Could Be Fire

Skybreakers can be a little valid, as a treat.

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*Frustrated Szeth is better than Kaladin noises*

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1 hour ago, Frustration said:

*Frustrated Szeth is better than Kaladin noises*

Calm down, their both great, don't listen to him. 

Edited by Aspiring Writer
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I also think that an interesting question with Skybreakers is at what point they feel the need to push the rules of their code onto others. There are many things that I personally consider to be wrong, but that I also think people should be able to decide for themselves what to do. A good example of this is drug use. I think using drugs is morally wrong (I know some may disagree but that's not really the point) but I don't think it would be my place to go and stop someone or try to pass a law to not allow them to use drugs. There are other things, like murder or theft, that I would definitely try to stop and think there should be laws against. I think an interesting dilemma for a Skybreaker would be finding the delineation between their personal morals and the "law" that everyone should follow for society to exist. I think this dilemma is more likely to appear in SKybreakers who swear to something like a religion or libertarian code.

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I said it in another thread, but the skybreakers suffer from one of the main issues as real world law enforcement, in that they are only as just as the laws they serve. I like your idea, but some people have a warped sense of 'justice' to begin with.

I haven't started ROW yet, but I'd like to know how Nale convinced everyone that he was stable enough to be followed unquestioningly.

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7 hours ago, jamesbondsmith said:

I said it in another thread, but the skybreakers suffer from one of the main issues as real world law enforcement, in that they are only as just as the laws they serve. I like your idea, but some people have a warped sense of 'justice' to begin with.

I haven't started ROW yet, but I'd like to know how Nale convinced everyone that he was stable enough to be followed unquestioningly.

I agree with you, but I think the phrase would be better as:  A person is only as good as their moral code. 

At the end of the day the Skybreakers are about picking something to give them a consistent moral code. Depending on what they swear to it can end up being great, or it can end up being awful. The problem I have with how you are phrasing this is that the same thing could be said of anyone. You are just as likely to find someone who has a skewed moral code as a Skybreaker who has sworn to bad code. At least with Skybreakers you have consistencyonsistancy. Where others will have to stop and try and figure out moral problems as they appear,  a Skybreaker already knows where they stand and what is/isn't moral.

I think sometimes we see the Skybreaker's unflinching dedication to their code as a weakness, when really it is their greatest strength. They have chosen a moral code and now follow it without doubt or question. They don't have moral dilemmas as their moral code is already written for them. Where a Windrunner would freeze and question their ideas of morality when faced with a family member or friend doing something immoral, a skybreaker would be confident in their code and be able to see it as wrong. What it really comes down to is whether or not they have sworn to a good code.

As another side note, we don't often give enough credit to the idea that Skybreakers can swear to something besides the law. A Skybreaker could easily swear to something as simple as the Golden Rule. They could also swear to the tenets of a religion. Or they could swear to a specific moral code. They are about picking something and completely dedicating their lives to following it. While the law is an easy thing to pick, and I think often picked to copy Nale, it isn't the only, or in my opinion best, option available.

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21 hours ago, Could Be Fire said:

It’s not supposed to be about abdicating moral decision making. It’s supposed to be about putting fairness over your own opinion.

100x this.  That's a lot of 'supposed to be' that we're not seeing put into practice on page, though.

 

21 hours ago, Could Be Fire said:

This doesn’t mean Skybreakers can’t be flexible

See Nale spending weeks, months, or possibly even longer to find evidence of crimes committed proto-Radiants that he can then execute them for after spending more time obtaining the legal permission to do so.  He ignores everything else most (all?) of the time, unless it directly and specifically stops him in his path.  Selective enforcement of The Law, especially by choosing who you hunt rather than who you let free, goes immediately back to them making moral decisions.  If the 5th Ideal is that you're above making mistakes of that nature, then Nale should know that he is not because he's said multiple times that he is compromised.  And yet, he keeps on relying upon his selective interpretation of the laws in order to fit his own agenda.  That is a weakness inherent in the system, and one which his spren does not (cannot? will not?) guard against.

 

2 hours ago, Nellac said:

I think sometimes we see the Skybreaker's unflinching dedication to their code as a weakness, when really it is their greatest strength.

I think that Szeth is a perfect case-study in why unflinching dedication to a code is a weakness.  The dude is super-broken and set the world afire because of his code.  He was willing to do terrible, awful things that he himself considered to be terrible and awful because he was following his code.  Someone was deliberately manipulating him and using his code against him, and he was powerless to stop it until he literally died.  That is a giant weakness.

It might also be their greatest strength.  Thematically, it would be fitting for it to be both.

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Alright, take a look at my profile picture. Take a good look. Now you've probably figured out where I fall on this issue, but to put it to words:

I would trust a good skybreaker more than a good windrunner. Being a skybreaker is about admitting that you're flawed, admitting that you don't always know what's right. For me personally, I don't trust my own desires. There are times when I get angry and feel like I should hit someone because of it. Now we all know that's bad, and I wouldn't do it, but that's not the point. The point is that when I feel angry enough violence feels like the right thing to do even when its not. To be a skybreaker is to admit that we're not good, and to admit that the human conscience sometimes needs to be trained to actually recognize what is moral.

Now, I will not uphold that "the law" is perfect and always moral, its clearly not. But that's the point of the 5th oath, to "become the law." Its to say, "Sometimes I can't trust myself. Sometimes I need external guidance to know what's right. But this isn't one of those times. This time the law is wrong."

I get it, corrupt and even evil laws exist. But that shouldn't completely destroy the idea of laws. I get that people dislike skybreakers because they see too much chance for corruption. But its no different with other orders. What if an elsecaller decided the most logical situation is the evil one? The truth is that no order is complete until it has all its oaths, and its that way for a reason. A windrunner needs their oath to protect those they hate when its right, or they're not really protecting. A skybreaker needs their oath to become the law when its right or they've missed the whole point of the law. Yes, the skybreakers we've seen have fallen into the trap of the letter or nothing, but don't take that as the inevitable conclusion of the skybreakers. Make no mistake, the ones we've seen have fallen. 

 

Ultimately, being a skybreaker is a commitment to becoming a more moral person. It's saying, "I am bad at doing what's right, and even knowing what's right. So I'm committing to find the right thing, then follow it until I become a better person." Now, you can argue about a skybreakers individual choice of what they follow, and I will join you in calling many out for making a stupid choice. But please, don't condemn the entire order just because the current ones have been corrupted by a madman. The skybreakers are awesome, and have the potential to be an incredibly moral order, and I just wish more people saw that.

Edited by HSuperLee
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4 minutes ago, HSuperLee said:

But please, don't condemn the entire order just because the current ones have been corrupted by a madman.

Exactly! That's the crux of this whole rant. Modern Skybreakers are objectively not great but that's because they're being guided by a crazy person who is literally a corrupted paragon of Justice. This was just my philosophizing about what non-corrupted Skybreakers would be like.

25 minutes ago, kaellok said:

That is a weakness inherent in the system, and one which his spren does not (cannot? will not?) guard against.

That is completely valid. It's the whole Nohadon quote "Alas, not all spren are as discerning as honorspren." A major weakness of the KR system is that spren are (basically) people too with varied morals/opinions. I will point out Nale is a special case as a herald and KR. He may be pulling rank on his spren. 

32 minutes ago, kaellok said:

I think that Szeth is a perfect case-study in why unflinching dedication to a code is a weakness. 

 

I think the whole "unflinching" bit might be driven by Nale's particular breed of crazy. Judging current Skybreaker interpretation of justice would be judging Windrunner's leadership capabilities off of Jezrein. Like above, you are right that Skybreakers with their hierarchal authoritarian structure is more susceptible to this corruption. 

Szeth stands out in Skybreaker training camp because he bends the rules and actually thinks about the limitations and how to accomplish his goals within the frameworks laid out. Dunking himself to wash out the paint and realizing the warden deserved punishment was not the 'blind acceptance of laws' response, but indicative of a thoughtful interpretation of the law. He gets rewarded for this behavior (speedrunning the ideals, Nale's special attention).

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8 minutes ago, Could Be Fire said:

I think the whole "unflinching" bit might be driven by Nale's particular breed of crazy. Judging current Skybreaker interpretation of justice would be judging Windrunner's leadership capabilities off of Jezrein. Like above, you are right that Skybreakers with their hierarchal authoritarian structure is more susceptible to this corruption.

It took me a minute to understand what you're saying here, and I might still have it wrong, so let me know if I do :)

Nale is broken, and is seeking out people who are broken in similar ways or who can be broken in similar ways.  These people are the ones who are the potential Skybreakers.  So the pool that we're seeing are ones that are selected for attributes that don't align with what the Order was in the past, or what it should represent. 

And if Jezrien had similarly been recruiting for potential Windrunners, we would equally see those that more closely exhibited his type of broken, rather than what they can/should/must be. 

Nale's praise of Szeth's unflinching adherence to the code in this context is thus actually damning.  Somewhat like a known brutal serial killer coming up and whistling, saying "Wow, now that was a good murder!" and taking that as a positive endorsement.

I can wholeheartedly agree with that!  Within the narrative, we definitely see a lot more of the positive aspects and attributes of the Windrunners.  The 'flaw' for them that we've seen is that they can be too protective, while the 'flaw' we've seen with Skybreakers is literally throwing the world into chaos just before a massive enemy invasion, or also the brutal (if legal) killing of a street thief.

We also have not seen strict adherence to an outside law or ideal used as a positive in any meaningful way that I can recall.  It all seems to be about twisting the law in order to achieve the ends the person wants (not just from Skybreakers, that seems to be a major recurring theme in the books that those with legal power will use that legal power to enrich and empower themselves more at the expense of others).

I would definitely welcome seeing more in the narrative that show what the Skybreakers could have been like.

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2 minutes ago, kaellok said:

It took me a minute to understand what you're saying here, and I might still have it wrong, so let me know if I do :)

 

You got me exactly! Those were some in-between labwork notes so sorry for the confusion!

4 minutes ago, kaellok said:

I would definitely welcome seeing more in the narrative that show what the Skybreakers could have been like.

I think Lawful Neutral/Lawful Good characters are really cool in concept but it's really tricky to pull off in a way that doesn't seem stodgy and ultimately immoral. I have faith that whatever road Sanderson leads Szeth/Skybreakers down with will be super interesting. 

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Let's not also forget that they used to be the police force of the radiants. They were the ones who the other orders considered to be just and fair enough to let enforce the roles. The Skybreakers were the ones entrusted with keeping the other orders in line. 

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the 5th ideal is interesting and what you said fits very well.

now Nale, he tells Szeth not to follow him since he knows that his grip on sanity is not firm anymore.
this means Nale is calling his own conclusions into question. by becoming the Law he should also be a suitable guideline. he himself thinks otherwise, but it still does not stop him from acting according to it. which is perfectly in line with the other ideals and his statments.

hes not looking for perfection. only for consistency. and he has found it. albeit a mad consistency.

 

I like the Skybreakers more than the Windrunners.
the follow a fixed set of rules while Windrunns act according to each and everyones own morality. a morality that can change on a day to day basis.
if Kaladin did not get into a moral conflict about Elhokar he may could even have killed him himself and kept his oaths. as long as he perceived it as right.

this is something I very much dislike in Kalading, the Windrunners or people in general.

the Skybreakers are the better order and Szeth is the better man.
he knows he can not trust himself anymore and leans on to someone he thinks he can trust.
Kaladin on the other hand is a ticking time bomb. morally speaking.

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1 hour ago, trav said:

... the Windrunners ... follow a fixed set of rules while Windrunners act according to each and everyones own morality. a morality that can change on a day to day basis. if Kaladin did not get into a moral conflict about Elhokar he may could even have killed him himself and kept his oaths. as long as he perceived it as right.

this is something I very much dislike in Kaladin, the Windrunners or people in general.

I don't think that part is true, because of the spren bond. I doubt an honorspren would choose such a person to bond with; and someone drifting to that kind of morality would lose their bond ("You're not supposed to be a Skybreaker, Kaladin").

Other orders, perhaps; in one of Dalinar's visions, Nohadon considered honorspren the most "discerning" of Radiant spren, while mentioning one Alakavish as a Surgebinder "who should have known better" (and whose spren was apparently not an honorspren).

Kaladin's Third Ideal was to protect even those I hate, so long as it is right. That was his own Windrunner Third Ideal, because he had a special hangup about being reluctant to protect people from harm who he didn't like for their past deeds (though several of Elhokar's and of course, Roshone's past deeds directly or potentially directly affected him most negatively).

What the Third Ideal is about for Windrunners isn't about "doing what [the Radiant thinks] is right" but pushing through "deep hangups" to commit to protecting people in need of it. Kaladin's "out clause", I think, was more about not being obligated to protect someone who was an active combatant against him or something. Teft's object was himself, and did not mention anything about "so long as it is right". [Minor spoilers: in Dawnshard we see how else the "deep hangups" can be interpreted.]

Protecting Elhokar from being murdered isn't the same as deciding on the spot that he's off the hook for what he'd done to him or to Moash's family, it is simply that. He shouldn't be killed while unconscious. He shouldn't be killed in surprise, by people he had entrusted with his life.

As for Windrunners killing in passion, we already saw what might happen in that situation, albeit as a hint. In Words of Radiance (Ch. 18), when Adolin comes to "the lighteyes training ground" and sees Kaladin and other Bridge Four folks (including Moash) beginning training under Zahel. He tries to encourage Kaladin, as the head of the Kholin bodyguard crew, to train with the Blade, but Kaladin won't touch one, insisting he does just fine without Shards. Adolin tells Kaladin to spar him while he's wearing Plate to prove it, and his surprising effectiveness in that scenario causes Adolin to lash out with more Plate driven strength than would have been wise (possibly fatal) against a normal human.

Kaladin lay dazed on the ground, then healed with some Stormlight, picked up a spear, and charged back at Adolin, so enraged in visage that Adolin viewed him as an actual threat:

Quote

The prince stumbled away, hand out to the side, obviously summoning his Blade. Kaladin kicked up his fallen half-spear up in a spray of sand, then grabbed it midair as he got near.

In that moment, the strength drained from him. The tempest inside of him fled without warning, and he stumbled, gasping at the returning pain of his shoulder.

And then later, he asked Syl about it:

Quote

"What happened?" Kaladin asked. "The Stormlight drained from me. I felt it go."

"Who were you protecting?" Syl asked.

"I... I was practicing how to fight, like when I practiced with Skar and Rock down in the chasms."

"Is that really what you were doing?" Syl asked.

 

----

Edited to add:

I get what you're saying, though. It gets into a gray area, eventually, like if he were to see someone being formally executed for crimes they were known to be guilty of - say, in OB Interlude 10 with that greased up Brightlord Sheler being chained to a post, by his own choice of punishment, to be eaten by "The Hog" (more of a nickname). Would Kaladin feel obligated to save him, if he happened to fly by at that point? Probably, right? Well, what if he had been there the whole time and had been present for his judgment?

Would Kaladin be able to refrain from acting to save people sentenced to death if he felt "they deserved it for their crimes", but then be compelled to act to protect people sentenced to death if he did not (like Ym, where Nale had somehow procured a writ of judgment and sentencing against him before moving to kill him)? And if so... At some point doesn't that make Kaladin effectively applying himself as arbiter of "what is right"?

Of course you can extend this POV to any traditional "superhero" of the comics, like Superman, as the canonical example. And a being of great power absolving themselves from moral decisions to place in the hands of a higher authority seems like an even worse scenario (see: Szeth being used as the Assassin in White). Nale considering that a good and admirable thing for a Skybreaker is supposed to be indicative of his particular brand of insanity.

Edited by robardin
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On 11/20/2020 at 3:06 PM, HSuperLee said:

I would trust a good skybreaker more than a good windrunner. Being a skybreaker is about admitting that you're flawed, admitting that you don't always know what's right. 

I get it, corrupt and even evil laws exist. But that shouldn't completely destroy the idea of laws. The truth is that no order is complete until it has all its oaths, and its that way for a reason. Make no mistake, the ones we've seen have fallen. 

Ultimately, being a skybreaker is a commitment to becoming a more moral person. It's saying, "I am bad at doing what's right, and even knowing what's right. So I'm committing to find the right thing, then follow it until I become a better person." But please, don't condemn the entire order just because the current ones have been corrupted by a madman. The skybreakers are awesome, and have the potential to be an incredibly moral order, and I just wish more people saw that. 

Yes, this! There's some great analysis on this thread. I completely agree with the above; I'd personally trust a full (normal as opposed to Nale's gang) Skybreaker over a full Windrunner (with what we currently know of their oaths). 

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19 hours ago, robardin said:

protect even those I hate, so long as it is right

thats the kicker.
if Kaladin believed that it was NOT right to protect Elhokar we would be able to kill him without breaking his oath. "right" in this is based on Kaladins on perception of it. not a clear cut set of rules.
if Kaladin believes that Roshar is better off with Elhokar gone then there is nothing holding him back I'd say.

in the scene with Adolin he is driven by rage in a meaningless sparring duel. there was no ulterior motive that could justify his actions. so Syl dipped.

if you think about it, Kaladin is actively killing the true owners of Roshar and it does not contradict his oaths since he believes that he is doing the right thing and protecting people with his actions.
if Kaladin one day changes his mind about this... hello recreance 2.0.

 

19 hours ago, robardin said:

And a being of great power absolving themselves from moral decisions to place in the hands of a higher authority seems like an even worse scenario

depends on the authority. Szeth is insane so he gives someone else control. someone who he believes is not insane. and just.
its pretty much what the Law does. the Law being the higher authority. police, the military and so on have to act according to the Law.
 

Edited by trav
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On 11/24/2020 at 1:07 AM, trav said:

if you think about it, Kaladin is actively killing the true owners of Roshar and it does not contradict his oaths since he believes that he is doing the right thing and protecting people with his actions.
if Kaladin one day changes his mind about this... hello recreance 2.0.

This is an oversimplification of what's going on.  We're shown Kaladin actively protecting people, and concentrating the brunt of his lethal attacks on the Fused--those that he knows will not truly be killed, but will instead come back.  We're shown how he goes to great lengths to otherwise avoid killing the Singers.  There are times where he makes a choice (whether consciously or not) about who (or if) to protect anyone when they won't back down.

Comparing Kaladin's struggle to answer the question of what is Right and Wrong, and coming to grips with the idea that actions can be both or neither, is hardly equivalent in any way at all to thousands of Knights Radiant willfully and purposefully breaking their Oaths within a short period of time.

The frustrating thing about Skybreakers is that they refuse to engage with the concepts of Right and Wrong, Moral and Immoral.  They care only for Legal and Illegal.  Despite this, they still are required to choose how they interact with the law, only without any sort of formalized recognition of when, why, and how they are doing so.  After all, there are only so many Skybreakers, and only so much time in a day; they cannot possibly treat every crime the same, and so they must make a choice in how they spend their time.  If the legal code they are following does not specify this, then they're making it up on their own.  Likewise if they have chosen to follow a person, rather than a written set of laws.

At least Windrunners will seemingly be forced to confront the idea of Right and Wrong by their spren, and be challenged on it constantly, so that their own feelings and understanding are not likely to change in the future.  Convictions you hold that have been tested time and time and time again, especially in moments of great distress, are ones which are not likely to change at whim in the future.  Kaladin is not likely to ever reconsider assassination of a man he has sworn to protect to be what is Right. 

The Skybreakers, on the other hand, have their convictions set in the trust of the Law or Code or Person that they have chosen to follow.  While this is a great strength (because they don't have to worry about Right and Wrong, just Legal or Illegal) it is also a great weakness.  If given a moral quandary that has no answer under the Law/Code/Person they follow, then they have no system in place ready to answer it.  Or if required by the Law or Code or Person they follow to do terrible acts, then they must do them, because they have decided to trust that such heinous acts will lead to a greater good at the end.

A strength that lies in such weakness isn't one that is terribly compelling to me.  Szeth had his own moral code ("murder is bad" is at least part of it that we know of for sure) that he violated time and time and time and time again because of his adherence to a Code.  The weakness of all Skybreakers was showcased there for all to see, and I haven't seen a counter to it yet.

I'd always trust someone who has a well-defined and tested in the real-world sense of Right and Wrong versus someone who says "I am the Law".

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2 hours ago, kaellok said:

We're shown Kaladin actively protecting people, and concentrating the brunt of his lethal attacks on the Fused--those that he knows will not truly be killed, but will instead come back.

this is long after the events with Elhokar. its Kaladins way to make his actions agreeable with his morality. he is doing this so he does not have to outright admit to himself that he is not actually the good guy in this. and this is still only his perception. his personal moral dilemma.

2 hours ago, kaellok said:

is hardly equivalent in any way at all to thousands of Knights Radiant willfully and purposefully breaking their Oaths within a short period of time.

I meant it as his personal recreance. he would break his oaths. like he almost did.

2 hours ago, kaellok said:

The frustrating thing about Skybreakers is that they refuse to engage with the concepts of Right and Wrong, Moral and Immoral.

why is that frustrating? its exactly how anyone enforcing the law should act. everyones equal before it. a clear set of rules that no one can bend.

2 hours ago, kaellok said:

so that their own feelings and understanding are not likely to change in the future. 

which they shouldn't. feelings are not a good basis for judgement. especially strong and temporary ones.

2 hours ago, kaellok said:

Convictions you hold that have been tested time and time and time again

they are not completely immutable in this. thats what their ideals are about. its a process of learning. like you said, tested convictions. tried and true.

2 hours ago, kaellok said:

Kaladin is not likely to ever reconsider assassination of a man he has sworn to protect to be what is Right.

that depends.
if Kaladin finds out that Elhokars actions between the assassination attemp and his later demise lead to more suffering he may regret his choices.

 

the Skybreakers are made up of people with their own moral code. there is still a human component in their order. they do not follow rules blindly. and the rules they follow are, like you said, tested time and time again.
I like the idea of being consistent. that this is the biggest rule of the order. consistency. something Kaladin was lacking.
put a Skybreaker in Kaladins stead for the Elhokar situation and Moash is dead at the first act of treason.

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8 hours ago, trav said:

the Skybreakers are made up of people with their own moral code. there is still a human component in their order. they do not follow rules blindly. and the rules they follow are, like you said, tested time and time again.
I like the idea of being consistent. that this is the biggest rule of the order. consistency. something Kaladin was lacking.
put a Skybreaker in Kaladins stead for the Elhokar situation and Moash is dead at the first act of treason.

That's just it, though.  Skybreakers follow the Law, but they choose when and how it is enforced.  They are still making personal judgments all the time, because their time is limited and so they have to make decisions on how it is spent.  Yet from what we've seen, they aren't challenged on how and why they make decisions to enforce this law or that one.  The Highspren are fine with however they interact with the law, so long as the law is followed--that is what allows for the modern-day Skybreakers to exist as they do.  Their challenges are instead on enforcing the law, not the morality behind their actions.

For instance, take the Szeth Interlude from Oathbringer where the prospective Skybreakers are brought to capture/kill escaped prisoners.  They are told that the escaped prisoners are all dangerous killers, and can be executed.  No fault is found for those that execute the escaped prisoners.  No challenge is made about whether they had the right person or not.  From what we can see, Szeth is the only one who doesn't immediately leap to killing them.  Sure, the modern-day Skybreakers don't fit the idealized version of their past selves, but they are an incarnation that the spren are fine with. 

8 hours ago, trav said:

the Skybreakers are made up of people with their own moral code. there is still a human component in their order. they do not follow rules blindly. and the rules they follow are, like you said, tested time and time again.
I like the idea of being consistent. that this is the biggest rule of the order. consistency. something Kaladin was lacking.
put a Skybreaker in Kaladins stead for the Elhokar situation and Moash is dead at the first act of treason.

Skybreakers are allowed selective enforcement of the Law, so long as it is the law; adhering to that seems to be their defining feature, with zero regard as to whether the law is right or good or moral.  The law is the rule they follow, and that is not challenged or tested by their spren.  Nothing that we have seen indicates that how they follow the law, or why they follow the law, or when they follow the law is challenged--only that they follow it.  Consistency is a big necessity for Order, but that isn't a trait of Skybreakers that we've actually seen.  Again, they get to choose when and how they enforce the law, which allows for significant inconsistency

Windrunners are not allowed selective enforcement of their own morality, and are constantly challenged by their spren about what Right and Wrong actually mean to them, as well as understanding that actions can be both.  I'll grant you that a 1st and 2nd Ideal Skybreaker will be more consistent in their application of non-morality than a Windrunner would.  However, quite frankly, a 3rd and 4th Ideal Windrunner is likely to be more consistent than a 3rd and 4th Ideal Skybreaker.  This is the time period when, from what we have textually seen, the Windrunner has a significant depth and understanding of their own moral code and it is not likely to change or wobble in any meaningful way. 

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50 minutes ago, kaellok said:

Skybreakers are allowed selective enforcement of the Law, so long as it is the law; adhering to that seems to be their defining feature, with zero regard as to whether the law is right or good or moral.  The law is the rule they follow, and that is not challenged or tested by their spren.  Nothing that we have seen indicates that how they follow the law, or why they follow the law, or when they follow the law is challenged--only that they follow it.  Consistency is a big necessity for Order, but that isn't a trait of Skybreakers that we've actually seen.  Again, they get to choose when and how they enforce the law, which allows for significant inconsistency

We haven't seen conversations between a highspren and a Skybreaker so we don't actually know if what you are saying is true. I'd guess they have many long conversations about this before the third ideal. This would be what led the Skybreaker to swear to their particular third ideal. As we see with Szeth, just because they are willing to stay true and hold strong to a code doesn't mean they won't choose carefully. Szeth swore to Dalinar because it was the closest thing he could find to true morality. 

One he thing you aren't considering here is the necessity of the law. Whether we like to admit it or not humans can be absolutely horrible to each other. There needs to be some sort of law to protect people from each other and allow a civilization to exist. There are certain moral standards, like that stealing is wrong, that must be understood and followed by everyone in a society in order for it to continue to function. Part of the Skybreaker idealogy is that these laws and the enforcement thereof must exist in order for there to be any sort of civilization. Perhaps the Skybreaker disagrees with one law or another, but they believe that overall the system is better than the chaos they would have without laws. There also would be nothing stopping a Skybreaker from working within the legal channels of their system to get the laws to change into something they consider more moral.

I don't know why the formatting is being weird, but I can't type under this next quote. But in regards to what you say, you're absolutely wrong. In the Order quiz it says, "They tend to attract those who believe in the importance of legal code, those who have strong moral codes of their own, and those who think the best defense against anarchy are things like patriotism, moral fiber, and rules to govern behavior." As it says right there, they have strong moral codes before they join the order. This means that if something did come up that their code didn't cover, they would simply fall back on their personal moral code.

13 hours ago, kaellok said:

The Skybreakers, on the other hand, have their convictions set in the trust of the Law or Code or Person that they have chosen to follow.  While this is a great strength (because they don't have to worry about Right and Wrong, just Legal or Illegal) it is also a great weakness.  If given a moral quandary that has no answer under the Law/Code/Person they follow, then they have no system in place ready to answer it.  Or if required by the Law or Code or Person they follow to do terrible acts, then they must do them, because they have decided to trust that such heinous acts will lead to a greater good at the end.

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1 hour ago, kaellok said:

Sure, the modern-day Skybreakers don't fit the idealized version of their past selves, but they are an incarnation that the spren are fine with. 

I think it's important to remember that almost everyone sorta off their rocker currently, including the true spren. Yes, the highspren still bonding with the modern skybreakers but at least one ashspren has also decided to forsake the KR and join up with the diagram. Both the Honorspren and the Inkspren are against reforming their orders even in the face of another desolation, ready to let humanity die. True spren aren't innately better or more moral than people. Even Syl comments that the bond is based on Kaladin's perception of honor, not hers. 

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On 11/30/2020 at 2:48 PM, Could Be Fire said:

I think it's important to remember that almost everyone sorta off their rocker currently, including the true spren. Yes, the highspren still bonding with the modern skybreakers but at least one ashspren has also decided to forsake the KR and join up with the diagram. Both the Honorspren and the Inkspren are against reforming their orders even in the face of another desolation, ready to let humanity die. True spren aren't innately better or more moral than people. Even Syl comments that the bond is based on Kaladin's perception of honor, not hers. 

I mean, that's pretty much my point.  I'm critiquing the values of the Order as a whole, using the modern incarnation as a basis for the judgments.  They say that they favor consistency above all else, but are allowed to be inconsistent.  Their greatest strength (abiding by a code that is not subject to the whims and follies of a single individual) is their greatest weakness (they are allowed to choose when and how to enforce the dictates of that code).  But nobody ever speaks about that, and it is instead flagrantly disregarded in favor of nebulous ways that the Skybreakers could have been super cool way back when.  Great!  I'm sure that they were.  The best case scenario for Skybreakers truly is really great.

It's just that the worst case scenario for them is actively evil, and the spren are cool with that either way because they don't actually care about Right and Wrong or Moral and Immoral or Just and Unjust. 

On 11/30/2020 at 1:40 PM, Nellac said:

This means that if something did come up that their code didn't cover, they would simply fall back on their personal moral code.

And there we go, backing away from what is argued to be their greatest strength--reliance on something fixed and unchanging instead of their own whims. 

On 11/30/2020 at 1:40 PM, Nellac said:

One he thing you aren't considering here is the necessity of the law. Whether we like to admit it or not humans can be absolutely horrible to each other. There needs to be some sort of law to protect people from each other and allow a civilization to exist. There are certain moral standards, like that stealing is wrong, that must be understood and followed by everyone in a society in order for it to continue to function.

I think you're misunderstanding my argument, because I am not saying that the law is not necessary.  Not even the teeniest of tiniest bits.  I'm saying that there is effectively no difference between people who are allowed to choose how and when they enforce the law and those who write the laws.  Skybreakers swear to something external because their own judgment is flawed, and yet they are expected to use their own judgment in how to uphold that external thing.  Highspren and Skybreakers are said to value consistency above all else, but simple checks that would help to ensure this occurs are blatantly lacking.

A hidden quality assurance monitor on a factory line will encounter far more defects than one that is visible.  As a general rule, people are more consistent and behave differently when they think they are being watched.  At some point over the last 4000 years, you'd think that the Highspren would have noticed this and decided to engage with their Radiants more. As regimented and rule-bound as they are, this entire process seems to be by design. And it's a bad design.

The very best that a Skybreaker can be is definitely something good and worthy of the highest praise.  It's just that it's incredibly easy to slip off of that mountain, and it's a much steeper and sharper drop than it would be for at least some other Orders because there is no safety net, and limited job training.

Edited by Ookla the Intimidating
redacted RoW spoilers
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12 hours ago, kaellok said:

Windrunners are not allowed selective enforcement of their own morality

I'll comment on this and leave it at that.

Morality, by definition, is selective. moral can change on a daily basis. or even in a moments notice.
one can consider it amoral to kill an innocent bystander and also consider it moral to kill someone who is trying to kill others.
the Law on the other hand may forbid any for of killing. its more consistent and not subject to personal opinion.

take religion. people convert from one religion to another and their moral code changes. sometimes drastically. moral is arbitrary.

a good example is one of the death rattles.

I hold the suckling child in my hands, a knife at his throat, and know that all who live wish me to let the blade slip. Spill its blood upon the ground, over my hands, and with it gain us further breath to draw.


wether or not the person holding the child is able to kill it or not only depends on what he perceives as right. not what is really right.
a Skybreaker who is following the Law can not make a personal choice here. the child is innocent, so it may not be killed. wether this is the best course of action or not. its consistent.

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10 hours ago, kaellok said:

I mean, that's pretty much my point.  I'm critiquing the values of the Order as a whole, using the modern incarnation as a basis for the judgments.  They say that they favor consistency above all else, but are allowed to be inconsistent.  Their greatest strength (abiding by a code that is not subject to the whims and follies of a single individual) is their greatest weakness (they are allowed to choose when and how to enforce the dictates of that code).  But nobody ever speaks about that, and it is instead flagrantly disregarded in favor of nebulous ways that the Skybreakers could have been super cool way back when.  Great!  I'm sure that they were.  The best case scenario for Skybreakers truly is really great.

It's just that the worst case scenario for them is actively evil, and the spren are cool with that either way because they don't actually care about Right and Wrong or Moral and Immoral or Just and Unjust. 

 

And how exactly is this different from some of the other orders? You could have a Windrunner who decides that the best way to protect everyone is with a dictatorial government that takes away everyone's freedoms. It would technically be with keeping their oaths. You could also have a Bondsmith who unites with conquest and fear like Gavilar did. You might also see a Willshaper who assassinates kings and throws countries into anarchy in the name of freedom. Lightweavers, Elsecallers, and Dustbringers have no particular moral course brought about by their oaths. The only order that I can't really see going wrong is the Edgedancers. I think that we often talk about how bad the Skybreakers can be because we see that in the books. Any order could have people that overuse their power or become evil.

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On 12/1/2020 at 1:15 AM, trav said:

I'll comment on this and leave it at that.

Morality, by definition, is selective. moral can change on a daily basis. or even in a moments notice.
one can consider it amoral to kill an innocent bystander and also consider it moral to kill someone who is trying to kill others.
the Law on the other hand may forbid any for of killing. its more consistent and not subject to personal opinion.

 

On 12/1/2020 at 9:08 AM, Nellac said:

And how exactly is this different from some of the other orders? 

Any order could have people that overuse their power or become evil.

When Kaladin acts in ways which cause conflict with his moral code, he ceases to be Radiant.  That's his basic arc in WoR.  This is why Honorspren like Syl and Phendorana spend time forcing their Radiants to build strong, cohesive moral systems.  We see Pattern engaging with Shallan and Timbre with Venli along similar paths, implying that regular engagement with spren about right and wrong is common across most Orders. [REDACTED BY MOD]

The Law may have a consistent words used to describe an action as legal or illegal, but the application and interpretation of that law is subject to personal opinion.  We see it every single day in real life, and we see a multitude of examples of this in the narrative.  For good and ill, selectively deciding which laws are enforced is up to the individual enforcing them. 

Skybreakers claim that they are the most consistent Order because they rely upon the Law, but they still must make choices about which laws they enforce.  This means that there will by necessity be some laws that are enforced more than others, and it will be left up to the moral judgment of the individual Skybreakers on how they do so.  Which, once again, tears them away from their stated strength. 

Edited by Ookla the Intimidating
RoW spoilers
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