Answer Me This...

Discuss all things pertaining to the EnderVerse milieu.
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Answer Me This...

Postby keh023 » Tue Dec 09, 2008 7:27 pm

So, I've read Ender's Game recently for the first time. I gotta say... pretty decent book. Actually, one of the better ones I've read in a long time. SciFi related anyway. What really struck me and intrigued me about Ender's Game was the manipulation of human beings and how it was allowed and excepted as the means to an end. It was excused and considered necessary. So here's a question that wouldn't leave my mind while reading and especially finishing the book. First off, would Ender have been able to do what he did, defeat the buggers, if... IF... he had known that it wasn't a simulation. I only ask this because in the book, Ender hints towards possible doubt and questioning when it came to killing in real life, and when he finds out it was a real battle, he weeps. And secondly, do you think he would have cheated?

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Postby Hector.Victorious » Tue Dec 09, 2008 7:50 pm

http://www.philoticweb.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1297 That will answer your first question.

As for your second question, are you asking weather or not he would have used the MDD had he known it was real and not a game?

Edited for spelling
"Killing Buggers was not homicide."
"No, I guess it was insecticide."

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Postby keh023 » Tue Dec 09, 2008 9:54 pm

Thanks for pointing that out. And yes, for my second question, that is exactly what I am asking.

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Postby wigginboy » Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:47 am

The whole basis for Ender being the last hope of humanity lay in his being isolated from everything, especially the knowledge that the latter half of the game was real. We know that he did everything he could to ensure that his real battles were won for good but if he had known he had killed Stilson and bonzo, he would not have been able to go one. The only reason he used the MDD inthe first place was to cheat so he could end the game. if he knew it was real, he could not have advanced to that point because he would know he was sending real men to their deaths. This does not just apply to Ender though, the other kids didn't know either. I think that if any of the kids knew they were fighting for real (SPOILER) except for bean none of them would have wanted to keep fighting. This mostly applies to Ender, who had enough of Val's compassionate nature that he would never have consented to kill the buggers for real. As I am writing this, however, another thought is creeping into my mind. Ender knew that the point of Battle School was to train commanders to lead armies against the Buggers. He spend countless hours analyzing old stock footage of the previous invasion so he could get inside the mind of the Buggers. It is possible that had he known, in that final battle he might have drawn the same conclusion based on what he knew about the Buggers and made the decision to use the Doctor Device.

Thats my two cents.

Sorry if that makes no sense to anyone. I have been up for thirty hours. I cannot sleep for some reason and my mind is taking a hit.

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Postby Provis » Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:32 am

Spoilers if you have only read Ender's Game...


Speaker for the Dead pg. 371
"I didn't kow it was the real thing. But that is no excuse, Olhado. If I had known the battle was real, I would have done the same thing. We thought they wanted to kill us."

"Except that I knew better. I knew my enemy. That's how I beat her, the hive queen, I knew her so well that I loved her, or maybe I loved her so well that I knew her. I didn't want to fight her anymore. I wanted to quit. I wanted to go home. So I blew up her planet."

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Postby neo-dragon » Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:46 pm

I knew he said that somewhere in SftD, and it comes up in "Ender in Exile" too. He would have done it anyway.
"Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic."
- Frank Herbert's 'Dune'

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Postby spootytwk » Sun Dec 21, 2008 5:52 am

the other kids didn't know either...

Bean knew that it was real he just chose not to tell anyone else because he feared it would alter their actions. But he knew and still proceeded.
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Postby starlooker » Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:54 pm

Sure, he says he would have done it anyways. Because hindsight is 20/20, because his mind is coming up with defense mechanisms to help him justify himself to deal with the horror and because (dare I say it?) as the books continue, in becomes less and less a character and more and more a mouthpiece for OSC.

I'll ignore the last point, though, in my response as to why he would not have done it had he known, however.

The whole reason it occurred to him to do it was that he was trying to beat the teachers by proving himself to be too dangerous and unstable to be trusted by using the MDD on a planet. He was trying to beat a rigged game. If he had known there were real and sentient beings, his empathy would have probably kicked in (remember? He's chosen for his uncanny ability to see behind another person's eyes. Peter's the ruthless one.) It isn't that his empathy would've prevented him from carrying out his plan, it's that it would've likely prevented him from coming up with the plan in the first place. He could not have thought the unthinkable had he known that they were real.
There's another home somewhere,
There's another glimpse of sky...
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into the wind, unafraid.
There's another life out there...

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Postby locke » Sun Dec 21, 2008 4:09 pm

the mind providing defense mechanisms is a good point.

Just look at how prickly americans are about the suggestion dropping the two bombs on japan should not have been done. Yes it's possible millions more japanese and americans would have died trying to fight to the last baby (see Iwo Jima) and the firebombing of Tokyo killed more than either bomb did (at least in the short term) but we don't really know that things would have been worse if we hadn't used the bomb. it's still reprehensible, even if we were mostly (perhaps willfully?) ignorant of the lingering effects of the radiation dispersed by the the bomb. and I say that in full knowledge that my grandfather in the pacific was prepping for an invasion, and likely I would not be here had we not dropped the bomb. So hell yeah I want to justify it. :P
So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

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Postby Provis » Sun Dec 21, 2008 11:45 pm

Sure, he says he would have done it anyways. Because hindsight is 20/20, because his mind is coming up with defense mechanisms to help him justify himself to deal with the horror and because (dare I say it?) as the books continue, in becomes less and less a character and more and more a mouthpiece for OSC.

I'll ignore the last point, though, in my response as to why he would not have done it had he known, however.

The whole reason it occurred to him to do it was that he was trying to beat the teachers by proving himself to be too dangerous and unstable to be trusted by using the MDD on a planet. He was trying to beat a rigged game. If he had known there were real and sentient beings, his empathy would have probably kicked in (remember? He's chosen for his uncanny ability to see behind another person's eyes. Peter's the ruthless one.) It isn't that his empathy would've prevented him from carrying out his plan, it's that it would've likely prevented him from coming up with the plan in the first place. He could not have thought the unthinkable had he known that they were real.
The problem with that theory is that his empathy clearly didn't prevent him from killing Stilson or Bonzo, so who's to say it would have saved the hive queens.

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Postby neo-dragon » Sun Dec 21, 2008 11:59 pm

That's pretty much my reasoning too. He would have been even more guilt-ridden if that's possible, but I think that he would have done it anyway. It was the Bonzo/Stilson scenarios all over again just on a larger scale. Those incidents establish something about Ender's character. His empathy allows him to understand his enemies, and makes destroying them a terribly painful thing for him to do, but he WILL do it if that's what it takes to stop them.
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Postby starlooker » Mon Dec 22, 2008 9:46 am

But he didn't actually realize he was killing either of them. So, then, the question becomes if he had known the force he was using to stop Bonzo and Stilson them was going to be lethal, would he have behaved in the same way?

And I highly doubt it.

(All of which goes back to the major life-lesson of Ender's Game, which is never, ever, ever trust the grownups.)
There's another home somewhere,
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into the wind, unafraid.
There's another life out there...

~~Mary Chapin Carpenter

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Postby neo-dragon » Mon Dec 22, 2008 1:49 pm

But he didn't actually realize he was killing either of them. So, then, the question becomes if he had known the force he was using to stop Bonzo and Stilson them was going to be lethal, would he have behaved in the same way?

And I highly doubt it.
I sort of think that he would have, at least with Bonzo, probably not with Stilson since he was just a simple schoolyard bully. I've always figured that on a subconscious level he probably had a good idea of how much damage he was doing. He wasn't trying to kill them, but I think he knew that they wouldn't exactly be okay afterward.
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Postby antronics » Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:31 pm

..In regards to killing Bonzo, I believe that if Ender knew he was going to die, yes he still would have done it. Ender, believing that he had killed Stilson, I don't think it would have been too hard for him to go ahead and go through with it with Bonzo.

If he knew that his actions would have killed Stilson, I still believe he would have. Ender had a line he had to cross, which was not just to win the fight with Stilson, but to prevent any further bullying. Had it not been for the steel toe boots, he wouldn't have killed Stilson, rather just gave him a good beating, which was his intentions. But at that young of age, Ender was just thinking of survival, and from his perspective, Stilson provoked it. Even with knowing that he would die, I doubt ender would have chose to lose rather then kill. It wasn't until after the defeat of the formics that Ender got the idea to lose (with Bean's son in Ender in Exile), and even then during his time of close to defeat, his survival instinct kicked in.

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Postby starlooker » Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:45 pm

It's debatable, sure. However, I guess the point I was making with my original post wasn't exactly parallelled in that particular answer I gave.

I guess my original point was more that a lot of what we're debating over is whether or not Ender would've killed the buggers knowing they were real -- assuming he figured out how to do it. What I'm saying is that having such knowledge would have possibly prevented him from figuring out how to do it in the first place, so the ethical question wouldn't have arisen. For one thing, his empathy might have caused him to reject such a formation (if it occurred) prior to really thinking about it.

For another thing, war has a script and knowing the enemy was real wouldn't have necessarily allowed him to access the concept of "cheating" that is associated with the script of playing a game. Train of thought when Ender sees the game, "Those bastards. What are they trying to do to me? I don't want to be the commander. They're cheating. They think I can't beat this. I'll prove them wrong. I'll play this computer game a different way, same as I did with the Giant's Drink. They're cheating at this game, so I'll cheat, too."

Train of thought had he known it was war and there were both enemy ships and human ships on a human fleet that he was sending into suicidal madness might have been more like this, "We're hopelessly outnumbered. There's nothing we can do. There's no way we can kill this many of them. Can we retreat? This is suicidal. Where are strategic places to set off the MDD? Maybe that cluster over there? What happens if we..." No teachers to try to outfox, no Graff to be pissed off at, none of that. Hell, the way to play outside of the box would've been to use his brilliant empathy to find a way to communicate with them. Maybe arranging the ships in Morse Code of some sort :)

He may have arrived at the "final solution" or he may not have. But the question of "would he have done it anyways" hinges on the assumption that he could have found the solution anyways, and it is that assumption I question.

Apparently, that's the assumption that the command questioned as well, which is why they had it set up as a game. So he'd think about it like a game rather than a war.

Ender as an adult says he would've done the same thing. But he's ignoring the fact that if the situation were changed, he might not have thought of how to do it in the first place.
There's another home somewhere,
There's another glimpse of sky...
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There's another life out there...

~~Mary Chapin Carpenter

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Postby antronics » Mon Dec 22, 2008 3:03 pm

..Starlooker I think that is a very good concept you have brought up. It almost makes it look like Ender couldn't have beat the buggers because it was imposable, and it wasn't just a game/simulation. But the quote you gave of Ender saying the adults were cheating, I think that Ender would have thought the very same thing about the buggers had he known that it was not a game. "The buggers have this stacked against me. They think their superior tecnology and forces will defeat me. I havent lost yet and I wont now." or something along those lines, I'm sure OSC could have written it better lol.

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Postby neo-dragon » Mon Dec 22, 2008 3:08 pm

Ah, I see where you're coming from. That makes sense. No one would be quite as bold knowing that they were dealing with real lives rather than a simulation, so such a bold (and in Ender's mind, defiant) strategy may not have even occurred to him if he had known the truth.

I guess my point is simply that I think he would have been willing to destroy them, but you're correct in pointing out that his thought process might have been changed to an extent that he would not have come up with a way to actually do it. Of course, OSC has suggested in the later books that Bean's seemingly flippant comment about the enemy gate being down was actually intended as a nudge in the right direction. :roll:
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Postby antronics » Mon Dec 22, 2008 3:21 pm

i never really bought the "the enemy gate is down" thing but I'll blindly believe it because I understand that OSC wasn't writing Ender's Game with sequals in mind, AND if you believe it then it gives Beans superior intellect creadability. But I do like that in the shadow series, Bean comes to the realization that part of his genius comes from being able to figure things out and calculate subconciously.

When speaking of "if he had know real lives were on the line" do you mean the human soldiers who were piloting the real ships, or the formic lives? I believe that at the time, Ender only knew the formics as the enemy, just like bonzo and stilson, so taking their lives would still have not been a problem. Now as to the real human lives piloting the real ships, it would have hurt him, but not enough to not be bold. Ender spent an enormous time learning about milatary and stratigy, so he had to know that you cannot wage war without losing lives, and also that the soldiers knew that risk too. It would be betraying the soldiers who volenteerd for the mission to no fully use them. the soldiers willingly risked their lives to protect the human race, and if Ender, or any commander, did not use that, then their sacrafice would be in vain

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Postby neo-dragon » Mon Dec 22, 2008 3:43 pm

When speaking of "if he had know real lives were on the line" do you mean the human soldiers who were piloting the real ships, or the formic lives?
Both. As I've said, I believe that he still would have been willing to sacrifice the lives (human and formic) necessary to win the war, but as starlooker suggested, he might not have come up with the strategy that first came to mind as a means of defying his teachers above all else. At least, he might not have come up with it as quickly and possibly missed the opportunity while he considered more conventional tactics.
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Postby antronics » Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:00 pm

..Neo, are you talking about as if Ender found out it was really againsts the formics before he went into command school and started the real invasion or at the time of the last scenario, where he uses the MDD?

If were talking about before command school, then I believe he would have found the same stratagy because be he went into the "ill cheat too" mode, i believe, when he had two nul-g battles in one day. My point is that he had facing impossable odds agains an superior enemy (the adults) his whole battle school career. And the way I think of it, he was never battling the adults, or in the scenerio where he knew the battle was really against the formics. He was fighting to be the best, to never lose, and to do the impossable. And as I'm sure many people here can agree, wars waged with yourself are always more intimadating then any other enemy. So it is my belief that reguardless of who Ender percieved the "real" enemy was, his one and only true enemy was proving that he cannot lose.

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Postby neo-dragon » Wed Dec 24, 2008 12:45 am

You may be right. I'm not saying that Ender definitely wouldn't have come up with the same strategy even knowing that the battle was real, but it's really not possible for anyone to know for sure, even Ender himself.
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Postby antronics » Wed Dec 24, 2008 10:05 am

..Your right, maybe if all of the kids knew that they had stoped laying games and were really facing the formics, that most likely would have caused a change in their play.

While we'reon the subject, does anyone know why Mazor kept telling ender not to use the MDD on the planet?

And also, the reunion of Ender and the soldiers near the end of Ender in Exile was perfectly written, the coup was devistatingly complete. I reread that whole chapter because how perfect it was.

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Postby theevilpplz » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:27 pm

Because he knows the ship launching it could not escape. And the faithful men who were sent there were Mazer's former battle-mates. And if 2 people survive a war together, they always share a close bond afterwards.
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