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Aug 13, 2020 3:36 AM
Remedial Goodness is exciting this semester
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"Can you expound a bit on why your knowledge of her decision affected your own? There are no right or wrong answers right now; we're just exploring the space of lines of reasoning people can use here."

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True answers include "If I'm the only one that gets betrayed then she got one over on me, but if we both betrayed each other then we can laugh about it and everything's cool," "Because I thought she'd think it was funny and I was right," and "Because I thought you'd think it was funny, and I was still right." 

The answer he gives is "Because sometimes trust means keeping silent, and sometimes trust means doing what you know the other person expects you to do." 

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"It certainly does. Also I suspect it was an amusing gesture in the context of your friendship with Sasha outside the game. One of the common themes of these games is that it's hard to make the stakes high enough that they dominate external considerations, especially since the games last a few minutes and the rest of your life lasts for the rest of your life. If I may continue singling you out a bit longer, can you expand on 'Jeanine isn't Nat'?"

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"I know Nat. I know of Jeanine in the way that everyone knows everyone but I don't know her anywhere near well enough to know whether she'd think it was funny or how she'd respond, and we're going to keep seeing each other for however many years we're at school here." 

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"A reasonable consideration, and interestingly symmetric to Jeanine's reasoning about you. In other contexts, players who don't know each other tend to mistrust each other, and start out by betraying each other rather than look weak."

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"If I were trying to look strong I wouldn't go around calling myself 'son of no one.'" 

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Basil appears to have drawn a lot of implications from that statement, but addresses his next question to Nat. "Thank you. Now, Nat, you defected the first time and cooperated the second. Would you have switched the order if the partners were in the other order? That is, was it about cooperating with Bruce and not with Sasha, or was it about defecting first and cooperating second?"

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"Both. I was going to do that anyway, but they were both expecting me to defect and fucking with Bernard is more fun than fucking with Sasha." 

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"Extending the conversation beyond the bounds of this game and this classroom for a moment, what effects do you find you get from being deliberately unpredictable? Are there people you make a point of being predictable to?"

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How to answer that. 

"Walking around with 'Definitely Not Evil Plots' written on my notebook lets me see who flips their shit and who rolls their eyes and who avoids me and who doesn't. I don't make a point of doing what anyone expects me to but there are people I don't make a point of not." 

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"If I thought you were so foolish as to write down your plots I would be tempted to read your notebook, but that is neither here nor there. Now, Bruce, you cooperated with Nat because, and I quote, 'if this were real Nat would find some way to get revenge.' Who here thinks revenge is morally right and who thinks it's wrong? Bernard, you first."

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Bernard makes a "You're asking me?" face, stammers a bit, and comes up with "Um, probably wrong?"

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"But why do you think that? Every question I ask in this class comes with at least an implicit 'why'. I am not looking for parroted answers, as though goodness was a squeakeasy with a secret password. I am looking for moral reasoning."

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Bernard is sort of always expecting to get ranted at, but definitely wasn't expecting that particular rant. Eventually he manages to say, "Be-because, Islanders think it's important, so, it's probably evil? I don't know, I'm not good at this stuff."

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Jeanine is done watching Bernard be in the hot seat. "I think it doesn't matter if revenge is good or evil!" She asserts loudly. "Because if you don't take revenge people will think they can hurt you or people you care about with no consequences, so you have to do it whether it's right or not."

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"Auradon is good. Therefore revenge can't be wrong." 

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"There's such a thing as too much revenge, though. Like if you hurt someone way more than they hurt you, or if you decide to get revenge on someone for doing something they did to you as revenge and it goes back and forth forever, or if you get revenge and accidentally hurt someone who wasn't involved and now they're mad at you. You have to be smart about it even if it's good, and you have to do it at all even if it's evil."

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Man, how did 'if revenge is wrong the Isle is wrong' get no reaction whatsoever. 

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"And sometimes the fight just isn't worth it, I'd rather be stolen from than break a bone in a fight. — I think islanders are better at taking revenge on the people we actually want revenge on than Auradonians are." 

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Reaction? Why would Basil react when he's finally managed to start a class discussion? This is great and he has no intention of interrupting.

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"I think you're right, Sasha. Maybe it's because they waste so much effort trying to be good and don't think about what's practical."

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"That too but I think more importantly I think they can't admit revenge is the thing they're doing because they think revenge is wrong, so they have to make up new concepts for the same thing and the new concepts just don't aim as well." 

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"That could be it too. They resurrected people specifically to send them to the Isle. If you want to make sure that someone won't hurt you again, and that people know it's a bad idea to try, why not resurrect people you like and let the people you don't like stay dead?"

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"I'm not actually sure that was about revenge, if you wanted revenge on my daddy what you'd do is not resurrect him." 

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"Right! If you're thinking 'I want revenge' you can think about what would actually get you that, but if you're thinking 'revenge is wrong, instead we will have a legal code that punishes wrongdoers by sending them to the Isle' you wind up doing all kinds of bizarre counterproductive things. — obviously I am glad Nat's dad wasn't tortured forever and instead I got to know him and Nat and Celia but —" 

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