PleatherDuster

When is it OK to use Hemalurgy

25 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

MIstborn Era 2 Spoilers below.

Of the three metallic arts, I'm most intrigued by Hemalurgy. It's so formidable (for lack of a better word), but also really horrific, and I love that contrast. Mistborn "bad guys" tend to use it, and it often seems inherently disgusting or evil (think Inquisitors and Koloss). But, as counterpoint, it's fundamental to creating Kandra.  

So, I'm wondering what might be some "good" (morally OK) uses of Hemalurgy? Or at least, when might it NOT be completely morally reprehensible? Ways it could benefit society?

Part of my reason for asking is that we know the Set are into Hemalurgy. Maybe also the Kandra and the Terris? Allik's people (the Southerners) presumably use it to make medallions. Maybe...the Set are using it in an ethical manor for the benefit of civilization!? (I doubt this, since they seem pretty terrible all around...but perhaps they see it this way?)

A couple examples:

1. If you have a way to spike someone without killing them, AND with informed consent of the person being spiked, that might be OK if your intentions are good (like using the spiked powers to help defend your world against an invading entity/god).

2. This one is bit more out there: if a child (or someone unable to give consent), had an ability inherently dangerous to themselves or others--like if there was a twinborn with an dangerous resonance (completely hypothetical)--would a person be justified in spiking that individual to remove one of the abilities, to protect the child or those around him/her? 

 

 

 

Edited by PleatherDuster
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54 minutes ago, PleatherDuster said:

1. If you have a way to spike someone without killing them, AND with informed consent of the person being spiked, that might be OK if your intentions are good (like using the spiked powers to help defend your world against an invading entity/god).

The only problems with this is that a: It might be potentially damaging to the person whose powers you are taking to heal their soul repeatedly, and b: using a hemalurgic spike will damage your soul in some way, although we do not know the extent of it.

56 minutes ago, PleatherDuster said:

2. This one is bit more out there: if a child (or someone unable to give consent), had an ability inherently dangerous to themselves or others--like if there was a twinborn with an dangerous resonance (completely hypothetical)--would a person be justified in spiking that individual to remove one of the abilities, to protect the child or those around him/her? 

I don't think that ripping a chunk off of a child's soul just because you think that their powers are too dangerous is morally OK.

A case when hemalurgy would be okay in my opinion would be using a "spike gun" to subdue dangerous allomancers and feruchemists like Miles.

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I thought that Spook had a point by saying that old/bedridden people should let themselves be spiked for the betterment of society. The problem with Hemalurgy (and really anything that causes death), is that it is very easy to abuse.

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54 minutes ago, Nameless said:

A case when hemalurgy would be okay in my opinion would be using a "spike gun" to subdue dangerous allomancers and feruchemists like Miles.

Even in that case you can simply use an aluminum bullet.

I think that a moral reason would be just for a person to consent to guarantee their power for someone to perform a function of a greater good, preferably if euthanasia is already a viable option for a health problem. As an Aluminum Gnat give your power to someone to make your power useful. And yet this is losing its validity, since medallions are one thing.
If hemalurgy is necessary to create medallions, I imagine that the development of Double Gold is a very reasonable reason for its use.

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The only way I could see it being use morally is if it was part of a system similar to organ donorship, but instead of harvesting them off your corpse in the eventuality of your death, it is used instead of euthanasia (which is already a moral grey ground). However, this would have the same potential for abuse that organ harvesting does. Besides, like @Raphaborn said, medallions make ethical use of hemalurgy kinda obsolete.

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1 hour ago, Raphaborn said:

Even in that case you can simply use an aluminum bullet.

Which is less effective. A hemalurgic spike would almost certainty kill them, even if it was made of aluminum.

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1 minute ago, Nameless said:

Which is less effective. A hemalurgic spike would almost certainty kill them, even if it was made of aluminum.

I wasn't thinking of using aluminum as a spike, just its inert ability. Even a Bloodmaker, Pewterarm or Coishot can be killed that way.

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Just now, Raphaborn said:

I wasn't thinking of using aluminum as a spike, just its inert ability. Even a Bloodmaker, Pewterarm or Coishot can be killed that way.

Pewterarms wouldn't be greatly affected by aluminum, but Spikes would be far more effective, Coinshots would be the same either way, although you would have to use aluminum spikes, and spikes could be more lethal if you hit a bindpoint, Bloodmakers or gold compounders would be unable to heal wounds from an aluminum bullet until they pulled it out, but spikes would be far more potentially lethal, they wouldn't need to be made of aluminum, and they would permanently disable their powers

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3 minutes ago, Nameless said:

Pewterarms wouldn't be greatly affected by aluminum, but Spikes would be far more effective, Coinshots would be the same either way, although you would have to use aluminum spikes, and spikes could be more lethal if you hit a bindpoint, Bloodmakers or gold compounders would be unable to heal wounds from an aluminum bullet until they pulled it out, but spikes would be far more potentially lethal, they wouldn't need to be made of aluminum, and they would permanently disable their powers

The problem is that spikes of other metals can be pushed and pulled, not aluminum. Spear your shots, after that ensure that he has no way to remove the bullets from the body. He will die.

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Just now, Raphaborn said:

The problem is that spikes of other metals can be pushed and pulled, not aluminum. Spear your shots, after that ensure that he has no way to remove the bullets from the body. He will die.

Against coinshots, sure. The thing is, you could just shoot him with the intent of spiking him, and get way more effectiveness out of your aluminum.

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1 hour ago, Nameless said:

Against coinshots, sure. The thing is, you could just shoot him with the intent of spiking him, and get way more effectiveness out of your aluminum.

This. Hemalurgic Aluminum removes ALL powers, though the specifics of it are a bit fuzzy. Does it just delete the powers out of the person's spiritweb? Do you have to charge it first and then spike someone to remove their powers? Depending on that, you might need to kill two people with one shot...

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5 hours ago, PleatherDuster said:

So, I'm wondering what might be some "good" (morally OK) uses of Hemalurgy? Or at least, when might it NOT be completely morally reprehensible? Ways it could benefit society?

  1. Death penalty - just shooting somebody like Miles Hundredlives is a waste
  2. Suicide - leaving your abilities to your heirs - in fact a little bit of yourself
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2 hours ago, Oltux72 said:
  1. Death penalty - just shooting somebody like Miles Hundredlives is a waste
  2. Suicide - leaving your abilities to your heirs - in fact a little bit of yourself

As morbid as both of those are (but how can Hemalurgy not be, i suppose), you make some good points. I do wish they'd spiked Miles, at least his F-Gold. It really is just a waste. Let a reasonable Augur have that kind of power, they'd be endlessly grateful.

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Posted (edited)

8 hours ago, PleatherDuster said:

 

1. If you have a way to spike someone without killing them, AND with informed consent of the person being spiked, that might be OK if your intentions are good (like using the spiked powers to help defend your world against an invading entity/god).

This is very hard. We know that is possible to make Hemalurgic spike without killing, but action still generates damage to the soul, causing insanity. Only person immune to this damage is Gold Compounder - he can regenerate damaged body and soul. He can do this even after stealing his F-Gold, because can burn his metalmind with Feruchemical charge. Also he can be able to regenerate after A-Gold stealing, if he has enough Health in metalminds. So This can be viable solution:

1. Give Misting/Ferring with wanted ability, two spikes, and make him in addtion Gold Compounder,

2. Steal his wanted ability,

3. Wait until he/she regenerate,

4. Repeat point 2 and 3 as many times as is needet.

Now I imagine Hemalurgic Spikes Factory...

Edited by Bzhydack
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26 minutes ago, Bzhydack said:

He can do this even after stealing his F-Gold, because can burn his metalmind with Feruchemical charge. Also he can be able to regenerate after A-Gold stealing, if he has enough Health in metalminds

Oh crud, you're right! I forgot that'd technically work. So a Gold compounder could (with charged metalminds on hand) ALWAYS restore their powers, even if you take F-Gold from them!

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I imagine it could be possible to inherit a power from a dying person. Picture it like that: A dying father lies on his deathbed, his children around him. One kid gets his house, one kid gets his company and one kid gets his allomantic/feruchemic power. I think it could be possible to buy a power from an already dying person (obviously the family gets the money) since they don't have a use for it anymore.

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2 hours ago, Tekiny said:

I imagine it could be possible to inherit a power from a dying person. Picture it like that: A dying father lies on his deathbed, his children around him. One kid gets his house, one kid gets his company and one kid gets his allomantic/feruchemic power. I think it could be possible to buy a power from an already dying person (obviously the family gets the money) since they don't have a use for it anymore.

The problem lies in modern medicine - how do you determine when someone is beyond saving, and if it's a slow death, when to kill them? We already have that problem with euthanasia, I wouldn't look forward to the debate now that people could profit off of it.

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1 minute ago, Hoidolasium said:

The problem lies in modern medicine - how do you determine when someone is beyond saving, and if it's a slow death, when to kill them? We already have that problem with euthanasia, I wouldn't look forward to the debate now that people could profit off of it.

I'd say it's the choice of the dying person. I imagine it being like donating an organ. Like, in a "I'd die anyway, have my allomancy" way.

You're right, it's a really tough question and I don't know how I would think about it if it ever affected me or my loved ones but right now, I'd say you can choose to be spiked and when to be spiked.

And there are even more problems: We don't know if there is any pain involved with spiking a person. For all we know, it could extremely painful. (Tin-Medallions perhaps for storing sense of pain?) And you would have to make sure that the donor is alive and actively kill them. 

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23 hours ago, Halyo_Alex said:

As morbid as both of those are (but how can Hemalurgy not be, i suppose), you make some good points. I do wish they'd spiked Miles, at least his F-Gold. It really is just a waste. Let a reasonable Augur have that kind of power, they'd be endlessly grateful.

Not going to lie, that’s pretty messed up. What you’re suggesting here is equivalent to taking organs of death row prisoners without their consent. Now, depending on your personality and ethics system, you might be perfectly fine taking hearts and kidneys of serial killers and you might be fine with ripping part of Dagouter’s soul off. It’s a position that some people hold in the real world.

What’s problem then, you’ve gotten rid of Miles? Good riddance! 
 

The problem is the system you’ve created. You’ve created an incentive to convict metalborn with useful powers and sentence them to the death penalty. In our  world there’s been 170 exonerations since 1973 in the United States and Professor Samuel Gross in a study has said that there were and are roughly 4 percent of death row inmates who are innocent. He also said that he has no doubt innocent people have been put to death.

Here’s an example of a person considered to have been innocent after they died:

Quote

Joe Arridy (1915–1939) was a mentally disabled American man executed for rape and murder and posthumously granted a pardon. Arridy was sentenced to death for the murder and rape of a 15-year-old schoolgirl from Pueblo, Colorado. He confessed to murdering the girl and assaulting her sister. Due to the sensational nature of the crime precautions were taken to keep him from being hanged by vigilante justice. His sentence was executed after multiple stays on January 6, 1939, in the Colorado gas chamber in the state penitentiary in Canon City, Colorado. Arridy was the first Colorado prisoner posthumously pardoned in January 2011 by Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, a former district attorney, after research had shown that Arridy was very likely not in Pueblo when the crime happened and had been coerced into confessing. Among other things, Arridy had an IQ of 46, which was equal to the mental age of a 6-year-old. He did not even understand that he was going to be executed, and played with a toy train that the warden, Roy Best, had given to him as a present. A man named Frank Aguilar had been executed in 1937 in the Colorado gas chamber for the same crime for which Arridy ended up also being executed. Arridy's posthumous pardon in 2011 was the first such pardon in Colorado history. A press release from the governor's office stated, "[A]n overwhelming body of evidence indicates the 23-year-old Arridy was innocent, including false and coerced confessions, the likelihood that Arridy was not in Pueblo at the time of the killing, and an admission of guilt by someone else." The governor also pointed to Arridy's intellectual disabilities. The governor said, “Granting a posthumous pardon is an extraordinary remedy. But the tragic conviction of Mr. Arridy and his subsequent execution on Jan. 6, 1939, merit such relief based on the great likelihood that Mr. Arridy was, in fact, innocent of the crime for which he was executed, and his severe mental disability at the time of his trial and execution."

A man with the mind of a six year old was coerced into confessing for a crime he was not present for and was gassed to death. That was all to close a case. Imagine now that Arridy had something rare and valuable that could only be taken with his death. Anybody with a useful ability is going to have a dramatically higher risk of getting capital punishment or increased sentencing, all so that most likely some rich dirtbag will do a favor for someone in the justice system to get their grubby mitts on a chunk of stolen soul.

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45 minutes ago, MyrmidonOfAchilles said:

Not going to lie, that’s pretty messed up. What you’re suggesting here is equivalent to taking organs of death row prisoners without their consent. Now, depending on your personality and ethics system, you might be perfectly fine taking hearts and kidneys of serial killers and you might be fine with ripping part of Dagouter’s soul off. It’s a position that some people hold in the real world.

What’s problem then, you’ve gotten rid of Miles? Good riddance! 
 

The problem is the system you’ve created. You’ve created an incentive to convict metalborn with useful powers and sentence them to the death penalty. In our  world there’s been 170 exonerations since 1973 in the United States and Professor Samuel Gross in a study has said that there were and are roughly 4 percent of death row inmates who are innocent. He also said that he has no doubt innocent people have been put to death.

Here’s an example of a person considered to have been innocent after they died:

A man with the mind of a six year old was coerced into confessing for a crime he was not present for and was gassed to death. That was all to close a case. Imagine now that Arridy had something rare and valuable that could only be taken with his death. Anybody with a useful ability is going to have a dramatically higher risk of getting capital punishment or increased sentencing, all so that most likely some rich dirtbag will do a favor for someone in the justice system to get their grubby mitts on a chunk of stolen soul.

I agree with that sentiment, but I see a use for spikes in such a situation, spike out Miles's healing, but immediately destroy the spikes, even if he survives, he will be much easier to execute.

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1 minute ago, Frustration said:

I agree with that sentiment, but I see a use for spikes in such a situation, spike out Miles's healing, but immediately destroy the spikes, even if he survives, he will be much easier to execute.

I see some fair utility for hemalurgy in that case, good point.

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On 7/26/2020 at 7:53 PM, Frustration said:

I agree with that sentiment, but I see a use for spikes in such a situation, spike out Miles's healing, but immediately destroy the spikes, even if he survives, he will be much easier to execute.

Yeah, if you only use the ability-stealing part, I guess it would be ok to use. The main problem is that Allomany and Feruchemy don't really appear in the current situation. I guess you could use Pewter spike bullets to make people weaker and steal other attributes like that. You might still end up creating a black market where people buy used spike bullets illegally to use instead of steroids.

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30 minutes ago, Hoidolasium said:

Yeah, if you only use the ability-stealing part, I guess it would be ok to use. The main problem is that Allomany and Feruchemy don't really appear in the current situation. I guess you could use Pewter spike bullets to make people weaker and steal other attributes like that. You might still end up creating a black market where people buy used spike bullets illegally to use instead of steroids.

Yeah only in removing his powers, but spike bullets would kill, Miles only has a chance because of his gold-gold typing.

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On 7/25/2020 at 11:33 AM, Nameless said:

The only problems with this is that a: It might be potentially damaging to the person whose powers you are taking to heal their soul repeatedly, and b: using a hemalurgic spike will damage your soul in some way, although we do not know the extent of it.

Is this referring to inquisitors? I'm not remembering any mentions between hemalurgy and damage to one's soul. Both the person receiving the spike AND the person being spike? (The person being pike is presumably dead...) The morality of hemalurgy is much shadier if you are damaging the person's soul, even if consent has been given. 

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2 minutes ago, PleatherDuster said:

Is this referring to inquisitors? I'm not remembering any mentions between hemalurgy and damage to one's soul. Both the person receiving the spike AND the person being spike? (The person being pike is presumably dead...) The morality of hemalurgy is much shadier if you are damaging the person's soul, even if consent has been given. 

Yep, here you go:

Quote

Djarskublar (paraphrased)

So I could be wrong, but a Hemalurgic spike, when you use it and become a savant it does damage to your Spiritweb, right?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes Hemalurgy always hurts you.

 

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