Digger
December 1st, 2009

Digger

└ Tags: ,

Discussion (34)¬

  1. Terry says:

    Ursula, can you deal with being my favorite modern-day philosopher, proxy Digger? Because it’s happening. :D

  2. Sabreur says:

    I disagree, personally. People like Jhalm are an anomaly – people earnestly trying to do the right thing with a completely buggered-up idea of what the ‘right thing’ is. Mostly, I find that people are selfish and self-centered to the point where they can do horrible things without even really noticing they’ve done something wrong. It’s not ‘good people working at cross-purposes’, it’s people being too self-centered to think much about cross-purposes even existing.

  3. Veritas says:

    I’m not sure that I’d quite agree with the way Digger phrased it, but she does touch on what separates a believable “villain” from a total cheeseball whacko.

    As Sabreur noted, people with genuinely good motives doing things that interfere with each other are not the norm – but they make for that much more tension. If Jhalm were a little less of a zealot, I don’t think anyone with sense would want him dead or even shamed; as it is, his ideological tunnel-vision is probably his most dangerous aspect, but it doesn’t make him evil.

  4. aurickandrien says:

    I don’t really know how many good or evil people are out there for the most part I think it’s an entropy of mostly neutral people who can be good or uncaring depending on the circumstances.

  5. smjjames says:

    All of a sudden, Digger looks alot like her ancestor Helix with that ruffle of fur. He IS her ancestor anyways….

  6. SirEel says:

    Not to reiterate what has already been said, but evil really is a relative term. (One people’s terrorists are another’s patriots) This to me means that while someone may be doing their utmost to be the best person they can in their own, their friends’, their mothers’ and whomsoever else’s eyes, they can still be acting according to an ‘evil’ set of rules according to the rest of the world.

  7. Ketira says:

    Hm…… I’m with you, Veritas. We’ve got enough of *those* kind of folk out there in EVERY religion you can name. It’s sad, but it’s also part of Life….

    I think what Digger is trying to do is get Mirai realize that Jhalm *is* a Zealot –one that is at cross-purposes with Ganesh. And since one of Ganesh’s attributes is “The Remover of Obstacles”, I bet things are pretty messy around there right now. (Big question is – will Digger finally meet Ganesh-the-god?)

  8. bificommander says:

    While I don’t completely agree with the last quote, I do really like it. Hmm, do I still need a signature quote on any internet forum? :)

  9. theysabet says:

    Heh; looking at Ketira’s comment above (which I agree with; my own particular brand of faith has waaaay more than its own share of whackos), it occurs to me that a digger, as in one-who-digs, is *also* most distinctly a remover of obstacles by definition. Neat.

  10. JewelWolf says:

    Smjjames, I’d like to point out that Helix, as we recently confirmed, is female. She said she told her children that “mommy worries when you don’t write” when they left, but that’s beside the point. I agree with Urusla’s quote through Digger 70%, but my version of the quote might go something like this: “There really aren’t that many evil men out there. It’s just good men who can’t figure out how to do the right thing.” Something like that. It’s a very difficult idea to phrase correctly, but I think we all get the general message Ursula is trying to show us.

  11. WorkingVolition says:

    “Digger is not knowing evil very well”. ~ Ed.
    This said after a long discussion with SC about morals. Ed was right, in my opinion.
    Digger shouldn’t preach in this instance.

  12. TekServer says:

    IMHO, the extremes of fanaticism are the ultimate form of evil. It doesn’t matter what the fanatic is fanatic about. Jhalm is just a minor example of this; there are plenty of examples in our world: fanatical Christianity produced the crusades, fanatical Islam produces terrorists and suicide bombers, fanatical Nazis had the Holocaust. I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

    JewelWolf: Helix is most definitely MALE, and I can prove it. The page you’re referring to is this one, where Helix is exhorting Digger to write her mother: http://www.diggercomic.com/?p=748. But if you look closely at that page, there is no indication of Helix’s sex; all the feminine pronouns refer to Digger’s mother.
    However, on this page, Ursula explicitly refers to Helix as “he” in the first text box: http://www.diggercomic.com/?p=686
    “So I sat down and told Descending-Helix everything that had happened to me in the last few weeks (which felt like an eternity.) Fortunately, he was able to manifest elsewhere in the ruins … ”

    :P

  13. smjjames says:

    Oh right, I thought Helix was male. She is still an ancestor anyways.

  14. jr says:

    JewelWolf, Helix is male. Read this strip http://www.diggercomic.com/?p=686 Which states:
    “So I sat down and told Descending-Helix everything that had happened to me in the last few weeks (which felt like an eternity.) Fortunately, *he* was able to manifest elsewhere in the ruins, so we went back down to the fire…”

    The quote you listed is from the father’s point of view, not a third person speaking mother.

  15. mamculuna says:

    Wish what Digger says were the truth–and I agree that it is probably accurate for Jhalm, but not for a lot of the people in the world I live in, sadly.

  16. Prismcat says:

    JewelWolf: I think, in an attempt to help further hone the idea you’re working with, is the idea that very few people think they are evil. We’re all the heroes of our own sagas. We all think that we are doing the ‘right thing’, shot through the prism of our own egos, our own stories. But it’s those self-focused people, those people that have a hard time seeing things from the point of view of another, that can’t empathize or admit they might be wrong or not have the whole picture, that can do the greatest harm.

    Of course, there are just purely selfish people that know the consequences of their actions. I don’t think Jhalm is one of them. I think he has empathy for others. It’s just that Digger has gotten under his skin, has shook up his world, has not given him proper respect. So even as he strives to do the ‘right thing’ he believes one of those right things is to bring Digger to ‘justice’ to prove her evilness, at which point, anything he’s done in pursuit of that, even ‘bad’ things, will be justified.

  17. Tindi says:

    I was just going to comment on how tired Digger looks. I think Jhalm is going to get a pickaxe to the kneecaps if he slows her down too much, just because she doesn’t want to put up with it anymore.

  18. Rowanmdm says:

    @theysabet I had not never thought of Digger in that context before. The thing is, what Digger has mostly done isn’t removing obstacles, but removing illusions & ignorance (which could be reasonably argued to be obstacles). I’m going to have to ponder that some more.

  19. JewelWolf says:

    Did anyone else’s reality just totally shatter?

  20. Gramina says:

    My mother’s line was always, “everyone is doing the best they can with the tools they have available.” Under some circumstances, that was accompanied by, “Admittedly, some people really need a good hardware store” — or words to that effect.

    I don’t think anybody gets up in the morning and thinks “how can I hurt people today?” (I can come up with a list, though, of people whose actions probably wouldn’t be much different if that *were* what they were thinking.) Experience suggests that if I can figure out what people are trying to do that is causing them to hurt people, I’m a little further ahead on figuring out a way to get them to stop.

    In Jhalm’s case, I don’t think the reasons are entirely clear yet. …Bound to be interesting, though — not necessarily in a good way.

  21. Wolf says:

    Good versus evil is nothing but rationalization and cultural values. One man’s saint is another man’s infidel, and vise-versa. One might meet a cannibal who was an extremely kind, noble, and pious individual, but he eats the flesh of men and to us, that makes him ‘evil’. From the values provided to him throughout his life, Jhalm only sees one reasonable, moral path forward. He’s simply rationalized the “little sins” away in the name of what he believes are the greater ideals. Anyone on a moral mission for whom the ends justify the means will be working at “cross-purposes”. As always, great comic. :D

  22. Skydancer says:

    Yep. No one ever thinks they are evil, unless they are complete psychopaths. It’s rationalization, and wanting to do the ‘right thing’ while having absolutely no clue what the right thing actually is. Or even being convinced that something wrong is the right thing. Covers religious fanatics, political fanatics, and a whole host of ‘but it’s for your own good’ types. Every time I hear ‘but it’s For The Chiiiildrennn’ I want to scream. What, I disagree with you, so I hate children? Try again, nutbars…

  23. JewelWolf says:

    Oh my God, I think Gramina just saved my high school life! If I need Luke to stop being the way he is, I need to figure out why he’s that way in the first place. It’s so simple! THANK YOU!!!!

  24. Hawk says:

    I agree with Digger and with most of you.
    I’d like to add one thing to what some of you have said though.
    If good people are trying to do the right thing, yet hurting others, then they’ve missed one very very important aspect of “doing the right thing.”

    Compassion.

    And that’s something Jhalm does not have, but Digger does. And so does Murai.

    In my experience I have found that the most hurt is most often done by those who have no compassion for others, and who therefore start to assume that everyone is just as OK with what they are doing as they are. Or in the worst cases, the person is so convinced of the righteousness of their personal actions and beliefs that everyone who disagrees with them *must* therefore be wrong i.e. “evil.”

    Ursula, I love your comic and I love your character, but the philosophical questions you tweak our noses with is probably the very best part!

  25. Kevinbunny says:

    He’s evil.
    He killed a cute winged messenger rat.
    QED

  26. NigaiAmai Yume says:

    I have to comment because of Hawk’s addition of “Compassion” to the discussion. WARNING: Babbling about personal characters, but to further explore the topic.

    I have two characters, Daphne and Olympia.

    Olympia is a (non violent) sociopath – she had no empathy for anyone else, and the only thing that motivates her is the search for a challenge. Fortunately, she’s “attatched” herself to her (depressed) “sister” [LONG story], and satisfies that need for challenge by protecting and motivating her. To all others, she is unrepentatively manipulative, if completely honest about it when she can be (because it amuses her to have people know exactly what they’re up against, and still beat them).

    Her favorite quote is “You call me evil like it’s a BAD thing!” – noting that even with her methods, she can do good if convinced it’s in her best interests.

    Daphne lives totally for others. Selfless, she is always working for the greater good. Part of this is due to her ability to see fate, and the connections between people. Partly, because she’s good at it, and succeeding at helping people makes her happy.

    Daphne and Olympia are great friends, because they are equally skilled. Indeed, they recognize the only thing that seperates them is empathy and the application of it.

    Sociopath or Saint? It’s in the motivation – and how far you’re willing to apply it.

    [I also use Daphne and Olympia as two of my five "Voices in my Head" that define me. Dapnhe is, simply enough, Compassion. Olympia is best described as "Trouble while enjoying it". ^-^ ]

  27. NigaiAmai Yume says:

    Forgot something:

    Daphne’s quote: “Few people appriciate just how SELFISH being selfless can be.”

  28. Sarah says:

    @Ketira — technically, Digger has already encountered Ganesh-the-god, just before she and Murai left. Digger didn’t realize that it wasn’t just the statue at the time, though, so it arguably doesn’t count.

  29. BunnyRock says:

    I like that sentiment. I’ve always had trouble reconciling my personal feelings with my policy of “Judge not lest ye be judged” and it fits the observed facts that good people often make poor decisions, especially in working together and group-think kicks in. You end up in a situation were every chose ends up creating a little bit of evil even if you do not want to, and all you can do is weigh your options as best you can and hope for the best. To live involves struggle. If it did not there would be 0% global infant mortality and we’d all live to 200 and never have to make a decision in our lives. It is virtually impossible to get ahead, or even survive, or even exist in a struggle filled system in any struggle without disadvantaging others. You try to advance: your self, your family, your group, your nation, everyone, it doesn’t matter who you try to advance or for whatever reason, you are going to be getting in the way of someone else’s advancement. Even if you are trying to help them. Especially if you are trying to help them advance, but they were trying to advance in a different direction. In such a system even if no one is actually evil they are still largely getting in each others way and treading on each others dreams and generating a low-level cloud of suffering no matter what they do, and all they can try to do is each minimise the damage they think they are causing and hope they were right. Good people born into a world were they cannot but work at cross-purposes… that’s as good a model as any for original sin.

    I like that sentiment. I’ve always had trouble reconciling my personal feelings with my policy of “Judge not lest ye be judged*” and it fits the observed facts that good people often make poor decisions, especially in working together and group-think kicks in. You end up in a situation were every choice ends up creating a little bit of evil even if you do not want to, and all you can do is weigh your options as best you can and hope for the best. To live involves struggle. If it did not there would be 0% global infant mortality and we’d all live to 200 and never have to make a decision in our lives. It is virtually impossible to get ahead, or even survive, or even exist in a struggle filled system in any struggle without disadvantaging others. You try to advance: your self, your family, your group, your nation, everyone, it doesn’t matter who you try to advance or for whatever reason, you are going to be getting in the way of someone else’s advancement. Even if you are trying to help them. Especially if you are trying to help them advance, but they were trying to advance in a different direction. In such a system even if no one is actually evil they are still largely getting in each others way and treading on each others dreams and generating a low-level cloud of suffering no matter what they do, and all they can do is try to each minimise the damage they think they are causing and hope they were right. Good people born into a world were they cannot but work at cross-purposes… that’s as good a model as any for original sin i guess.

    * First year archaeology students don’t count. Most of them are great but I don’t know where they find some of them. If you honestly think its sensible to turn up for a four week dig with a hairdryer but no waterproofs to keep the rest of you dry, no practical trousers and only a pair of stiletto heels for footwear when you were given a comprehensive itinerary and told you needed to have the clothing on it TWO MONTHS BEFORE THE DIG and then try to flirt with other students to get then to do your work for you don’t be surprised if A, your lecturers fail you because they are not blind and we do report back to them and B, camping turns out to be less comfortable than predicted (although some of them barely need help there, it’s hard to sabotage someone’s tent when some of them honestly don’t know to start with that it should be pegged to the ground some how. Although covering it with breadcrumbs to attract the early morning birds still works).

  30. TekServer says:

    Nice to see there’s a mean streak in amongst all that relative morality …

    ;)

  31. Birdy says:

    No, he’s merely -Lawful Neutral-.
    Which is worse.

  32. tigertail777 says:

    Am I the only one that finds it funny that it is in reference to a religious fanatic and it is CROSS purposes? HA! (ok yeah wrong religion I know, but still funny to me).

  33. Elkian says:

    Very true

  34. saphroneth says:

    That little philosophical point is why I find certain books so very good – one example is the Diplomacy of Wolves book and it’s sequels.
    Nobody is doing evil for it’s sake, though certainly several are doing it for power.
    The Merchant Princes is another – no true bad side, even the villains have a motive that would be entirely sensible, were it not that we can see into the minds of the characters.
    That’s about it for that.

Comment¬