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  • Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
    Hmm? How does the hope for humanity lie in the Convention that's centered on the principle of reducing humans to cogs in a machine? Or in the Convention that seeks to deny the soul and promotes the notion that biology is the only thing that matters, that there's no qualitative difference between a man and a dog? Or in the Convention that's the embodiment of colonialism, subjugating and exploiting the Other? If you're going to take worst-case scenarios as the norm, all of the Conventions lose. So do the Traditions, for that matter.

    Also, you claim that the bottom is more likely to fall out of a capitalism-based system than any of the alternatives once ethics are removed, and that the central role of competition is a major reason for this. I respectfully call BS: competition generally acts as a deterrence to corruption in a healthy capitalist economy; and when a capitalist system breaks down it's usually characterized by competition being subverted in some way, be it the emergence of a monopoly or trust or the rise of crony capitalism (i.e., government-supported monopolies).
    Because, if you believe the R&D Convetion's hype, they are effectively baseline about human empowerment shading fully into transhumanism. If your stated goal is to "make people better" and, with a lot of hiccups (really nasty and bad hiccups) and handwringing about what better means, you actually have tanglible examples of such, you're doing a better job of making humanity better, unless it's better sheep. The Ascension that is the endless uniformity of a grey mass of undifferentiated identical individuals.

    You are incorrect. REGULATED capitalism can, potentially lead to such things (though, again, since it is inherently competitive, there are going to be issues... vide some societies that AREN'T capitialistic and are also cooperation oriented and you can see the differences). Pure capitalism as such is an inevitable race to the bottom overall. The exceptions will inevitably fail. (Hence, the Tragedy of the Commons... which will always happen, because it only takes ONE dishonest or greedy person without any external control mechanisms in place to throw the system The Virtuous Cycle requires government oversight, cooperation and investment. When any of those falter, it's going to turn into the Vicious Cycle. Even Adam Smith admitted it took God to keep capitalism on course. There is no evidence that, without a strong guiding hand, you ever get capitalism to accomplish anything resembling "public good". Which is probably (meaning "absolutely certainly") an initial precondition if the goal is "Mass Ascension." If your fundamental system mechanics don't actually lead to your stated goal, you're maladaptive at best and, most likely, your stated goals aren't your actual goals, whether that's implicit and there's a lack of awareness or internally explicit.

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    • Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
      I'd also point out that manipulating the Consensus is more of an NWO thing than a Syndicate thing.
      Do you use this thing called "money" to stay alive, to measure your value in regards to society? Does it measure your ability to affect your environment? Determine how you are treated by society as a whole?

      The Syndicate is so successful at manipulating the Consensus that almost any member of it can't even conceive that there are alternatives.

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      • Originally posted by Spacecat View Post

        You seem to be using them as a definition for evil rather than defining evil and then showing how they fit into that definition. Evil, as I see it, is defined as profoundly immoral and malevolent. I find them to be immoral but not profoundly so and nowhere near profoundly malevolent. Therefore, not evil. Not very good either, but at least capable of good in some cases. I don't see how "the very heart of the worst of evilness" is there. Are you equating capitalism with evil? That might not be your intended message but that's what most of this sounds like to me. Also, the success of the organization has nothing to do with the organization's being good or evil. What is your measure of evil here?




        The hype? I've always recognized them as a group that wants to control the world because they think they are best at doing so. They have as much right to control humanity as anyone else... which is not much. Their new next best thing is supposed to come after they can safely control Consensus because they think that even a small amount of paradox in the global economy will screw the world up royally. They have to wait til almost all people are on a cashless system and they can subtly tweak a few numbers here and there to control public opinion regarding what people should spend on (put their faith in). They are centuries away from their goals and feel that hurrying will just screw stuff up. This all still falls squarely in the realm of self interest. What hype? What propaganda?




        I've played a game of that and haven't seen how such economies would actually feasibly work without even worse problems than before.



        Also, with regards to your ideas on rhetoric, arguing from an extreme is only really great if you are trying to win a debate rather than trying to seek out actual truth or its closest approximate, which is what I believe we should be doing in a forum such as this.
        I'm not doing that. Phil Brucato is doing that. He's explicitly doing that. He has the buy in of the other authors of M20 and Onyx Path on that as the most current word on that. He has implicitly rejected the conception of the Syndicate in the Rev Convention Book in both that he really does seem to treat it as pure propaganda and that he has absolutely set out as a "default" setting that the Syndicate is not only "not the good guys" they are the home base for a significant fraction of the worst guys.

        Insofar as Mage has a definition of "evil", it's explicitly the Nephandi. (Which can lead to a whole host of arguments about a game in which it's stated that "Everything is Relative" then they move on to say "Absolute evil is real and here it is".) The Nephandi are most successful in the Technocracy as the Technephandi, which, you CAN take or leave, but, unless there's a huge vector change, is going to be an assumption going forward. The dial on how infested with Nephandi the Technocracy is is going to be a Purple Box set up as far as it looks now and "Just as much as any other Faction is not going to be the initial position. And, without reading between the line too much, the Syndicate is the heart and soul of the continuity of that evil influence from the inception of the Order of Reason right up to modern times. (Which makes sense, since, really, they have been fundamentally the same group every way from then until now. The name change is cosmetic when compared to the mix-mastering of OoR Conventions and the massive fundamental underlying ideological shifts that occurred in the Conventions with any apparent continuity). Hells, it seems like they brought it to the table.

        If you were correct about the second, then there would never have been a finanical collapse The Syndicate would never have played chicken with the world economy for fun and profit. There is obviously, at the very least, a difference of ideologies in the Convention currently, with the "Bear" side currently ascendant. If you are correct, there must have been a brutal, ruthless, bloody, mass purge of the others (which is pretty ethically dicey), or all those folks who were 100% behind risking the world economy are still a major component of the Convention, trying to figure out how to bring things back around to their way of thinking.

        Those are the alternatives out there. Considering there have been many, many, many other types of economies out there (to the level that the word "economy" is as meaningless as "religion" as idenitfying a relevant separate concept is in many other cultures), they might work out. They haven't been given the virtue of trying so far on a systemic scale. (Though bits and pieces show through here and there). In fact, some of them are fundamentally just cosmetic sleeves over some very old and very functional systems. Some of which have lasted for so much longer than capitalism as a system that there really isn't even a comparison. Trying to pull oneself out of one's own setting and trying to get a firm grasp on very different ideas from other cultures or periods is not an easy thing to do. It's as difficult to as learning another language to a functional level (and, in fact, can sometimes be very much the same thing.) But "What we've got" isn't even a good measure of "What works well" overall. It's just what we've got. It's our normal. And that very different thing those dude's have is NOT normal. Humans have issues with "not normal" ever equalling "as good" much less "potentially better for certain values of better".

        And, since you're tossed rhetoric aside, which is one of the better ways we've found to seek out truth (like capitalism is one of the better ways we've found to distribute resources and democracy is one of the better ways we've found to distribute power, not the only ways, but definitely ways that can work and that we are familiar with), what is your proposal for another methodology? Even if all you've done is get more steadfast in your position on the Syndicate, you've had to at least consider there are alternative views and you've had to figure out not just that you don't like them, but now have reasons you can articulate about WHY you don't like them. You might even have broadened your viewpoint of what the Syndicate can be or see that it's a buffet and you can pick what you like for it, either as a whole or for the bits that on stage now.

        Like I've said repeatedly, I am actually using the Syndicate as a major part of my current actual, not theoretical, being played M20 game. And they aren't just this seething shoggoth of pure evil made of thousands of little angry toothy greedy tadpole mages. They just, in fact, became the haven in the storm to the cabal. Of course, they expect some help in return and its going to suck up some of the players into an internal coup within this Amalgam (/family-owned international shipping company). So, are they good guys? Sure. To a point. Are they self-interested and into quid-pro-quo in a ruthless way? Yup. So... I'm not even going to the full-on Technephandi-infested Syndicate norm. At least here (and TBH, not at all in my games. The Union falling on its face is a category of evil all it's own. Just like the Traditions. The Nephandi-infestation dial for my games has typically been "Low" across the board. Independant Nephandi have been the norm when Nephandi do show up. So far, NONE in this chronicle... though they do get talked about.)
        Last edited by Ajax; 04-12-2017, 12:18 PM.

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        • Originally posted by Ajax View Post
          You are incorrect. REGULATED capitalism can, potentially lead to such things (though, again, since it is inherently competitive, there are going to be issues... vide some societies that AREN'T capitialistic and are also cooperation oriented and you can see the differences). Pure capitalism as such is an inevitable race to the bottom overall. The exceptions will inevitably fail. (Hence, the Tragedy of the Commons... which will always happen, because it only takes ONE dishonest or greedy person without any external control mechanisms in place to throw the system The Virtuous Cycle requires government oversight, cooperation and investment. When any of those falter, it's going to turn into the Vicious Cycle. Even Adam Smith admitted it took God to keep capitalism on course. There is no evidence that, without a strong guiding hand, you ever get capitalism to accomplish anything resembling "public good". Which is probably (meaning "absolutely certainly") an initial precondition if the goal is "Mass Ascension." If your fundamental system mechanics don't actually lead to your stated goal, you're maladaptive at best and, most likely, your stated goals aren't your actual goals, whether that's implicit and there's a lack of awareness or internally explicit.
          While I'm beginning to get your general arguments with regards to capitalism, I'd still have to argue "not evil". I see capitalism as a tool, like a knife or a fire... more like a fire. Using unregulated capitalism and then calling it evil is a bit like carelessly lighting fire in your house and then calling it evil when your house burns down.

          I feel I have a clear view of how the Syndicate intends to achieve its goals which involves: First converting money to a state in which the Syndicate does not have to worry too much about physical cash as a variable; Then influencing belief by making predictable, believable increases in profit and savings for those who choose certain things they approve of alongside predictable believable decreases in profit and savings for those who don't; Then as people put more and more "stock" in what the Syndicate desires, focus this belief in a predictable manner to allow for the creation of currently impossible or improbable developments (as opposed to forcing these on a consensus on a regular basis and watching these catch of flop with the occasional massive backlash). These developments would then be what would actually lead to ascension. And this has the pleasant side effect of giving the Syndicate full control of reality.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Ajax View Post

            I'm not doing that. Phil Brucato is doing that. He's explicitly doing that. He has the buy in of the other authors of M20 and Onyx Path on that as the most current word on that. He has implicitly rejected the conception of the Syndicate in the Rev Convention Book in both that he really does seem to treat it as pure propaganda and that he has absolutely set out as a "default" setting that the Syndicate is not only "not the good guys" they are the home base for a significant fraction of the worst guys.
            I'd like more info on this if you have it.

            Originally posted by Ajax View Post
            Insofar as Mage has a definition of "evil", it's explicitly the Nephandi. (Which can lead to a whole host of arguments about a game in which it's stated that "Everything is Relative" then they move on to say "Absolute evil is real and here it is".) The Nephandi are most successful in the Technocracy as the Technephandi, which, you CAN take or leave, but, unless there's a huge vector change, is going to be an assumption going forward. The dial on how infested with Nephandi the Technocracy is is going to be a Purple Box set up as far as it looks now and "Just as much as any other Faction is not going to be the initial position. And, without reading between the line too much, the Syndicate is the heart and soul of the continuity of that evil influence from the inception of the Order of Reason right up to modern times. (Which makes sense, since, really, they have been fundamentally the same group every way from then until now. The name change is cosmetic when compared to the mix-mastering of OoR Conventions and the massive fundamental underlying ideological shifts that occurred in the Conventions with any apparent continuity). Hells, it seems like they brought it to the table.
            Well, I gave you the definition of evil I am using and showing you how I fit the ideas into that context. Could you maybe give me a clear definition for your idea of evil? Otherwise, there will be no way to see what exactly falls within your idea of evil or outside of it.

            Originally posted by Ajax View Post
            If you were correct about the second, then there would never have been a finanical collapse The Syndicate would never have played chicken with the world economy for fun and profit. There is obviously, at the very least, a difference of ideologies in the Convention currently, with the "Bear" side currently ascendant. If you are correct, there must have been a brutal, ruthless, bloody, mass purge of the others (which is pretty ethically dicey), or all those folks who were 100% behind risking the world economy are still a major component of the Convention, trying to figure out how to bring things back around to their way of thinking.
            The older book (I only have access to the older syndicate book) seems to suggest there was something of a purge as a whole bunch of the Syndicate members (probably the guys most responsible) went rogue afterwards and were eventually taken care of by Enforcers as the remnants of the Syndicate tried to patch things up again.

            Originally posted by Ajax View Post
            Those are the alternatives out there. Considering there have been many, many, many other types of economies out there (to the level that the word "economy" is as meaningless as "religion" as idenitfying a relevant separate concept is in many other cultures), they might work out. They haven't been given the virtue of trying so far on a systemic scale. (Though bits and pieces show through here and there). In fact, some of them are fundamentally just cosmetic sleeves over some very old and very functional systems. Some of which have lasted for so much longer than capitalism as a system that there really isn't even a comparison. Trying to pull oneself out of one's own setting and trying to get a firm grasp on very different ideas from other cultures or periods is not an easy thing to do. It's as difficult to as learning another language to a functional level (and, in fact, can sometimes be very much the same thing.) But "What we've got" isn't even a good measure of "What works well" overall. It's just what we've got. It's our normal. And that very different thing those dude's have is NOT normal. Humans have issues with "not normal" ever equalling "as good" much less "potentially better for certain values of better".
            I feel that the whole thing about problems with NOT normal is part of the consensus that needs tweaking.


            Originally posted by Ajax View Post
            And, since you're tossed rhetoric aside, which is one of the better ways we've found to seek out truth (like capitalism is one of the better ways we've found to distribute resources and democracy is one of the better ways we've found to distribute power, not the only ways, but definitely ways that can work and that we are familiar with), what is your proposal for another methodology? Even if all you've done is get more steadfast in your position on the Syndicate, you've had to at least consider there are alternative views and you've had to figure out not just that you don't like them, but now have reasons you can articulate about WHY you don't like them. You might even have broadened your viewpoint of what the Syndicate can be or see that it's a buffet and you can pick what you like for it, either as a whole or for the bits that on stage now.
            Yes, I rather liked this discussion. I feel the danger of taking an extreme side in terms of seeking the truth in an issue though is the possibility that no one will act as a counterpoint and the result will simply be the extreme idea. I do like the Syndicate mind you but I definitely don't see them as good guys.


            Originally posted by Ajax View Post
            Like I've said repeatedly, I am actually using the Syndicate as a major part of my current actual, not theoretical, being played M20 game. And they aren't just this seething shoggoth of pure evil made of thousands of little angry toothy greedy tadpole mages. They just, in fact, became the haven in the storm to the cabal. Of course, they expect some help in return and its going to suck up some of the players into an internal coup within this Amalgam (/family-owned international shipping company). So, are they good guys? Sure. To a point. Are they self-interested and into quid-pro-quo in a ruthless way? Yup. So... I'm not even going to the full-on Technephandi-infested Syndicate norm. At least here (and TBH, not at all in my games. The Union falling on its face is a category of evil all it's own. Just like the Traditions. The Nephandi-infestation dial for my games has typically been "Low" across the board. Independant Nephandi have been the norm when Nephandi do show up. So far, NONE in this chronicle... though they do get talked about.)

            Incidentally, this whole discussion has given me an idea for a Syndicate based game.
            What was supposed to be a surprise audit of Pentex by the Syndicate Board transformed into a hostile takeover, complete with the eradication of the controlling members of Pentex, much of those below them, and the deaths of a number of Syndicate VPOs. Somehow, against all odds, they've managed to keep the whole affair a secret from the rest of the Technocracy. Absurdly enough, the company is more or less intact and still filled with much of its insanity. The average employee will see this change of leadership as an opportunity for growth. The PCs jobs are to take over the leadership of Pentex and in some cases the identities of some of these former leaders and to "fix" the organization while keeping the whole thing secret from the rest of the known universe. Mainly, I want to see how players with the power to alter reality and the ability to requisition items from the rest of the technocracy so long as they can come up with the proper excuse for its use will try to handle this absurd task.
            Last edited by Spacecat; 04-12-2017, 02:43 PM.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Spacecat
              What was supposed to be a surprise audit of Pentex by the Syndicate Board transformed into a hostile takeover, complete with the eradication of the controlling members of Pentex, much of those below them, and the deaths of a number of Syndicate VPOs. Somehow, against all odds, they've managed to keep the whole affair a secret from the rest of the Technocracy. Absurdly enough, the company is more or less intact and still filled with much of its insanity. The average employee will see this change of leadership as an opportunity for growth. The PCs jobs are to take over the leadership of Pentex and in some cases the identities of some of these former leaders and to "fix" the organization while keeping the whole thing secret from the rest of the known universe. Mainly, I want to see how players with the power to alter reality and the ability to requisition items from the rest of the technocracy so long as they can come up with the proper excuse for its use will try to handle this absurd task.
              Not bad...not going to happen within the metaplot, but metaplot was made so you can break it...I like it.

              However, to truly begin to understand the evilness that it's Pentex, Dimensional Science it's paramount.

              Don't see this as an obstacle, but as a feature. Evil that you can't see can be scary, and while DimSci it's rare outside the VE, it not nonexistant (you could have a few weird agents of the Syndicate with it).

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              • I'm pretty sure that even if no one starts with Dimensional Science, they're going to get it soon enough... or requisition some wonders that might help.
                Last edited by Spacecat; 04-12-2017, 02:50 PM.

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                • Originally posted by Spacecat View Post

                  While I'm beginning to get your general arguments with regards to capitalism, I'd still have to argue "not evil". I see capitalism as a tool, like a knife or a fire... more like a fire. Using unregulated capitalism and then calling it evil is a bit like carelessly lighting fire in your house and then calling it evil when your house burns down.

                  I feel I have a clear view of how the Syndicate intends to achieve its goals which involves: First converting money to a state in which the Syndicate does not have to worry too much about physical cash as a variable; Then influencing belief by making predictable, believable increases in profit and savings for those who choose certain things they approve of alongside predictable believable decreases in profit and savings for those who don't; Then as people put more and more "stock" in what the Syndicate desires, focus this belief in a predictable manner to allow for the creation of currently impossible or improbable developments (as opposed to forcing these on a consensus on a regular basis and watching these catch of flop with the occasional massive backlash). These developments would then be what would actually lead to ascension. And this has the pleasant side effect of giving the Syndicate full control of reality.
                  Unfortunately, unlike fire, capitalism as tool is built on intent. Which makes it more problematic.

                  But that's the point of the Tragedy of the Commons. It doesn't HAVE to happen. But, it's going to happen if there isn't some kind of social, cultural and/or political control that keeps malefactors from acting. Capitalism per se isn't internally regulated. As I've ponted, even Adam Smith assumed a control on this 'perfect system', specifically that it's perfection comes from God himself and that God will make sure the bad guys don't mess up the works.

                  If you say that the Syndicate's plan for Ascension is a perfected positive homeostatic feedback loop Virtuous Cycle that rolls up to Mass Ascension.... That sounds fine and dandy. Of course, there are ends and means issues here. This Syndicate is pretty much okay will full on blackness when they think the end is the light. The Road to Hell and all that.... The other thing is exactly what I've been saying, in that, if the Syndicate REALLY wants that, they can't want it all for themselves and fuck the rest of the Conventions. ( "Mass Ascension is OURS!!!!"). That's more like a Syndicate version of a Union Mass Ascension where the NWO does it's part with keeping the appropriate culture in place to keep things from rolling off track, the Progenitors and It-X take care of the endless innovation needed to keep the Cycle going and the VE's take care of the Malthus conundrum(and a few others) by offering continual expansion.

                  That's not a bad Technocracy at all. If that's the plan . It if weren't doing such awful things to get there, I might even believe it....

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Ajax View Post
                    Unfortunately, unlike fire, capitalism as tool is built on intent. Which makes it more problematic.
                    Not necessarily more evil in my opinion. Just, more dangerous. I'm guessing maybe you believe in an inherent level of good and evil in all things?
                    Originally posted by Ajax View Post
                    But that's the point of the Tragedy of the Commons. It doesn't HAVE to happen. But, it's going to happen if there isn't some kind of social, cultural and/or political control that keeps malefactors from acting. Capitalism per se isn't internally regulated. As I've ponted, even Adam Smith assumed a control on this 'perfect system', specifically that it's perfection comes from God himself and that God will make sure the bad guys don't mess up the works.
                    To further my analogy. The gas stove in a home could blow it up if misused but I would hardly consider it evil. Even a defective gas stove isn't actually evil. The evil lies elsewhere.
                    Originally posted by Ajax View Post
                    If you say that the Syndicate's plan for Ascension is a perfected positive homeostatic feedback loop Virtuous Cycle that rolls up to Mass Ascension.... That sounds fine and dandy. Of course, there are ends and means issues here. This Syndicate is pretty much okay will full on blackness when they think the end is the light. The Road to Hell and all that.... The other thing is exactly what I've been saying, in that, if the Syndicate REALLY wants that, they can't want it all for themselves and fuck the rest of the Conventions. ( "Mass Ascension is OURS!!!!"). That's more like a Syndicate version of a Union Mass Ascension where the NWO does it's part with keeping the appropriate culture in place to keep things from rolling off track, the Progenitors and It-X take care of the endless innovation needed to keep the Cycle going and the VE's take care of the Malthus conundrum(and a few others) by offering continual expansion.
                    I believe that's what their trying to position themselves to do (that Syndicate Version of a Union Mass Ascension) they think it's be a win for everyone on their side but mostly don't like what the NWO seems to have in mind. Humanity gets to end stuff like poverty and all those other hard problems that never seem to go away. The NWO gets a stable world. The progenitors get to improve upon humanity in peace. The other guys get to do their thing. Maybe the Traditions finally get in line. (In theory)
                    Originally posted by Ajax View Post
                    That's not a bad Technocracy at all. If that's the plan . It if weren't doing such awful things to get there, I might even believe it....
                    I'm saying that's the plan. I'm of the opinion that pulling it off is like herding cats. Also, even if they succeed, all the real problems of their setup will pop up later on.

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