SFP

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  • Guest

    Is it snowing?

    • David Nuttall

      I hope not. Spring is finally here! I do not want to see more snow until at least November.

  • KatherineMW

    I’ve decided that this arc, while it has a lot of interesting elements, has too much theoretical talking in it. Between Moonshadow, Allison’s doctor, Pintsize, Lisa, and Patrick, it’s regressed from a story into an illustrated version of one of those Greek philosophical dialogues.

    • Lostman

      I think that the point.

    • S.I. Rosenbaum

      same. I hate to say it but it’s feeling a little Atlas Shrugged right now

      • KatherineMW

        Well, to the comic’s credit, it’s presenting a lot of different people’s varying opinions, not just giving one person’s views as fact.

        (And ideologically, it’s the antithesis of Atlas Shrugged. All the main characters want to change/improve the world in some way, regardeless of whether they’re recognized or financially compensated for doing so.)

      • Kid Chaos

        He’s not going to keep talking for 60 pages, is he?

    • The Elephant of Surprise

      Not a sociopath, just a well-adjusted utilitarian. The term “sociopath” tends to get thrown around a lot.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2y8Sx4B2Sk

      Global-scale altruism can conflict with motivations from individual empathy. It’s admittedly hard to judge Patrick’s sincerity, but his comfort with choosing global altruism (as he sees it, at least) over personal empathy doesn’t imply that his capacity for empathy is stunted. As far as I can tell, he doesn’t display other strong indicators of psychopathy, either.

      • I agree. As part of being a sociopath is apparently having a lack of moral responsibility, it just doesn’t fit.
        I’m not going to argue that Patrick’s completely sane, but I think that a psychiatrist would have difficulties.

        • Mechwarrior

          The problem with Patrick is that, due to his abilities, he could easily feign moral responsibility to assist in his manipulations.

          • Anyone can feign moral responsibility. Telepathy would just make it easier.

        • KatherineMW

          I don’t think psychoanalysis could work on a telepath.

        • Ian Osmond

          I know at least one highly moral sociopath, and I’ve talked to shrinks who’ve mentioned meeting others. There are sociopaths out there who realize that they don’t have an internal sense of others mattering, but who have decided, intellectually, that they will have better lives if they fit into society in a positive way, and have decided that the best way to do that is to pick a moral, ethical, and/or honor code and stick to it.

          People don’t usually THINK of them as sociopaths, because they are among the best people to deal with.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            Paraphrasing from Terry Pratchett, but people lacking morals often find themselves standards.

      • KatherineMW

        He’s basically just stated he has zero empathy for other people and doesn’t care about individuals in the least. Isn’t that a central part of what makes a sociopath?

        I may well be wrong, I’ve never taken any psych courses.

        • Ryan

          I don’t think he’s saying he has zero empathy. I think he’s saying that he wants to be fair and have equal empathy for everyone on Earth, i.e. he wants to be the perfect altruistic utilitarian. Whether that’s possible or recommendable or technically villainous is another matter, but it seems pretty clear that at least his ultimate goal is to have the maximum net positive impact on global society.

          • KatherineMW

            I don’t get that sense. I’m getting the sense he’s kind of like Doctor Doom: he wants to fix the world in order to show how smart and important he is (other posters have mentioned how he seems to have been affronted that the global conspiracy didn’t think he was important enough to kill).

    • Ryan

      You can certainly argue that this chapter could have been split in two. But at the same time, all the thematic elements of this chapter tie in to each other fairly heavily, so I think it’s at least equally justifiable for them to all be in one big chapter.

      • KatherineMW

        I don’t think it should have been split in two. I think the characters’ social/philosophical monologues/dialogues should have been condensed. Moonshadow’s was good, both because it was fairly straightforward and concise, it was interspersed with action, and it explained the actions of a character who’s at the heart of this chapter’s plot. But the ones from Lisa, Allison’s doctor, and Patrick are just coming across as character filibusters.

    • Potatamoto

      Yeah, I’m sorry but that whole ‘I killed innocent people…and never lost a moment’s sleep about it’ bit sort of kills his credibility on comparative morality to me.

  • Verdant_Samuel

    Patrick needs to chill the hell out, because snow is pretty rad assuming you don’t murder it

    • Insanenoodlyguy

      As a resident of central new York, I have to disagree. MURDER THE SNOW

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    It’s been almost 2 pages of Patrick seemingly talking alone, answering directly to her thoughts. I’m not sure he fully realises.

    • I kinda like it. Yes, it comes out as a long diatribe, but it’s so very his style, unique and fitting to the characters.

  • Insanenoodlyguy

    Yeah, changed my mind. Don’t kiss.

    • Patrick killed the moment when he knocked out scientists and then invited a friend to his office anyway.
      It went downhill from there.

    • Sabriel

      Yeah, seriously. I’ve gone from being excited about seeing Patrick again to just wishing Alison would leave.

      Man, none of my webcomics are being very fun right now. (Gunnerkrigg Court….)

      • NCD

        AUGH NO WHY. That comic is breaking my heart.

      • Classtoise

        Yeah I really hope the next panel is something like “I have a RESPONSIBILITY to society to-And now you’re thinking about what’s on tv tonight. I can take a hint.”

      • Jordan

        This is just as an unhealthy relationship as the one between Anthony Carver and Antimony.

    • masterofbones

      Seeing as he has clearly shown that he is uninterested, I never supported the idea.

      • Insanenoodlyguy

        Pish posh, that’s just something the love interest claims until circumstances align such that they fall in love or realize they were in love (or at least lust) with the hero all along!
        But instead he was the misplaced love interest instead of the proper endgame love interest. He will of course realize he likes her but it will be at a point where she will reject him and go off with her real love interest.
        It’s now clear that is Paladin…
        … ‘s now being rebuilt robot Joan (makes you laugh)!

        • masterofbones

          I sincerely hope that he never changes his feelings in this regard. It is really interesting seeing this kind of relationship, when many stories would have them be clearly in love from day one.

  • Pol Subanajouy

    I find myself irritated by Patrick. Due to the nature of his power, one sided conversations are not only entirely possible but if he is in the mood, entirely probable. That’s okay. But I’m hoping this monologue arrives at a point soon.

    It could also be that this is one of the first instances that I can recall where he used his power to preemptively speak Alison’s thoughts for her. His taking the words right out of her mouth is making this a conversation that’s not quite a conversation so it’s still registering as a diatribe to me.

    • Ryan

      Yeah, I think he mentioned in an early chapter that he’d learned to wait until after people say something out loud to respond to it for the sake of politeness. Obviously, in this conversation he’s been done with politeness for 3 or 4 pages.

    • Tdoodle

      I agree. It’s not like he isn’t ‘listening’ to Allison, but it’s like reading Stephen Hawking’s monitor and replying while he’s still typing. By reading her half-formed/instintive thoughts, he’s taking her voice away.

  • Ryan

    And here’s your reminder that no matter how it may seem, Patrick is never really monologuing. We’re just hearing only half the conversation.

    • Tdoodle

      Still, he’s fully processing his thoughts before he decides what to say. He isn’t giving Allison that chance. It’s rude at best, indicative of how little he values her input at worst.

      • ChaosVortex

        I don’t believe it is rude. I believe he is telling her exactly what’s on his mind, and unlike conversation with other people, there’s no ego to get in the way of what she’s actually trying to say. None of the bs excuses, logical loopholes, tact, etc. Her raw thoughts of what’s going on are heard and that is where the truth of a person lies, and that is always on for him, and I believe he isn’t sugar coating his thoughts either, that’s why the “conversation” seems like a single string.

        • Mechwarrior

          No, he’s responding to her before her arguments are fully coherent. She literally is not being given a chance to actually figure out what her point is: he’s keeping her too distracted and off balance to defend herself or offer any reasonable rebuttal to him.

      • Shjade

        Yeah, it’s basically the equivalent of constantly interrupting/talking over her.

        Sure, she’s providing input, but not fully-formed or measured responses. Definitely not all the things she likely WANTS to say.

    • Johan

      Aaaaand it took this comment for me to realize this comic doesn’t have though bubbles. I like it, Alison’s though are probably not as well formed as the answers she’s getting, since Patrick isn’t giving her enough time to speak.
      To me, it’s more like we’re hearing 3/4 of the conversation, and if I was Alison I would have stopped Patrick by now, or left, because he’s being super rude. Not totally his fault, but still.

      • motorfirebox

        It’s super rude, but this is a conversation they’ve needed to have.

  • ampg

    I’m starting to understand why Patrick said in an earlier chapter that he doesn’t identify as human.

  • MrSing

    The look of a woman who realizes she’s going to be here for another two hours but will still leave without the answer to her initial question.

    • Johan

      Patrick is trying so hard to take her mind off Moonshadow. You know what I would love? When his monologue comes to a stop : two panels of them staring at each other, and then Alison says ” Ok, so, about Moonshadow?” XD

      • Classtoise

        “And THAT is why I think Ayn Rand was misguided, but not necessarily wrong.”
        “Yeah that’s great. So what do you know about Moonshadow?”

      • Shjade

        Alternatively:
        Panel 1: (Conversation ends, Alison and Patrick looking intensely at each other)
        Panel 2: (Tower exterior, cold and dark, beat panel)
        Panel 3: (Patrick ejected through window)

        • Johan

          Haha XD
          Yeah that’d be cool too 🙂

  • Urthman

    This scene makes no sense. The only way he would talk like this is if he were intentionally trying to alienate Alison, but surely Alison is smart enough to realize this, which would be obvious to Patrick, so even if he were just pretending to come off this badly, it wouldn’t be this clumsy.

  • She’s physically strong and practically invulnerable, not all that bad looking and socially competent, so she has to have a dump stat somewhere. AFAIK Allison is getting good grades, so it isn’t like she’s stupid, just Normal Smart, surrounded by Super Geniuses. And what Patrick is doing really isn’t all that different than what Allison’s handlers were doing, as Patrick points out. As he also points out, as a telepath he wasn’t the most stable personality in the room when he was young. He wanted to do Good, but was a little shakey on how to go about that.

    • KatherineMW

      Yeah. She’s what, 21 years old? She has motivations, and she has ethics; she just hasn’t developed a coherent philosophy with which to defend them. Which is the case with most people, and most people don’t have to debate against telepaths.

  • Rich McGee

    By human standards, Patrick is a victim of serious mental illness. His behavior has been hopelessly distorted by his anomaly, and his delusions (many of which are probably being imposed by outside influences and integrating who knows how many other minds) make him dangerous to himself and others. He is probably treatable – isolating him beyond telepathic range of other humans (possibly in orbit) and counseling him with telecommunications gear would be a good start. Finding a medical solution to his always-on telepathy might be possible.
    Unfortunately, the only entities likely to be able to force him into that kind of treatment would prefer to execute him for past crimes instead, and with good reason. Patrick himself would probably refuse treatment if offered, as he’s quite certain he’s already better than humans are – and while his viewpoint may be correct internally, it is utterly incompatible with being part of the society he’s railing against.
    All very tragic, but given the choice between one unstable posthuman intelligence having his way or billions of people that make up civilization (however flawed) continuing to live their lives without an inhuman intelligence manipulating them, I’ll take humanity every single time.

  • Rich McGee

    Classic manipulative weasel line, though.

  • He’s not filling me with confidence that he’s better than all the people he’s compared himself to.
    Not killed as many as Hiroshima yet? Well, he’s young.

  • He’s that kind of villain/hero, isn’t he?

  • Mechwarrior

    If this were set in the Dresdenverse, Patrick’s speech on this page would have been a convincing reason to hire Kincaid.

    Unfortunately, Patrick would probably have hired him first.

  • StClair

    “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”

  • StClair

    I’m seeing some elements of Dr. Manhattan as well, though. His perspective is… different.

  • Vorpal

    I’m just disappointed I only get two walls of text a week.

    • Johan

      True, those are very interesting. It shows the frustration Patrick feels, and it also show how frustrating it is to have a conversation with him. What he says in the first panel about him being a mentally unstable 14 years old at the time changes a few things for me. I hadn’t considered that.
      It’s also a good opportunity to admire the author’s talent.
      I’ll admit I kinda want to see Alison punch things again though XD

    • Classtoise

      For me it’s a combination of this and the fact that this storyline has sputtered and stalled on “Patrick tries to justify being a self-absorbed twit”.

      I’m not sure if he’s a master at manipulating Alison into not asking questions, or if the writer just really wanted to info dump Patrick’s backstory and finally got their chance.

  • TheGonzoMD .

    It should be noted that there’s a half drained bottle of scotch in the foreground on page 97.

    So he’s probably more than a little drunk.

  • TheGonzoMD .

    Is this really the thing Alison should be doing? Patrick says something that conflicts with her values and is a “sociopath” so she hurts him and completely disregards everything she said? For all that people (in general, not just you) throw around bad words like “sociopath” they often have pretty self-centred and blinkered reactions to their beliefs being challenged. The fact that Alison doesn’t stomp around using her powers to shut people down for thinking the things Patrick thinks is to her credit.

  • KatherineMW

    That is a truly depressing corollary to Hanlon’s Razor.

  • Patrick is a real class act. “I’m just a special snowflake in a storm of special snowflakes. Except I and a few others have powers.” I feel like he’s frustrated with this fact and justifies it as saying that no one is an exception, and somehow he feels a bit different from the masses for vocalizing this opinion. Well excuse me, Mr. Delusions-of-Grandeur for not believing that being cynical and killing less people makes you superior or more more mature.
    Patrick, I have a feeling you can spin philosophical all day and still not answer the dang question.

  • Sabriel

    “a valuable and important part of the college experience: oh my god, I thought my boyfriend was a genius but actually he’s just a narcissist.”

    LOL oh dear. I know exactly what you’re talking about.

  • KatherineMW

    Poor Alison; she just experienced a valuable and important part of the college experience: oh my god, I thought my boyfriend was a genius but actually he’s just a narcissist.

    This is by far my favourite interpretation of this arc.

    • Classtoise

      * I thought my boyfriend was a genius but actually he’s just a narcissist.*

      Oh my god, that is literally perfect.

      • Philippe Saner

        Eh, I dunno. He really is a genius, even if it’s mostly because of his powers.

  • Johan

    I always reply “No I’m not!”. It is infuriating when people say that.

  • Nightsbridge

    I think I lost track of what patrick is trying to argue

    • Mechwarrior

      I think that that was Patrick’s point.

  • Ryan

    That choice of “faintly physically threatening” pose is very interesting, and (I assume) very intentional. It looks, as you say, like the pose of a man asserting dominance over a woman. Except that in this instance, at least physically, Alison’s power makes that impossible. But looking at this as a mental battle, that’s more or less exactly what’s happening. It’s a clever way to telegraph to the non-telepathic readers what’s going on in the characters’ minds.

  • Classtoise

    Because it can very much be, and is generally “not good” at best. It can be as simple as antisocial behavior making him not want to be around others, or it can be a lack of empathy and remorse, not caring that others are suffering through his actions.

    He was a supervillain at one point so I’d say he definitely suffers from a lack of remorse.

  • Classtoise

    Not to mention just like there are invasive thoughts (i.e ideas like “What happens if I drop this child I am holding”, things you’d never do but your mind brings up for some terrifying reason), there are also thoughts and ideas that come and go and are never dwelled upon or acted on.

    Alison might be THINKING of this “kindness and fairy tales” thing, but for all we know her immediate next thought before he plucked it out was going to be “But enough of the dreamy-ness, I’m worried he’s gonna relapse”. But Patrick doesn’t seem to care. He’s taken her voice away and is basically using her own thoughts against her.

  • Classtoise

    Not even an alt-text? Man, even the authors are getting sick of Patrick.

  • Nexxo

    Patrick as the anthropomorphic personification of Western culture? Works for me. 🙂

  • MrSing

    He murdered innocent people and he admits that he doesn’t care. No matter how you cut it, he’s a major first class specialist asshole.

    • Guk Young

      But is he really the worst person, a major first class specialist asshole? I would argue that Patrick does care about mitigating loss in that sense of words, and he’s personally invested in such efforts. He just can’t feel guilt for such losses. Does that make his actions which came with innocent casualties better? Perhaps not. But what should Patrick have done instead? Not killing people would be a start, but is that possible considering he wants to actively change the world on a fundamental level?

      It may seem arrogant of him to quote kill tally of other forces beside himself because it rationalizes his actions, but Patrick isn’t deferring blame or saying “hate these people instead”. He’s challenging the moral judgment imposed on him as a personal grudging disguised as an objective standard. In other words, are we prepared to conclude that any influential figures who intentionally gave orders that would have resulted in innocent casualty one way or another is evil, no matter the intention, or that no cause is ever worth involuntary sacrifices? That’s the price of calling Patrick evil.

      • MrSing

        If he actually wants to change the world on a fundamental level, why would he do it in the same way every tyrant in the world has ever done it? Nelson Mandela stopped apartheid. He did this not by murdering the people his people had been fighting and killing for ages and his people had been killed by likewise, he did it by making peace with them and being political.
        Patrick of all peope would be more than capable to do this, but he choses not to. Why?
        Maybe because it’s harder than killing people. But that would mean he doesn’t really care about others if he’s not willing to take the more difficult path.
        Don’t say that you can’t change the world without killing people. It has been done before and to great effect. And Patrick has a major advantage in doing it this way compared to the normal people who did it. He has no excuse.
        Patrick is also in fact trying to defer the blame. It’s like a politician saying “I want a clean and fair debate, so I won’t bring up the photos that show my opponent kicking puppies”. He only SAYS that he doesn’t make excuses, right after making a very poor excuse. It’s a dirty trick.
        The matter of the fact is, no goverment that murders and exploits innocent (and I emphasize the word innocent) people is one that’s capable of changing the world for the better.
        Patrick is nothing the world hasn’t seen before and nothing that can change the world. Just a major first class specialist asshole.
        And that is probably exactly why he wasn’t assassinated in the first place.

        • Guk Young

          As for him choosing the peaceful approach like Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, or Martin Luther King Jr., such a route requires tremendous faith in people, and that’s something we can’t just decide to have. History has so far only shown a handful of people capable of that level of sincere trust that inspires the masses. Is it not more likely that Patrick, as a mind-reader, be more incapable of trusting people than the norm considering the amount of hidden, dirty secrets he probably sees on a daily basis? (It should be remembered that Patrick is afraid of an underground conspiracy that even he can’t uncover.)

          Sure, mind-reading’s really helpful, but how can someone who doesn’t trust in the power of love or kindness be capable of choosing the “peaceful” path to change the world? Is it right to condemn someone for not doing something he doesn’t believe in? Yes, Patrick could have chosen to follow the peaceful path, but would it have paid off? Who knows. The only thing certain is that Patrick doesn’t believe in it. As for him not being assassinated, the conspiracy didn’t kill based on the morality of the person, but rather the powers themselves, and mind-reading isn’t much of a savior power as much as Allison’s super-strength and invulnerability.

          I’m not saying what Patrick chose to do was right or even that it will work because again, who the hell knows. What I’m trying to say that it’s the only path that Patrick thinks that his power is useful for. I’m also not saying that not believing in something is enough excuse for one’s action, but rather that we should see how someone could be incapable of doing otherwise. The only way I could think that Patrick is indeed the worst asshole is if Patrick deliberately ignored a life-changing experience that should have obliterated his doubts about people for the sake of not trying.

          (On a side note, someone commented that Patrick might be going about on this spiel because he’s avoiding the topic. I do think that’s bad, but also understandable.)

          I’m not interested in whether or not Patrick is in the right or what he should be doing from the reader’s perspective, but rather how it might have been inevitable, and I believe that good judgement about someone requires understanding their perspective.

    • The Elephant of Surprise

      Doesn’t care? No. Patrick’s motivations appear to be altruistic, which would make no sense if he didn’t care about other people. Just a few pages back, Patrick noted that “you just can’t murder your way to a better world.” That said, Patrick seems to recognize that it’s just as naive to think large-scale human problems can be solved without human cost — even if that cost is a body count.

      Patrick said that he “killed innocent people … and never lost a moment’s sleep about it.” That *could* indicate that he lacks empathy, if not for the context provided by the last several pages. In view of his other comments, Patrick’s statement probably just means that he believes he made the best decisions he could. Losing sleep over those decisions after the fact wouldn’t make him a better person, just a conflicted or unstable one.

  • Kid Chaos

    Is it just me, or is Patrick talking in circles? ‘Cause I’m lost. Seriously, I am not picking up what he’s putting down.

    • Mechwarrior

      He’s deliberately making sure that Alison is concentrating on everything but the reason she came to see him.

      • Kid Chaos

        Ah; I thought it was something like that.

  • Mechwarrior

    Simplest, maybe, but absolutely not the smartest.

  • Ross Van Loan

    Horrible violence is now a perfectly viable solution! Punch away the problem, Alison! Punch away for the Greater Good ™! Kill HItler! It will end the madness! It will! I swear!

  • Deb

    I always thought of the name SFP as a joke, like, you know, feminist litterature saying “we need strong female protagonists !” and Brennan being like “I made the STRONGEST female protagonist evah ! she can crush buildings ! that is STRONG !” and then reality strikes back and crushing buildings is no use.

  • Deb

    “Mary is but a face for sexist horrible violence”. Or, weeeeell, it was implied.

  • Johan

    Well I think in your situation it makes sense. And it worked, good job 🙂
    Teaching anything to kids can be a fabulous experience or very tough and tricky. I salute your for doing it and I hope you find it as rewarding as it should be
    There many things that my parents taught me, and one of the most important is to do my best, all the time. I don’t see the point of doing something without giving it everything I have. Even when I make coffee, I strive to make the best coffee I can. And I learn new things everyday and I’ll keep working hard as long as I can.
    So when I do under perform, there is a very good reason for it and I know it, I don’t need anyone to point it out. To me it mostly means the person doesn’t really know me, or is awkwardly trying to be sweet.

  • Kid Chaos

    Mr. Incredible: You mean you killed off real heroes so that you could *pretend* to be one?
    Syndrome: Oh, I’m real. Real enough to defeat *you*! And I did it without your precious gifts, your oh-so-special powers. I’ll give them heroics. I’ll give them the most spectacular heroics the world has ever seen! And when I’m old and I’ve had my fun, I’ll sell my inventions so that *everyone* can have powers. *Everyone* can be super! And when everyone’s super… [chuckles evilly] …*no one* will be.
    –“The Incredibles” (2004)

  • Philip Bourque

    I don’t think he isn’t foaming at the mouth crazy because I see no foam at his mouth. Crazy is debatable. He seems to have some basic sense of right and wrong and believes that what he is doing will be for the “greater good”. Of course, since I’m not a telepath, I can’t judge his intent or thoughts.

  • Farmerbob1

    I find it difficult to believe that Alison doesn’t know exactly what Patrick is doing, reacting to her thoughts before she fully consider and voice them.
    I hope she sees a chess timer nearby and picks it up. “Stop this. I get 30 seconds to think every ten seconds you talk.”
    Then again, we don’t know what thought Patrick is responding to in the last frame.
    Was Alison thinking “I really almost fell for this guy?” or something more complex?

  • Guancyto

    Patrick, what are you doing. You are a mind reader. A mega-super-mind-reader. You are literally the most experienced person in the world with humans being able to feel love and show kindness. Every other human in the world has to sort of fumble and grope and make an educated guess whether or not other humans feel those things. You KNOW.

  • pixie

    I recently drew some fanart… if I wanted to show the writer and artist, how could I go about doing that??

  • David

    “I am the villain of this story” -Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor-

    Seems fitting.

  • Insanenoodlyguy

    It’s possible that Patrick’s lack of Empathy is actually a secondary power to his mind reading. A normal human with his abilities may become overwhelmed by what is in essence super-empathy. So he has none, at least on the micro-level.

    • The Elephant of Surprise

      I have a theory on that, actually.

      Empathy is highly individual. People are ordinarily very bad at moving from the the emotion of empathy to efficient altruistic action. (I’ve linked a couple of interesting articles to this effect in another post on this page.) This is why most people will happily donate money to save a starving orphan, but won’t donate even half again as much to save a hundred starving orphans. It’s also one reason that most people have an easier time with the basic Trolley Problem than the related Fat Man Problem. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem).

      One contributing factor in this inefficiency is that we rarely imagine anonymous strangers complexly. We understand that the suffering of an individual is bad — especially if the individual is someone we know. On an emotional level, though, we can’t grasp that the suffering of ten people is *ten times* as bad. The suffering of 100 or 1000 people becomes just a statistic, largely without emotional impact.

      Here’s why my speculation begins: Patrick has always-on telepathy. Consequently, he can’t *help* but realize — every moment of every day — that each stranger he meets is a unique individual with his or her own passions, dreams, and fears. As a result, his empathy for *everyone he meets* approximates what normal humans reserve for the people they know well — friends, lovers, family. After years of living like this, Patrick understands on an emotional level that everyone is a person, and not just a statistic. He is therefore is more capable than a normal person of prioritizing ruthlessly to do the most good for the most people.

      In short: Patrick may be coldly calculating, be he’s willing to sacrifice lives for the greater good because he’s *more* empathetic, not less.

      • Insanenoodlyguy

        And then today’s page happened. Wow.

  • Love and Kindness aren’t Fairy Tales! They’re objectively observable phenomena!

    • Mechwarrior

      Not if you’re a sociopath who wants to take over the world.

      And it makes his desire to construct a working time machine a bit more chilling.

  • The Elephant of Surprise

    Love and kindness are very real, but Patrick’s rant over the last few pages has been about consequences, not emotion. I don’t think he’s arguing that love or kindness are fairy tales. Rather, he’s saying that talk of love and kindness isn’t helpful when evaluating the moral consequences of actions.

    In other words: love and kindness aren’t the answers questions of moral action. To imagine otherwise is to believe in a fairy tale.

  • The Elephant of Surprise

    Most people are somewhat manipulative; manipulation doesn’t constitute indicia of psychopathy unless it’s exceptional, which doesn’t seem to be the case here.

    Patrick doesn’t seem abnormally manipulative. In a sense all persuasion is manipulation, but we don’t typically call someone “manipulative” unless they’re trying to persuade people via deception or emotional appeal. Patrick doesn’t seem to do either of those things to an unusual degree.

    It’s also good to keep in mind that the indicators for psychopathy should be taken as a whole, and that a single indicator can never support a positive diagnosis. Most people exhibit some traits on the PLC-R list (of psychopathy indicators). That doesn’t mean that most people are sociopaths. The factors should be taken together, including both indicators and counter-indicators.

    • Ian Osmond

      He just appears more manipulative because he’s abnormally SUCCESSFUL at being manipulative. As he’s pointed out, he doesn’t have mind control powers, but, since he knows everybody’s innermost desires, he might as well.

  • Justin Williams

    What I mean by “not her place to decide his fate” is that she doesn’t get to decide that he gets off scott free just because she feels some kind of connection with him. Patrick needs to pay for his actions, he did not perpetrate victim-less crimes. He murdered, destroyed and disrupted the fabric of society.

    The fear and suspicion of super beings can probably be traced back largely to Patrick and his machinations.

    Is he so far above everyone else that his victims deaths should count for nothing? That seems to be his opinion and if that is not a sign of sociopathic tendencies what is?