Self-Dying

CAPITOL, YANOK ARCHIPELAGO, TORKATAN CONGERIES – Protests were reported today outside the Imperial embassy here in Capitol Drift over the recent death of a citizen of the Congeries during a tour of the Core worlds.

Ra Adom Underhull was struck and killed by an groundcraft on Ellisar (Imperial Core) late last year, one of only fourteen vehicular incidents reported in the Empire in 7204.

Her case has attracted some controversy both within and without Imperial space, since as a member of the pro-public-privacy group Behind the Veil, Underhull was wearing full-coverage clothing patterned with adversarial images designed specifically to impair the operation of commonly-used sensor algorithms, and had placed the Universal issued her at entry into a sealed embag. (This latter practice was one which had already led to several warnings from the Constabulary.)

A statement issued at the time by Silverwing Motors, ICC, the designers of the groundcraft in question, offered their condolences to Underhull’s family, but, while noting that the vehicle had detected her and begun obstacle-avoidance routines shortly before the collision, stated that they could not reasonably be expected to build systems secure against deliberate and technically sophisticated attempts to sabotage their operation.

The Constabulary coroner concurred with this, and returned a verdict of death by misadventure secondary to traumatic amentia, or as it is unfortunately also known, “death by stupidity”.

It is this verdict that forms the root of the controversy, with opinions varying from those prevalent in certain outworlds that one should be protected fully even from the consequences of one’s own actions, or that this once again highlights the intrinsic dangers of automation, to the common opinion among Imperials that one cannot in all reason possibly expect to be kept safe when engaging in acts of profound unwisdom, such as deliberately blinding safety systems or taking an evening stroll through a minefield.

Consensus on these matters remains as unlikely to be reached as ever.

– the Imperial Infoclast

9 thoughts on “Self-Dying

  1. It just occurred to me that the Eldraeic variant of the Darwin Awards is probably much more interesting/entertaining, since you can usually interview the soph afterwards to get their side of the story.

    Then again, they don’t go for schadenfreude at all, so you’d probably only see something along the lines of a documentary about the dangers of doing stupid things, and how to avoid them.

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  2. As a counterpoint to the above comments, and indeed the main thrust of the post: It seems an odd reaction for one who seemingly appears to be living up to the very virtue of qalasir the eldrae claim to profess — living out one’s chosen purpose to the fullest, regardless of the risks or consequences — to be called “stupid.”

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    • qalasír (“driving energies of the individual”) isn’t a virtue. It’s just a fact of life. valxíjir is the one closer to being a virtue (although even it is not listed among the Nine Excellences, even if Right Action shadows it pretty well), along with its partner estxíjir.

      But let’s look at the definition of valxíjir, as best it can be translated into English, shall we?

      valxíjir: uniqueness/excellence/will to power/forcible impression of self onto the universe

      Especially that last one. Forcible impression of self onto the universe. Taking the world by the throat and shaping it as you desire. Being, in a word, a damn verb.

      Now, death in general frustrates all ends, and is therefore to be avoided, but nonetheless, it may still be considered if you can purchase something of sufficient worth that you could not have attained elsewise with your death. Do you think that happened here?

      Nope.

      She died like a schmuck by misunderstanding the nature of reality, and bought nothing with it.

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    • As a further note, and analogy:

      I believe in the freedom of speech (as a principle and ideal, not merely a matter of law) and the full and open expression of one’s ideas. I have defended it for racists, anti-vaxxers, flat-earthers, climate-change denialists, intersectional feminists, pick-up artists, SJWs, Nazis, members of modern American political parties, and even people who think reality television is the best genre. I positively encourage everyone to express their ideas to the fullest and damn the torpedoes, and respect those who do for their honesty and courage in the face of societal peer-norming.

      None of which requires me not to think of them as, or not to express the notion that they are, a bunch of dumb-assed cods, many with evil ideas, and whose brain cells would be put to better use in a neural network learning to tell cat pictures apart.

      The one is orthogonal to the other.

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      • Your right to free speech means you can spout anti-vaxxer BS. My right to free speech mean I can call you a bloody idiot. And in an era without nanotech immune systems, I can campaign to keep your plague-carrying kids out of my kids school.

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