Thursday, April 5, 2012

Philosophy of Code Geass: Anonymity. Is hiding your true identity or feelings behind a mask help you or harm you?

Our parents always preach to use the danger of giving out our personal information on the internet- information such a full name, date of births, home address. They would like us to remain inconspicuous because there are potential threats on the internet. We all hear about the kidnappings that occur because some gullible kid agreed to meet a person they don’t really know. There are some shady people on the internet.
We live in a hypocritical society where one says not to revel personal information on the internet but now the majority owns some kind of social network page (Facebook, twitter, google+) where pictures, gossip, and information can be posted for the whole world to see. Just go onto any of these sites and you can find a person’s full name, date of birth, and with a little bit of deduction, their general area of residence. We don’t care to hide our identities because we feel a false sense of security that nothing will happen, but that kind of mentality is wrong. My goal is not to preach to you the importance of anonymity on the internet, I will leave that to your parents, but I wish to state that anonymity is beneficial and in some cases, necessary.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Philosophy of Code Geass: Does public opinion change based on who's in power or who wins the war? Does victory triumph over morality?

            Some say that history is biased. Based on who wrote the material, who was their audience, when it was written, and why it was written, a source can be riddled with biased remarks made by the author. Bias can also be affected by the political climate and how the country is feeling about a certain topic. History and what the public thinks changes based on the group that is in power.
Clovis la Britannia
            In Code Geass, when Clovis orders the massacre of all the people in the Shinjuku Ghetto for the sole purpose of recovering his treasonous science project, it is quickly covered up. Clovis is viceroy of Area 11 and controls what information is released to the public (episode 1 & 2).          
            Winston Churchill stated, “Historyis written by the victors”. This means that history is dictated by the winner of a battle because they control the history books. They decide what happens after the war through their actions. If they used anarchic methods, such as torture, to achieve their goals, they would cover it up. They will also deem what is the best punishment for the conquered. They will decide to either be merciful, treat the captured with humanity, and allow them to prove their worth or punish them with manual labor, loss of freedom, and even executions. The defeated suddenly become evil monsters, while the victors are heroic saviors.
            Let’s say for example that England had won the revolutionary war. Since they have won the war, their opinion is the only one that matters. In their eyes George Washington is a traitorous upstart that lead the rebellion against his own king while Benedict Arnold would be hailed as a hero who risked his life by gaining spying of the patriots and leaking information on battle strategies to the British troops. Of course, the patriots won the war and gained its independence from England so in reality Washington is the father of our nation and Benedict Arnold is a traitor.
            If history is written by the winners of a battle, than we can say that how the world perceives certain issues is dictated by the ideals of the winners. What would have happened if the confederacy had won the war instead of the union? Would slavery still exist in America? Imagine if World War II had been won by the Nazis; would we have inherited their hatred of Jews and started our own persecution? Would the existence of concentration camps have remained hidden? According to, people did not know the existence of the concentration camps until a year after they were created. It wasn't until the near ending of the war that America publicized it. Luckily, we did win the war and the killings stopped. Because we won the war, children were taught that Hitler was a madman and the true atrocious conditions that the Jewish people and the adversaries of the Nazis were treated to.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Philosophy of Code Geass: The Power of Kings

Power, so many people crave it, but is it a double edged sword? I believe that having power makes you lonely. People who are in a position of power are lonely most of the time because they have to separate themselves from the people they are commanding. They can’t have friends because it could interfere with important decisions that have to be made.
For example, it is discouraged for an employer to have an intimate relationship with his/her employee because it can lead to problems in the workplace. Let’s say that Tim is the manager of a local sporting goods store and Jill is the clerk and they are involved in an intimate relationship. Customers start complaining that Jill is rude and unpleasant but Tim ignores their complaints because he doesn’t want to fire Jill because that could lead to problems in their relationship. As a result, word spreads that the store does not have good service and the business falls into ruin. Because Tim did not keep a certain distance from his employee, he was not able to make effective decisions that were crucial to the success of his business.
Lancelot Albion vs Guren
For Lelouch's case, he has to make hard decisions that no one will make or will like but that's what being a leader is about. He cannot get too emotional and breakdown if one of his soldiers dies in a battle. Take for example Lelouch’s relationship with Kallen/Karen. When Kallen was kidnapped by the Britannians at the Battle of Xiaopei (R2 episode 10) Zero had to make the choose of either saving Kallen and put the entire Black Knights at risk or leave her behind and fight to rescue her on a later date. Because he was friends with Kallen it was a hard decision to make. Maintaining distance between a leader and his subordinate can lead to effective working conditions.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Philosophy of Code Geass: Should someone be a leader just because he produces results? Is it alright to have a leader that never wins? Compare Oghi and Zero as leaders.

Ohgi was the leader of the rag-tag rebel group, and then Zero came along and made that group into a strong organization, The Black Knights, taking the mantle of leader. Both were leaders but which one lead better? There are 7 virtues of a good leader according to ethics, self-control, generosity, diligence, patience, compassion, and humility.
Kaname Ohgi
  1. Ethics- don’t have a bad reputation. Zero’s various decisions have come under question. For example, the secret mission to attack the Geass Order. None of the Black Knight’s knew the reason for the attack so when the truth came out that the attack was a massacre instead of a reconnaissance mission as they were lead on to believe, they were shocked and that caused distrust in Zero. Also there is the fact that they never trust him because he wears a mask. We see that the only ones who ever fully trust Zero are the ones who know his true identity and have accepted it. On the other hand, Oghi has nothing to hide. He wears no mask so he is easily trusted. This is the main reason why Oghi is second-in-command.
  2. Self-Control- follow the rules. Zero is a terrorist and never follows the rules. He manipulates and kills people to get what he wants. He believes that the only way to get what you want is to circumvent the rules and plow straight through to the solution without heed to the repercussions.
  3. Generosity- think about what is best for others. Zero never seems to care about what his subordinates think or feel. He is the supreme leader of the Black Knights and tries not to form any personal attachments or relationships with his followers. His job is to create strategies and preform miracles. Ohgi is the one who is more willing to say “good job”.
  4. Diligence- work hard, pay attention to detail, good time management and resourceful. This is where Zero shines over Ohgi. He took a lot of effort to build the Black Knights into a formidable army that can fight Britannia. From various chess games played throughout the series (nobleman in episode 1 of R1 and R2, Mao, and Schneizel), and planning out battle strategies you can see that he pays attention to detail. He has exhibits the intelligence to use his geass to get what he needs. For example, the car that Zero procured in episode 8 of R1. Ohgi is not as intelligent or resourceful a Zero but he is a hard worker, willing to take command of the rebel group when its previous leader died.
  5. Patience- view both sides of argument and solve conflicts peacefully. Zero does not solve conflicts peacefully; he either used his geass to make the opposer agree with him or he uses his military power to forcefully get others to onto his side.
  6. Compassion- offering friendship, kindness and sympathy to others. Zero doesn’t do anything unless it would benefit him or the Black Knights image. He tries to keep his distance so he never creates meaningful relationships with his followers but he ends up having a somewhat romantic relationship with his Ace Knightmare pilot Kallen and even promises to save her no matter what when she is captured by Britannia. Ohgi looks out for his team (worries about Kallen in place of her deceased brother).
  7. Humility- not flaunting your position. Zero boasts about his position and intelligence. He is the son of the emperor and is obviously proud of it reminded others by saying, “Lelouch vi Britannia commands you…”  He gambles by playing high-stakes chess with rich nobles. Ohgi is much more humble, thinking of himself as an ordinary person in a crowd of geniuses.
Even though Ohgi seems like the best leader, Zero is better because he produces results and creates “miracles”. What is the point of fighting something if you never win? Under Ohgi’s leadership, the rebel group never amounted to much, but under Zeros guidance, they started making an impact in history. Zero is the brains and strength of the group, the star, while Ohgi is the backstage stagehand, important, but never in the spotlight.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Philosophy of Code Geass: Monarchy vs Democracy

           For thousands of years the ancient civilizations of the world have lived under some form of monarchy, whether it was a benevolent king or a blood-thirsty warlord. They were absolute rulers who made all the decisions. Many countries in the present champion the cause for democracy where the burden of decision making is distributed between a group of many people for example Parliament and Congress, but here is the question, is democracy really better than monarchy? Monarchy isn’t so bad as long as there is a good, wise leader, and democracy is for a nation that has people who care about the many decisions that have to be made.
I realize that America is based on the idea of freedom. We fought wars over it countless of times from the Revolutionary war to the Iraq war. We have this deep sense of freedom and individuality ingrained into our very beings, that just talking about communism or monarchy terrifies us to death (the red scare). This is one of the biggest reasons why democracy works so well for us, but is democracy the best form of government?
Monarchy on the other hand is ideal for a more unstable or politically uneducated nation, where only one person rules. This may be beneficial because decisions can be made faster because only one person is making all the decisions and sometimes the ideas and decisions of one man can be better than the ideas and decisions of the majority. For example, back in the days of slavery, the majority of the population thought that slavery was alright, going as far as finding passages in the Bible stating that slavery was allowable (Exodus 22:2-3) but they were wrong (not the bible; the argument that slavery is moral). We now recognize that slavery is an immoral thing but back in the day the leading opinion was that slavery was alright. Thank goodness that some smart, compassionate leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. opened our eyes to the horrors of slavery and helped abolish it and segregation. I guess the biggest problem is how do you know that the person in office is trustworthy? In the monarchy system, the people can’t chose who the ruler will be, and if the public decides that the leader is unfit, they have to start a civil war and riot on the streets. This can prove dangerous because they may have to fight against the nation’s military that is under the rulers thumb. This is where democracy is superior to monarchy.
In democracy, people elect their rulers from a group of willing candidates. But the question now is will the willing candidates make good leaders. Socrates in The Republic by Plato states that an unwilling ruler is the best ruler because they will not abuse there office by having their own agenda that would benefit only themselves instead of the whole nation.
In a monarchy, the next ruler is predetermined. They are usually the child of the current ruler or a close relative. Because the nation already knows who will be the ruler, the child is taught from early childhood the qualities of being a good ruler. They are taught to put the good of the nation before themselves and how best to do that. They are given enormous responsibility at a young age so they gain experience in leadership. They are primped and preened into the ideal ruler. The current princes of England aren’t lazy couch-potatoes who just enjoy there palaces and extravagant parties. They are prominent leaders in society. In fact Prince William of Cambridge co-pilots a search and rescue helicopter helping ordinary civilian’s every day. This type of job is mandatory to a prince so they already have many accomplishments before they ascend the throne. Would this be a mandatory requirement for an elected official? Did President Obama ever go to war or help his citizens in a life-saving way?
In Code Geass, Emperor Charles is a tyrant. He conquered peaceful nations and brought them into the Holy Britannian Empire, a monarchy. His various children were raised to become leaders and generals to further the Britannian cause. Some like Schneizel, Cornelia, and Lelouch are raised to become military and political strategist while others like Odysseus, Clovis, and Nunnally are sent to be budding rulers or governors of Britannian colonies.  In a monarchy, the children of rulers are raised to be either rulers or people of political or military importance giving them more experience in leadership should one of them become the next emperor.
Briefly comparing the advantages and disadvantages of both democracy and monarchy I have come to that monarchy is the better form of government, but we should be able to overthrow the ruler easily in case they turn out to be a psychotic mass murder like Queen Mary I of England aka Bloody Mary.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Philosophy of Code Geass & Death Note: How to judge whether a person is moral or immoral

In one day the average person makes many decisions; should I wake up now or press the snooze button, what should I wear today, what should I ear, should I take a shower? (please take a shower!) We just woke up but we already have our brains working on overdrive. These are all mundane decisions that we no longer think as important but some decisions are more important like should I study for a test today, should I get my car serviced, or should I get married? John Stuart Mills, a British philosopher, and know for is work on the philosophy of utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is judging whether an act is moral based on the consequences. Mills founded the principle of utility, that “actions are that actions are right to the extent that they promote happiness for anyone affected by them, and wrong to the extent that they promote unhappiness”.
Mills also implies, “that it is rate that an individual has the opportunity to make a significant contribution to the well-being of society”. Not many individuals have changed the world based on their actions. In Code Geass, Lelouch unites a crippled nation, defies a powerful empire. You can also see this in Death Note; Light Yagami becomes Kira - the harbinger of justice - and changes the world into a place where people fear to become criminals in case the wrath of Kira falls upon them and they suffer of a heart attack. Now this doesn’t just happen in fiction, real people have changed the world like Jesus, Muhammad, Martin Luther King Jr., and Thomas Edison to name a few.
Immanuel Kant, a modern philosopher, disagrees with Mills when he  implies that, “good will is the only thing that is always good”. He goes on the say that even a clumsy person who cause more harm than good is moral if he has good intentions. He believes that it is not the consequences of your actions that make you moral but your intentions. The problem with that theory is that some people have good intentions but there wrongs are still immoral. Take Hitler for example, a fanatical radical who started a political movement to wipe out the “undesirables” of society like jews and gypsys. Anyone who stood in his way was considered “undesirable” and was sent to concentration camp to slowly die of either poisonous gas, cold, or starvation. He felt that, “As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.He believed that he was doing the right thing, fighting for truth and justice, but just because your intentions are good doesn’t mean that your actions were moral.
Lelouch had good will, he wanted to make the world a safer and gentler place for his sister and Light wanted to clean the world of criminals but the question is, are there actions moral? I believe that because of the consequences of there actions, causing pain and suffering while fighting, their actions were immoral. Even though I love Lelouch I have to say that his actions were immoral because of the suffering he caused to get what he wanted.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Philosophy of Code Geass: Evolution? Survival of the Fittest?

          In the episode The Stolen Mask, Charles zi Britannia makes a speech about the dynamics of society. He claims,
“All men…are NOT created equal! Some are born smarter, or more beautiful, or with parents of greater status. Some, by contrast, are born weak of body or mind, or with few, if any, talents. All men are different! Yes, the very existence of man is discriminatory! That's why there is war, violence and unrest. Inequality is not evil. Equality is! What became of the EU, who claimed that all are equal? It is in constant conflict because its tenets go against human nature! The Middle Eastern Federation, which harbors similar sentiments, is constantly mired with sloths! But our Britannia is not like them! We put an end to wars and evolve with every conquest! Britannia alone looks forward and moves forward to a better future! The death of my son Clovis is yet more proof that our empire is evolving. Fight! For the future rests in the hands of its ruler! ALL HAIL BRITANNIA!!!!! 
In other words, Charles believes that the only way society can evolve is if inequality were encouraged. He suggests that equality is the reason why wars occur and go against human nature. Charles is right that equality goes against human nature, we can see that with the long history of slavery, but he seem on more dubious ground when he claims that “inequality is not evil”. Inequality is evil. In fact, one of the most evil things in the world is inequality. In the world today, inequality is much more frowned upon than it was 50 years ago, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen. Society is riddled with inequality.
What Charles says is true, not all men/women are not created equal, but doesn’t mean that the people who are less able should be left behind. Even the most disable person can be a diamond in the rough. Take for example Edward, a 36-year-old man with mental disabilities. Legally he is blind but can play the piano. How many people can claim that feat? Someone who is born less than average turns out to have extraordinary skills that not many people who claim to the average have. What others refer to as weak can actually be a very valuable commodity.
If you look at Code Geass, you have to wonder, has Britannia really stopped wars and evolved. Humans kill more of there own kind then any animal does in this entire world. We have a long history of killing and wars, from the Cain and Abel to the current Iraq war. Britannia is no different. They don’t stop wars, they start them, by conquering and oppressing other countries that were already peaceful. If evolved means massacring innocent people just to keep a secret, then I don’t want to be evolved.