solution for one meaning is going to look dystopian to another.
                                That's the $64,000 question isn't it. As I pointed out in my (re)post here, the goal post is nominally to move beyond the primacy of financial, material, and living capitol, into an economy in which social, intellectual, experiential, spiritual, and cultural capitol hold equal value and can be exchanged freely as largely fungible and liquid commodities. That all but mandates a transition into a post-scarcity economy, because scarcity is the reason the former three forms of capitol are dominant -- the latter five not being exactly quantifiable in concrete, empirical terms -- and not directly exchangeable for social standing, privilege, or luxury. And likewise, scarcity is the cause of inequality, and classism the consequence of inequality; solve for scarcity, and inequality becomes moot.

                                So, as has been pointed out, classlessness is not so much the endgame by intent, as it is a consequence of having achieved the real goal. That doesn't necessarily have to come from a place of altruism, at least in my opinion; enlightened self-interest itself would suffice. Consider it in terms of Rawls' original position; the maximin rule stems ultimately from self-interest, as the maximin rule represents the minimum level of social standing a subject would themselves prefer in a society of their choice, not knowing the position they would nominally hold in it.
                                Last edited by Theodrim; 06-25-2021, 07:00 PM.

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