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Was Vedit Selfish?
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Author:  tbone [ Tue May 05, 2009 11:11 am ]
Post subject:  Was Vedit Selfish?

I couldn't find any topics that addressed this on the search engine, so:

Do you think Vedit was selfish for killing millions for a plan that he believed in, whilst he was safe in Antarctica?

Should he have been there and suffered for the peace he wanted to bring to the world?

I personally think that he was selfish in his actions because the fact that he runs away shows that to an extent, he did it for himself, so that he could live in a better world, and perhaps improve his public image by helping NYC to recover.
Although obviously he had to live for the end to work, and I think the panel where he asks Dr. M if he did the right thing is very important and powerful, so in terms of plot line, I think it was right that he wen to Antarctica, because it made for a more satisfying end to the novel

Author:  TwilightLadyII [ Tue May 05, 2009 12:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Was Vedit Selfish?

As the Comedian pointed out during the CrimeBusters meeting, Vedit is arrogant enough to believe that he is smart/powerful enough to solve the world’s problems. He’s arrogant enough to believe that his great act of destruction will fundamentally change human nature and stop all future war. Self centered enough to believe that his act of destruction and the results of it have created a “new world” and that he in some way carries ownership of it and that his “new world” requires a better kind of heroism than that of any other hero, aside from himself. I’m sure he genuinely believed that the world would not be able to carry on without him, that for his new order to succeed it would need him to guide it. One brilliant and enlightened leader to guide the entire world, just like Alexander the Great’s ambitions.

He also truly believed that he had made himself suffer every death, see the face of every victim. Weather that is true or not, he believed it. So in his mind he had already suffered and by retreating to Antarctica and surviving the destruction he is ensuring the success of humanity. I think he probably felt that he had sacrificed more than anyone else for the plan, by devoting his abilities, money, efforts, years of his life and then forcing himself to suffer the losses. I’m sure that he felt that it was the most unselfish act he could do. After all depriving the world of himself might ease his guilt but it would, in his opinion, harm the world.

So, I would agree with you that it was selfish but it was ultimately the epitome of arrogance, as it is with all great dictators. But I doubt that Adrian saw it as either.

Author:  tbone [ Wed May 06, 2009 10:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Was Vedit Selfish?

Yes, good point, Vedit was very arrogant, so probably thought the world could not go on without him. However, if he is so arrogant, and so sure of himself, surely he would not have felt the pain of living with guilt as he ultimately thought that his act was necessary and the right thing to do.

The scene, again I mention it, with Dr. M where he asks if he has done the right thing, is almost Vedit falling off his throne as it were. He has been putting his energy into it for so long that he no longer knows anything else, he was blinded by his goal and now he has fufilled it he begins to see what he has done.

I still think that Vedit was selfish, but he was so consumed by his goal, his aim for a better world, that he didn't realize just how twisted it was.

Author:  nan00k [ Wed May 06, 2009 5:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Was Vedit Selfish?

I don't think he was selfish, really. I think he was misguided by his own arrogance (as others have mentioned) and he honestly believed he was doing the world a favor. He wasn't doing it for power. He was doing what he thought was right, even though it was clearly an extreme measure.

I do agree with tbone that the scene with Dr. Manhattan at the end made Adrian seem less powerful than before. It let the readers see how he was truly human, at least on the inside. He would feel guilt eventually. After accomplishing his goal, perhaps his arrogance retreated just a little to let self-doubt come out.

Author:  Lady_Rorschach [ Thu May 07, 2009 12:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Was Vedit Selfish?

He was blinded by his own pride in his blood-gained utopia and his sense that as long as he was there, everything would turn out all right. In all honesty, I feel that Veidt was jealous of Dr. Manhattan. The Comedian was right, Veidt would never be able to tackle the world's problems alone, whether it be his utopia or the world he destroyed.

Author:  TwilightLadyII [ Fri May 08, 2009 12:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Was Vedit Selfish?

Quote:
Lady_Rorschach

In all honesty, I feel that Veidt was jealous of Dr. Manhattan.


I never thought about that but I think your right.

If it’s true, that changes the context of why he asked Jon if he felt that he did the right thing. Was he really in doubt, trying to validate himself, or was he perhaps trying to judge if Jon would’ve been able to do the same?

Quote:
Alien Squid Monster

However, if he is so arrogant, and so sure of himself, surely he would not have felt the pain of living with guilt as he ultimately thought that his act was necessary and the right thing to do.


He states that his “moral safeguards” gave him pause when enacting his plan. To me that shows that at least in some way he recognizes that it is objectively a terrible thing for thousands to die. I think he saw their deaths as a necessary evil for the ultimate good. Their deaths were terrible, just not as terrible as world war three. So by mourning the deaths and forcing himself to acknowledge the loss, to “see every face” he is lessening the evil of his necessary evil and morally justifying it to himself on another level. I think in Adrian’s mind murder is wrong, millions murdered is more wrong. To avoid the murder of millions in nuclear war he murdered only thousands. But even if it is justified, murder is still a terrible thing. So he must punish himself by grieving for all those he killed. He could justify it but see that is was wrong at the same time.

He may have really let himself off the hook though, because, as it was mentioned on anther thread, did he really know the faces of those he killed? He admittedly never felt any real connection to any living person and his lifestyle and privileged upbringing surely meant that he never really interacted with or knew on any real level the every day people he killed.

I think he thought logically that he should feel bad for those who died, even if logically to him they needed to die to prevent more death. So he logically forced himself to acknowledge that, while justified, their deaths were still a tragedy. Logically then he must suffer. But you can’t suffer without a real emotional attachment or an emotional reaction and we don’t really get to really see that. Was it something in private that he lived with or did he only tell others and himself that he suffered and in reality felt nothing? Did his rhetoric even fool himself?

Author:  Minutemarch [ Sat May 09, 2009 11:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Was Vedit Selfish?

Looking at his words, no. He gave a couple of beautiful speeches, first to Dan then to Hatty about his noble sacrifice and carrying the burdon for his crime and forcing himself to see the face of every one of his victims. (There was even a maybe-hint re: the Black Freighter). There was the fear he spoke of "Have I done the right thing?" He is hungry for Hatty's approval, reassurance.

He also spoke very charmingly to the papers about his desire to help humanity.

Such inspiring words. He's a clever man. He knows what people want to hear.

But then you look at his actions. The cold and callous way he was able to dispense with others, even those he knew personally. Even those who's works he admired.

It's funny that his plan hinged on the good will of the Russians. On the hope they would not take advantage of the weakened state of their enemy to attack.
That, perhaps, they were not like him.

His words say he cared. His actions say he is willing to sell anyone and his own granny down the river to get the outcome he wants.
And you know what they say about actions vs words.

Author:  AYBGerrardo [ Sun May 10, 2009 6:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Was Vedit Selfish?

Usually, terrible things that are done with the excuse that progress requires them are not really progress at all, but just terrible things.
- Russell Baker

Author:  Mister Pain [ Mon May 11, 2009 6:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Was Vedit Selfish?

Veidt may have been responsible for a giant squid, but he was most definitely not shellfish.

Author:  Curiosity Inc. [ Mon May 11, 2009 2:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Was Vedit Selfish?

Mister Pain wrote:

Author:  Minutemarch [ Tue May 12, 2009 3:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Was Vedit Selfish?

Quote:
I think he thought logically that he should feel bad for those who died, even if logically to him they needed to die to prevent more death. So he logically forced himself to acknowledge that, while justified, their deaths were still a tragedy. Logically then he must suffer. But you can’t suffer without a real emotional attachment or an emotional reaction and we don’t really get to really see that. Was it something in private that he lived with or did he only tell others and himself that he suffered and in reality felt nothing? Did his rhetoric even fool himself?


Hmm, I think you have a good point that logically he felt it was bad but he lacked emotional connection with his victims on any real level. He lacked the moral understanding it was bad and only had the logical understanding.
And because he had it all boiled down to pure logic he could bypass all those pesky feelings that are the result of the pure logic approach, underdeveloped though those feeling are.

But perhaps his detachment is not complete.
I think Veidt may indeed envy Jon his total detachment.

Of course, feeling bad about killing people doesn't mean, by itself, that his motivation was selfless. He made it explicit he wanted to be Ramses, the leader of Earth's new golden age. A god king. This plan will bring him his dream, what he truly wants.

Author:  Burgers N Borscht [ Tue May 12, 2009 5:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Was Vedit Selfish?

Mister Pain wrote:
Veidt may have been responsible for a giant squid, but he was most definitely not shellfish.

Holy mackerel -- you haddock go there with that red herring. :roll:

Author:  Mister Pain [ Tue May 12, 2009 7:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Was Vedit Selfish?

Fishing is the new trolling!
:)

Author:  Doppler [ Tue May 19, 2009 7:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Was Vedit Selfish?

tbone wrote:
I couldn't find any topics that addressed this on the search engine, so:

Do you think Vedit was selfish for killing millions for a plan that he believed in, whilst he was safe in Antarctica?


His plan was not to kill millions. Let alone kill millions and die with them. His plan was to stop nuclear armaggedon by uniting the world against a common enemy -- by means of a fake alien attack (Dr Manhattan attack in the movie). He seems heavily entrenched into Machiavelli's idea that the end should justify the means.

He would not be able to conclude his grand plan and vision to lead the world into Utopia had he died of course.

tbone wrote:
I think the panel where he asks Dr. M if he did the right thing is very important and powerful, so in terms of plot line, I think it was right that he wen to Antarctica, because it made for a more satisfying end to the novel


You can see the great pain in his face after he details his vision to his assistants and sees them dead by the poison he gave them. He's not a villain at all, despite all the deaths his plan of a unified Earth required.

But from another angle, you could say he's selfish by realizing his secret desire to be a super-hero and save the world. The words of Captain Metropolis still echoing in his mind after the Comedian showed their methods wrong and useless in the Crimebusters meeting...

Author:  Doppler [ Tue May 19, 2009 7:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Was Vedit Selfish?

Lady_Rorschach wrote:
He was blinded by his own pride in his blood-gained utopia and his sense that as long as he was there, everything would turn out all right. In all honesty, I feel that Veidt was jealous of Dr. Manhattan. The Comedian was right, Veidt would never be able to tackle the world's problems alone, whether it be his utopia or the world he destroyed.


Oh, come on! It was just half of New York city, not the world.

and because of it, nuclear hostilities stopped, right? That would be a true destroyed world...

Author:  Doppler [ Tue May 19, 2009 7:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Was Vedit Selfish?

Minutemarch wrote:
He also spoke very charmingly to the papers about his desire to help humanity.

Such inspiring words. He's a clever man. He knows what people want to hear.

But then you look at his actions. The cold and callous way he was able to dispense with others, even those he knew personally. Even those who's works he admired.


He still stopped nuclear hostilities. With very little casualties.

Minutemarch wrote:
It's funny that his plan hinged on the good will of the Russians. On the hope they would not take advantage of the weakened state of their enemy to attack.
That, perhaps, they were not like him.


Yes, that is I think the only point in which the movie is superior to the comic: not because they replaced the squid with DM's bursts of energy, but because they made the threat equal all over the world. Nothing better to unite people than fear.

OTOH, Veidt was very bright and certainly took Russians good will or bad will into consideration.

Author:  SilkOwl [ Fri May 22, 2009 6:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Was Vedit Selfish?

Seflish? Jesus, he killed those people for a reason. Sure it was horrific and insane but again FOR A REASON. Not selfish in the least bit.

Author:  meganphntmgrl [ Thu Jun 11, 2009 5:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Was Vedit Selfish?

Since I'm new here, I may as well enter with a bang:

I have a lot of trouble condemning what Veidt did. I've tried, and I can't. In my head, the situation is analogous to this:

Imagine a woman gives birth to a pair of very weak conjoined twins. Both babies are already faltering badly by the time they are delivered, due to their shared bloodstreams.

However, when the doctors look closer, they realize that it turns out that the heart of one of the babies is so undeveloped that it may not survive even if it is separated from its twin, because its twin's heart is working time and a half to make sure both of them have adequate blood flow. Separating the twins will kill this baby, but if they are left together, the odds increase enormously that both babies will die. It's impossible to tell at this point. There is still a tiny chance that neither baby will survive if they are separated anyway, but there is also a chance that at least one of them will be saved if the operation is performed.

Do you separate the babies so that one can very likely live, even if it means letting the other one die? Or do you leave them conjoined and hope that they will both survive, knowing that that makes it possible that both of them will die?

Regarding the actual Watchmen situation, yes, it is incredibly self-aggrandizing of Veidt to pull off this attack, but at the same time, is there anyone else alive who wouldn't have been committing a similar act of hubris? Somebody, at that point, if things really were that desperate, needed to do something.

Author:  fspades [ Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Was Vedit Selfish?

I ask this question to the people who say Veidt was selfish, because he was the epitome of arrogance: Can someone be arrogant if he was really the world's smartest man? I mean yeah, you can say that this might not be true for Veidt; but let's assume it is. Let's make Veidt's genius as his super-ability if you will.

As you know the one theme that's overplayed in superhero stories is "great power brings great responsibility". The Comedian saw the impending crisis but he simply choosed to not assume that responsibility because he thought it was inevitable(or because the solution was horrible. Take your pick). Veidt on the other hand became obsessed with it and catapulted himself to a position where he can solve it. And he did it. At least temporarily. It is also suggested at the end of the novel Veidt will continue to take the matters into his own hand to ensure the mankind's survival. Veidt voluntarily takes this "necessary evil" role because he realized there is no one else who can do it. He is the one and only. You can even say it's altruistic.

It is not a question of selfishness. The question is would you abide a super-intelligent being who wants the best for humanity, even when he commits horrible acts.

Author:  Lady_Rorschach [ Sun Jun 28, 2009 4:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Was Vedit Selfish?

fspades wrote:

It is not a question of selfishness. The question is would you abide a super-intelligent being who wants the best for humanity, even when he commits horrible acts.


I'll pull a Rorschach and be hypocritical here. I did see Viedt's actions to be selfish at first. But when you put it in that context, it makes sense. Greatness requires sacrifice, that much is true. However, I still think Viedt is jealous of Dr. Manhattan. He's got the brains sure, but it's the good Doctor who has the real power...

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