Poll

Do you believe Lavos is inherent evil, or just feeding for survival?

Evil
14 (43.8%)
Survivor
18 (56.3%)

Total Members Voted: 26

Voting closed: December 29, 2003, 05:28:26 pm

Author Topic: The Ethics of Lavos  (Read 26000 times)

ZeaLitY

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The Ethics of Lavos
« on: December 29, 2003, 05:28:26 pm »
One of the more ethical questions of the Chrono series has been the nature of Lavos; is he a mere thoughtless parasite -- a scourge to the universe -- or perhaps he is sentient, with the capacity for evil as judged in human light? At first glance, he seems inherently evil, raising intelligent creatures for harvest and destroying a vessel of life. The question runs much deeper, however; is this a meditated evil or the base instinct of a hungry, gargantuan parasite?

We first must determine the sentience of Lavos, which is mostly dependent on whether Lavos retains a consciousness of some sort. The good Doctor Shaft and Dhsu here offer beliefs that if Lavos were not an intelligent being, the events of Chrono Trigger could not have transpired.

Dhsu: Anyway, it's strange, I've never thought of Lavos as a sentient being...just operating on survival instinct, like most parasites. The Lavos Core does have a surprisingly humanoid anatomy, though. And with such incredible amounts of power at its disposal, to the point of being able to manipulate time and space, it's hard to believe there isn's some sort of alien intelligence present to control it all. When a creature is evolved enough to warp the time/space continuum, there's a good chance it knows what it's doing.

Doctor Shaft: On one hand, I would have just said it was animal... but then again, how can an animal with no preferences or understandings of anything other than its own survival, corrupt human kind?

We'd be giving an animilitic creature, a tick, a lot of credit for being able to completley manipulate the minds of intelligent, magic wielding humans. The idea just seems like a very large stretch for me, and also anticlimactic. the Fall of humans gets brought about by a tick.

If we look at the situation, Lavos could have been defeated somehow or someway if he had just decided to outright attack the Earth while Zeal existed. If he didn't control Queen Zeal, etc., Lavos would have been in some kind of trouble. However, we can see that the Queen is corrupted, and it doesn't seem to be blind corruption either. She isn't just a genocidal machine, with a bloodlust for watching magic power destroy nations. She wants to rule the world... forever. As Queen Zeal, she already rules... but with Lavos, she is immortal. How can a tick corrupt a woman into going into such lengths to achieve this... how can it even show her that such an idea of immortality were possible. It would have to be more than just an animal.

Picture your pet if you will. Dog, cat, turtle, whatever. Now imagine it had the power to destroy the Earth, blah blah blah, and grant you immortality... but it still possessed the intellect of your original pet. Do you think it could even convey the idea of immortality, or even the idea of becoming its partner and ruling the Earth, and convince you to use all of your friends and family? That's a big question.


This solidly answers the question of instinct vs. intellect; Lavos is thus proven to have conscious and cognitive ability. With this considered, could his actions be considered evil? If you will, please step out of the human position and examine it from the perspective of the parasite. One must determine what is evil, and how it should be applied to Lavos. Doctor Shaft once again argues a point, this one being that Lavos should be considered evil.

Doctor Shaft: In terms of "evil", that in itself becomes a big word. For now, when I say "evil", i'm talking that something or someone is doing something that isn't "right" or shouldn't be happening. We won't play CC or CT and believe that the murder of one of our characters was 'logical' or 'okay'. We shoudln't perceive Lavos this way either. We can discuss his motivations to be sure... and claim whether or not he does what he does... but I would be inclined to say that he's making a conscious decision to do wrong. Otherwise, the whole game is kind of null on drama. To say that CT is all about humanities mission to stop a dog from eating it's dog food is kind of... anticlimactic. Sure, CC has the themes of humanity going against the will of the planet as well... but that doesn't mean that only humanity is "evil".

However, this 'evil' is limited to a human vantage point. Radical_Dreamer refutes by drawing a bovine analogy.

Radical_Dreamer: So are you saying what Lavos is doing is wrong? Is it wrong to eat a cow? In India, the answer is yes, to a cow, the answer is clearly yes, but in the western world eating a cow is perfectly acceptable. The tricky part with Lavos is that now WE are the cows. I don't think that makes the games any more meaningless. Lavos makes a conscious decision, a decision to eat. It's one you make. It's one I make, it's one everyone makes. Lavos decided to preserve it's own existence, just as Crono and Co decided to preserve man kind. It's a battle of survival between to groups with mutually exclusive goals...how is that anticlimactic?

Evil, in a sense, can be thought of as non-applicable to Lavos. However, even if it cannot be labeled as such, Lavos still may be evil by human mental standards.

ZeaLitY: Upon her merger with Lavos, Schala within the Time Devourer is unquestionably plagued with feelings of hate and want of destruction. Though to Lavos, his own actions may not be evil, they can be classified as such by humans and are evident in Schala's mind. Destruction and hate give rise to evil acts. Also, is not the consumption of all reality by the Time Devourer such an act? In addition, might this course of action also be applied to Lavos - destruction of everything until total nothingness is achieved?

drumguy074: It's possible that Lavos is not "evil", but merely logical to the extreme. Lavos is not destroying the world simply for the sake of destruction, but rather to make the universe more perfect. Lavos absorbs and manipulates the dna of everything so it can become perfect. It would then stand to reason that the only way the universe could be perfect is if the universe was inhabited only by its spawn.

Doctor Shaft proposes a technical theory to oppose this commentary.

Doctor Shaft: The Time Devourer did this because that was it's very nature. it was birthed in the Tesseract, the forever zero of time, and it was a temporal anamoly. Schala and Lavos combined... and the combination doesn't exactly look natural. Something tells me that perhaps even Lavos wasn't exactly seeking to meld together with another human.... but somethings have to be done. It's power seems to be of a temporal nature if it is capable of simply devouring time for it's own consumption. Of course, when you fight it, it has no temporal power, just a bunch of powerful magic.

This question will remain unresolved unless Chrono Break clarifies. Returning to the central topic of this article, GrayLensman proposes that the title of evil is not applicable in any way, and cannot be conceived by Lavos.

GrayLensman: Lavos is not human, it is an immortal monster from outer space, and we should not project our own morals and thought processes onto it. To Lavos, humans are cattle, or better yet, lab rats. All life on earth only served as produce for Lavos. Lavos was never cruel or sadistic; it didn't harm anyone in any way except what was required to feed itself and reproduce. Should we label Lavos as evil because it didn't look out for the well being of a few measly humans?

In order to survive, I must kill lower life forms by the billions. Viruses, bacteria, plants and animals suffer untimely deaths because I live and breathe. There is no avoiding it. If I become a vegan, I simply reduce the number of higher mammals which die. While all this is going on, do I shed a tear for every head of lettuce or dust mite which dies to serve me? NO! These forms of life are so far below us that there is no grounds for moral concern at all. If I eat a hamburger, exempting some circles, it is not considered evil in any way.

In the same way, Lavos is so far above humans that there is no comparison. Lavos did what it saw fit to insure its survival and the continuation of its species and in doing so made use of lesser organisms. Lavos couldn't conceive of humans having rights or liberty any more than I could think a bacteria did. Indeed, Lavos could have been a very morally upright and just being--toward other organisms of its own calibre.

I don't see this as lessening the impact of Lavos as an enemy in any way. Lavos isn't a villain; it is a force of nature. Throughout the game, there is no way to determine Lavos' motivations or reasoning. When one confronts, for example, Magus, we can attempt to understand what's going on inside his head, but that is not the case for Lavos. To me, that makes Lavos more terrifying than any other threat.

When the party faces Lavos, there is no chance of pity, or even hatred. Lavos is defending itself against the equivalent of a bacterial infection. Just as there is no right or wrong in Lavos subjugation of the world, there is no morality in the Travelers' decision to fight Lavos. They are only fighting for survival as all life forms do.


At this length, Doctor Shaft once again debates the human perspective.

Doctor Shaft: The human/cow, Lavos/human analogy doesn't exactly work though, because of the nature of the battle.

It's man versus Lavos. Lavos is above and beyond us, as we have agreed upon. To just consider him a moving vegetable that defeats man kind would go against the idea that someone like Queen Zeal was easily subjugated by it. Humans crave power, but we need more than a little prodding to decide just how far we'll go to take it. Give us an ultimate bomb... sure, I think I'll press the button, or someone else will. But torture and subjugate my people, my children, etc., and fdeny all of my life to become immortal and lonely alongside an incredible tick? Probably not if it wasn't capable of intelligent thought. That's just going to be a lot of riding on the back of shell for eternity. I think we need to give Queen Zeal a little more credit than "she's just depressed/crazy/sad".

Anyway, we have to keep in mind just what lengths are gone through to ensure man's victory. We still have to keep in mind that the Entity exists in this game, that time has been sheared into key time periods, and that the circular time movement of the game has such a perfect flow that at the end we not only beat Lavos, but we soundly improve the lives of man kind. Granted, we also have Porre become a super-kingdom, Guardia falls, and we get Chrono Cross, but for a majority of hundreds of years, Crono and crew are directly involved in improving mankind. They do it because they have the opportunity... but why is that they get the opportunity?

I don't see this is as simple as man to animal. We eat the animals relentlessly, and I too do not shed tears for the deaths I cause to continue on. But the way Lavos feeds is far from our relationships with animals. Yes, like Lavos, we trap, we hunt, we fatten up our prey. All kinds of backstabbing. But we do not hold intelligent conversations with these animals. We do not corrupt them into killing themselves for millenia, and further more, we do actually eat the animals... Lavos does not eat us. We are not his food.

In Chrono Cross, it is clear that the Planet seems to have a defense mechanism of it's own. If Lavos pulls Chronopolis, the Planet pulls in an alternate universe where Reptites are king. It's clear that Lavos' is being fought back. If we are talking Lavos versus Planet... I guess I can agree with the man/animal analogy. But the way things 'conveniently' work out for humans seems to negate this possibility. If we're just food, or lower beings, or whatever, and Lavos is just acting out his will, why is humanity being given umpteen million chances to correct it? Who is doing it? Surely it's not Balthasar... that's Chrono Cross. We know that it's isn't Lucca's genius alone that does this either. Robo, a robot himself, believes, after hundreds of years to ponder it, that their is something or someone that allows them to travel through the time gates. I wouldn't take his words lightly.

I just can't see our battle with Lavos as man versus animal. If that were the case, when are we going to get the game were insects are allowed to travel through key time gates and eliminate man? Or snakes, or monkeys, or dogs? Are they just not smart enough? That's not meant to be condescending, by the way.

So, this is why I perceive Lavos as "evil" or not "right". I'm not saying his motivations are similar to humans. He isn't human. But I will claim that perhaps his decision to crash on the planet, and manipulate an entire species of human was. If it wasn't, then I just don't see the need or possibility of random warp holes appearing. I know the rest of you can though, seeing this as just a game of random man versus some other species... man wins. I guess so. On the other hand, I tend to view events like that as meaning that one of those sides was 'supposed' to win.

Mankind's effects on the planet are also cast in a negative light in Chrono Cross. The scene in the Dragonian Tower even goes so far as to call humans "progeny of Lavos". They weren't supposed to win the war with the Reptites, but Lavos changed everything. Humanity went on, but it's actions were similar to Lavos, and this was not looked upon with understanding and acceptance.

So I feel that the game can be seen in different lights. Is this game just a light show of evolution, strongest-shall-survive, with a little love thrown in for fun? A strong case can certainly be made. Reptite kill humans, humans take advantage, humans kill Reptites, Lavos kills all. On the other hand, was the war of Reptites versus humans rational? Humans were small, reptites were fighting humans, and vice versa, and there was no apparent good reasoning for it. Resentment? Regardless, the reptites seemed to get their just deserts in the game, in my opinion. Tragic that the struggle ended the way it did, but then again, it didn't seem wholly undeserved either. But that's all opinion and conjecture.


Dhsu: So I guess that brings us to whether Lavos is, in fact, "evil." Well, as implied by my use of quotation marks, that term really is quite subjective. When you think about it, we humans at this very moment are ravaging the planet, depleting its resources for our own purposes and giving nothing in return. Who gave us this authority? What gives us more of a right to the planet's resources than Lavos? Are humans not, in a cosmological perspective, every bit as much parasites as Lavos is?

But does this mean we're evil? To some individuals, the answer would be yes. This has been the rationalization behind the annihilation of the human race in many TV and video game plots, including Chrono Cross, as is revealed in one of the game's endings. Perhaps through our perspective, Lavos may seem like a malicious being, but through the Dragons and dwarves' perspective, humans are guilty of exactly the same thing. I guess it really all depends on whom you ask. But without an inherent definition or perspective for "evil" or "good," it's very difficult to provide a definite "right" answer.


Can a true answer be found? A dichotomy has been struck; to Lavos his actions may be considered necessary to his life -- and right to life is one of humans most desired civil rights -- yet to humans, Lavos causes rampant destruction and ends life all to feed. What of the Time Devourer? Would it be better to leave the universe to take its natural course and man to evolve, or eliminate reality as we know it to achieve a perfect state of nonexistence? Notwithstanding the blurry lines dividing the sides of this debate, the question of the ethics of Lavos attests to the Chrono series' capacity for incredible depth. Perhaps one will take these factors into consideration the next time one stands ready to fight Lavos or the Time Devourer.

Thanks for this article be to -

Dhsu
Doctor Shaft
drumguy074
GrayLensman
Radical_Dreamer

and everyone who has read work on the Compendium or has joined the ranks of its members. Without you, the Compendium would not exist.

Before you go, head to this page and cast your vote on your beliefs on Lavos.

Daggart

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The Ethics of Lavos
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2004, 06:55:06 pm »
The problem of Evil has always been in defining it. Whether Lavos can rationalize his actions has never really been the point because very few 'evil' men consiter themselves to be so.

if lavos has the mental abilities of man, I think its fair to judge him on the same level. If it had been the case of a ravinous wolf eating, it's excusable because he has no knowledge of anything but instinct. With Lavos, it's different. He posesses intellect, and understands the mind of man enough to corrupt it. It cannot have escaped his notice that humanity posesses intellegence.

Is there something about intellegence itself that Lavos needs to survive, because if not, he has the choice between devoring creatures he knows to be intellegent, and creatures he knows not to be intellegent.

If you hold the act of murder as being evil, I think you'd do well to consiter Lavos' actions as being evil, because they follow the pattern of intellegent man hunting intellegent man more closely than they follow the pattern of animal hunting man or man hunting animal.

Of course, if Lavos was fighting FOR the life of the planet against us horrible wasteful humans, that might put a different spin on things. But somehow I think that possibility is pretty much zero.

Kuja

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Let's try taking this a different direction...
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2004, 01:30:32 am »
I'm new to the site and this particular topic intrigued me since I'm a budding philosophy and religion double major (although a young one, so I'm not saying I'm any sort of authority), so I'd like to throw in a few things here and there, offer some food for thought:

First of all, some of the obvious that I'd like to get out of the way:  I'm in no way a relativist when it comes to morality, but it's sheer ignorance to deny that everyone's going to have their own viewpoint of right and wrong, good and evil, and a whole slew of related concepts and issues.  This of course, could instantly negate any meaningful discussion on the ethics of Lavos.... and would be very boring and useless.  However, I think a good bottom line or common denominator, as well as one of the central issues at hand when rendering judgment, is the consideration of Lavos' sentience, or, more specifically, capacity for moral understanding, judgment, and/or action at or above the human level.  Simply put, if we agree that Lavos is a morally capable being, we can at the very least allow that he/it can be evaluated under any moral system one of us lives by.  Of course, this is somewhat at issue...

I assert that we can hold Lavos accountable morally at or above the human level, although one of the reasons listed above in favor of this caught my eye.  Lavos' effect on Queen Zeal should not be taken as an indicator of it's sentience or moral capability/culpability.  Arsenic in my water can kill me; radioactive materials can cause disgusting sicknesses and have various negative effects and even kill me.  The point is, materials or things with the sentience of a rock can have detrimental effects on humanity, yet they are still not morally capable things, at least not in the way humans are.  While shifting some of Queen Zeal's problems onto Lavos' shoulders can tidy up a few gaps in her character, I just don't think it holds water.  After all, is it really so far fetched that her thirst for power and recognition of an ample source of it was the cause of her actions and overall dementia?  Hell, alchemy, the process of trying to create gold from other minerals and materials, was invented to try to satisfy a lust for the pretty and precious element, but the gold itself did not cause such thoughts and desires in the humans who wanted it - they created such burdens themselves.

Fortunately, all of this is not necessary to prove Lavos' sentience and moral capability.  Consider a few snippets of the CT Script, as taken from the version linked to the Compendium:  

Robo:  Amazing...  It houses all the DNA of every creature that ever lived...!

Marle: It's...humanoid...

   It seems like it has collected all of
   the vitality from the creatures who
   have lived on this planet.

Lucca: Now I understand...

   It lives on a planet for as long as
   possible, stealing away the most vital
   resources...

   It combined the DNA it found here
   with its own, and gave birth to those
   creatures up on Death Peak.

   Eventually the young must migrate to
   other planets...to repeat the cycle...

Robo: This was Lavos's goal...!

   Using the DNA of every organism...

   And achieving the ultimate in
   evolution!

Frog: This be evil!

   Indeed! This thing possesseth the
   vitality of all living creatures...

   It hath harvested DNA from animals,
   only to further its own evolution!
   And whilst sleeping, to boot!

I apologize for the length, but I think my point is clear:  Lavos has clearly absorbed, assimilated, appropriated - pick any word! - the DNA of ALL living beings on the planet, including humans.  I think this is sufficient grounds to prove that Lavos at least has the moral capabilities of humans, and it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to assert that with all that DNA, we could even put him/it in a class of his own, morally and otherwise.

As it's getting late for me, and the rest of this reply will take quite some time (you'll see why...), I'd like to propose what I've been building all this up to the entire time.  If you agree that Lavos can be held morally accountable at the human level, or just want to humor this discussion and myself, why not post on how Lavos can be judged under various moral systems that we live by in the real world?  Is Lavos 'evil' under the Judaeo-Christian model?  How about in the eyes of an existentialist?  Perhaps he/it is the epitome of a being that has grabbed social darwinism by the horns with considerable success until his encounter with Crono et al.?  Even if we examine Lavos under one light at a time, I think there can and will still be debate and contention about his/its moral position, so if there are any other philosophy buffs or otherwise interested parties that would like to contribute further, please go ahead and I will try to do so as well during my limited free time.  

Thanks to Those Who Made it to the End of this,
Kuja, new guy at the Compendium

GreenGannon

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The Ethics of Lavos
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2004, 12:47:13 am »
I see no convincing evidence to Lavos doing anything but survivng, except for the Zeal bit, which I still disagree on.

I don't think that Lavos in any way affected Zeal. She was probably just corrupted by her own lust for power.

As for the TD, I don't believe that Devouring Time is an ability as much as it is an automatic effect. From being created within the Tesseract of course.

Aplateofsashimi

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The Ethics of Lavos
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2004, 02:57:45 am »
Damn!, wish I would have finded this place sooner, well even if the discussion ended aeons ago I still tempted to give my opinions.

The tricky question for this subject is what do we understand for morality, is it something inherent to humankind?, something that was gaved to us by a superior beign or just the result of our personal evolution?, above all, how do we know morality is directly linked to intelligence?, we dont know yet of any lifeform that is as or more intelligent as the human beign, therefore there is not how to compare and know if intelligence can exist without morality.

All that is explained about Lavos makes me think of Lavos more as a computer, a highly efficient computer crafted to take DNA samples, compare them and select the best samples, seeking to become the greatest organism ever. Yes, Lavos is an intelligent lifeform, but is not diferent from a computer, an system operated by logic and reason, not from emotions or morality.  In the day of 1999, when his seek is finished, it will simply erase all the inferiors lifeforms wich are not perfect and  would only steal resources that belongs to his spawns. Ever played Metal Gear Solid? remember how does Psycho Mantis speaks of existence as a ¨mindless quest, to pass one DNA to the next generation¨. Well, in this case, the organism would no longer need to exist, as its DNA was already passed on, and  not only that but merged in the ultimate living beign.  It is evolution in its simpliest, most eficient form.  

You speaked of Queen Zeal beign tempted by Lavos, I really dont remember of any part of the game that vaguely indicates of Lavos whispering to Zeal´s ears, for me she was moved only by her own twisted ambition.  




I am sorry to be so negative, but even if Lavos has an humaniod form, how do we know it selected all of our genes? is morality a desireable quality? that Lavos has human DNA is not proof enough to consider him as  ¨one of us¨ , it is only an evolved mixed version of all organisms, humans included.

In conclusion, Lavos it is an intelligent beign, yet without a concept of morality, whose mission is to take evolution one step forward while doing what it takes to survive.

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The Ethics of Lavos
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2004, 06:49:29 am »
Please, if you take almost any living organism down far enough, they're all robots. We're all just little biological robots.

In Chrono Trigger, it's said that Lavos will give Zeal eternal life, Magus even says that Zeal was a pitiful woman, duped by Lavos...Although I've heard contrary results from alternate translations which suggest that Zeal was simply insane and that Lavos had nothing to do with her.

Personally, Lavos is obviously either a being of greater intelligence than humans...Thusly, should it even be subjegated to our standards of morality? I think not. It's like ants or bacteria to humans, they really don't matter much to humans, do they?

Although, my personal belief is that Lavos is actually a kind of biological weapon of mass destruction gone awry...So perhaps it doesn't have sentience at all, but is just bred insanely powerful and such as a way to completely obliterate other planetary systems...Over time...Maybe only Starky truly knows...

GreenGannon

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The Ethics of Lavos
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2004, 07:48:28 pm »
The closest thing to Lavos giving eternal life, is that Zeal plans to use the power to gain eternal life, which doesn't suggest Lavos had anything to do with it.

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The Ethics of Lavos
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2004, 04:23:58 pm »
No, Zeal says that she will be givin eternal life by Lavos, not that she will take it...Isn't this stuff all discussed in the Ocean Palace and in the Black Omen? She also says that she'll rule alongside Lavos or something...live beside it?

GreenGannon

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The Ethics of Lavos
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2004, 01:54:22 am »
Please dig up the quote, I searched the Text dump and found the only reference to be a Zealian talking about her using his power to do so.

Leebot

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The Ethics of Lavos
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2004, 01:23:41 pm »
The way the terms are used still doesn't necessitate that Lavos has the power to pick and choose (You! You're now immortal.), or even if it's a direct ability. Let's use an analogy: A man finds a stone of incredible power. Touching this stone causes him to ascend into godhood (goddom? godliness?). Along with being a god comes eternal life. This man could reasonably say that the stone gave him eternal life, even though the stone isn't sentient, and eternal life is only a side-effect.

CaptainAmerican

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The Ethics of Lavos
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2006, 07:45:08 pm »
I know this is a very old thread, but I wanted to point out one thing.

As stated in Why did Lavos Destroy Zeal then the world in 1999, Lavos three times acted out. Destroying Zeal, defeating Magus, and destroying the world.

The first can be seen as a reaction or reflex. Zeal was tapping Lavos' power like a mosquito drinks the blood of it's victim. Eventually, the victim notices what the mosquito is doing and reacts by trying to squash the mosquito or itch the wound. This can be seen when the Mammon Machine is moved to the ocean floor. The proximity of the machine was like a person suddenly feeling the posion of a mosquito in their arm. As for Schala's growing insanity, that can mostly be equated to her prolonged proximity to the overwhelming power of Lavos. Like the ring from Lord of the Ring or standing next to a radioactive rat. Both slowly changed you for the worse, but you wouldn't call either sentient.

The second action is also a reflex. Magus tried to summon Lavos and kill him. You wake me up in the middle of the night and try to kill me, it's a fair assessment that I'm going to take a swipe at you. Nothing out of the ordinary there.

So far Lavos has demostrated nothing sentient. However, destroying the world in 1999 is a sentient action, not reaction. As stated in the document at top from this very site, Lavos more than likely emerged because the world was reaching a point where it could interfere with Lavos' plan. Both the allusion of a plan and the ability to recognize an impending threat, as in foresight, are clear signs of sentient intelligence. It is clear to me that Lavos is intelligent. But sheer intelligence does not make a creature sentient. You can teach a monkey what a gun is and how to use it. You can not do the same for a cow or dog. And while both cow and dog can be taught to fear a gun, neither the cow, dog, nor monkey probably can infer the increased danger of ten guns versus one gun. They have simply learned that gun equals pain. More guns equal pain. And even more guns equal pain. The same pain, not more pain, not more threat. Just the original threat. Lavos, however, recognized the oncoming threat of humanity. And decided to enact the second phase of it's plan. For me, these are evident signs of sentient thought within Lavos.

In retrospect, just because a creature is sentient, doesn't mean it will go against it's natural instincts. Humanity is plagued with smokers, crack addicts, sex addicts, and gamblers. All those people know and accept they don't have to fall to their addictions and do anyway. So Lavos might as well know it is destroying world after world, but is compelled to do so by an deep, overriding urge to propogate. And by the same token, knowing doesn't mean it cares.

On an aside, in the original discussion, Doctor Shaft said this, Lavos is above and beyond us, and I do not agree. Lavos was not a super being. The ability to control time is nothing special, given the discoveries in the modern times about the very plain nature of Time. Lavos, at the core of its plan, desires to collect the perfect DNA, it's more probable that after millions of years of absorbing the collected superior DNA from X number of planets, that the ability to control time and space emerged naturally. Along with the immense magical abilities and overwhelming power. The creature is basically performing selective breeding on itself anyway.

On a final aside, just because Lavos never said anything to anyone is a very poor excuse to write off its sentience. How was it going to talk to you? Through it's eye? (Yeah, yeah, psychic, magic, etcetera. You get the point though) A creature that possibly trillions of years old doesn't need and more correctly doesn't desire to talk to you.

GreenGannon

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The Ethics of Lavos
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2006, 10:21:02 pm »
Thankfully, I never used the Lavos doesn't talk argument.

However I'd disagree that 1999 means sentience. It could, but I think that it came down to something simpler than that. Mankind wasn't evolving. Why would they need to? They'd had--what appeared to me--a perfect utopia. As far as ecology and living was concerned. International relations could have been a different story. Anyway, mankind doesn't need to work to survive against anything but itself. Maybe genes were actually evolving and changing to where the genes were less usable to Lavos.

At this point Lavos would naturally react to his.

Or an easier idea to swallow, and my personal favorite: Maybe mankind had nothing to do with it.

What if Lavos was going to rise in 1999 no matter what? I'd like to think so, since Zeal predicted the year he would strike. And she doesn't exist outside time, nor do we have any reason to think that she can tell the  future. Lavos was, as I recall, sapping the Earth's energy. What if 1999 was simply the apex of the decay?

Magus22

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The Ethics of Lavos
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2006, 10:59:29 pm »
Quote from: GreenGannon
What if Lavos was going to rise in 1999 no matter what? I'd like to think so, since Zeal predicted the year he would strike. And she doesn't exist outside time, nor do we have any reason to think that she can tell the  future. Lavos was, as I recall, sapping the Earth's energy. What if 1999 was simply the apex of the decay?


Anything is possible. When Lavos arised in 1999AD at 1:24pm, could he have been protecting himself in a way in which someone or something would interfere or disturb Lavos's connection to the planet? What I am trying to get at is during that year, someone or something could've disturbed the flow of Lavos's feed on the planet or come up with a way to harness energy something like another MM or even destroy it, and Lavos decided to say, I've had enough, and just wipe out almost everything on the planet?

Kadamon

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Re: The Ethics of Lavos
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2006, 08:21:09 pm »
To define something as "inherently evil", there must be the concept of "evil"...I, from a genuinely relativistic standpoint, think there is no concept of "absolute" evil, but only a "relative" evil. Lavos is "relatively" evil to humans, just as humans are "relatively" evil to other living beings.
Getting rid of "anthropocentrism", phenomenon which unfortunately occurs too often when we "humans" are involved, the "relative" evil here must not be searched in "Lavos vs humans", but in "Lavos vs Earth", because, as shown many times in the Chrono series, the Earth itself(or perhaps herself) is considered a living being(according to the famous "Gaia theory") just as humans are: in fact, we humans and all other terrestrial lifeforms are Earth's cells, while Lavos is a "parasite", or, even fitter, a "virus", as it is using the "Earth"'s collective genetic patrimony in order to accomplish its goals, its survival and reproduction. Even deeper, humans are "corrupted" cells, infected by the virus Lavos which guided their evolution. If a concept of "evil" must be searched, it must be the broadest possible: then it must be relative to "Earth". From this viewpoint, Lavos is evil, but even humans, at least partially, are(as "progeny of Lavos"); if we instead view the situation from Lavos' point of view, it is pretty clear that Lavos is only assuring its "survival and reproduction", as we do manipulating and eating cows and other animals, no matter what they feel.

Reasoning on the very human level on which evil is bound with choice, Lavos cannot be judged evil either.
I think there is no proof in the games to sustain it isn't following a "survival pattern", but instead it is "choosing" to do it(for whatever reason). Lavos is nothing more than a "survival machine": it is only doing the "right" things at the "right" time to assure its "survival and reproduction". It is a perfect example of the "selfish gene" theory, a "survival machine". Granted this, there is no way to demonstrate Lavos is "good" or "evil", even if we consider these principle exist, as it, as a machine, has no choice. The question of the existence of "choice"(granted for sure in the Chrono series), instead, is another subject, and I can't discuss it now as it would take too much time and "space". 

Regarding humans, instead, they are perhaps the "evilest"(from many, many viewpoints...) lifeform on the Earth, both in the Chrono universe and in ours(well, in ours, it's certain :P): we are savagely destroying the Earth's resources without reasoning on the impact this mindless destruction has. We are different from every other lifeform on the planet because we(forgive the "new ageish" expression) are not bound to it anymore. We are, from the Earth's point of view, a cancer cell, a mad cell which has taken control over the body...only to follow a dream, different from the Earth's. 



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Re: The Ethics of Lavos
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2006, 11:26:06 pm »
about lavos, it's really something difficult to think, just as discussing how an alien should behave or not, since inteligence is something random, from one being to another.
but as hard as it seens, i do have pondered much about it, and found a theory.
lavos is a alien being. but again, he is a life form that exists through time, and even through espace, an anomaly. a chaotic anomaly. soo, my theory is about how chaotic are his actions. he absorped many life forms and dna, that is a fact. i think that he started trying to be perfect. but by devouring time and space, i believe his intentions are soo chaotic in a way that he is trying to be everything that exists. let's say that it would be gaia theory,  but in a way that it is applied not only in planets, but the whole universe. the world inside of worlds. lavos can be attempting to become the universe itself. since he exists through time, i believe that he used every knowledge he absorped to make it happens, by manipulating everything, and creating instability in time, since instability would turn any kind of barrier to his motivation hard to even start. first little by little, and than increasing in a large scale.
this theory is based only on speculation, because there's a lack of facts.
but all this ignores that he manipulated queen zeal and other things in a inteligent and not soo chaotic manner, making very innacurate my theory.