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More Blog Posts101

  • 2 weeks
    AI Dungeon

    If anypony here plays AI Dungeon, this is a Scenario I've put together which has a TON of World Info entries, built to make a coherent sandbox of Equestria.

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    4 comments · 36 views
  • 9 weeks
    LooneyCon Seminar in 12 hours!

    Hey everypony!
    I just wanted to remind and inform anyone who didn't know that I'm scheduled to give my "5 Steps to Writing Anything" seminar at LooneyCon tomorrow. I'm scheduled for Friday at 8 PM GMT, which is...
    4 PM US Eastern
    3 PM US Central
    2 PM US Mountain
    1 PM US Pacific.
    OR, about 12 hours from this post.

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    0 comments · 51 views
  • 10 weeks
    PonyFest Online 3 (May 30th) - Raccoon's Seminar Schedule

    Hey everypony!
    I've been informed that my scheduled events for PonyFest 3.0, an online convention happening next Saturday, has been finalized. Here are the two events I've been scheduled for, though I'll likely get roped into something else.

    What Fun is there in Making Sense? A Discussion on Crackfics

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    2 comments · 63 views
  • 12 weeks
    PonyFest 2.0 Seminars / Panels are up!

    For those who haven't been following, I was at the Online PonyFest 2 virtual convention a little over a week ago, where I gave 2 seminars and sat on 2 panels. If you'd like to see those, the YouTube videos are finally up!

    5 Steps to Writing Anything

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    1 comments · 39 views
  • 14 weeks
    Artemis Fowl (in the era of Censorship-via-Capitalism)

    I just watched the Artemis Fowl trailer, excited that we'd finally see an adaptation of one of the best, most influential works of sci-fi literature, even knowing it'd probably be sub-par...

    ...I have never been so sickened and enraged by the idea of a movie in my entire life.

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    16 comments · 174 views

Scene from the madhouse · 5:47pm Sep 6th, 2017

So, this morning, I awoke with a sudden and maniacal burst of inspiration. From that, I wrote one of those madhouse discussions that only comes out of Rationalist Fanfictions, in which Meta, while attempting to mount a planetary defense against extraplanar incursions, has an intellectual discussion with a representative of one of the most reviled nations on Equus...

Spoiler Alert: the following crazy and incomplete conversation happens WAY into the sequel of Displaced Into Nothing, and will go through extreme revisions by the time it becomes canon, eventually getting much darker...

“[Meta].  I am pleased you agreed to meet with me.  I know the other, ah... ‘leaders’ of Equestrian society oft refuse our offers of negotiation.”

“For the record, I am not an official representative of Equestria, and to be fair, your ‘negotiations’ with Princess Celestia historically involve a demand that they take their place on the floor and submit to your rightful mounting.  I’d say the same for Luna, except there was only one such meeting, historically...”

“Ah, yes, the emasculation of my predecessor which earned me his position.  He was quite unable to contain his emotions, a trait which has shown him unfit for the position he elevated himself to, and, in the process unfit to breed.”

“Right... That explains a few things... I’m still surprised your leaders agreed to a meeting with me on equal grounds in the first place.  Doesn’t this go against your edict of female inferiority?”

“Ah, but you forget: you are only female in appearance.  A being of magic, such as yourself, has no true sexuality.  We are capable of enough pragmatism to consider you a genderless being, an ‘it’, if you will.”

“Well then, I’m flattered to receive such an honor.”

“And the nation of Ice is happy to offer it to you, [Meta].  Speaking of beings of magic, will the lord of Chaos be joining us?”

“...You mean Discord?  No, he doesn’t do well in these sorts of meetings.”  That, and he’d said something about using their entrails as party decorations.

“‘Tis a pity.  My people quite respect the Draconequus of Chaos.  I’d dare say, he is the most revered hero among my people to not be one of our own...”

I made a mental note to ask Discord what the hell this guy was talking about: the idea of Discord being a hero to one of the most Oppressive societies on the planet just didn’t compute.

They are talking about reconciling their way of life with the International Unified Front.

“Do not be mistaken, ambassador.  Just because I am willing to speak with you as an equal does not mean I condone your way of life.

"It is all a matter of opinion.  You will contend that Equestrian society is morally Superior, and I will contend that ours is the most Morally advanced society.  In the end, who is to say they are truly right? We all have the right to our own opinions, do we not?"

"Opinions are things we get to have when it doesn't matter.  You don't have a right to an opinion when it affects others.  And for the record, do not assume I agree with Equestrian values."

"Point taken, but we all believe ourselves to be right."

"What we believe is irrelevant. Reality doesn't care what we think or feel.  Reality will do as it pleases, and we need to substantiate our claims."

  • We have eradicated poverty.
  • We do not have children worrying about their cutie marks, desperate to know their destiny.
  • No member of our society can say they do not know their place, or that they are unwelcome: the position of the male is to labour, the position of the female is to be mounted.
  • Females all learn their place from a very young age: they keep the homes of males, they feed males, they nurse the children of males, they warm the beds of males, they see to the pleasures of males.  The vast majority of females live safe and fed, and are quite content with their lives: it is only those who refuse to comply with the laws our society has agreed upon who need suffer.
  • And through all this, all males see their rights readily satisfied.  The right to eat, the right to warmth in the winter, the right to breed.  The ri-

“Breeding is not a right.”

“Most of the countries which seem to run your precious ‘League of Nations’ believe so.  It is one of the values which we share wholeheartedly, and one which we have satisfied far better by denying the female a right to deny the male.”

“Those nations are wrong.”

“Well then, [Meta], I feel it is your turn to substantiate your claim.”

“Very well.  The right to breed is neither necessary nor is it universalizable.  Even if we were to restrict breeding so much that we achieved replacement rate, there would still be enough to continue society.  On the other hoof, breeding can have negative consequences.  Imagine if you will a country in long term famine, perhaps they have exhausted their limited resources and can no longer make enough food for everyone.  Now imagine a male who wishes to breed three more children.  Let us assume there is a guarantee that they will be male, as your scriptures decree that females are not persons.  What right does he have to create three new lives, lives which will know constant starvation, and make them a burden to the community resources?”

Well, not everyone uses their rights responsibly.  That does not make them any less rights.

“On the contrary, it is their clear room for abuse which makes them all the less rights.  A child does not consent to their own birth, making it the parent’s responsibility to see them cared for: in this case, the child’s rights must take precedent.  A parent who creates a child that cannot be adequately cared for has no right to create said child.”

Let us take this notion for a moment.  In what case will we be unable to sustain our population?  Does not productivity lead growth?

One hundred years.

Beg pardon?

In one hundred years, your nation, along with the rest of the planet, if left at current growth rates, will begin to find that the amount of resources you can generate does not keep up with your population growth.  This is a simple matter of physics.

... how could you know such a thing?

I looked at the census and survey data for every country on the planet, ran it against known math, and compared to prior incidences.  You have about a hundred years before your means of production starts outstripping your means of distribution, and after that, you’ll begin to destroy your biosphere.  A similar situation is happening on the world my original form was from, the world where Equestria’s new advanced technology has been coming from.

I... see... You’ll have to send me your numbers... Perhaps we’ll have to... Plan accordingly...

I suggest your plans don’t involve invading other nations for their resources.  The major powers of the other world tried that instead of compensating internally, and it ended up making the situation worse in the long run.

...Interesting...  Even still, though you can make an argument against the right to breed, you have yet to make an argument against the ancient proclamation.  If the majority can learn to be happy with their station, if it creates a society in which all who cooperate can live contently, is that not your utilitarian ethic at play?

On the surface, but you’ve mistaken contentedness for utility.  What about the wasted potential?  Consider the females in your society who teach themselves to read, against your highest laws.  Does this not show high intelligence?  Does this not show an intense drive?  These are exceptional individuals, who could be of great usage to progress, and what do you do with them?  You make an example of them, and that potential is wasted.  Let us forego that notion however, as females are not people, and talk of males: with half of your population in a state inferiority, there is no reason for a male to ever question his own sense of self-worth.  How can he, when he has been told, from birth, that simply being a male is an accomplishment?  The need to justify one’s own existence is a need for self-actualization, a need to make some accomplishment.  Without it, what need is there to aspire to true greatness?

Why must one aspire for greatness?  Is it not simply enough to find satisfaction in one’s ability to mount?

Aspiration builds progress, ambassador.  Why do you think the caribou have built so few buildings over two stories, have no real electrical technology to speak of, while your Equestrian neighbors must see a building over four stories to consider it truly tall, and are beginning to see electricity as simply a part of modern life?

“Ah, but therein you have stated a weakness: for all their progress, the ponies have become soft.  Without the coddling of their society, the average pony would be unable to fend for themselves.  There are no invalids among the caribou: ‘he who cannot survive the winter is unfit to breed in spring.’  How can you claim that a society of the unfit can be stronger?”

“Because the notion is a fallacy.  It is not the ability of the caribou to survive in primitive conditions that generates progress, but the ability of the Ponies to rise above those conditions to a place where they may comfortably advance their own scientific studies.  The state of nature is nasty, brutish, and short, and leaves little time to worry about cosmological speculation.”

“I feel as if you have made the assertion here, as many in your society do, that we have not progressed as a society.  This is unfair: only two years ago our leadership decreed that it is unlawful to beat a female to blood when it has broken no law, and in the decades before that, the hunting of law-abiding females for sport was regulated to the point it is almost unheard of.  We are not savages.  How can one say we do not improve ourselves when we do so every day?”

“You passed those laws as a matter of pragmatism: a dead female is one who cannot be used for pleasure, and a punishment loses meaning when it may be inflicted by a whim.  Even still, one cannot give a mere placation as a justification for such a great wrong.”

“But [Meta], you have not convinced me that the opinions you wish to impose upon us are in any way superior to the Scriptures.  As I said before, it all comes down to a matter of opinion.”

“And as I said, you don’t get to have opinions when it comes to a nation of half a million.”

“Then I suppose we’ll have to agree to disagree.”

“No.  I cannot.”

“Very well then... What should we expect for now?”

“For now?  Nothing.  We’re both pragmatists.  We both understand that any sort of open conflict would be counter-productive to both our goals.  At this point, we are in a stalemate.  This discussion may be put to rest for now, but do not consider it over.”

“And when will it be over?”

“It will be over when we find a way to reconcile, or when reconciliation no longer matters.”

“Very well then.  I will bring what you have said to the rest of the court, and we will discuss our next response.  I do look forward to working with you in the future: your ability to see things logically and without the emotional bias of the princesses makes you a far more agreeable negotiator, and I believe we can come to a compromise which mutually benefits us all.” he pushed back his leather cloak, offering me a four toed hoof decorated with a bracelet made from ungulate teeth.

I reached out with my own, “Despite my misgivings, I agree: after all, cooperation is far preferable to conflict...”

And with that, I shook hooves with the ambassador of madness.

Special thanks to Alara J Rogers, as I probably wouldn't have taken interest in the Caribou if it wasn't for Not The Hero.

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Comments ( 15 )

I always love a good debate, but I really can't here. Because in order for it to be a true debate I would have to see some merit in both sides, and considering that one is a willfully ignorant misogynist I really can't muster any fucks to give about his attempts at justification.

The conversation in my head when I woke up was between Naom Chomsky and a Caribou leader. The caribou is supposed to be wrong without being a straw man: the arc that this is from is about having to reconcile with completely irrational viewpoints of world leaders. In case the comments about her homeworld and tradition aren't cluing you in, he's an Expy for a Conservative Intellectual, insisting that arbitrary and scientifically unsound ideas are necessary to prevent the complete breakdown of society.

... I guess I can accept him as a stand-in, but it kind of falls on its face when one of the arguments presented literally boils down to "why should we try to be better? The only people we care about are only expected to serve their base needs, and isn't that all that matters?" - that is to say, advocating for becoming a beast of the field. I'd hope even a Conservative Intellectual could do better than that. Really, truly, hope.

I'd think "Sophist" would be a better fit than "Conservative Intellectual", but then I suppose we're splitting hairs at that point.

Well, I read this excerpt and I must say I am both impressed at the detail shown in the questioning between parties, and think about what my teacher of ethics used to say about things.

Morality is subject to fashion of both time and culture, while Ethics are universal and are in nature seeking the true well-being of sapient beings (in this case, ponies vs. caribou).

What I saw mostly was a discussion of morality rather than ethics, which would - if used right - prove the caribou point of view wrong in a thorough fashion, leaving their current culture in shambles.

Sadly, those lessons in ethics I received I can't properly remember, as I received them over nine years ago. But I believe that someone like you, who has both the intelligence and the attention to detail, can actually bring forth such a scenario that crumples an oppressive culture just by use of universal ethics. Then again, I might be wrong, and you could have a plan already in motion to showcase just that ending.

I hope to learn from your reply to this comment.

Have a nice day!

I'll work on it. Like I said, this is for the sequel when Meta is building a unified defense against interplanar threats, so don't expect to see a final version for at least 6 months.

Ethics versus Morality is a subject I want to delve into heavily with Meta. I dare say, the stuff with hers may be some of the most out-there writing I've ever done, simply because I don't need it to be commercially viable and can say things that are highly controversial and experiment with things completely out of my comfort zone.

Heck, if done correctly it can even become a profitable writing. :yay:

The thing about ethics is that they are inherently universal, and thus have clear interpretations rather than the more obscure morality issues that people love to use, as they are bendable.

Part of the issue in Ethics is that there are multiple theories and models, and although Human Values are far more similar than people often make them out to be, they are not the same across the board.

Hum, that is a good point.

I'd go for universal interpretation, rather than school though. Perhaps I'm being too simplistic in my approach and thought process, but one of the reasons there is much division and infighting among scholars is the lack of capability to bridge the gaps between schools of thought.

Moralizing is fun, but this seems a tad sketchy.

I think when your species has terraforming as an innate ability (read:ponies), a lot of the things that would normally be considered necessary for survival in a low-tech setting become largely irrelevant. Any argument they could make for their own ethics and social behavior will come from a vastly different perspective than a species trying to survive against the elements and wilderness.

Mildly surprised Meta didn't go for a Darwinism slant when arguing against a right to breed, but I guess that'd be the low-hanging fruit. Not to mention darwinism gets hella sketchy when talking about engineered environments (cities/nations) as opposed to natural ones. Though, me saying that would require knowing more about just how engineered this caribou society is, especially when compared against ponies.

Overall, I don't think the caribou should have this much difficulty defending his own position. It might be outdated if Meta is distributing tech, but it should be coming from a position that was arguably necessary at some point in the past. In an environment where health and safety can't be guaranteed, or at least reasonably expected, prioritizing reproduction is the poor man's(/civ's) solution. This, of course, leads to the problem where the civilization in question is unwittingly breeding itself to withstand their hostile environment instead of working to maximize their gains from civilization, but that's a problem they wouldn't be able to deal with until mastering their environment anyways.

You've misused the phrase "Darwinism", as Darwin himself espoused that evolution was evil and that humanity's strength was that we could overcome it. He was a humanitarian, very much against eugenics, even passive.

Meta doesn't get into that because, yeah, it's some sketchy shit, and the Caribou outright follow a philosophy that males earn the right to breed simply by being hardy enough to survive to adulthood in the harsh environment of the frozen north and being strong enough to claim a female to breed.

Did I? I suppose I meant to say eugenics then, though to be fair the morons who often espouse eugenics are quick to call it Darwinism as well. I'm not sure if I'd use the term eugenics here though, as this is less an example of deliberate breeding programs and more an outdated model for survival carried forward into a situation where it becomes less applicable as time goes on. As their survival rates increase thanks to steadily improving standard of living (assuming they do, in fact, bother to improve their standard of living), the ones doing the reproducing might not necessarily hold up to their not-quite-quantified ideal of fitness, leading to the softness he accuses ponies of. Only, perhaps more rapidly, thanks to population booms? The only way against that would be if they're intentionally rejecting all forms of advancement and do their level best to live in a primitive state. Which, in that case, they'd have no one to blame but themselves, but I'd hardly expect the entire race to follow that model when they know alternatives exist? Wouldn't there be caribou escaping to live with the ponies? Do the caribou leaders petition Equestria to return escaped citizens?

Regardless, what I was trying to say was that it feels like this caribou isn't really coming from anywhere with his arguments, as though he's playing devil's advocate instead of having personally experienced the conditions that would lead to a viewpoint where reproduction holds a higher priority over individual freedom. He's claiming that breeding is a right, but does next to nothing to defend it, which makes it feel (to me, at least) that he took that position purely to be argued against instead of for the stated utilitarian value. I gathered you wanted his beliefs to feel sincere while being clearly mistaken, so I was hoping maybe something I could say would lead to some idea.

Like I said, it was a burst of inspiration for something I'm nowhere near writing. I'll look back at your feedback here when I get to that part later...

Ah, sorry. I get carried away.

Oh, it's fine, I do appreciate it, but Into Nothing has been stalled so much that this isn't a focus right now...

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