Danex

Hemalurgy Theoretical Moral Dilemma

Who would you tell ?   38 members have voted

  1. 1. Who would you tell if you discovered Hemalurgy was real?

    • Tell no one
      28
    • Tell someone
      9
    • Tell a lot of people
      0
    • Tell everyone
      1

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59 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Disclaimer: This might not be the right section for this but I think it’s okay. It’s kinda a game so I thought about putting it there, but then it is more of a discussion so maybe Cosmere Discussion’s the place, but then it’s really only about Mistborn so I decided to put it here. 
 

This thread is about answering one theoretical question:
What would you do if you learned Hemalurgy was possible in real life? 
Not all the metallic arts, or any other magic system, just Hemalurgy. Obviously it would function differently because Allomancy and Feruchemy wouldn’t exist for it to steal, but let’s say it instead can steal base human attributes, strength, intelligence, other stuff like that. It’s still just as gruesome and horrifying as in Mistborn. Let’s also say that you know these 2 things for 100% certain. 
1. You know that Hemalurgy exists and that you aren’t crazy. 
2. You know that you are the only person that knows. 

Now comes the fun part. What would you do with this information? Would you become a serial killer and use it to your advantage? Hopefully not, that sounds horrible. Would you take this secret to your grave? Would you work to keep it a secret? Who would you tell? Your family? Friends? The 17th Shard? Who would believe you? Maybe you would disguise the fact that you know by posting a thread asking a “theoretical” question to the community. Would you tell the government? Can they be trusted with this knowledge? What about the scientific community? In what scenarios could you justify using it or revealing it exists?  Would you experiment with it yourself? Maybe try to use it to save lives...somehow? I encourage y’all to think about this from every angle. I’ll edit in my own thoughts later. Happy Theorizing!

 

My thoughts: 

Spoiler

I don’t think I would tell anybody for the time being. The risk of someone using it for their own benefit is too severe. A lot of people are saying that if Hemalurgy exists they would reveal it because someone else would discover it anyway, but is that true? Think about it, what are the odds someone would have the idea to: 1. Kill someone with a spike made of a very specific type of metal and a very specific alloy of that metal, 2. Kill them in the exact right spot with that specially made spike, 3. Put that spike in the exact right spot in another human. What are the odds of that happening accidentally, especially without some divine force of destruction trying to make it happen? Also, remember, even if it happened accidentally, in this version of Hemalurgy you wouldn’t gain magic powers, just an augmentation of natural human ability. If it happens accidentally and there’s a while after spiking the victim before spiking the subject, the subject might not even notice. Imagine if some crazy dictator found out about Hemalurgy. A magical way to increase your intelligence or strength or health or anything like that. If one absolutely evil insane person found out about it, they could gain so much power it’d be hard to stop them. Growth would be exponential. I can imagine that in some future dystopia humans would be farmed like animals in order to increase the power of the elite. I wouldn’t tell anyone, not a single soul. I wouldn’t trust anyone with this knowledge for fear it could slip out. I would barely trust myself with it, I fear I might get too curious and try experimenting with it, maybe on rats or something. But nevertheless I wouldn’t tell anyone else, something as horribly powerful as Hemalurgy could not be revealed to the public. 

 

Edited by The Second Post
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That's a really good question actually and this is the right forum to ask this in. Now that the knowledge of Hemalurgy is out amongst a few (and a few who had the knowledge from elsewhere), it'll be interesting to see what they do with it.

I... wouldn't be able to keep something like this to myself. I'll tell a few trusted friends.

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To quote Benjamin Franklin, "Three may keep a secret, so long as two of them are dead." Any spread of this knowledge to another person risks that knowledge going further, either accidentally or on purpose. It is a horrifying ability. Don't tell anyone and try to forget it exists.

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As Dr. Ian Malcolm says about resurrecting dinosaurs:

“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should.”

Hemalurgy is a horrific blood magic/science, and if it was discovered in the real word you bet it’d be exploited faster than you can say ‘Ruin’ and would probably cause the suffering of millions to come as Hemalurgy-related crime becomes its own thing.

You also can’t discount the many benefits of Hemalurgy, as explained in a variety of threads on the Shard. Hemalurgy, especially in today’s world, can also cause wild miracles and potential save lives.

So, like the invention of the sword, or the gun, or the process of organ harvesting, it creates opportunities for both great miracles and great pain. Either way, humans will be humans, and I don’t know about you, but I’d rather fancy being the world-famous scientist who discovered Hemalurgy.

There’d be textbooks with my name on them, maybe a docuseries on my life, perhaps even my name becomes a household name! Who knows, maybe they’d even name it after me :P

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The main problem I find with this is that if Hemalurgy is real, then a lot of what we know of science is false. So, somebody WILL discover hemalurgy soon even if you don't tell anybody.

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For clarification, would the other Metallic Arts also exist in this scenario, or is it just Hemalurgy?

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31 minutes ago, Faceless Mist-Wraith said:

For clarification, would the other Metallic Arts also exist in this scenario, or is it just Hemalurgy?

 

7 hours ago, The Second Post said:

Not all the metallic arts, or any other magic system, just Hemalurgy. Obviously it would function differently because Allomancy and Feruchemy wouldn’t exist for it to steal,

 

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Tell everyone. Someone else will definitely discover it some day, and better that everyone knows than one person who may engage in morally dubious acts in the future.

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Oops. I missed that part. I wouldn't tell anyone. The way I see it, there isn't really a reason to do so. I'm not going to practice it, and I'm not going to try to get anyone else to practice it so there really isn't any reason to tell anyone that it exists.

If someone did find out though, I think the effects wouldn't be too bad, since without the metallic arts the motivation for doing so really isn't significant.

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14 hours ago, I think I am here. said:

As Dr. Ian Malcolm says about resurrecting dinosaurs:

“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should.”

Hemalurgy is a horrific blood magic/science, and if it was discovered in the real word you bet it’d be exploited faster than you can say ‘Ruin’ and would probably cause the suffering of millions to come as Hemalurgy-related crime becomes its own thing.

You also can’t discount the many benefits of Hemalurgy, as explained in a variety of threads on the Shard. Hemalurgy, especially in today’s world, can also cause wild miracles and potential save lives.

So, like the invention of the sword, or the gun, or the process of organ harvesting, it creates opportunities for both great miracles and great pain. Either way, humans will be humans, and I don’t know about you, but I’d rather fancy being the world-famous scientist who discovered Hemalurgy.

There’d be textbooks with my name on them, maybe a docuseries on my life, perhaps even my name becomes a household name! Who knows, maybe they’d even name it after me :P

Your name would go right next to the dude who made chemical weapons and, Vlad the impaler. Not a great place to be.

I would not tell a soul, better it is never discovered, and on the off chance that someone else finds out about it, the Mistborn books are around and others will be able to exploit it's weaknesses, as Koloss running around will make it really obvious when someone uses it.

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Oh true I forgot about Hemalurgic creations, I guess in this altered Hemalurgy those would still exist. 
...

Now it seems even more terrifying.

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Without Allomancy and Feuchemy's existence, or any other system of magic, I can't see very many situations where Hemalurgy could be positively used. Human attributes could possibly help someone who is deaf or blind, or who is emotionally unstable - but there would be a net loss of those functions, since someone else would have to lose their capacity to make a spike, and Hemalurgic decay would occur. Duralumin spikes have some other potential, but I can't think of one that would be worth someone's life. The only potential justification for it are those Spook offered, and without the incredible power and benefits the other Metallic Arts offer, it just isn't worth it. 

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If I'm the only one who knows, how did I find out? Did Ruin whisper it into my head? Am I already a serial killer who just happened to impale today's hobo in the right place? Did I... logic it out... somehow? I feel like this is an important factor.

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Maybe it was an accident. Who knows? I'll be honest, I'd want to do some experiments. Do we know if it works with animals?

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22 minutes ago, Negative_Null said:

Do we know if it works with animals?

Yes. It does. And as for the main question, I would take Hemalurgy to my grave. The potential for positive use is nice, but the potential for abuse is infinitely more terrifying. Plus, strength turns you into a koloss, so who's to say it isn't the same for everything else?

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57 minutes ago, Necessary Eagle said:

 

If I'm the only one who knows, how did I find out? Did Ruin whisper it into my head? Am I already a serial killer who just happened to impale today's hobo in the right place? Did I... logic it out... somehow? I feel like this is an important factor.

 

Take your pick! You can answer the question multiple times for the multiple ways you could have figured it out. Maybe you find a book on the ground, maybe Ruin whispers it in your head, maybe you have some sort of vision. How would each method of discovering it affect how you use the information? 

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Posted (edited)

The only possibly "positive" use of this would be to spike attributes out of people who are about to die anyways. Of course the possibilities for abusing this are endless and are almost guaranteed to happen. Kind of like charging for organ donations. It starts out nice, but eventually you have cartels capturing innocents to harvest their organs, or in this case their attributes.

Edited by King of Herdaz
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I wouldn't tell anyone.  Hemalurgy is a terrifying, gruesome thing, and the fewer who know of it, the better.  

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No. Hemalurgy is a horrifying system and I will be responsible for everything that follows. I cannot pawn off that responsibility for the inevitable atrocities. And who is going to even give me a chance to prove it?

“Hey, turns out that this fictional magic from a book by Brandon Sanderson is real, I just need you to help me find a death row inmate or a homeless person to stake with a metal spik- Woah, woah! Why are you calling 911? No, I’m not crazy! Look just put down the phone, hey where are you going?!“

If I just go ahead and freaking murder another person by shanking them, the police aren’t going to interested in magic powers, they’ll just think I belong in the psych ward. Even the more visible powers like strength (which makes you progressively dumber and more violent like the Koloss), what do you think the cops will believe first? I’m a madman juicing heavily on steroids or that the murder weapon I’ve impaled myself with has a piece of soul that gives me magic muscles?

On 7/14/2020 at 8:06 AM, The_Truthwatcher said:

The main problem I find with this is that if Hemalurgy is real, then a lot of what we know of science is false. So, somebody WILL discover hemalurgy soon even if you don't tell anybody.

 

On 7/14/2020 at 11:53 AM, Gears said:

Tell everyone. Someone else will definitely discover it some day, and better that everyone knows than one person who may engage in morally dubious acts in the future.

Doubtful in my opinion. Hemalurgy requires intent and understanding, there’s a reason why even in the Cosmere it’s been mostly limited to Scadrial despite being a magic system usable by anyone anywhere. You need to know what Hemalurgy is and how it works, what metal you need to steal the correct trait, and the specific bind points out of hundreds each for both you and the victim. You can’t just do it by accident if Ruin isn’t guiding you.

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Posted (edited)

On 7/15/2020 at 1:50 PM, Danex said:

Take your pick! You can answer the question multiple times for the multiple ways you could have figured it out. Maybe you find a book on the ground, maybe Ruin whispers it in your head, maybe you have some sort of vision. How would each method of discovering it affect how you use the information? 

If I'm a serial killer, I presume I have no moral qualms about killing the innocent. I'm going to go out and hemalurge myself as powerful as I can without appearing monstrous. I'd keep it to myself, unless I had a very good murder-bestie. 

If the Voice of Ruin beams Hemalurgy 101 into my head, I'm going to assume that he can talk to other people, too. And when I neither go on a spiking spree nor publish a bindpoint chart in a journal, he's going to keep contacting people until he finds someone with a sufficient lack of morals/common sense. So since Hemalurgy is going to get out anyway, I'm going to spend my time trying to form a trustworthy superhero team to try and stop it.

If it's in a book, and for whatever reason I am convinced that it's real, I burn the book.

Edited by Necessary Eagle
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Posted (edited)

Initially I would stick with the tell no one policy.  I would be interested in the implications though.

1 hour ago, Necessary Eagle said:

If it's in a book, and for whatever reason I am convinced that it's real, I burn the book.

You might need that later.  Also someone clearly wrote the book which means someone else has read it.

1 hour ago, Necessary Eagle said:

If the Voice of Ruin beams Hemalurgy 101 into my head, I'm going to assume that he can talk to other people, too. And when I neither go on a spiking spree nor publish a bindpoint chart in a journal, he's going to keep contacting people until he finds someone with a sufficient lack of morals/common sense. So since Hemalurgy is going to get out anyway, I'm going to spend my time trying to form a trustworthy superhero team to try and stop it.

I hope you will wait for some form of verification first.  You see I accidentally stepped on a nail one time and afterward I started hearing voices...

Edited by Karger
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Wow this is getting a lot more attention than I thought it would, and these are some really great answers!

Now, I have a follow up question to everyone who said they wouldn’t tell anyone. Can you think of any situation where you might tell someone? Any situation where you might experiment or use Hemalurgy? 

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No, I can't.  For one thing, I am seriously afraid of stabbing.  I had a crochet hook in my leg once, and it was one of the worst experiences ever.  It wasn't even that big.  I can't imagine stabbing/spiking someone.

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56 minutes ago, Danex said:

Wow this is getting a lot more attention than I thought it would, and these are some really great answers!

Now, I have a follow up question to everyone who said they wouldn’t tell anyone. Can you think of any situation where you might tell someone? Any situation where you might experiment or use Hemalurgy? 

If a religious leader asked me a question that related to it in any way, or if I ever get a chance to talk to Brandon.

On the first one I think it's self explanatory, the second is so I can convince Brandon to change the magic, or have it break so no one can use it.

And no I would never use Hemalurgy.

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10 hours ago, Karger said:

You might need that later.  Also someone clearly wrote the book which means someone else has read it.

Since the OP specified that I'm the only one who knows, the author is dead. I'm picturing some crumbly old tome discovered in a basement or something.

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