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View Poll Results: Psycho-Pass - Episode 13 Rating
Perfect 10 18 30.00%
9 out of 10 : Excellent 26 43.33%
8 out of 10 : Very Good 14 23.33%
7 out of 10 : Good 1 1.67%
6 out of 10 : Average 1 1.67%
5 out of 10 : Below Average 0 0%
4 out of 10 : Poor 0 0%
3 out of 10 : Bad 0 0%
2 out of 10 : Very Bad 0 0%
1 out of 10 : Painful 0 0%
Voters: 60. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 2013-01-19, 23:25   Link #101
Triple_R
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThereminVox View Post
I appreciate that Sybil -- while finally acknowledged in-universe by those in the know to be imperfect -- is given a fairly reasonable defense: "Of course it's not perfect. What right could anyone have to expect it to be? It's the best we could do, and it's working almost perfectly as intended."
Why shouldn't a machine be perfect? A calculator is perfect, after all.

And given that lives are obviously on the line here, I would imagine that getting as close to perfect as possible ought to be the goal. I find it rather disconcerting that instead of trying to close the systematic loophole caused by people like Makishima (i.e. instead of actually trying to fix or improve the Sybil system), the Director is aiming for a cover-up while making people like Makishima simply disappear.

In my opinion, that reeks of corruption, political propaganda, and an alarming apathy towards seriously dealing with the imperfections of the Sybil system.


Quote:
Considering what Urobuchi's own opinion of such a society-shaping construct would likely be, I think Sybil's been shown in a pretty good light when examined.
I disagree. This is primarily for reasons that I've already discussed at length on this thread.


Quote:
It comes off as a (usually) reliable measure of "good" versus "evil",
Really?

So the woman who was raped in the first episode is "evil"? All of these Enforcers are "evil" (they're all "latent criminals" after all)? And Makishima is "good"?

If Sybil is meant to measure "good" and "evil", I'm not seeing much evidence that it's a very reliable measure of it.

But Sybil isn't really measuring "good" and "evil", of course. It's measuring something else. And whether or not that "something else" should determine if people live freely, get institutionalized/jailed for life, or get killed, is very dubious, imo.


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Originally Posted by Mandarake View Post
Ah, finally thank heavens, a kindred soul. And you too Thereminvox. I'm happy to see that others appreciate that the issues raised by Sybil are not as cut-and-dried and simple-minded as some would have it,
There's nothing wrong with the issues raised by Sybil being cut-and-dried, at least for some of us. If a person truly believes in freedom of expression, and/or if s/he truly rejects totalitarian oligarchy as a form of government, then such a person is likely going to reject Sybil as a simple matter of principle. Sybil simply crosses the line for many people, including myself.

I don't fault the intelligence of the people in the world of Psycho-Pass. It's not a question of intelligence, it's a question of political and philosophical beliefs/values. Perhaps the people in the world of Psycho-Pass simply don't value freedom, liberty, individuality, or even basic human dignity much.

Or, they're like Akane, and they're so young that they lack the necessary frame of reference to truly realize what Sybil has cost society. Akane is also uniquely fortunate in that her personal aptitudes and skills means that even in this world she maintains a fair degree of choice, freedom, and liberty. She really can't relate to someone who had it all taken away from him or her by Sybil (Kagari himself pointed this out way back in Episode 2).


Plus, our protagonists all have their own personal reasons for not fighting against Sybil. Akane I've already dealt with, so continuing on...

Kagari: He had no real choice. He probably hates Sybil, but he has accepted that he's in no position to effectively challenge it, so he's making the most out of his situation.

Gino: I think that the lesson he took from his father's experience is that if you reject Sybil, then Sybil will reject you, and it'll cost you severely in the end. Yes, he's driven to a large degree by fear, and I honestly can't fault him for that.

Kougami: At this point in his life, he's entirely focused on avenging the brutal murder of his friend. That's what drives him. Sybil takes a backseat to that.

Yayoi: She liked the sense of power that working as an Enforcer gave her. She also had little other practical option given how she felt betrayed by her friend.

Tomomi: The impression I get from this episode is that he loved his job. He loved being a Detective. He loved it so much he couldn't stop being that even when it was putting him in danger of becoming a latent criminal. Being an Enforcer is the best he can hope for now that he is a latent criminal. It's the closest he can come to continuing to live out the profession that was clearly his passion.


I don't see dumb people here. But nor do I see people who truly believe in Sybil. I see people who have personal life goals, and find that the best way to achieve them is to go along with the system.

And isn't that a commentary in and of itself? In real life, people will often tolerate flaws and injustices in our various institutions and systems because strongly going against them can get you in trouble, and stop you from achieving your personal life goals.

So it's not that our protagonists are all passionate true believers in Sybil; it's that while they do tend to have misgivings about it, they also view it as something they have to tolerate and work with in order to get by in life. Simply put, they feel powerless to really, truly change the system, so they make the best of what their society has given them. I don't really fault them for that, but it can be a bit sad to see.


One final note: On what basis is it claimed that Sybil has wiped out war or famine? Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't we seen nothing beyond Japan in the setting of this show? For all we know, there could be wars and/or famine all over Africa (for example) in the world of Psycho-Pass.

I'm pretty sure that real world Japan hasn't been touched by war for several decades now.
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Old 2013-01-20, 02:36   Link #102
karice67
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@Triple_R

If I might make a couple of observations about Japanese society today in response.

I think it's important to look at this debate in the context of contemporary Japanese society. That is, the society of a country that has been in economic stagnation (even decline), for over two decades. The officially unemployment rate (4.1% in November) isn't as bad as in certain other countries, but that only measures the percentage of people actively looking for work. Another 0.5-1% of the population are apparently hikkikomoris, and the proportion of married women who do not work is probably higher than in most other developed countries. Furthermore, this doesn't say anything about the people whose wages barely support one person, leaving them no possibility of starting a family. Or the people who remain at university, doing additional studies because they are unable to find work...or the students who struggle year after year to get into degrees without a guarantee of a job when they finish. Even if they are lucky enough to get a job, unless it's in the public service, there is no guarantee either that they will be employed for life. While that is arguably the norm is many Western countries, many Japanese people still aim for the one secure position. At present, there is a lot of uncertainty in Japan about where their country is going, and thus, what will happen to each individual and his/her family. Hence one of the highest rates of suicide in the world.

This is the society, the audience, that Urobuchi is writing for. Compared to that uncertainty, the job and livelihood security offered by the Sibyl system may indeed be something that many people would find appealing. Furthermore, whilst the show focuses on the enforcement side, it has also demonstrated that some ordinary people are protected from potential harm such as stalking, and that other, less-than-appealing aspects of society (e.g. what many people would term 'grotesque' art) are also removed from the public view. I'd wager that there are many people who wouldn't mind some sacrifice given the other benefits.

Furthermore, Japan is a community-based society, rather than an individualistic society. Speaking from experience, there is increasingly conflict between people who want to value individualism and people who value social harmony, but I would say that there remain many who prize the latter over the former. What that translates to for a society such as Japan are rules and norms that strive to protect the rights of the community over the rights of the individual.

This is also why the decision to cover up Makishima's existence may make sense to Japanese people (and many others in North and South East Asia, even if the West would balk at the very idea). I agree with you in that this approach doesn't address the issue of training inspectors and enforcers for dealing with the outliers that cannot be dealt with using the Sibyl system. However, whether that is something that justifies turning over a system that works 99.9999% of the time is a matter for debate. Is the system really so broken that it needs to be destroyed (which revealing the existence of outliers like Makishima may well do), or can the imperfections be 'fixed'? Many people would probably argue that the inspectors and enforcers who encounter these outliers should push for change within the system, and push for it in a way that will not disrupt societal harmony. (And to return to our own world for a moment: that, I would say, is one of the debates about the capitalist system...)

If we accept the premise that the system merely needs improvement (and I would argue that this is how the characters see it), as opposed to starting from the ground up, then the Director has simply taken one way of dealing with it. It just happens to be a method that a number of viewers would disagree with. The question is: how are our protagonists going to deal with this?

From a Western perspective, it's very easy to say that the Sibyl system should simply be abolished. However, the questions of how to live with the system, of how it can be improved, and whether there are limits to such improvements, are far more interesting to me, and arguably far more relevant to our world today.
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Old 2013-01-20, 03:35   Link #103
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Originally Posted by karice67 View Post
@Triple_R

If I might make a couple of observations about Japanese society today in response.

I think it's important to look at this debate in the context of contemporary Japanese society. That is, the society of a country that has been in economic stagnation (even decline), for over two decades. The officially unemployment rate (4.1% in November) isn't as bad as in certain other countries, but that only measures the percentage of people actively looking for work. Another 0.5-1% of the population are apparently hikkikomoris, and the proportion of married women who do not work is probably higher than in most other developed countries. Furthermore, this doesn't say anything about the people whose wages barely support one person, leaving them no possibility of starting a family. Or the people who remain at university, doing additional studies because they are unable to find work...or the students who struggle year after year to get into degrees without a guarantee of a job when they finish. Even if they are lucky enough to get a job, unless it's in the public service, there is no guarantee either that they will be employed for life. While that is arguably the norm is many Western countries, many Japanese people still aim for the one secure position. At present, there is a lot of uncertainty in Japan about where their country is going, and thus, what will happen to each individual and his/her family. Hence one of the highest rates of suicide in the world.

This is the society, the audience, that Urobuchi is writing for. Compared to that uncertainty, the job and livelihood security offered by the Sibyl system may indeed be something that many people would find appealing. Furthermore, whilst the show focuses on the enforcement side, it has also demonstrated that some ordinary people are protected from potential harm such as stalking, and that other, less-than-appealing aspects of society (e.g. what many people would term 'grotesque' art) are also removed from the public view. I'd wager that there are many people who wouldn't mind some sacrifice given the other benefits.

Furthermore, Japan is a community-based society, rather than an individualistic society. Speaking from experience, there is increasingly conflict between people who want to value individualism and people who value social harmony, but I would say that there remain many who prize the latter over the former. What that translates to for a society such as Japan are rules and norms that strive to protect the rights of the community over the rights of the individual.

This is also why the decision to cover up Makishima's existence may make sense to Japanese people (and many others in North and South East Asia, even if the West would balk at the very idea). I agree with you in that this approach doesn't address the issue of training inspectors and enforcers for dealing with the outliers that cannot be dealt with using the Sibyl system. However, whether that is something that justifies turning over a system that works 99.9999% of the time is a matter for debate. Is the system really so broken that it needs to be destroyed (which revealing the existence of outliers like Makishima may well do), or can the imperfections be 'fixed'? Many people would probably argue that the inspectors and enforcers who encounter these outliers should push for change within the system, and push for it in a way that will not disrupt societal harmony. (And to return to our own world for a moment: that, I would say, is one of the debates about the capitalist system...)

If we accept the premise that the system merely needs improvement (and I would argue that this is how the characters see it), as opposed to starting from the ground up, then the Director has simply taken one way of dealing with it. It just happens to be a method that a number of viewers would disagree with. The question is: how are our protagonists going to deal with this?

From a Western perspective, it's very easy to say that the Sibyl system should simply be abolished. However, the questions of how to live with the system, of how it can be improved, and whether there are limits to such improvements, are far more interesting to me, and arguably far more relevant to our world today.
Just wondering...are you Asian? Because sad to say but I can actually see East Asian societies acting that way even if it compromises their literal lifespans, as long as it's out of sight, out of mind. Perhaps it's the greatest flaw of the societies here. Then again, it seems that although Westerners tend to be more vocal, the masses acting together can be quite sheep-like still. Who's to say they won't react the same way?

To improve Sybil would involve major changes to the apparently useless therapy, the addiction to medical treatments that actually shorten lives and execution of people just because Sybil says so. In everyday life, it doesn't necessarily have to destabilize society by breaking their illusions of system infallibility but they should be encouraged to try other life paths if they like it even if they are not suited for it. Final goal should be getting people to stop seeing Sybil as the voice that you must listen to at all costs (not the same as losing faith in its accuracy BTW) With Sybil, the fallout from such choices should be more easily managed than in real life no?
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Old 2013-01-20, 04:31   Link #104
karice67
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Originally Posted by Cosmic Eagle View Post
Just wondering...are you Asian? Because sad to say but I can actually see East Asian societies acting that way even if it compromises their literal lifespans, as long as it's out of sight, out of mind. Perhaps it's the greatest flaw of the societies here. Then again, it seems that although Westerners tend to be more vocal, the masses acting together can be quite sheep-like still. Who's to say they won't react the same way?

To improve Sybil would involve major changes to the apparently useless therapy, the addiction to medical treatments that actually shorten lives and execution of people just because Sybil says so. In everyday life, it doesn't necessarily have to destabilize society by breaking their illusions of system infallibility but they should be encouraged to try other life paths if they like it even if they are not suited for it. Final goal should be getting people to stop seeing Sybil as the voice that you must listen to at all costs (not the same as losing faith in its accuracy BTW) With Sybil, the fallout from such choices should be more easily managed than in real life no?
I am indeed Asian, and wrote that because of what I have observed in the East Asian countries that I have lived in. Though I no longer live in a predominantly Asian society, I also still know Asians here that think along similar lines. As for the Westerners I know, they tend to think more individualistically, as a general rule, although there are some who have come to understand broadly the structures and constraints that drive the way things are in certain Asian societies (whatever they end up feeling about those structures and constraints).

And I do believe that Westerners act in a similar way to some extent, that is to say, there is a tendency for people in general to latch on to a particular belief and...idealise it, shall we say. The only thing that is different is what each individual or group values: e.g. there are a lot of people who believe in the freedom of expression and in the freedom of information. There are downsides and caveats to such 'freedoms', but how many advocates of such 'rights' actually consider what those are? Other examples of such beliefs are the ideas that elders and seniors are to be respected, or that order and procedure are to be followed to the letter. There are disadvantages to these too, but again, how many of their advocates sincerely consider and address them?

I'm not going to state my position on any of these values/beliefs here: I'm more concerned with the idea that each individual who advocates something should be aware of where his or her own beliefs have come from, of the context that shapes them. It is also important that they recognise that other people can have other beliefs, and try to understand where those beliefs come from. It's all well and good of us to say that 'the people of the Psycho-Pass world should be encouraged to not rely on Sibyl at all costs' - but if that is indeed a choice that they consciously made (and perhaps, even if it is not consciously made, but merely shaped by how their society has developed), then I do not think that others should deride their choice, or even seek to change it, until they understand what lies behind it.
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Last edited by karice67; 2013-01-20 at 07:02.
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Old 2013-01-20, 06:37   Link #105
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Oh, wow. This is great. So it turns out that the actual purpose of having Inspectors and Enforcers in the police force is to preemptively discover any gaps in the Sybil system, then promptly cover them up before the public catches wind of it...

I can't exactly fault them for it either. Having this kind of flaw made public would destroy everything that the system stands for, and would result in mass panic, paranoia, and worst of all, darkening of Psycho-Pass hues. This is one case where belief is more important than truth. A society thrives on stability, and anything that could threaten that stability must be dealt with quickly.
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Old 2013-01-20, 08:24   Link #106
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Originally Posted by karice67 View Post
@Triple_R

If I might make a couple of observations about Japanese society today in response.
I'm already well-aware that Japanese society is relatively more collectivist compared to the relatively more individualistic North America.

But there's a difference between a cultural "bottom-up" collectivism, and the sort of strictly enforced "top-down" collectivism we see here in Psycho-Pass. It's like the difference between everybody in a small town voluntarily pulling together to help each other out during a crisis (this including the wealthier members of the town giving material aid to poorer members of the town) vs. Stalin-style communism.

I respect the "social harmony" focus of Japan. In some ways, it has an edge over the more "individualism" focus of America. But Japan has managed that "social harmony" focus while still having a truly democratic form of government and some basic human rights for its people.

And the value of freedom of expression can be expressed in terms that any culture can understand. Freedom of expression is the most valuable of all freedoms because it is only through such freedom that meaningful, informed, social change can be effected which improves society. Freedom of expression basically means that every person is able to voice his or her concerns and grievances without fear of facing legal penalty for it. This means that society is more likely to find holes in the system, and situations that need to be fixed, as the voice of the people make clear where those holes are.

But in the world of Psycho-Pass, we see case after case after case of people falling through the cracks, with no real way of fixing the issue, because the system essentially disenfranchises them based on clearly questionable readings and enforced standards (like "authorized music").

And what happens when the Director discovers holes in the system? Does she instruct a group of scientists to see if they can tweak the system so that the next Makishima can be taken down by a Dominator, or does she simply do a cover-up and then "disappear" the problem away?

When I look at the Sibyl system in Psycho-Pass I see a system that is indeed horribly inflexible, and is not likely to ever improve due to how it disenfranchises people while putting people like the Director in charge.


Quote:
This is the society, the audience, that Urobuchi is writing for. Compared to that uncertainty, the job and livelihood security offered by the Sibyl system may indeed be something that many people would find appealing. Furthermore, whilst the show focuses on the enforcement side, it has also demonstrated that some ordinary people are protected from potential harm such as stalking, and that other, less-than-appealing aspects of society (e.g. what many people would term 'grotesque' art) are also removed from the public view.
I've never been forced to look at 'grotesque' art. Allowing darker artwork to exist is not the same as creating a captive audience for it.


Quote:
Is the system really so broken that it needs to be destroyed (which revealing the existence of outliers like Makishima may well do), or can the imperfections be 'fixed'?
But that's just it. I'm seeing no indication that the Director intends to try to truly fix this imperfection. In the Sybil system, I see a system that lacks any necessary catalyst or inertia to improve itself.


Quote:
If we accept the premise that the system merely needs improvement (and I would argue that this is how the characters see it),
How does a system improve if its imperfections are covered up while the people who oversee that system simply make those imperfections "disappear"?

Here is one reason why I think the Sybil system may in fact be broken - It arguably lacks the necessary feedback and inertia to truly improve itself. If you have a society governed by an imperfect system that has become so unquestioned that it can never improve, then aren't you essentially stalling human progress? Combine this with the shortening human lifespan, and it paints a rather bleak long-term picture in my view.


Quote:
From a Western perspective, it's very easy to say that the Sibyl system should simply be abolished.
It's not very easy just from a Western perspective. Do you have to be a "Westerner" to understand the rationale that I've laid out in this post against the Sibyl system?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Qilin View Post
Oh, wow. This is great. So it turns out that the actual purpose of having Inspectors and Enforcers in the police force is to preemptively discover any gaps in the Sybil system, then promptly cover them up before the public catches wind of it...

I can't exactly fault them for it either. Having this kind of flaw made public would destroy everything that the system stands for, and would result in mass panic, paranoia, and worst of all, darkening of Psycho-Pass hues. This is one case where belief is more important than truth.
No, it's not. The truth is just as important as belief. Because the truth will ultimately shape how well the Sybil system operates on a long-term basis (the imperfection doesn't truly disappear just because a cover-up makes it seem that way).


Quote:
A society thrives on stability, and anything that could threaten that stability must be dealt with quickly.
Interesting idea... What would it have made of the Woman's Suffrage and Civil Rights movements, I wonder?

Stability has value, but it's not more important than any conceivable injustice.
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Old 2013-01-20, 09:08   Link #107
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
No, it's not. The truth is just as important as belief. Because the truth will ultimately shape how well the Sybil system operates on a long-term basis (the imperfection doesn't truly disappear just because a cover-up makes it seem that way).
I'm afraid that this just isn't the kind of problem that can be fixed so simply. Rather, I'd say that this is the kind of problem that threatens the existence of Sybil itself if made public. At worst, it could turn into an all-out anarchy. "Ignorance is bliss", as they say.

This is a society that feeds people the illusion of security and stability, and it is because of this illusion that they can lead relatively carefree lives with much comfort. I'm not going to say that I agree with what they're doing since it's obviously demeaning to the idea of "human dignity" in general, but I can see the rationale behind it if we're looking at the good of society as a whole.

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Interesting idea... What would it have made of the Woman's Suffrage and Civil Rights movements, I wonder?
Those ideas only gained relevance once more and more people started to support those notions to the point that it became a threat to overall stability. A counterculture only gains power once it becomes prominent enough to topple the dominant status quo. In such cases, the only choice is for society as a whole to adapt to the paradigm shift. In the end, it's still a matter of stability.

I stand by what I'm saying. Stability is the most important thing in a society. It may not be the most important thing to individual human welfare as issues like slavery and sexism clearly suggest, but it ensures the survival of society. No change can possibly fly no matter how just it is if it isn't supported by a large enough subset of society.
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Old 2013-01-20, 09:21   Link #108
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
And what happens when the Director discovers holes in the system? Does she instruct a group of scientists to see if they can tweak the system so that the next Makishima can be taken down by a Dominator, or does she simply do a cover-up and then "disappear" the problem away?
It's not that simple. Under Sibyl, one out of two million people can and will murder a few people and get away with it before getting disappeared. But the majority of people who, in our world, would become murderers either never come into contact with the environment that'd make killers out of them (poverty, organized crime...) or are caught very early. Often before they've had time to strike. They still need a police (in fact, they need a better one than what they've got. It's not just about numbers. They generally just suck at arresting people.)

But, and here is the catch, Sibyl can only work if people believe in it. So, yes, cover-up becomes more important than catching criminals. At least, that's the director's POV.

Though you're quite right about the lack of feedback.

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Old 2013-01-20, 09:36   Link #109
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Originally Posted by Qilin View Post
I'm afraid that this just isn't the kind of problem that can be fixed so simply.
The problem is that they don't appear to be trying to fix it at all.


Quote:
Rather, I'd say that this is the kind of problem that threatens the existence of Sybil itself if made public.
If a system can only gain the support of the people if its weaknesses are hidden from public view then what does that say about that system?

If a cover-up is necessary for Sybil to survive then maybe Sybil shouldn't survive...


Quote:
At worst, it could turn into an all-out anarchy.
Anarchy is never a permanent state. It's always a transitionary one at most. Nature abhors a vacuum, and a power vacuum is no exception. If Sybil falls, something will rise to replace it eventually. And what rises to replace it may well be better than what Sybil is.

This goes back to why stability is not the most important thing for a society. The most important thing for a society is the ability to improve, to progress, to move forward.


Which period in human history had more stability: The Dark Ages, or the past 100 years?

Now, which of those two periods in human history saw our world technologically and socially improve by leaps and bounds? So no, I strongly disagree that stability is the most important thing for a society, and I will always disagree with that. Stability is important, but it's not the most important thing.


Quote:
This is a society that feeds people the illusion of security and stability, and it is because of this illusion that they can lead relatively carefree lives with much comfort.
How do we know how carefree or comfortable their lives are?


Quote:
Those ideas only gained relevance...
A good idea always has relevance by the sheer virtue of being a good idea.


Quote:
A counterculture only gains power once it becomes prominent enough to topple the dominant status quo.
A counterculture gains power by the strength of its arguments, and the persuasiveness of its ideas. People's minds actually had to change in order for the Women's Suffrage and Civil Rights movements to meet with the success that they had. And for such changing of hearts and minds to have any real chance to occur you must have freedom of expression. This is why freedom of expression is a core element of any truly healthy society, imo.


Quote:
In such cases, the only choice is for society as a whole to adapt to the paradigm shift.
No, not at all. The majority of society are either persuaded by the counterculture or they're not. For example, the hippie lifestyle never really took off in any sustainable way precisely because its unsustainable, and most people saw that flaw to it (at least in time). A counterculture doesn't force people to adapt (just like hippies didn't force other people to adapt); it either succeeds or fails by the strengths or weaknesses of its ideas.


Society isn't some unthinking mass incapable of critical thinking (unless we allow a Sybil system to eventually turn society into that, of course). Society are people, like you and me, and the institutions and social structures that have been built up to support society and civilization. Changing society, at least when it comes to non-violent means, is about changing hearts and minds. It's not about forcing people to adapt, it's about sincerely persuading the majority of society that a particular change would be to society's benefit.


Quote:
In the end, it's still a matter of stability.
No, it's not. If anything, it's about the opposite of stability. It's about the potential and ability for change. A healthy society is one capable of change and adaptation.
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Old 2013-01-20, 09:59   Link #110
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Originally Posted by karice67 View Post
I am indeed Asian, and wrote that because of what I have observed in the East Asian countries that I have lived in. Though I no longer live in a predominantly Asian society, I also still know Asians here that think along similar lines. As for the Westerners I know, they tend to think more individualistically, as a general rule, although there are some who have come to understand broadly the structures and constraints that drive the way things are in certain Asian societies (whatever they end up feeling about those structures and constraints).

And I do believe that Westerners act in a similar way to some extent, that is to say, there is a tendency for people in general to latch on to a particular belief and...idealise it, shall we say. The only thing that is different is what each individual or group values: e.g. there are a lot of people who believe in the freedom of expression and in the freedom of information. There are downsides and caveats to such 'freedoms', but how many advocates of such 'rights' actually consider what those are? Other examples of such beliefs are the ideas that elders and seniors are to be respected, or that order and procedure are to be followed to the letter. There are disadvantages to these too, but again, how many of their advocates sincerely consider and address them?

I'm not going to state my position on any of these values/beliefs here: I'm more concerned with the idea that each individual who advocates something should be aware of where his or her own beliefs have come from, of the context that shapes them. It is also important that they recognise that other people can have other beliefs, and try to understand where those beliefs come from. It's all well and good of us to say that 'the people of the Psycho-Pass world should be encouraged to not rely on Sibyl at all costs' - but if that is indeed a choice that they consciously made (and perhaps, even if it is not consciously made, but merely shaped by how their society has developed), then I do not think that others should deride their choice, or even seek to change it, until they understand what lies behind it.
It is exactly because of what you highlight in red that I think why East Asia is still the way it is today. No one in our societies wants to change anything for sake of status quo even if it may be for the better. And the people who are trod down upon by the existing system? Forever we struggle desperately to make our own mark and survive. If no one seeks change even when the change may be preferable even as an experiment, then well, there really will be no change. The Confucian ideal of laying down and dying if need be for society's sake, taken to the extreme in Psycho Pass world sounds all nice and fine....until you are one of those made to do so.

Psycho Pass world is an extreme where declining population and even extinction is possible. Not seeking to wake them up to it or even to go against the idea that led to it in the first place is.....Unless they actually consciously chose it in full knowledge of the consequence in which case "leave them be"

As for understanding where they come from, yes, understanding helps in so far as maybe trying to make change less painful. But it doesn't make the root of the issue any different. As an example, have you yourself ever been disadvantaged by the systems in those East Asian nations you lived in? Depending on that answer you may or may not understand what point I come from. But does that understanding alter the basic issue underlying the problems and solutions?

Your example of Western notions...purely for example's sake. I don't speak on them because I'm not a Westerner so I'm not experienced enough to do so.
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Old 2013-01-20, 10:39   Link #111
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
If a system can only gain the support of the people if its weaknesses are hidden from public view then what does that say about that system?

If a cover-up is necessary for Sybil to survive then maybe Sybil shouldn't survive...
Right from the start, Sybil was a system that hinged upon presenting the illusion of security to the public on a silver platter. Through that means, it has kept society running smoothly over several years. While there might be flaws within it, the important thing is that the public never notices.

Like Anh_Minh above me says, the most important thing is for the public to trust the system. Let's look at how banks work to illustrate what I'm trying to say. Even if a bank is going under, it must maintain the illusion of stability lest it's depositors lose trust in it and start withdrawing everything at once. That is how some of the largest economies in the world can start collapsing.

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Anarchy is never a permanent state. It's always a transitionary one at most. Nature abhors a vacuum, and a power vacuum is no exception. If Sybil falls, something will rise to replace it eventually. And what rises to replace it may well be better than what Sybil is.
Would it indeed be better though? As far as I can see, Sybil has done a good job handling society for over many years only to be discarded for keeping a few secrets? Some truths are better left untold, and this is one of them. If things come to a point where it can no longer be hidden, then there would no longer be any choice. In the meantime, there's really no problem with dealing with the problem away from the public eye.

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This goes back to why stability is not the most important thing for a society. The most important thing for a society is the ability to improve, to progress, to move forward.


Which period in human history had more stability: The Dark Ages, or the past 100 years?

Now, which of those two periods in human history saw our world technologically and socially improve by leaps and bounds? So no, I strongly disagree that stability is the most important thing for a society, and I will always disagree with that. Stability is important, but it's not the most important thing.
If I know my history well, which I probably don't (I'm neither European nor American), weren't the Dark Ages defined by times of great instability and strife? Not to mention highly feudal with strong territorial disputes?

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A counterculture gains power by the strength of its arguments, and the persuasiveness of its ideas. People's minds actually had to change in order for the Women's Suffrage and Civil Rights movements to meet with the success that they had. And for such changing of hearts and minds to have any real chance to occur you must have freedom of expression. This is why freedom of expression is a core element of any truly healthy society, imo.
That's only partially true the way I see it. The strength of argumentation only has the power to change minds, but in the end, it is sheer strength of numbers that supports a counterculture. Arguments are only there to bolster those numbers. An opinion, no matter how logical, will only be listened to if enough people share it.


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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Society isn't some unthinking mass incapable of critical thinking (unless we allow a Sybil system to eventually turn society into that, of course). Society are people, like you and me, and the institutions and social structures that have been built up to support society and civilization. Changing society, at least when it comes to non-violent means, is about changing hearts and minds. It's not about forcing people to adapt, it's about sincerely persuading the majority of society that a particular change would be to society's benefit.
I suppose you're familiar with the notion of group think, right? Or if not, the idea is that the individual is a rational, thinking being while a group of individuals is an unruly mob, swayed by the simplest of provocations. It's a social phenomenon observed in just about every society, even the internet, where the individual's decision-making capacity decreases as a group grows increasingly larger.

You are right in saying that the key lies in persuading the majority of society, but that's all it is. The fact is that most people can only see as far as their own interests. Only a select few can actually see the entirety of society for what it is.
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Old 2013-01-20, 11:39   Link #112
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
The problem is that they don't appear to be trying to fix it at all.
While it is true we haven't been told they were actively trying to fix the "bugs", I think it's safe to assume they have tried or are still trying. They have been aware of the particular problem presented in this episode for presumably quite some time now and have even given it a scientific name, which to me indicates that some people have actually studied it. Covering up the system's flaws is much more risky than it is to simply fix them. There is always the possibility information is going to leak, and if it ever does, it would mean the beginning of the end for Sybil, that much has been made clear. It is in everybody's interest, including that of Sybil and the persons running it, to fix whatever problems there are as soon as they arise. Why hasn't it be done then? Well, perhaps it simply can't be done. At least, that's how I see it. To me, it makes no sense for them to prioritize concealing these flaws over fixing them if possible.
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Old 2013-01-20, 12:23   Link #113
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Originally Posted by Qilin View Post
Right from the start, Sybil was a system that hinged upon presenting the illusion of security to the public on a silver platter.
I would argue that Sybil was a system that hinged upon presenting the actuality of security, and psychological well-being, to the public.


Quote:
Through that means, it has kept society running smoothly over several years.
Numerous political systems are capable of keeping society running smoothly over several years. The true value of a political system is in what it actually does (not in an illusionary sense, but in a concrete sense) to benefit people.


Quote:
While there might be flaws within it, the important thing is that the public never notices.
If flaws are never noticed by the public then how do they ever get addressed in any real, concrete fashion?


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Like Anh_Minh above me says, the most important thing is for the public to trust the system.
That's not what Anh_Minh said. He explained the Director's POV, which is fine. I agree with him on what the Director's POV is.


Quote:
Let's look at how banks work to illustrate what I'm trying to say. Even if a bank is going under, it must maintain the illusion of stability lest it's depositors lose trust in it and start withdrawing everything at once.
As a short-term fix to simply buy more time, this might be fine. But long term, the bank has to actually stop "going under".


Quote:
Would it indeed be better though? As far as I can see, Sybil has done a good job handling society for over many years only to be discarded for keeping a few secrets?
Sybil has numerous flaws, which have been discussed at length on this thread. Why can't Japan simply restore itself to how it was pre-Sybil?


Quote:
Some truths are better left untold, and this is one of them.
I'd rather have an informed public that can make informed decisions on how they want their society to be ran than an uninformed public at the mercy of totalitarian oligarchs.


Quote:
If things come to a point where it can no longer be hidden, then there would no longer be any choice. In the meantime, there's really no problem with dealing with the problem away from the public eye.
That presumes that they're actually dealing with it, of course.


Quote:
If I know my history well, which I probably don't (I'm neither European nor American), weren't the Dark Ages defined by times of great instability and strife?
No, society was relatively stable during the Dark Ages. Yes, there were wars, but the Divine Right of Kings remained unquestioned, and a strict social order was enforced. Scientific progress moved very slowly under this atmosphere, and serfdom was commonplace. Your average individual enjoyed far fewer rights than they do today, and hence your average individual felt powerless to change things.

But there was plenty of stability in this era. Society did not change a great deal during the Dark Ages.


Quote:
That's only partially true the way I see it. The strength of argumentation only has the power to change minds, but in the end, it is sheer strength of numbers that supports a counterculture. Arguments are only there to bolster those numbers. An opinion, no matter how logical, will only be listened to if enough people share it.
If this was true, no new ideas would ever catch on. By their very nature, new ideas start out only having relatively few people share them. This is precisely because it's a new idea that many people haven't thought of yet.

The internet, for example, was a new idea at one time. At one time, it was a new idea shared by relatively few people. But now it's a reality accepted by society at large.


Quote:
I suppose you're familiar with the notion of group think, right? Or if not, the idea is that the individual is a rational, thinking being while a group of individuals is an unruly mob, swayed by the simplest of provocations. It's a social phenomenon observed in just about every society, even the internet, where the individual's decision-making capacity decreases as a group grows increasingly larger.

You are right in saying that the key lies in persuading the majority of society, but that's all it is. The fact is that most people can only see as far as their own interests. Only a select few can actually see the entirety of society for what it is.
None of this stops genuinely good ideas from taking off, or society at large from seeing the societal benefit of such good ideas.

Just because unruly mobs can occur, doesn't mean that the majority is necessarily wrong and is doomed to be wrong. The majority can be legitimately swayed to adapt to new, good ideas. Again, the internet alone is a huge example of this.


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While it is true we haven't been told they were actively trying to fix the "bugs", I think it's safe to assume they have tried or are still trying.
Then why didn't the Director offer Gino such assurances?
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Old 2013-01-20, 12:49   Link #114
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Then why didn't the Director offer Gino such assurances?
He didn't need them. Didn't even ask. To be fair, it bothers me that the director didn't even mention in passing that they were trying to work out a solution, but I don't think this automatically means nothing is being done to solve the problem.
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Old 2013-01-20, 13:56   Link #115
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Numerous political systems are capable of keeping society running smoothly over several years. The true value of a political system is in what it actually does (not in an illusionary sense, but in a concrete sense) to benefit people.
But Sybil has done a great deal to benefit the people. It releases people from the burden of decision-making. It even takes away the burden of judging other human beings. With Sybil on the helm, citizens only need to worry about their own personal needs and their Psycho-Pass hues. Of course, this is all at the cost of basic human dignity, but in they're the ones that decide to give it up in the first place in exchange for convenience.

With that, we have a society that's grown to be almost completely dependent on the Sybil system. What do you think would happen if you happen to just throw it away all of a sudden?

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
If flaws are never noticed by the public then how do they ever get addressed in any real, concrete fashion?
Just because they aren't made public doesn't mean that they aren't trying to fix the problem. In fact, making it public would probably make it worse.


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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Sybil has numerous flaws, which have been discussed at length on this thread. Why can't Japan simply restore itself to how it was pre-Sybil?
I don't see why they shouldn't. It's going back to the previous system isn't as easy as it sounds given the very real effects that the system has had on the human psyche. If ever, this something that must be done gradually rather than through a sudden revelation and revolution.



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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I'd rather have an informed public that can make informed decisions on how they want their society to be ran than an uninformed public at the mercy of totalitarian oligarchs.
This is a fair stance to take, but it's being made increasingly clear that the society in this story prefers to be uninformed.


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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
If this was true, no new ideas would ever catch on. By their very nature, new ideas start out only having relatively few people share them. This is precisely because it's a new idea that many people haven't thought of yet.
Perhaps I failed to get my point across. I meant that a good argument can only persuade people, but that alone isn't enough. A counterculture only gains power once that argument manages for persuade enough people to form a significant portion of society.

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
None of this stops genuinely good ideas from taking off, or society at large from seeing the societal benefit of such good ideas.

Just because unruly mobs can occur, doesn't mean that the majority is necessarily wrong and is doomed to be wrong. The majority can be legitimately swayed to adapt to new, good ideas. Again, the internet alone is a huge example of this.
My point there was that the majority isn't always right in its decisions, let alone derived from an innate sense of justice. There are times when a particular majority decisions correspond with common ethics, but this is not always the case. Sometimes it's all a matter of choosing the right propaganda to swing a majority to a particular direction.
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Old 2013-01-20, 15:29   Link #116
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This is a fair stance to take, but it's being made increasingly clear that the society in this story prefers to be uninformed.
They don't prefer anything. They are uninformed, and therefore unaware that there's a choice.

But look at Gino, for example. When the director told him she'd reveal information normally above his pay grade, he didn't jump to stop her.

I'm willing to consider the possibility that Sibyl's actually built a better society than what we have. I mean, the fact that we, too, have to deal with murderers doesn't mean we should scrap our own models, does it? And I certainly agree that gradual changes would be better than bloody revolution. But I have the same beef as Triple R - by refusing to let the citizenry know that the system is imperfect, they're sacrificing long term growth for short term comfort.
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Old 2013-01-20, 15:38   Link #117
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But Sybil has done a great deal to benefit the people. It releases people from the burden of decision-making. It even takes away the burden of judging other human beings. With Sybil on the helm, citizens only need to worry about their own personal needs and their Psycho-Pass hues.
To me, these are anything but "great benefits". To me, these are horrible negatives.

To me, the "burden" of decision-making is the empowerment of decision-making. To me, the "burden" of assessing other human beings brings with it a lot of valuable life experiences and knowledge. It can be helpful in that it can make a person a better judge of character over time.

I definitely don't want to live a life where I just worry about personal needs. That's a very dull, uninteresting, and unfulfilling life, imo.


Anh_Minh is right - Sybil makes for a duller world.
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Old 2013-01-20, 16:01   Link #118
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OTOH, when the excitement is that you're about to die of exposure, or maybe get murdered for your wallet, dull sounds really attractive.
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Old 2013-01-20, 16:02   Link #119
karice67
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I've never been forced to look at 'grotesque' art. Allowing darker artwork to exist is not the same as creating a captive audience for it.
Well...if the person who creates it does not have a high Crime Coefficient, would it not be 'allowed to exist'? Same with the music - it was 'allowed to exist', was it not?



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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I respect the "social harmony" focus of Japan. In some ways, it has an edge over the more "individualism" focus of America. But Japan has managed that "social harmony" focus while still having a truly democratic form of government and some basic human rights for its people.
From what I know of Japanese politics since WW2...it hasn't actually done that all that well. It hasn't had a truly democratic form of government (it was effectively a one-party government for a long time, and there were restrictions and punishments for anyone who expressed sympathy with communist values. A number of scholars I know actually say that only now is Japan transitioning towards a more democratic, multi-party democracy.), and many things are still determined by the bureaucracy rather than elected politicians.

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
And the value of freedom of expression can be expressed in terms that any culture can understand. Freedom of expression is the most valuable of all freedoms because it is only through such freedom that meaningful, informed, social change can be effected which improves society. Freedom of expression basically means that every person is able to voice his or her concerns and grievances without fear of facing legal penalty for it. This means that society is more likely to find holes in the system, and situations that need to be fixed, as the voice of the people make clear where those holes are.

But in the world of Psycho-Pass, we see case after case after case of people falling through the cracks, with no real way of fixing the issue, because the system essentially disenfranchises them based on clearly questionable readings and enforced standards (like "authorized music").

And what happens when the Director discovers holes in the system? Does she instruct a group of scientists to see if they can tweak the system so that the next Makishima can be taken down by a Dominator, or does she simply do a cover-up and then "disappear" the problem away?

When I look at the Sibyl system in Psycho-Pass I see a system that is indeed horribly inflexible, and is not likely to ever improve due to how it disenfranchises people while putting people like the Director in charge.
I understand your point. But do we know whether the people of this world chose this by themselves? If they did, then why? And if it was merely shaped by the way their society developed, how did that happen? This goes back to the point about institutional structures that I made in the general thread just before the sub-forum was created.

It also relates a bit to Qilin's point: if stability is what they desire, than the vast majority of people at some point may well have decided that they are willing to sacrifice certain 'freedoms'. Alternatively, elected officials (as representatives of the people) may have made that decision. In this, there are similarities to certain decisions made by many governments today: we may think instinctively that some of the secrecy and non-transparency (even in the US and other Western states) is unprincipled and should be abolished, but there are reasons for it.

If such is the case, then any flaws can only be dealt with by people within the system, rather than by people like us, who stand completely outside of it and who probably would never have sacrificed those freedoms.

That's why, to me, what's interesting is how the protagonists are going to deal with this, as that will demonstrate just how flexible (or not) the Sibyl system is.

------

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
To me, these are anything but "great benefits". To me, these are horrible negatives. *snip*
That's the key, really - this is what you and many others here think about Sibyl. But what do the (majority of) people of Psycho-Pass think? What does the primary target audience think, given what their society is like at the moment?

My point that it's the protagonists who have to deal with it was just half of it. Another thing I wanted to highlight in pointing out what Japan today is like, is that the question of whether Sibyl is a viable system or not may be less clear-cut than it seems to many people in the West. It may be a question that people would really debate - and I submit we have already seen glimpses of that debate in this sub-forum.

-----

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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
But look at Gino, for example. When the director told him she'd reveal information normally above his pay grade, he didn't jump to stop her.
You do realise that this would also happen in government agencies in the real world, right? There are different levels of security, and people are trusted with information that they are not to reveal, for whatever reason. Should this kind of information be revealed to the public, or should the agency try to deal with it themselves first? Perhaps there are scientists within the bureaucracy that are trying to address the issue with the Dominator - but is the existence of such research (if it does indeed exist) something that the director can reveal to Gino?

-----

edit:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmic Eagle View Post
It is exactly because of what you highlight in red that I think why East Asia is still the way it is today. No one in our societies wants to change anything for sake of status quo even if it may be for the better. And the people who are trod down upon by the existing system? Forever we struggle desperately to make our own mark and survive. If no one seeks change even when the change may be preferable even as an experiment, then well, there really will be no change. The Confucian ideal of laying down and dying if need be for society's sake, taken to the extreme in Psycho Pass world sounds all nice and fine....until you are one of those made to do so.
I agree with the idea that trying to stick to the status quo is detrimental. But, to play devil's advocate, with regards to the Confucian ideal being 'nice and fine' only 'until you are one of those made to do so'...is that your point of view, the point of view of the majority, or the point of view of a minority?

And to turn the example on its head, change has often required people to lay down and die for society's sake (whether they do it by choice or not, and I would say that both occur): so perhaps the lack of desire to lay down and die for society's sake is one of the reasons no change has occurred?


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Originally Posted by Cosmic Eagle View Post
Psycho Pass world is an extreme where declining population and even extinction is possible. Not seeking to wake them up to it or even to go against the idea that led to it in the first place is.....Unless they actually consciously chose it in full knowledge of the consequence in which case "leave them be"
Which is, in effect, my point. At this juncture, what do we know of how the system was born? Why don't we seek that answer before trying to tell them how they should change?

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Originally Posted by Cosmic Eagle View Post
As for understanding where they come from, yes, understanding helps in so far as maybe trying to make change less painful. But it doesn't make the root of the issue any different. As an example, have you yourself ever been disadvantaged by the systems in those East Asian nations you lived in? Depending on that answer you may or may not understand what point I come from. But does that understanding alter the basic issue underlying the problems and solutions?
I would say that I have, if being restricted and constrained by an annoyingly static bureaucracy counts. But I (and the people of at lease one place I've lived) have also been frustrated by the structures and beliefs that have shaped the so-called exceptionalism, privileges and overriding opinion of a certain Western government, just to give one broad example.

Does it alter the basic issue in each case? Probably not. But it should alter the way that one tries to address the basic issue. It's a question of 'how to seek change' rather than 'should it be changed or not'.
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Last edited by karice67; 2013-01-20 at 17:34.
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Old 2013-01-21, 06:56   Link #120
CJ_Walker
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
.
wow. . .that was a pretty amazing post. Damn.

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Originally Posted by Qilin View Post
Oh, wow. This is great. So it turns out that the actual purpose of having Inspectors and Enforcers in the police force is to preemptively discover any gaps in the Sybil system, then promptly cover them up before the public catches wind of it...

I can't exactly fault them for it either. Having this kind of flaw made public would destroy everything that the system stands for, and would result in mass panic, paranoia, and worst of all, darkening of Psycho-Pass hues. This is one case where belief is more important than truth. A society thrives on stability, and anything that could threaten that stability must be dealt with quickly.
yeah pretty much, that was the whole point that the old guy, and the cyborg chief lady conveyed. If trust in the system broke down, then even before the world went back to "normal" society would probably breakdown and become a mad max world before it can get back to a civilized pre psyco pass world...

also. . .so
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