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Shaper philosophy

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Are the Shapers wrong to demand complete servitude of their creations? Imagine if you will if this group of all powerful individuals existed, and, just like in the game, you were given the choice of siding with them or against them. What would you do?

 

Me, in the game I was a loyal Shaper through and through. I liked the power and respect that route gave me. In real life, I really doubt I could be so ruthless. Obviously genetic engineering isn't quite at the stage of making complete organisms yet (to say the least), but if it were, and if their creation and destruction were so simple, it probably would cheapen the value we currently give to life. From that perspective, maybe, just maybe, I could see myself having a couple of serviles to do my cooking and cleaning tongue A few battle betas to act like guard dogs. It would be fun, and I think I'd see the merit in the Shaper philosophy that my creations owe me their lives.

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Shapers are not all-powerful beings, though. They are very good at maintaining that illusion through the first few games, but the longer the Rebellion goes the more evident it becomes that they are not omnipotent.

 

This brings up an interesting question, though. What, exactly, is the Shaper philosophy? Obedience and loyalty, in the Legalist tradition, seem to be a key part. There are tendencies toward believing that the laborers who own the means of production (Shapers with essence) own the products of their labor; such Communistic tendencies are voided, of course, when considering society outside of the Shaper sects. Ethnocentric imperialism, obviously, is present, though not necessarily the dominant trait.

 

Rather, though, I think the main tenets of each school of philosophy presented in the saga can be understood via power relations. The Shapers, and those like them, believe that power is to be sought out, but only by the select few who will not abuse it. They are fairly centrist in this; the Barzites and some aspects of the Rebellion make up one extreme, with a lust for power being prominent. The Trakovites make up the other extreme, rejecting this power altogether as corrupting and dangerous.

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Originally Posted By: Goldenking
Shapers are not all-powerful beings, though. They are very good at maintaining that illusion through the first few games, but the longer the Rebellion goes the more evident it becomes that they are not omnipotent.


Some of you may remember Shanti's abject fury at Zakary's failure to maintain the Shaper image.

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The rebels are the ones who really remind me of communism. They hate the ones who have to work very hard to get their influence (the Shapers) and instead of trying to become better, richer, all they do is try to become equal by killing everyone who is better than them. Ironically, all in the name of peace and love. Yes, the Shapers are centrist. They do believe they have the right to obtain power, but instead of monarchs who are born to power, Shapers know that, at least through their own individual actions, that their power can quickly deflate through not following the Shaper laws.

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It's worth pointing out that the Shapers have set up the system so they don't have to work very hard for their power and influence. Once upon a time Shapers did: they had to conquer the world. But now? Occasional shows of force and they can carry out their research and collect their taxes in peace. It's not exactly a heritable aristocracy, but it's not a meritocracy either. Forget being a capable leader and administrator or well-intentioned; the only necessary qualification for rule is the ability and official training to shape.

 

The rebels don't have one ideology. Instead, they're an alliance of all the groups that oppose the Shapers. Some want more rights for creations on ideological grounds. For the serviles, it's less ideological and more practical. For the drayks and drakons, it's a matter of life or death: the Shapers want them annihilated. Some are probably just angry that they're frozen out of the power structure and want to replace the Shapers with themselves.

 

There are no claims to peace and love. The rebels fighting, and they make no bones about it. It's a measure of how bad Shaper misrule has become that so many are willing to flock to the rebel cause. The Shapers have done an admirable job of alienating people, particularly once they started cracking down during the war.

 

—Alorael, who doesn't see how communism or capitalism factor into it. Unless you mean communist like the Communist Parties of the Soviet Union and Maoist China, which are more pertinent for being totalitarian than for being communist per se.

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Originally Posted By: MMXPERT
That's what he was saying in the first place. -_-


What he said was this.

Originally Posted By: Andras1444
The rebels are the ones who really remind me of communism. They hate the ones who have to work very hard to get their influence (the Shapers) and instead of trying to become better, richer, all they do is try to become equal by killing everyone who is better than them.


And that's not how communism works.

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Looking back on my original comment, I can see that the remark I made about communism was an afterthought; I don't know why I included it, since it's obviously not really relevant to the game in any way.

 

I don't know how one is selected to become a Shaper. That said, it seems to me to be some sort of corporatist state that brings in new technocrats (through meritocracy?) in a way similar to the Jinshi of imperial China. This combination of scholasticism and bureaucracy creates effective rulers, it seems, but ones with a blatant disregard to the opinion of the masses, an attitude ingrained by the ivory tower mentality of Shaper culture. If you can make it through the system, you probably feel superior to the average farmer who can't afford getting into the system in the first place, studying to pass the entrance exam, winning the national lottery, getting selected, or whatever process it is. Shaper society doesn't have citizens, it has subjects.

 

The Trakovites are the Luddites of Terrestria.

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