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-   -   The Morality and Philosophy of the Sibyl System (http://forums.animesuki.com/showthread.php?t=115970)

TinyRedLeaf 2012-10-18 21:04

What a difference a single episode can make. I echo the opinions of many: Ep2 helped to greatly expand on the premise of the story and the motivations of its key characters.

A number of thoughts come to mind, so I'll jot them down before I forget them. For a start, the idea that this world is "dystopic". My take on this, for the sake of discussion, is why should it be? Because, in truth, it's no more than a logical extension of many of our contemporary institutions.

Consider the dichotomy I've brought up much earlier, about the conflict between free will and determinism. Instinctively, we think "free will" exists, and that we are the sovereigns of our personal choices. Yet, even today, many would vigorously claim that "free will" is an illusion, that everything we can possibly be, can even possibly think of being, is determined from Day One by our biology. The scientific evidence for this point of view is compelling. Take, for example, brain-scan experiments that allow scientists to predict how we'd answer a question before we can even articulate our thoughts.

Take that view to its logical conclusion, and you'd be better able to appreciate why it's not a stretch to flag someone as a "latent criminal" from age five, especially if it's statistically possible to spot someone whose biology fits a criminal profile. You're not a criminal yet, but the risk of you falling over the edge is very high, hence remedial action needs to be taken immediately to prevent that from happening. Why is that necessarily a bad thing? If you are prone to a certain illness, wouldn't you take precautionary measures to prevent it?

Something else to mull over: it is made very clear, in this episode, that Akane enjoys an exclusive privilege by virtue of being exceptionally gifted. She has the luxury of choice, and the ability to experience the existential angst that accompanies such a choice.

Contrast this with the promise made by the Sibyl System, that for every job that needs to be done, there will be someone to match its requirements (I don't remember the exact words, but that's the gist of it).

This may seem dystopic for some but, in reality, how is it different from our modern educational system and the larger, capitalist-meritocratic society we live in? Particularly in East Asia, where children are "streamed" by examinations from a very young age, to determine which education tracks they are best suited for; where grades determine which schools you qualify for; the better your grades, the more prestigious the school, which in turn opens doors to careers that others aren't fit for.

We reward and promote people today supposedly on the basis of merit. People fall into severe depression from being unable to meet the expectations of their careers. That's a frequent story. What's wrong with creating a system that prevents this as far as possible?

Those are some of my observations, in rough form. No doubt they can be refined, when I have more time. For now, I hope they're enough to generate some discussion along those lines.

Gpower 2012-10-18 21:33

@TinyRedLeaf

Perhaps why Psycho Pass's world seems more dystopic is because our current world have a semblance of choice. As a student, I feel that one's success in education depend as much on the effort one is willing to put into their studies as much as one's talent. You can say how much effort I put in is all determined by biological and social circumstance, but I still felt like I made a choice. Locking up a 5 year old kid because of his CC, while can be a logical action, is not giving him a chance at life. It removes the "illusion of choice", plain for everyone to see, and here lies the depressing part of Psycho Pass' reality.

TinyRedLeaf 2012-10-18 22:14

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gpower (Post 4402729)
It removes the "illusion of choice", plain for everyone to see, and here lies the depressing part of Psycho Pass' reality.

Why do you need the illusion? Stripping away the illusion from your daily decisions does not make it any less necessary for you to make a choice.

If we argue that the "illusion of free will" is necessary, I can also argue that religion is an essential illusion for our psychological and spiritual happiness. After all, isn't religion the ultimate illusion in our daily lives today? Yet many people here would rather see religion abolished for all time.

Lenneth4 2012-10-18 22:23

Criminals saving the city...

TinyRedLeaf 2012-10-18 22:51

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lenneth4 (Post 4402779)
Criminals saving the city...

Not quite criminals or they would have been literally liquidated by now. Rather, they are "latent criminals" (that is, potential criminals).

This link is helpful for elucidating the basis of my thoughts on free will versus determinism: Free Will, by Sam Harris.
Quote:

Harris prosecutes his orderly case by explaining what he sees as the illogic of our belief in free will, and the recent findings that have undermined that belief.

Compatibilists believe that "a person is free as long as he is free from any outer or inner compulsions", Harris writes, and they "have produced a vast literature in an effort" to salvage free will. "More than in any other area of academic philosophy, the result resembles theology," he continues, consigning it to what one assumes is, for him, the intellectual sub-basement.

Harris claims that doing so does not entail the end of morality, the idea of criminality and codes of ethical behavior. "Many people worry that free will is a necessary illusion," he says. "It is surely conceivable that knowing (or emphasising) certain truths about the human mind could have unfortunate psychological and/or cultural consequences." But it need not. We can still condemn "the conscious intention to do harm", he says, and he goes on to sketch a system of social and judicial evaluations that can lead to making valid moral judgments about people without invoking their wills.

"Once we recognise that even the most terrifying predators are, in a very real sense, unlucky to be who they are, the logic of hating (as opposed to fearing) them begins to unravel," says Harris.
I smell the beginning of the Psycho-Pass system in the above...

The point is simple. Abandoning the illusion of free will does not absolve us from the need to be responsible for our actions. More importantly, it forces us to confront the reality of what actually causes us to behave in any one way. In other words, it forces us to be fully aware of our biology, and to take responsibility for physical or psychological conditions that may predispose us to harmful, anti-social behaviour.

As this episode demonstrates, there are ample means for any well-adjusted individual to take complete control on his or her biology. Helpful drones advise people on the correct calorie intake, and also tell people to take medications to prevent mental/psychological contamination by the environment or other people. There is also ample opportunity, thanks to holographic technology, to create just the right kind of environment that would make any individual happy. Is it not reasonable therefore to assume that anyone who refuses to take such prescriptive measures is on the verge of criminal behaviour, and therefore requires tougher measures to make sure he or she stays in line?

Graveyard Duck 2012-10-18 22:52

As for the Sibyl system and choosing one's job, recall the conversation between Akane and Kagari:
Spoiler:

This seems to imply that the individual can choose whatever job he has the qualifications for, with the Sibyl's selection of best job being a mere suggestion. This is consistent with the all C ranked friend being only able to get blue collar work.

Fundamentally, the system is pretty much how our world works: If you are capable and have the resolve, you'll probably be able to choose a wide range of jobs. If you lack one or both in sufficient quantities, your choices will be more limited. The main difference is how precise the system is in Psycho-Pass and how much people trust the system. Like the dominator's evaluation, the main flaw here appears to be the potential for people to come to rely on it rather than because it's eliminates choice.

whitecloud 2012-10-18 22:59

wow....you have to love the tech they have from holographic tech to changing cloth to augmented reality of the small mirror...i want those....would you?

ok..on to the story.... in psycho pass it seems CC is considered a disease so everyone who have one need to take a meds and suplement, arguably like those anti-anxiety medication.

Also it is detectable from very young age either from normal reading or DNA reading which entitled the person to be treated either way (so if one have hich CC from child the person need to take meds for life? like epileptic)

we see that sybil is actually is not just for crime but also being used for many life aspect like career and it usually right...whether it is against freedom of choice as some commenter said about, isnt it in the end only a suggestion? and sometime when we in confusion help is always appreciated right...

i believe the basis of sybil reading most likely just from seeing past performance record in this case and see the most likely job that good for the person...

we also see that akane is maybe the smartest out of them all, being (maybe) the only person who ever write a thesis in their team...(university grad) with exception of the doctor..

shinya dont exactly bothered by akane shooting him, because it is her right to do so and she has her own method of doing thing

the method that akane when apprehending the person in ep 1 is right and even though usually people not go by it, it is shown when they apprehend the jealous? guy while in stealth mascot suit

P.S : akane is really shy girl, easily depressed but quite considerate of other opinion, naturally kind, can be pro-active and smart, i think that the reason she was picked by cybil to be CID member...what i wonder what is the CID member criteria by sybil...

P.P.S : akane remind me of saber....but unlike saber who is stubborn she is more open to opinion

idea..idea..?

Dark Wing 2012-10-19 00:24

Quote:

Originally Posted by Klashikari (Post 4402454)
As expected, the system was solely defined by the enforcers and inspectors, which are basically "encouraged" by the guns, to the point it became an habit, so for a drastic and precise feature such as the psycho pass, they definitely hinder themselves by using the so called "latent criminal"...
Really, that just strengthen the statement that this system as a whole is flawed to no end, since it is momentum and highly circumstancial based, the latter being ignored by most of the sybil system crew. And the numbers determining even the fate of people who hardly had done anything by a long shot (latent criminal at 5? really...?) is textbook dystopia.

I can't really see how one can call medicating a mentally ill child a case of dystopia? I believe that if we could detect psychological issues within individuals before they become a problem we really could prevent all kinds of honorable things from happening.

I remember a news story some years ago were a little boy poisoned his whole family. The reason? He thought it would be funny. The way I see it had a system like Sybil had been around to detect this boy's psychological problems before hand that family would still be alive and the boy would've gotten the help he needed sooner.

Tenchi Ryu 2012-10-19 00:39

WOW...beautiful episode, and like others said...amazing how one episode can put so much on your mind to think about. We discussed many things last week, about the efficiency of this program, to whether or not it comes down to who pulls the trigger. I love the dynamic that was brought up during the one on one talk at his bed, cause it really shows you two sides of the coin. On one hand, we have what many were talking about, how Morals and good judgement can be used. I really liked how he mentioned who wants to PROTECT people, not just take them down.

But I ALSO loved how he showed us the opposite, how he doesn't think about anything except getting out alive. That puts so much to think about, because a lot of that is true. Police officers are human too, and even though they want to protect, I'm sure many also want to come out alive and be able to wake up the next morning. I remember someone here said you'd be surprised how willing the people of this world would go to assure safety, and we kinda see that here. With this program, no matter what its guaranteed the officers should come out alive. While the MC's method luckily did work this time, that might not always work out for her. So it comes down to whether you want to take that risk, or be able to successfully solve the problem with the least casualties possible....

Man, I swear I think this might be my favorite show of the season guys...

zarqu 2012-10-19 03:39

Quote:

Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf (Post 4402712)
You're not a criminal yet, but the risk of you falling over the edge is very high, hence remedial action needs to be taken immediately to prevent that from happening.

Depends on the remidial actions, of course. Neuroscientist Jim Fallon has the neurological and genetical correlates for psychopathy, yet he is a not a murderer but a neuroscientist. Why? He cites positive childhood experiences as negating any genetical vulnerabilities.

Can the state create those "positive experiences"? I don't see why any advanced civilization couldn't affect the environment part of the "nature vs. nurture" equation. But still, flagging children as latent criminals feels stigmatizing. Do their peers know? Can we let these latent criminals attend school with other children? Can the institutions of this society negate the genetic vulnerabilities?

We are two episodes in, so I'm still somewhat skeptical.

edit: I'm a fan of the Four Horsemen and especially Harris and Hitchens (RIP). The Sibyl System is exactly what kind of criticism Harris got for his book The Moral Landscape. I plan to read Dennett's Freedom Evolves at some point.

Triple_R 2012-10-19 04:03

Quote:

Originally Posted by zarqu (Post 4403084)
Depends on the remidial actions, of course. Neuroscientist Jim Fallon has the neurological and genetical correlates for psychopathy, yet he is a not a murderer but a neuroscientist. Why? He cites positive childhood experiences as negating any genetical vulnerabilities.

And that's a key flaw in both the Sibyl System (as it appears so far) and in TinyRedLeaf's analysis. It puts far too much emphasis on genetics (re: "nature") and not enough on broader sociological factors (re: "nurture").

To be fair, the world in Psycho-Pass isn't exactly a dystopia. In fact, it has many nice perks to it... as long as you're one of the fortunate ones, like Akane. But for the rest, you don't even get a chance to overcome your genetic predispositions, like Jim Fallon did in real life.

The fact is that people can change, and/or overcome predispositions towards certain harmful behaviors, as long as an environment conducive to such change exists around them.

But the Sibyl System doesn't provide such an environment - Rather, it institutionalizes people, "playing the odds" and giving up on them without giving them a real chance in life.


Again, to be fair, I see some value in having basic aptitude tests, and setting that as part of a screening procedure for certain professions. It is true that genetics sets certain limits for people, but it's not as absolute as TinyRedLeaf is making it out to be. I firmly believe that free will does exist, and that denying that is one of the worst things a person can do.

And when you take away a person's free will at the age of five, and give them no real choice at all, I don't think that's something that should be defended. I know some people who were troublemakers in the school that I went to and grew up in, and they ended up being productive and law-abiding members of society.


And as for this 2nd episode, my impression is that "the criminal" was a guy experiencing romantic jealousy over another guy that was getting close to a girl that he had a crush on (I'm pretty sure the criminal was glaring at that young couple that were joking around and playfully teasing one another). Was his bad Psycho-Pass reading rooted in such jealousy? That's an admittedly subtle impression that I was getting. And if it's just rooted in jealousy, then it may well not be something that actually requires dragging him away like a total criminal. Doing that to him just risks making him feel like a total criminal, while a softer approach would likely work better.


And yeah, I wouldn't want some overbearing machine, like Clippy or a Zelda fairy, constantly telling me what to do and exactly how many calories I should eat. That's my choice, and I'm not a "latent criminal" for wanting to maintain it without an annoyance chirping constantly around me.


The holographic imagery is nice though. That's a neat perk. At least for those in professions that afford them...

TinyRedLeaf 2012-10-19 06:14

Quote:

Originally Posted by Triple_R (Post 4403105)
Again, to be fair, I see some value in having basic aptitude tests, and setting that as part of a screening procedure for certain professions. It is true that genetics sets certain limits for people, but it's not as absolute as TinyRedLeaf is making it out to be. I firmly believe that free will does exist, and that denying that is one of the worst things a person can do.

And when you take away a person's free will at the age of five, and give them no real choice at all, I don't think that's something that should be defended.

Why insist on an illusion of free will when we refuse to provide such luxury of choice to people who choose to indulge in the illusion of a Heavenly Father who watches over us all? We say that people who stick to religious beliefs are delusional, and ridicule them as such. Why should we not also ridicule people who believe in free will, even when scientific evidence increasingly suggests that it does not exist?

In reality, to what extent can we claim credit for our seemingly "autonomous" choices? You rightly point out that the environment, or "nurture", plays a role in shaping our biological potential. Yet, to what extent can we claim credit for the kinds of environment we grew up in? Simply put, we can't. It was a massive lottery. We couldn't choose our parents. And we certainly couldn't choose the kinds of environments our parents and peers put us through during our most formative years.

Where was "free will" amid all these all-important decisions that affected our lives?

The simple, awful truth is that some of us were lucky enough to be born in certain environments, while others were just plain unlucky. Too bad. It doesn't change the brute fact that we have to deal with the consequences of such factors, without pretending that our will was ever "freely" shaped by conditions of our conscious choosing, or so Harris claims. He wants us to face the ugly truth of our biology, and deal with the inevitable consequences, however unpalatable they may be.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Triple_R (Post 4403105)
And that's a key flaw in both the Sibyl System (as it appears so far) and in TinyRedLeaf's analysis. It puts far too much emphasis on genetics (re: "nature") and not enough on broader sociological factors (re: "nurture").

Not exactly true. Ep2 appears to suggest that any individual can freely create the ideal environment that will make him or her a happy camper. Individuals are effectively freed from material wants, because advanced holographic technology can simulate whatever they desire. If it's true that environment and nurture affects our biology, that this could in effect be the ideal scenario of making sure each individual gets the best he or she deserves.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Triple_R (Post 4403105)
But for the rest, you don't even get a chance to overcome your genetic predispositions, like Jim Fallon did in real life.

It's tough to be born autistic, epileptic, quadriplegic or with any other kind of physical or psychological handicap, but that's life. Sure, we can give such people all the chances they need, but let's not kid ourselves, they'd never be the same as a "normal" person. So, how is bad to put such people on a separate, more forgiving track, than to put them on a track that may cause them nothing but mental anguish as they fall increasingly behind "normal" peers, and potentially become criminals in reaction?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Triple_R (Post 4403105)
But the Sibyl System doesn't provide such an environment - Rather, it institutionalizes people, "playing the odds" and giving up on them without giving them a real chance in life.

How is that so different from what we're already doing today, with the grading and ranking of students, and with different levels of rewards for different levels of performance? Whether you realise it or not, as a modern society, we have already tacitly accepted the institutionalisation of class differences among people. The Sibyl System does no more than to make this baldly explicit. Face the hard truth, or would you prefer to wallow in the opiate of the masses?

Triple_R 2012-10-19 07:30

Quote:

Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf (Post 4403210)
In reality, to what extent can we claim credit for our seemingly "autonomous" choices? You rightly point out that the environment, or "nurture", plays a role in shaping our biological potential. Yet, to what extent can we claim credit for the kinds of environment we grew up in? Simply put, we can't.

That's not entirely accurate.

Even a little kid chooses who he or she will make friends with. Yes, that choice is typically limited to a kids' school classmates, but kids usually choose some people out of their classmates to be friends with (they're not always friends with every classmate, of course).

Kids will also choose what types of entertainment to get involved in. Some kids will choose sports, other kids will choose video games, and yet other kids will choose comic books. There will likely be some overlap here, but even at a young age you will see kids favor certain entertainment forms over others.

In some circumstances, kids choose what schools they'll attend as they go through school. In school, kids may choose which school clubs or youth groups to attend and take part in. Kids will choose how much to apply themselves to their studies.

All of this is influenced by parents, teachers, and peers of course. But nonetheless, most kids have at least some degree of autonomy in these matters. They typically don't have every "choice" forced on them. I certainly didn't when I was growing up.


And these choices can have an impact later in life - As a kid, I tended to favor comic books and video games over sports. This was probably good for my intellectual development, but less so for my physical development. Out of my peers who tended to favor sports over video games and comic books, most are in better physical shape than I am.


Quote:

It was a massive lottery. We couldn't choose our parents. And we certainly couldn't choose the kinds of environments our parents and peers put us through during our most formative years.
Sure, there's a definite element of fortune (or lack thereof) to all of this. I don't think anybody is denying that. But there is still an element of choice within people's lives even from a very young age.


Quote:

Not exactly true. Ep2 appears to suggest that any individual can freely create the ideal environment that will make him or her a happy camper.
Any individual? No, not any individual. That guy that was flagged as a "latent criminal" at the age of five certainly doesn't seem to be freely able to create the ideal environment that will make him a happy camper. Quite the contrary - He is forced to stay at one locale at all times (during off-work hours), and it sounds like he had a choice between full-fledged imprisonment and working the job that he has now. That's not much of a choice if you ask me.

Like I wrote before, this world has nice perks to it... if you're one of the fortunate ones, like Akane. For a lot of people, it seems to take away their chance at building a happy life for themselves.


Quote:

Individuals are effectively freed from material wants, because advanced holographic technology can simulate whatever they desire.
That's not accurate. It can't simulate the job or career you want. It doesn't seem to be able to simulate the freedom that some of the characters in this anime would like to enjoy.


Quote:

It's tough to be born autistic, epileptic, quadriplegic or with any other kind of physical or psychological handicap, but that's life.
Yes, and modern society tends to aim to equip people with every reasonable opportunity to have the life they want in spite of such handicaps. Of course there's some severe cases that can't be helped, but I'm not seeing a lot of clear-cut severe cases in this anime so far.

I'm not seeing Lex Luthor-level sociopaths or Joker-level psychopaths being the guys getting taken down by Sibyl before they can commit their crimes. I'm seeing an innocent victim of rape, and a guy that probably was just enduring a flight of jealousy. These are the people that should be dragged away like total criminals?

And you know, if accepting therapy means you get treated like a criminal, I can see why some people would refuse it. Why not just pass somebody a ticket and say "Please see this mental health professional on XXXday at XXX time?" Keep it discreet, keep it from ruining people's reputations, and maybe people will be more accepting of therapy.


Quote:

How is that so different from what we're already doing today, with the grading and ranking of students, and with different levels of rewards for different levels of performance?
I don't know of any system today that even comes close to flagging a person as a "latent criminal" at the mere age of five, and treating him like a hardened criminal for the rest of his life, unless he actually did do something pretty severe at a young age (like severely injure somebody in an unprovoked attack, say).

Now, the strictly educational side of Sibyl may be fine, but institutionalizing kids as "latent criminals" from the age of five seems rather extreme and counter-productive to me. Sure, treat them as special cases with need for special teacher attention or special psychiatric intervention, but to treat them as criminals based on a reading they had at the age of five... No, I very much doubt I could ever agree with that.

TinyRedLeaf 2012-10-19 08:58

Quote:

Originally Posted by totoum (Post 4403254)
I didn't say anything the first time but since you say it again, "We" do that? Maybe people around you do, but I sure don't so this argument is completely lost on me. Hell,I'm surrounded by astrology and numerology fans as well.

Well, that's just me reflecting the weary bitterness that comes from defending religion and the necessity of religious belief in the often vitriolic religion thread of this forum. Often, the argument against religion is that people with religious belief are delusional, willing "victims" of an elaborate fairy tale or, worse, the stupid dupes of a millennia-old conspiracy to control the unthinking masses. Often, too, the argument is that if only people were more rational, they would shrug off the irrational demands of dogma and accept that the scientific method — being more logical, more rational — is the better way to conduct our lives.

The other argument that often surfaces is the idea that people with religious belief are overly emotional (hence, irrational). The idea is that we would all be living in a more utopian world if only people would not be so easily sidetracked by the emotional appeals to an "imaginary" moral authority that lives somewhere in the sky.

So now, the coin is flipped. As I've pointed out, there is increasingly compelling scientific evidence to suggest that free will is, like God, so much imaginary nonsense. We are not autonomous agents, but rather the slaves of our biology. What is the ultimate implication of such a "truth"? You think you are making an autonomous choice, but a brain scan and a computer could, in fact, predict your likely action split seconds before you could even articulate the thought.

Is it even meaningful, therefore, to think we are moral agents? I raise here another popular argument that comes up frequently in the such debates on this forum, the idea that our sense of "morality" evolved from our behaviour as social animals. The argument states that it is the need for us to coexist in tribes, to cooperate with each other to bring in the harvest or the hunt, that necessitated various moral and ethical codes to ensure harmonious behaviour within the group. Take this idea to its logical conclusion: What we consider "good" today is the result of evolution over thousands of years. What we "decide" today is the result of a process of natural selection over which we had absolutely no say, no control.

If we can't take credit for the many factors that make us who we biologically are today, to what extent then can we claim to be autonomous moral agents? Our behaviour is merely the result of nature. "Nurture" is an illusion all along, a pleasant fiction to let us believe we have ultimate control over our actions.

This is the brute "fact" that science presents. Thinkers like Harris would have you believe that while this seems like a horrible scenario, it is in fact a necessary truth to confront. Harris believes that the illusion of "free will" is not unlike the "illusion" presented by religion: it distracts people from thinking seriously about treating the root causes of many of the problems we face today in society. He believes that science is capable of helping people make moral decisions, free from the messy thinking process stemming from the desire to preserve the illusion of free choice.

To those who would worship science over God, cold calculation over emotional choices, would not the Sibyl System be the perfect utopia they envision?

As for where I actually stand in the debate over free will and determinism, I've made my arguments, quite strenuously, here: On the validity of free will. In short, I made the case that determinism sounds very compelling only if you trace behaviour backwards to its biological "causes", but it is phenomenally lousy at predicting what actual kinds of behaviour you would get at any instance, given the same set of data in the same environment. Determinism, quite simply, fails to adequately account for complexity.

But for argument's sake, because that is what the making of this anime, this story, is a good excuse for... ;)

Quote:

Originally Posted by totoum (Post 4403254)
I'm pretty darn sure that in a world with the Sibyl System she wouldn't have gotten that chance.

What are the likely implications of living in a fully deterministic ethical system? Given that we live in a world of scarce resources, which makes it necessary for us to aim to get maximum output from limited inputs, it is not implausible to think that the resources your stepmother spent on taking up a new career she wasn't naturally suited for could have been better spent on grooming someone who would make a Class A dancer. It could conceivably be argued that society as a whole became "poorer" from losing an exceptional lawyer in exchange for a just above-average dancer.

Here's another way to re-frame the scenario as it is presented in Psycho-Pass. Supposing that I believe myself to be a moral person, and that I feel an overriding responsibility to make good moral choices. If, after subjecting myself to Sibyl Judgment, it is discovered that I have the psychological profile of a potential criminal. What would be the moral choice? Should I bulldoze ahead on a normal track, heedless of the higher-than-normal risk I present to other people, if I should make a mistake and accidentally (or perhaps even deliberately, on a subconscious level) fail to take the medication I need to stay within normal limits?

In my desire to fulfil my own emotional needs, have I failed in my moral responsibility to other people, given the knowledge that the Sibyl System has presented to me? How much "choice" do I really have in this matter?

MeoTwister5 2012-10-19 08:59

@Triple_R

TLR's point seems to suggest a very Sisyphean approach to the situation the characters are in, and to some extent the situation many people are apparently stuck in. It's very apparent right now that there are very different groups living their lives in this system. You have the the HAVES, the HAVE NOTS, and those trying to live their lives in the middle.

The Haves, exemplified by Akane, born with the mental capability to be whatever she can be, with a degree of relative "freedom" not enjoyed by most other people. She was never pressured to into one profession, she had apparently chosen to be with the CID out of a rationalized sense of purpose. But even then she chose out of a list Sibyl had given her. Absolute freedom would have allowed her to at least try to be anything, but relative freedom gave her a list to choose from, and she chose. If her freedom was a limited one, or even an illusion as TRL suggests, then she rationalized it as she so says in the end of the episode.

The Have Nots are, well, the perp and the victim in the first episode. Stuck in a hole with no way out, they ended up with fear and despair as they found it to be the only option they had for their now broken futures. We of course have to ask ourselves if their eventual fates were guarantees, that they possessed no freedom whatsoever that they would have become criminal and victim no matter what they did, doomed into a dark oblivion with hope whatsoever. Whatever the case may be, if they were truly stripped out of their futures because of some algorithm that supposedly predicts your future, then these people were doomed the day they were born. The Sibyl system is unfair from a broader perspective, but it seems to work. So far.

Then we have that guy working under her now whose name I forget. He pushes his boulder up the hill and watches it roll back down. At age 5 he was flagged and probably spent most of his entire life in the CID, but his philosophy is very much different from the perp/victim or even Akane. He managed to keep his shit together enough rather than fall into laconic despair and turned himself into an Enforcer rather than accept a doomed criminal future. He watched his boulder roll down and pushes it up again. He has essentially accepted his situation and is making the best of it, even if flagged as a latent criminal.

orion 2012-10-19 09:05

Quote:

Originally Posted by seiftis (Post 4403133)
Well sex may be considered as a therapy, whatever sexual orientations are. So all is good :p

It was while the Enforcer was still on duty. Therapy sessions are usually suppose to be off duty. The scientist then proceeds to talk in an unprofessional tone to Akane. I'd say this behavior was the couple "acting out" as they are latent criminals.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Triple_R (Post 4403105)

And as for this 2nd episode, my impression is that "the criminal" was a guy experiencing romantic jealousy over another guy that was getting close to a girl that he had a crush on (I'm pretty sure the criminal was glaring at that young couple that were joking around and playfully teasing one another). Was his bad Psycho-Pass reading rooted in such jealousy? That's an admittedly subtle impression that I was getting. And if it's just rooted in jealousy, then it may well not be something that actually requires dragging him away like a total criminal. Doing that to him just risks making him feel like a total criminal, while a softer approach would likely work better.

He was stalking a couple who was trying to have fun at a mall. That's not healthy behaviour. And he was getting angrier and angrier with each passing moment enough to send Enforcers out for him. Then when caught, he acts like he didn't do anything wrong. So yeah, he needed a reality check to move on with his life.

Kanon 2012-10-19 09:32

Quote:

Originally Posted by whitecloud (Post 4403165)
But...maybe they considered latent criminal because of their high libido...? They did do it at the office, at work hour where people might come and go

Sybil might considered they might be a threat because if they cannot control it they may disrupt public peace at the very least and sexual assault at the very worst

I was personally thinking of something darker: that homosexuality itself is viewed and treated as a mental illness in the Psycho-pass world. There is no real evidence supporting this but it strikes me as possible given what we know the Psycho-pass world, where mental norms are everything. Even today in our world, homosexuality is still not very well accepted.

Triple_R 2012-10-19 09:42

Quote:

Originally Posted by MeoTwister5 (Post 4403384)
@Triple_R

TLR's point seems to suggest a very Sisyphean approach to the situation the characters are in, and to some extent the situation many people are apparently stuck in. It's very apparent right now that there are very different groups living their lives in this system. You have the the HAVES, the HAVE NOTS, and those trying to live their lives in the middle.

Right, and for me, that's one of the key problems of this system. It's coming dangerously close to being a caste system.


Quote:

The Sibyl system is unfair from a broader perspective, but it seems to work. So far.
To be fair, I can see why this system came into place. It's not without some appeals or internal logic, to be sure. But in the end, I do think it's a very unsettling system in how greatly it lacks equality and liberty. I would argue that a good society tries to balance the two, not dispense with them both.


Quote:

Originally Posted by orion (Post 4403393)
He was stalking a couple who was trying to have fun at a mall. That's not healthy behaviour. And he was getting angrier and angrier with each passing moment enough to send Enforcers out for him. Then when caught, he acts like he didn't do anything wrong. So yeah, he needed a reality check to move on with his life.

Sure, it wasn't healthy behavior. However, I'm not sure if I'd call it criminally abnormal. How many people endure romantic jealousy at some point in their lives? And maybe act a little bit stupid for a day or two because of it? Most don't become serious criminals because of it though.

He needed a "reality check", but he didn't need to be dragged away like a total criminal. Also, he didn't do anything wrong, as in commit a crime. That's what I took from his defense of himself, and it struck me as a fair defense. Stalking a couple people for a few minutes is rude, but I'm pretty sure it's not a crime in and of itself.

Honestly, this episode's arrest made me almost instantly think of this (specifically, everything from 2:00 to 3:00, but feel free to watch the two minutes before it for added context).

Dengar 2012-10-19 12:21

And there we have it. This Sybil system can't possibly be all bad. I mean, it DID give Akane a high ranking on her aptitude for being an inspector. And she was the one who spared the life of a woman who could be saved.

ThereminVox 2012-10-19 19:38

Two fantastic little details jumped out at me this week, which sort of define the nature of the society Akane is living in. The first was the mental stress level alert from the holobuddy which read less like a terror alert, and more like a UV index. It recommended mental health supplements like sunscreen to protect one's youthful complexion.

I know a lot of people see the totalitarian implications of a "stable" and sedate public, but what I saw was the commoditization of mental health in a society obsessed with obtaining and maintaining it. Imagine the enormous monied interests whose main concern is keeping the public consuming therapy, supplements, self-help materials, and who knows what else. How many people's livelihoods, including Akane's depend on society's quest for total mental stability?

This is reinforced by the second detail where Akane's friend calls her mental resilience "beautiful", the way you'd normally hear a jealous side-character praise a leading lady's womanly figure. I wonder if there are psychological fad-supplements or treatments in this world, the way we have our miracle weight-loss quackery. I think we're seeing the beauty culture played with a bit by having a relatively plain-looking heroine whom society sees as a psychological bombshell; a woman to be alternately desired and envied.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dengar (Post 4403586)
And there we have it. This Sybil system can't possibly be all bad. I mean, it DID give Akane a high ranking on her aptitude for being an inspector. And she was the one who spared the life of a woman who could be saved.

I'm going to take the Sybil system at face value until Urobuchi gives me reason to think otherwise. I assume it's a completely legitimate and effective system of measuring what information it has to work with, but...

Quote:

Originally Posted by Triple_R (Post 4403105)
But the Sibyl System doesn't provide such an environment - Rather, it institutionalizes people, "playing the odds" and giving up on them without giving them a real chance in life.

Like most automated systems, it is only interested in the bottom line, and as R says, playing the odds on what it can quantify. Think of it like the kinds of powerful software used to manage huge accounts in the modern stock market, except instead of making dispassionate, statistically sound financial transactions, it's being employed as a Sorting Hat that occasionally decides that a child should be assigned to House Solitary Confinement.


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