11/01/23 – Immoral or Amoral

Spacetrawler, audio version For the blind or visually impaired, November 01, 2023.


(I added “add-ons” to my Kickstarter, plus stretch goals)

(and yes, today’s strip is below all of this stuff!)


The Kickstarter for Spacetrawler BIG Book THREE is LIVE!




I actually think a LOT about immorality vs. amorality. I honestly am not sure which horrifies me more.


      1. Meran

        Me 3

        Also, Little Dee was 1 of the most fun comics of all time. Even tho it’s safe for kids, it doesn’t lack of plot or interest for readers of any age at all! If you’ve not read rhem, even if you have, get these in print, to read to your kids, your significant other, your grandkids, your neighbors and ~their kids, maybe even just for yourself!

        (I already have them.)

  1. Anvildude

    I would argue that Amorality IS Immorality. Morality doesn’t go into the negatives- you can’t have “un-morals” where you actively want to do things that you think are wrong, because desire doesn’t work that way. (If you want to do something, you must believe that it is, at least on some level, right. This isn’t including things you DON’T want to do but must do anyways- that’s a whole other kettle of worms, but suffice to say that past the nuance desire or want must be directed towards good.)

    So someone with ‘bad’ morals is someone without morals.

    Unless you’re talking about cultural mores, but I personally prefer to keep that variable away from discussions of psychology, since it’s such a tangled mess and I believe that you can analyze the basics and bases of such questions more accurately on parallel personal levels instead of via wide-scale cultural agreements.

    1. Shiva

      That’s absolutely not true…

      Presumably, you just haven’t met anyone that depraved or twisted yet. People can get to a point where they actively want to do things they know are deeply wrong – sometimes even BECAUSE they are wrong – often out of the most barren, nihilistic, hopeless kind of bitterness, resentment, and/or hatred; the subject doesn’t believe what they seek to do is right or justified in any way, shape, or form; they know it’s absolutely horrifying, but the cruelty/evil is the point. They don’t lack morals, they’re actively going against their own morals and enjoying it. It’s not super common, but unfortunately it can and does happen.

      Have you never experienced extreme schadenfreude, knowing it’s wrong but enjoying every minute of it (perhaps even seeking it out)? Because that can constitute a minor form of the same phenomenon.

  2. Pete Rogan

    I have had the misfortune in my life to have run into both the immoral and the amoral. Believe me, Christopher, you should fear the amoral more.

    The immoral robbed me, tried to rob me, tried to beat me up as well. Their aims were property and simple nastiness, which can be dealt with by officers of the law and the justice system.

    The amoral wrecked my magazine from within. They also poisoned my reputation in the industry, making a restart a practical impossibility. This particular amoral person courted a friend of mine, to the day where he invited her to brunch, and she thought, honestly, he was going to propose. Instead, he took the opportunity to introduce his girlfriend to his wife.

    The crimes of the immoral can be grievous and horrifying. But they are predictable. And punishable. The crimes of the amoral don’t even qualify all the time as crimes. They are impossible to predict, impossible to detect and nearly always deeply harmful in ways you may be years understanding.

    I’ve not tried to talk to him about it, but I understand Gene Wolf despises me for reasons I’ve never been able to discover. I do know I was lied about and wasn’t supposed to find out about it. I don’t know who else was lied to and despises me for reasons never to be explained. You want horror? Wish I could give you mine. All I can do at this point is share them. And spread the warning.

    1. Zeebob Thoomquist III, Esquire

      From what you’ve described, the person who destroyed your magazine career and reputation, and the romantic aspirations of your friend, sounds to me like someone I would describe as “immoral” — someone actively and intentionally causing damage. This stands in contrast to the “amoral” example of Choan — someone who does not intentionally and knowingly cause damage, but whose actions might do so beyond the immediate scope of what they’re focused on.

      This is largely a matter of term definitions, however.

      (Separately, that really sucks, what you talk about. I’m sorry that happened.)

      1. Pete Rogan

        Oh, no. Amoral, without doubt. Damage was only incidental to this sod. What he wanted more than anything else was to find what was important to you and then take it away. He worked confidence games just so he could see your hopes dashed. He was so keen on this objective that he gave his game away; he claimed to have been involved in some exotic sexual antics while he was a student at Pepperdine. Which was an odd thing to admit to me, since I have an ear for detecting such lies, but as it turned out, he never attended Pepperdine either. He lived on the thin ice of making you believe something that he could take away. Would that I had had this warning earlier.

        Harm resulted, but the entire goal was deception and the creation of hopes he would dash, just because he could. I looked for enrichment, and it wasn’t there. It was all a con game, with no payoff other than the disappointment of his victims. Who were always people he knew.

        Immorality tends to have a material purpose: Money, wealth, or advantage. Amorality is free of such constraints, and acts on internal psychological motivations that are not obvious. I note that the motivation here is essentially not distinguishable from that of a serial killer. What the FBI calls a disorganized killer, one acting purely on impulse, no pattern or detectable reason. The man who wrecked my magazine could have made money had it continued; he could have improved his business reputation. Instead, he pulled the rug out from under me and our entire staff. He didn’t care about them; he just wanted me to lose the magazine. At whatever cost.

        Do not mistake the amoral for the immoral. I did, and didn’t see the true signs of what he was attempting. He just wanted to humiliate me. He could just as easily have left me in an Indiana culvert, feeding the fish. But that wasn’t what he was interested in. Beware. In the name of God, beware!

        1. tlhonmey

          I don’t know… What you’re describing sounds like he enjoyed hurting people. Like his goal was *specifically* to set people up to lose things they cared about, even if it cost him as well. That sounds a lot more like immoral than amoral. Neutral/Chaotic Evil if you will. (Your particular example sounds mostly like Chaotic Evil. A love for breaking rules just because they are rules coupled with the enjoyment of causing pain.) It’s not that he “doesn’t get anything” out of the havoc he wreaks. His enjoyment of other people’s suffering *is* what he gets out of it.

          As opposed to amoral, where he wouldn’t be *trying* to hurt people, he just wouldn’t care. That covers a much larger chunk of the spectrum depending on whether he doesn’t care about people, doesn’t care about arbitrary rules, or both. And you’re right, these people are, in many ways, the most dangerous. The moral and the immoral both are very predictable once you know what they are. Chaotic Good is actually *the* most dangerous in my opinion. They want to fix you! And piddly little concerns like whether or not you *want* to be fixed are unimportant. If you knew what was best, you’d already be doing it *their* way! And whatever rules you may have about it are obviously wrong, or you wouldn’t need fixing, so throw them all out! And don’t bother coming up with new rules either. Everything gets to be decided based on what’s most expedient at the moment.

          “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
          ? C. S. Lewis

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