The Nature of The Beast (The Morality Cube)

Running along with the nature of the last few posts, and with what seems to be a prevalent theme right now in my thoughts.  Is the idea of a relativistic morality system.  In the context of Decayed Laurels there is the Morality Cube.  It is premised upon the notion of a Rubik’s cube arrangement.  That of a 3x3x3 minor cube array building a larger meta cube.  Building slightly upon D&D with its two axis alignment system as alluded to before (Good vs. Evil, Order vs. Chaos).  I’ve thought up a three axis system that implements Alignment, Effort, and Degree.  Alignment is the classical values of Good, Neutral, and Evil.  Effort is how much a character strives towards their moral disposition.  Example; Does one actively try to do Good, or do they just do it when it’s convenient?  Thus effort is broken down into three sub-categories of Intentional, Incidental, and Unintentional.  Finally Degree is to what level does a character honor their commitments/desires.  Essentially it is how long is a character going to push towards a certain goal?  Degree is also broken down into three sub-categories.  That of Maintained, Intermittent, and Abandoned.

These three macro categories (Alignment, Effort, and Degree) are read/written in a three-letter code.  Example; N.C.T. reads as Neutral, Incidental, and Intermittent.  It is understood that way too.  That a character is just bystander who isn’t really involved in what is going on.

Now the fun part comes when the code is visualized in that 3x3x3 array.  N.C.T takes the central most position within that array, so it’d be 2, 2, 2 in its coordinates.  It is easier to visualize that the Good alignments are the top plane of the array 3, #, #, and that the Evil alignments are the bottom plane 1, #, #.  Thus a change in one’s neutrality via their actions can either bring them up to Good, or change them to Evil.  The same visualization technique can be used with a different chosen planar axis.  Alignment being the xy plane, Effort being the zx plane, and Degree being the yz plane.

The tricky part with the Morality Cube comes when it is centered on N.C.T as the origin.  Thus Good becomes 1, #, #, and Evil becomes -1, #, #.  That’s the simple part, the weirdness ensures when one takes the notion of N.C.T being the default code/morality for a civilization/species.  In the manual Humanity is centered on N.C.T. , but individuals may drift to whatever morality within that 3x3x3 array.  Essentially, the species is seen as neutral, and just existing to the perspective of those within that species.  That the good, and evil elements within a set group balance out to a neutral effect.

To summarize so far;  A N.C.T rating instills a sense that the species is just there, for those that reside within it.  Although individuals within that society may be anything from Good to Evil with varying shades in between.

Implementing other species/aliens into the mix.  They would be seen at different moral codes within the Cube.  An example of this would be a species that is seen as benevolent by humans, and thus would gain the notation of Good, $, $ ($ being used for $string/the other axis) compared to humans.  Although from that alien species point of view they’d see themselves as N.C.T. because they too just exist within their domain, and would have both saintly and problematic elements within their society.  Therefore the cube grows, but in the manual it is limited to a written description of the 3x3x3 array.

Thus we get to the notion of moral relativity.  My good is not your good, and even my neutral element is not your neutral element.  That every species and civilization see themselves differently, but to outside observers they may be seen as a threat.  A sort of does the Lion consider the implications of eating the Gazelle?  Event though the Gazelle would preferably not be eaten?  Lion morality is not Gazelle morality, but they both reside within the domain.  Both consider their actions to be natural, and not offensive to themselves.  And yet to each other their acts are offensive, and may be considered “evil” respectively.  Whereas to a human observer, who’d be the “neutral party”, it’s just life.

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