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Compassion - does Humakt have it?


Musing from the list, way back.

Warning: long and vague!

Compassion, and does Humakt have it?

I'm still not sure which way I'm going with this, so presenting arguments for and against several sides. There can be several right answers, in any case. Like questions of "is the sword the only acceptable weapon?", "do we get to marry?", "is loyalty to your leader more important than overall honour?": two opposite answers are both true.

So possibly that's what we need to find here, too: two opposite answers, both of which are true. Humakt deals in black and white. Just not grey, or any other colours. The blade has two sides, but the edge is too sharp to sit on. No angels at all dancing on the point of this pin.

Having compassion gives a bunch of motivations for actions that otherwise just wouldn't happen. So some innocent bystander is getting beaten up: so? What's the reason for intervening? If the answer is "honour", then we need to define just what we mean by that, and
so far we've been having very little success.

But, it's a potential weakness. It's an opening for hostages. "Drop your sword or the kid gets it."

And it's a way of getting hurt. If you have to kill someone for their own good, having any feelings on the subject is likely to be painful. To which of course one answer is "yeah, so it hurts. Deal with it."

I think we agreed earlier that Humakt is fair, including being fair to his worshippers. He doesn't ask anyone to do anything that he hasn't already done himself. So if he asks you to do painful things, like killing your friends...?

Dori's answer to this at present is that the Humakt she's trying to emulate is a sword: no feelings, no pain. The only reasons she's getting hurt is that she's still too human. So she's acquired this "kill emotion" feat.

But is she right? Is she instead meant to feel the pain, and go through with it anyway?

Part of that over-night introspection she did after coming back from the HellHag, she realised that in order to be an effective leader, she needs to handle her troops' feelings. And therefore, to have some herself. Which is in direct opposition to her goals for the last few years :( Is this in fact a valid conclusion? And is Humakt a leader anyway, or just a solo warrior?

Let me try another tack, too. We came up with the idea earlier that death includes emotional numbness. Which would seem to indicate a lack of compassion, since that's an emotion. And there's a generally held idea that "the peace of death" includes freedom from pain of all sorts, emotional included.

But, but (isn't there always a but?). There's a difference between being Death and being Dead. Are you on the sharp end of the sword or the blunt end? This numbness and peace thing is something that Humakt gives to others. That doesn't mean he gets it himself.

"Pain: a way of knowing you're alive", someone once said.

Let me make this even more complicated. That "sword of life" myth concluded that Humakt kills everything, including and especially himself, so that everyone else can have Life. But the opposite face of this, the white to the black, is that Humakt has to put up with all the pain of being alive so that everyone else can have the peace of Death. The only thing he doesn't do is get stuck in the middle, in Undeath. But he gets the bad bits of both sides, so that everyone else can have the good bits.

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