The Road of Humanity: For the Greatest Good

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The Road of Humanity: For the Greatest Good

Post by Thomas the Bastard on Mon Jan 25, 2016 9:59 pm

*Thomas is eager to discuss Humanitas with anyone who asks*
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Re: The Road of Humanity: For the Greatest Good

Post by Simon Molendinarius on Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:54 am

So. You are brought to a level above that of the kine, yet you wish to remain one? Perhaps as one not ready to embrace deeper truths I would understand this. But you actually advocate such a path? Interesting.

In your short time thus far as a cainite you have in one event caused the death of as many people as fell by my sword at Damietta. How does that knowledge sit with the Beast? Simple unintended consequences, yet as a cainite these simple unintended consequences will always be more profound than otherwise they could have been.

Do you really think it wise to maintain the illusion of a life you no longer have?

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Re: The Road of Humanity: For the Greatest Good

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 27, 2016 11:32 am

With all due respect, Your Grace, there is much more to the Road of Humanitas than merely emulating the kine. It is the natural state for those created in God's image, and this is no accident.

In my opinion, there is no Road closer to the spirit of the commandments of God than Humanitas. There is no Road on which it is easier to earn the forgiveness of the Lord. While it's tenants are quite difficult for those of our kind to maintain, it is that difficulty which brings it's followers closer to God. It is only through constant struggle, pain and penance, that one may achieve Golconda. The struggle against the pressures of the Beast is greater on the Road of Humanitas, and the penance equally so.

Thomas speaks of the merits of his Road with good reason, My Lord, he has made major strides towards true Enlightenment by following it - he is closer to Golconda than any I know of save myself. All while maintaining an utter mastery of that Path which frankly many would be hard-pressed to attain, let alone maintain for any length of time. I am very proud of my Childe for his adherence to his morality.

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Re: The Road of Humanity: For the Greatest Good

Post by Valance on Wed Jan 27, 2016 12:17 pm

Why did you blood bond all of those humans? How did the results effect your beast?

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Re: The Road of Humanity: For the Greatest Good

Post by Valance on Wed Jan 27, 2016 12:17 pm

Addressed to Thomas, not Marius.

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Re: The Road of Humanity: For the Greatest Good

Post by Simon Molendinarius on Wed Jan 27, 2016 12:23 pm

Simon smiles a chuckles warmly

I do not care in the slightest what morality Thomas follows outside of this room. But here...he comes to this place looking to discuss his humanity, and so am trying to discuss it with him.

A slight shrug and a nod to Marius.

As you already know, I too hold close to my humanity. There are certainly aspects in these ideals that are true and must be considered. And to be considered thoroughly one must be truthful, and the truth is harsh.

To say nothing of my personal beliefs on the matter...when Thomas caused the deaths of all those people, he was indignant at my suggestion that he was morally responsible. It took our combined efforts for him to fully grasp the depth of his sin. At the time you and I discussed how we feared for his soul and for his humanity given his callous disregard for others. Less than a season later and you say he is maintaining an utter mastery of his morality? Even if this wasn't demonstrably false, it takes quite a bit longer than a season to prove one has mastered themselves. Perhaps he has improved, but I am not sure how a merchant who strives to make a profit can ever truly act without selfish thoughts.

Another shrug and a raised hand as if to say "but that's not the point"

The idea that the man I just described is actually somehow close to Golconda would make me question my belief in Golconda if I did not already do so. The idea that anyone can take even the slightest steps towards a legendary enlightenment so soon after their embrace makes light of the many, yourself included, who have spent decades in pursuit of even the faintest hint of this promised release.

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Re: The Road of Humanity: For the Greatest Good

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:32 pm

Marius sighs.

"Sadly, Your Grace, it is the youngest among us who can most easily attain enlightenment. I wish that I could claim that his rapid advancement along the path has been due to the tutelage of his Sire, but I fear he owes the majority of his success to his age. He has not yet learned to think of his actions and their consequences in terms of centuries rather than years. For one so young, change comes easily. For one who has committed so few sins due to such a short lifetime, doing penance for them all takes far less time.

As you say, I did once fear for Thomas' soul, but no longer. He has attained mastery of his road, and he has done so at great personal sacrifice. Time has little to do with the pursuit of Golconda, it is faith and self-sacrifice which bring one to the forgiveness of God. Since the night I expressed my concern for Thomas, he has embraced his penance with a gusto I feel few Elders could match. He has given all he has to the Church, to the Abbey. While he is still, as you say, a merchant, he no longer seeks personal gain. Any profit he makes fills the coffers of the house of God, and his personal time and wealth he gives freely to the Church. The change in Thomas has been great, and while to those of us who have seen centuries pass his sacrifice seems small and short, to him it seems much less so. We may say it is too early to tell if he has changed in a lasting manner, but Thomas does not view change as a thing which takes ages. The importance here is with the perspective. Thomas' sacrifice is measured in the time-frame in which he has lived his life, not that of Elders.

For my part, the path to Golconda has taken me centuries, but before I began seeking it I committed many sins over many years. The primary requirement to attain forgiveness is penance born from a heavy heart. One must right all the wrongs one has committed over their lifetime. Thomas, for all his faults, has committed few and has already begun making amends for them all. For me, and perhaps for most Elders, that process is a lot more difficult, and perhaps even ultimately impossible."

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Re: The Road of Humanity: For the Greatest Good

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:44 pm

After a beat, Marius adds a final thought.

"Though, I do not know that I would say he is close. He has merely stepped foot onto the right path. Thomas still has far to travel and will likely spend the rest of his life doing so. I apologize if it seems I interrupted your questioning of him, but it is high time I express my pride at his advancement, and this seemed an opportune time to do so."

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Re: The Road of Humanity: For the Greatest Good

Post by Thomas the Bastard on Wed Jan 27, 2016 2:19 pm

*Thomas has been considering his words carefully, and taken the opportunity to think when others have spoken up. Coming to a conclusion, he responds.*

"I am not responsible for the sins of others, but I am responsible for putting temptation in their midst. I feel incredibly guilty for doing so, even if in ignorance, and I shall continue my penance the rest of my nights, until Judgement Day or my Final Death, whichever comes first. It was a selfish action, and my Beast would have stirred at that, particularly when I learned the consequences of my actions, had I not been a ghoul at the time, spreading my master's blood, and not Kindred. I did it because I wanted to spread my master's control over Scarborough, and through that my own, that I could change the world for the better. I have since learned the consequences of the Blood Bond. With my Embrace and the knowledge I know now, I hold myself responsible. It was this action that has lead me to embrace my Humanity, and hold myself to a higher standard. It is not necessarily a moral action for us to casually use the power that we wield, and we should realize that."

*to Father Molendarius*

"As to my merchant activities, none of the profit resulting goes to me personally. I have no need of it, save to keep me in what I require to serve. I have donated my excess earnings to the glory of God, and to charitable efforts in the wake of the blizzard in Scarborough. I will certainly continue to do so until all are protected from the ravages of winter. I cannot say how well I progress upon the road to Golconda, but I can say that I do try.

I am not a kine, anymore. I have been granted power, and I continue to use such. What I am is a person, a sinner before God. So are the kine, and it is important to remember that. Just because we can treat them like cattle does not make them any less people, and it doesn't give us any inherent right to overpower them, save every person's right to try to survive. You have seen what our efforts can do in the relief sent to those harmed by the storm. We could make this realm a paradise, if we would just choose to do so. We can go the difficult path and seek to enlighten, not harm, our fellow man, save at last recourse.

This isn't always possible-the soulless and the Baali have made appearances of late, and we cannot be merciful to those who would show no mercy. Though in that struggle, that desire for perfection...I find peace."
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Re: The Road of Humanity: For the Greatest Good

Post by Simon Molendinarius on Wed Jan 27, 2016 3:07 pm

Interesting...but consider.

Despite giving your profits away, you do still make profits. That means you take more than what is necessary from your customer in exchange for your goods. To even consider such an action is a violation of the most pure expressions of humanity. You are engaging in selfish acts, if even minor. To be truly selfless you would give more then you sell, and sell only at cost.

You take what is required for your livelihood and then donate the money to a place of your choosing. Yet you dress better than most of the common folk. You live in safety. You could offer so much more of yourself were you truly selfless.

How do you reconcile these things with your beliefs? After all, we all must occasionally experience doubt, or a pang of the conscious, but your very livelihood would seem to be in contention with your intent to act with perfect humanity.

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Re: The Road of Humanity: For the Greatest Good

Post by Simon Molendinarius on Wed Jan 27, 2016 3:09 pm

Sadly life prohibits enlightenment. Or so it has seemed for all of history.
I have studied some. In the histories, whenever someone attains a degree of enlightenment, they do so in isolation. Life has too many demands on such an exacting existence. I respect the desire to master ones existence, I simply see the realities of out time here on Gods world.

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Re: The Road of Humanity: For the Greatest Good

Post by Thomas the Bastard on Wed Jan 27, 2016 3:46 pm

(OOC note: I don't wear tags for my clothes, so...Crafts x2ish? Nice, and made with some skill, but nothing that will Entrance Toreador)

"If I were to sell at cost, I would bankrupt every merchant that sells the same commodities I do. How will they make money if I take their business because my goods are cheaper? I would bankrupt them, and that would make the problem worse, not better. Charging the fairest price I can IS at cost, and it keeps the other merchants from raising their prices on those in need.

As for my clothes, they are a commission from two weavers that don't make enough money from the Guild to support themselves. I don't demand much of their time, and I pay them enough to ensure that they stay in house and home. To have them make cheaper clothes would be more practical...but would give them less money to buy bread.

I don't know how far I can succeed in enlightenment, or the greater good, or any of that. All I know is, for now, I have found some small measure of peace in doing so."
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Re: The Road of Humanity: For the Greatest Good

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 27, 2016 3:47 pm

Marius smiles proudly at Thomas' response.

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Re: The Road of Humanity: For the Greatest Good

Post by Simon Molendinarius on Wed Jan 27, 2016 4:23 pm

Simon looks confused at both the answer and at Marius' pleasure in it.

The greater good is not justification for personal sin. That is an argument I would expect from a follower of Kings. Nor does it actually address my point. I spoke of the need to think selfishly when making trades as a merchant. You speak of justifications for your actions while ignoring the actions themselves. Having a good reason for committing a sin does not alleviate you of the guilt, nor does your beast concern itself with such details. You still have to think selfishly on a regular basis to act as a merchant. A sin at the highest perfections of humanity. And pointing out that still others would be hurt if you did differently only strengthens my point. Being a merchant places you in a situation where you are forced by necessity to act against your heightened humane ideals on a regular basis. In many cases you are damned if you do and damned if you don't.

I once knew a child who stole a loaf of bread to feed her starving family. I can say based on the state they were in when I found them that her regular acts of thievery had saved their lives. Yet it is still theft. It is still a sin. Still a crime. Still a violation of humanity.

And this is where I am somewhat confused when Humanity is related to Gods will. Surely in this case God has willed the child not steal. If death comes to the family that is God's will. And if it comes to clean souls they will reside in glory at the foot of the Lord in Heaven. Yet to follow humanity would be to prevent the suffering of the family with a lesser sin, dooming them all to hell should they die before receiving absolution.

In this case you allow yourself to sin against humanity in order to allow other merchants a livelihood. It does not matter that your actions would prevent a greater problem. You still are responsible for those actions.

Speaking of using trade to regulate the mortal traders, and controlling prosperity through wealth... Are you sure you do not follow the same path as Valance?

Speaking of, I believe he has a question for you as well.

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Re: The Road of Humanity: For the Greatest Good

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 27, 2016 4:27 pm

Marius shakes his head at the Prince's words, clearly in disagreement, but does not speak.

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Re: The Road of Humanity: For the Greatest Good

Post by Thomas the Bastard on Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:30 pm

*To Molendarius*

"I respectfully disagree with your conclusion. My intention when doing my actions is what matters, and I believe in my reasoning. I do this because I want to help others, in a way that I am good at, and to earn my keep through honest labor. Neither of those reasons are selfish, so therefore I have not sinned on Humanity, in that regard. I have yet to have my Beast respond to my trading, so I believe I am behaving according to the precepts of my path."

*To Valance*
"I believe I answered your question, but: It was selfish. I know that know. I feel awful, and will be paying penance for that sin for the rest of my days. My ignorance is no excuse, to my eternal shame."
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Re: The Road of Humanity: For the Greatest Good

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:34 pm

Marius nods.

"I agree, Thomas. We are judged not by our actions, but by our motivations. God sees all, including the reason you have sinned. Not all sins are equal in the eyes of God."

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Re: The Road of Humanity: For the Greatest Good

Post by Simon Molendinarius on Wed Jan 27, 2016 6:01 pm

You have proven by your own words you do not understand humanity at its highest levels. The twofold sins at the pinnacle of humanity are selfish thoughts AND selfish acts. By saying that only your intentions matter you demonstrate your lack of understanding.
It might be argued that the lord values intentions over deeds, but it would be wrong. The Church has already shown that good works matter as much as good intentions. Salvation is gained through the church and your good works. I suggest you read Pelagius if you are unclear on this.
Moreover, this is a discussion of the road of humanity, not God's will or sins in relation to the Bible. When I speak of sins I speak of sins on the road of humanity. One can quite easily be a devout follower of one without giving even lip service to the other.

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Re: The Road of Humanity: For the Greatest Good

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 27, 2016 6:20 pm

"My Lord, with all due respect, Pelagius was a heretic, declared so by the council of Carthage. My thinking on the subject is more akin to Augustine's theory of divine grace. God guides us to seek that which is right and proper according to his will. His Divine Grace is within us all, that which we call conscience. It is thus the pious man who embraces their inherent charitable motivations, and does penance for actions for which we feel guilt, for these are the will of God. Thomas speaks, perhaps poorly, of the importance of motivation over action in accordance with the teachings of Augustine, as I have taught him."

Marius waves a hand dismissively.

"As you say however, the finer points of Theology are irrelevant to a discussion of humanitas. Allow me to ask you this question then. How do you define a selfish act?"

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Re: The Road of Humanity: For the Greatest Good

Post by Thomas the Bastard on Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:09 pm

"If I do not understand my path, my lord, it is only to my benefit."
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Re: The Road of Humanity: For the Greatest Good

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:35 pm

"Ah, I see the issue is one of interpretation of the term 'Selfish Act'. My thinking on the subject is more akin to Augustine's theory of divine grace. God guides us to seek that which is right and proper according to his will. His Divine Grace is within us all, that which we call conscience. It is thus the pious man who embraces their inherent charitable motivations, and does penance for actions for which he feels guilt, for these are the will of God. Thomas speaks, perhaps poorly, of the importance of motivation over action in accordance with the teachings of Augustine, as I have taught him."

Marius waves a hand dismissively.

"As you say however, the finer points of Theology are irrelevant to this discussion of humanitas. Allow me to put it this way then. How do we define a selfish act? A man who steals for himself and a man who steals for his starving family have both performed the same act. They both appear the same from, say, my point of view. Where they differ is in motivation.

The man who steals for himself has performed a selfish act, were he a Cainite on humanitas, his beast would grow stronger. The man who stole for his family seeks no personal gain. He does what he does out of charity, to protect innocents. That man has not sinned against the Road of Humanitas, and were he Cainite his beast would continue to slumber.

My words regarding the importance of intention and motivation over actions were meant to express this concept. Motivation is the more important of the two, because we cannot judge an act without knowing the motivation behind it. A selfish act cannot be performed without selfish thought, but selfish thoughts can exist without performing selfish acts. Thomas' trading represents neither selfish act nor selfish thought, as long as his intention behind that trade remains charity. The moment he trades for personal gain, he will have violated both of the most important tenants of his road simultaneously, and we will know it as his beast grows noticibly stronger. For now, as the one who knows him best I can state for a certainty that he speaks the truth - he neither thinks selfish thoughts nor performs selfish acts. He has given himself wholly, in thought AND deed, to charity and penance."

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Re: The Road of Humanity: For the Greatest Good

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:39 pm

After a beat Marius adds, "Well, theft it's own sin on that path, so both would have sinned, but the point remains and I believe is seen. The man stealing for his family has no selfish thoughts and has not performed a selfish act."

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Re: The Road of Humanity: For the Greatest Good

Post by Simon Molendinarius on Thu Jan 28, 2016 3:40 pm

I disagree. Theft is theft to the beast. It does not care what your intentions are. It grows stronger. As Saint Bernard of Clairvaux wrote, "hell is full of good wishes."

What you describe is a classic ethical trap. In your example, the man who stole bread, it really does not matter what his reasons are. It was still his intention to take from another without permission. He did so willingly. And the person he stole from is no less harmed because the bread is going to someone who might need it. The former owner of the bread is still left without. Perhaps now their family will starve. The thief surely does not know. It is undeniable that a crime has occurred, and the beast revels in this. The beast craves the simple brutalities. The uncomplicated evils. It is direct. It does not concern itself with why. It simply knows you have done harm and its rejoices.

Even the tenants of humanity show how much action must be accounted for.

It is a sin against ones humanity to injure another person, even if not deliberate. It is a sin to violate another, even by accident. If the intent is what matters to the beast, then these would clearly not be issues. Why list both selfish acts and selfish thoughts if an act can be rationalized as acceptable with the right reasons? Rationalization is the enemy of morality. One must know that even when acting for the greater good, they may still be committing an act of evil. That is why one feels guilt at ones actions. Remember, the feeling of guilt is not what means you have lost a piece of yourself to the beast. Just the opposite. The feeling you get when you accept your role in events is what lets you know you are still ‘human’ inside.

And this does not even begin to touch on the finer points of intention. I think it is arguable that a man stealing for his family is not acting selflessly. A thief stealing to provide for a wife and child with no thought for themselves beyond the love they feel for their family is still stealing from another, harming them. He is still acting in a way that benefits him and his loved ones at the expense of another. That is the very definition of selfish. If a man left his post during a battle to protect his family he would be selfish would he not. The difference between that man and the man stealing the loaf of bread is only a matter of degrees.

It is for this reason that those seeking enlightenment choose to separate from worldly attachment. These conflicting desires and emotions can and do lead to situations in which you are doomed to sin regardless of your choice, and can only rely on the strength of your convictions to bear you through.

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Re: The Road of Humanity: For the Greatest Good

Post by Guest on Thu Jan 28, 2016 3:45 pm

Marius sighs. "We will have to agree to disagree, Your Grace, as I stand by my statements regarding the importance of intention and motivation in determining what is sin and what is not. Regardless, I hope we can agree that Thomas has made great strides in a short time, even if I feel he has come farther than you do."

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Re: The Road of Humanity: For the Greatest Good

Post by Simon Molendinarius on Thu Jan 28, 2016 3:50 pm

I do not deny he has made progress no.

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