SFP

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  • Giacomo Bandini

    interesting, The repression of her mother’s memory was not of the trauma caused by her, but from his own guilt. He rewrote his mind to keep her just a villain in his narrative, rather than also a victim.

  • Skudplastr

    Ooh, mind reading, mind control, and telepathy? This man’s the whole package.

    Too bad that package was dropped off the back of the emotional truck. Off of the emotional bridge. Over the emotional cliff. Into the emotional ravine.

  • rpenner

    “Mind-reading is like … inheriting a huge library of new, first-rate detective mysteries which due to a manufacturing defect always fall open to the denouement which is typeset in all caps and double sized.”
    “Mhmm. So no mysteries, hunh?”
    “Oh, no. Just not big mysteries like who done it. Lots of little mysteries like what brought them to this point and how did such a hard-boiled flatfoot learn to pronounce denouement in the first place.”

    • Kid Chaos

      So he’s never read “I, the Jury”, I take it. 😜

    • More like reading the slush pile of all the slice-of-life books that are too improbable ever make it as published fiction, I suspect

  • Richard, Probably

    “You need to have absolutely zero belief in the humanity of the other person. None…. Control is about dismissal. Speaking in someone else’s mind is about letting them into yours….”

    So. Let’s set aside for the moment that a hammer is almost certainly going to fall at some point in regards to Alison having just utilized a telepathic link to literally shatter the walls within someone’s mind and make them into a wildly different person more to her liking after having completely lost faith that the person she was linked to could be improved in any other way. Let’s just leave that giant axe hanging over our heads for the moment and pretend like we didn’t just have our villain’s memories show us exactly why our heroine’s recent crowning moment of awesome is, in fact, such a horrible thing to do to someone — even someone an obvious monster — that an actual supervillain was shaken to his core by the doing of it.

    Even setting that aside for the moment, I’m concerned that Patrick just said that letting someone into his mind is something he never wants to do when Alison is actively present in his mind via a telepathic exchange. That seems like it should set off a warning flare or two.

    • A Tiny Little Baby

      Except for the fact that Patrick was likely dying and came to her specifically because he knew she would be able to do something no one else could to help him regain control of his mind. Alison isn’t violating his mind without his consent in order to overwrite his personality, she’s doing what she can to help me regain his humanity.

      Alison has done some bad things. I’m not saying she hasn’t. But this whole process in Patrick’s mind isn’t her asserting her will over another person’s, it’s her doing the very thing Patrick very likely came to her for. There’s definitely more consent there than what Patrick did to his mother or what Alison did to Max.

      • Richard, Probably

        That could be true. There are indications that the Patrick she’s talking to now was always there and might have had a say in the matter despite being outside the walls. But at absolute best, she would be assuming consent in spite of never receiving any explicit verbal confirmation and instead getting the strongest telepathic refusal Patrick’s mental establishment could pull together. With this Patrick outside the walls, an argument could certainly be made that the gestalt whole of Patrick still wanted her to do it on some level, especially given that Lord Boy’s rationale for wanting her dead doesn’t do a great job of explaining why Patrick showed up at her door… but I don’t think that the implicit, circumstantial indicators she received would qualify in Alison’s mind as adequate consent for sexual intimacy, let alone the wholesale reworking of a person’s mind. She wasn’t looking for consent when she shouted down every part of Patrick’s mind she’d come into contact with and then acted on his mind in a way that none of them were comfortable with; she did it because she believed the order of his mind was fundamentally wrong and there didn’t appear to be any good outcome without altering it… just as Patrick had with his mother on page 94.

        And that’s the optimistic interpretation. The one where we can at least ask ourselves the question of whether reworking a monster’s mind to something that offends you less is okay if they wanted you to do it first.
        I mean, you can also argue that, Patrick’s memory aside, reworking a monster’s mind into something more positive is fine and dandy, but that still leaves all the parallels.

        But there’s still a less-optimistic interpretation: if we take the words and actions of the telepathically-expressed authority over Patrick’s-Mind-That-Was to be our authority as to Patrick’s will, Alison was absolutely, 100% violating his mind without his consent, full-stop. Just… the other shoe hasn’t dropped yet, and so far she’s still at the stage where Patrick was hugging his mother and starting downstairs for milk and cookies.

        • First Aid Kid

          Well, this is a mataphor for therapy really.

          Someone comes to you for help. They’ll have to change certain aspects of themselves to feel better about themselves. Thing is, changing yourself is never easy. There’s always resistance (personified as Lord Boy here), because doing things the way you’ve always done them feels safe. Eventhough on a rational level you know it’s not healthy to do things this way.

          I’d say more, but the words are escaping me now.

          • JP

            It can also be a metaphor for non-consensual intimate encounters.

            Further, Patrick didn’t come to her for ‘therapy’, he came to her to get her the list of conspirators and then collapsed from damage taken.

          • AshlaBoga

            The idea of Alison in a non-con is scary. Woman of steel, man of Kleenex

          • pleasechangemymind

            What list? He wasn’t holding anything. He wasn’t carrying anything. And then he slammed his head into a wall, and his powers appeared not only to be damaging himself, but Alison *and* those around her. I don’t see that she really had a choice in the matter without violating boundaries that he’d already made clear (like, y’know, turning him over to the authorities who might be able to manage this). This appears, to me, to be the most ethical decision she could have made, given the circumstances.

            Then again, see my username. Goodness I love this comic and the discussions it spawns. Y’know, mostly.

          • JP

            @pleasechangemymind:disqus

            This is the conversation she has shortly before entering his mind, referencing what’s going on and why he’s there:
            https://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-29-5/
            https://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-30-6/

            Statement of mission of intent (to get the info he knows):
            https://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-34-7/

            Patrick explaining to Alison the importance of what Patrick has done with their mindscape (expressing desire for this strucutre, and indicating its importance):
            https://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-42-6/

            Admission that she entered his mind without consent:
            https://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-56-4/

            Reiterating that Patrick’s walls and buildup actually have reasons:
            https://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-58-4/

            Alison being reminded she’s only there to get the list
            https://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-76-4/

            Alison getting her ‘inspiration’ to make Patrick’s brain the same way Feral’s is (and making her own judgement that one is better than the other):
            https://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-78-4/
            https://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-79-2/

            What little consent Alison DID get (take down menance aspect, get list):
            https://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-81-2/

            Alison arguing with Patrick literally about how to manage his own brain, as well as getting very clear non-consent messages from Pat, dismissing Pat’s views on the subject:
            https://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-82-2/
            https://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-83-3/

            Patrick’s concept of Alison’s values literally trying to stop the real Alison and the deed being done:
            https://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-84-3/
            https://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-85-3/

            Patrick explaining Dismissal on this page:
            https://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-101-3/

            It’s 70 pages in the making, but it all adds up to Alison doing the very thing to Patrick that Patrick thought was the worse thing he’d ever done.

            And even the therapy angle doesn’t work, because therapy is still done with consent. Even in an insane asylum, the counselors and psychiatrists won’t work with an uncooperative patient, and generally just talk with them casually until they’re ready to cooperate & consent (if they ever do.)

          • Weatherheight

            ::slow clap::
            Excellent research, eloquent presentation.

          • Richard, Probably

            That was an amazingly constructed post and I thank you for it.

          • Teyar

            One, he is bad, he is a monster, he’s a murderer. So whatever justifications, perceptions, viewpoints, or ethical constructs he’s used to get him to THAT point are, definitionally, “Bad”.

            Two, we are in a kaleidoscopic whirling mind-scape shifting from perception to expression to persona to memory to emotion to physical sensation and all the other potential angles of input. Realistically, no one thinks ‘straight’ in that kind of scenario.

            Three, he internalizes his ‘Man Of The City’, the guy who builds the walls, the one actively holding the Component back, as A SUPER VILLAIN. The act of emotional repression is presented as a cackling, violent, cartoon evil. By himself, to himself – He KNOWS what he is doing to himself is BAD.

            Four, “consent” isn’t even the central concern, flashing an image of doors at someone and then having EVERY aspect of his mind react positively to her presence, save for said evil part (Segueing into Lord Boy’s MURDEROUS impulse which cannot be abided) further cements what Alison is doing here as morally justified and likely to be the overall ‘healthiest’ outcome for Patrick possible.

            Five, Patrick has actively moved in ways that affect MILLIONS if not literal billions of people – He’s never cared for consent as a concept, from the moment he murdered the heart of himself by murdering his mother with his psi-powers. This wrecking ball act is most likely to produce a Patrick that has more /actual/ empathy, and not just cognition-jamming stream of thought pouring at him – And therefor produce far more positive overarching waves in the system.

            Six – Even if he hates the idea of someone /changing/ another, and equates it with Murder as opposed to the traditional negative viewpoint on change, Death, he still knows he needs to change. So who does he go to, when at the depths of his most self destructive, unable to parse need from hate from loathing? The only person capable of murdering him. Of changing him. Of helping him.

          • Gotham

            “Bad”, “a monster”, and “a murderer” you say, well this is very convincing
            Let’s handwave “a murderer” away, Alison is a murderer too. So what makes a person “bad’ and “a monster”?

          • Teyar

            There is no handwaving “murderer” away. The fact that this idea is even on your radar is sort of the counterpoint I’m making here. Yeah, you can make justifications, sleep Allright at night, maybe legitimately forgive yourself or skate on the legal consequences or come to change your ways or any thousand possible remedies and redemptions.

            An evil act, or worse, a whole host of evil acts enabled, is still Evil. To step off the moral aspect entirely though – Patrick has been spiraling into a chaotic and increasingly self destructive nosedive his whole life, starting at 4. He’s going to die or do something truly terrible again and again. At this point there isn’t too extreme a price to pay – and whatever costs you affix, however you label them, remain largely paltry here..

          • Gotham

            Again, what makes someone or something “evil”?
            Because I have murderer friends, who killed people in self-defense, and I don’t consider them evil. Should I?

          • Zorae42

            Except he was projecting the image of Alison specifically standing in front of his mental doors to people in the near vicinity:
            http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-33-5/

            And the first Patrick she meets asks for her help:
            http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-36-7/
            http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-43-5/

            He might not have verbally asked, but I’d say he definitely gave consent for her to be there (especially since it’s his powers keeping her there).

            Another version of Patrick was willing to tear down the damn city himself (in order to kill Alison, but he also seemed cool with destroying it in general):
            http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-40-6/

            Meaning the city itself is not the be-all and end-all of Patrick.

            Then, Lord Boy wanted to kill her for naturally taking his walls down:
            http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-71-4/

            So she was there with his consent, until another version of Patrick decided to kill her for pretty dubious reasons. The walls were coming down naturally and making him more healthy mentally. But he had a 4 year old personality in charge who’s only desire was not to feel/remember bad things whether or not they were good for Patrick as a whole.

            Also, Patrick forced his mother, who did not experience feelings for other people, to love him for his own benefit. Like he said, he dismissed her humanity and used her as a means to an end. Alison however, took down an already crumbling maladaptive coping mechanism to try and help him. She didn’t dismiss him, she dismissed his barrier and decision to partition himself, and she didn’t do it as a means to an end. Yes, there was a lack of consent. And while the walls were terribly unhealthy, knocking them down all at once has some potential negative consequences. But the lack of consent is really the only similarity her actions have with Patrick’s.

          • JP

            Touche’… good references, I hadn’t quite seen it from that angle.

            So, that comes down to some interesting questions…
            1. Dubious consent – Part of Patrick was saying ‘yes’, and another part of Patrick was saying ‘no’. The best real-world plausible analogy I can come up with is if a person was engaging in some consent-requiring activity with a split-personality interpreter for the hearing impaired, and in private their voice conveyed one personality while their sign language conveyed the other. If one consents and the other does not (and then the consenting one presents certain boundaries as not okay and the non-consenting one does present those boundaries as ignorable), could that even remotely be considered consent for that thing?

            2. Our minds do sectionalize, and it is often a very important thing (Allison claimed Patrick needed to ‘read a book’, I think she needed to read a few more herself in this regard.) Although harmful memories need to be reviewed on occasion, they do need to be kept in check to not be paralyzing. Further, we sectionalize frequently for various social interactions, and sectionalization is important for determining the value of various ideas (such as a smarter person wouldn’t allow some drug-scented person yelling on the street corner that aliens will abduct humanity tomorrow to affect your core planning as much advice from your close relative that you’ve been slipping back into some past bad habit.) The types and methods of sectionalization that our minds do that are actually quite healthy and neccesarry. Allison assumed her judgement call about his barriers were better than his own (which is a bit arrogant since he’s seen inside a lot more minds than hers). If consent issue is set aside, did she have the right to assume she was making the right decision? (Obviously, as protagonist and for plot reasons, she would, but at what point should a person take liberties with another person when they don’t know full implications?)

          • Giacomo Bandini

            Alison had a clear, evident consent to enter his mind. That is not debatable. Lord Boy claims thanshe was uninvited is utterly BS.
            Now, had she the consent to break some old coping mechanism? I d say not. Two , if not four of his personas opposed it, while one seemed to approve. Too little for an informed consent.
            But his consent is unneeded. Patrick is not only insane, he is CRIMINALLY insane. Furthermore, his specific set of powers makes imprisonment extremely difficult,if not outright impossible. Patrick has just tried to murder an innocent woman, for the “crime” of trusting and loving him (because yes, Lord Boy doen t want Alison dead for cpming to his mind,but just for the trust she showed Patrick years ago), and was mentally imprisoning another innocent bystander . So, it was no longer his call.

          • JP

            You make a lot of good points, and I’ll concede Allison is acting in the defense of herself and probably Feral as well as in defense of Patrick (even if against his own will).

            A couple caveats though. Patrick isn’t criminally insane. Patrick -was- criminally insane, but has actively been self-reforming (and getting help reforming) for a long time at this point. As for what’s happening in his mind, normal human decision-making has broken down because Allison is in there -before- typical human decisions are made. A person’s various aspects generally come to a consensus and -then- the person acts. Being in his mind before that final decision making process, any actions Patrick does are not truly his own.

            Thinking about it from what you point along with my points, it could be easily argued that Allison was facing a Trolly Delima (For those following not in the know: The trolly problem is an old moral quandry: If a runaway Trolly filled with people was about to careen into a wall killing all the passengers, but you could re-direct it with a nearby switch, but doing so would kill a couple kids on the new track in the way, should you do so? Is it more moral to activate the switch or avoid being involved?).

            I personally think Allison is actively pulling that lever, and committing harm and a heinous act in the hopes that the act will do more good than harm… whether or not that act should be taken is a longstanding moral ethics debate (Which, by no means, means it shouldn’t be debated. My personal take is that the lever should be pulled, the lives of the many outweigh the needs of the few, but worth noting that the children are not the only sacrifice – the lever-puller’s innocence is also a sacrifice, making the act truly selfless but also sacrificing any heroism earned.)

          • masterofbones

            One other important issue – one should go to a trained therapist, rather than someone whose preferred solution to problems is “punch it”

        • “she did it because she believed the order of his mind was fundamentally wrong and there didn’t appear to be any good outcome without altering it”

          The disorder of Patrick’s mind being in the process of killing her could have been a factor too.

          • JP

            It should be pointed out that Patrick’s mind trying to kill her could very easily be seen as his own mind trying self defense… it was pointed out she was there in his mind uninvited.

          • Richard, Probably

            The hostility of Patrick’s mind is part of why there didn’t appear to be a good outcome without altering it. But let’s not forget that in Patrick’s parallel, his mother was talking about killing him and moving to do so when he decided to rewrite her mind.

        • It had passed being about helping Patrick, and become self-defence, with the certainty that Alison and Tara were at risk, and the likelihood that even more people were affected. The need for explicit medical consent vanished when that became an issue. The priorities shift when your patient is holding a ticking bomb.

          • masterofbones

            Is it really self defense to shoot someone protecting their own home from you while you try and break into their house?

          • Zorae42

            Except it’s more like your friend invited you into their house, showed you around, and then their dad decided you were a bad influence and tried to kill you.

            Patrick invited her in. At least 2/5 of him had no problems with her being there (and if this is the last part of him, it seems like 3/5 of him were cool with it).

          • If he’s holding a bomb which could destroy the neighbourhood, which effectively Patrick is, then yes.

            Or for another analogy, he’s like a disease carrier who refuses to quarantine himself, so you have to do it for him.

        • Stephanie

          This the most convincing argument I’ve seen that what Alison did to Patrick’s mind was a violation, according to her own principles. I think you’ve changed my stance on this.

          • Gotham

            Which part? Because if it’s the rape analogy, I’m going to grumble at my principles.

          • Stephanie

            The argument that Alison never had explicit verbal consent for what she did is what convinced me. I believe–and Alison theoretically believes–that messing around with other people’s bodies and brains is unethical without explicit consent.

            You say “rape analogy,” but I don’t believe the person I replied to was arguing that breaking Patrick’s brain walls equates to rape. They’re saying that Alison failed to apply the same standards of consent in rewiring Patrick’s brain that we know she does apply to sex.

          • Gotham

            Would you blame me if I stated that I tend to call “rape analogy” any discussion regarding consent that needs a pinch of “now, let’s apply this to a sexual setting” to be convincing?

          • Stephanie

            I understand where you’re coming from. I had a similar reaction when people were insistently equating Alison twisting Max’s arm to rape during that whole months-long debate. I’m just clarifying why I think bringing up sexual consent was relevant in this particular case. It highlights an inconsistency in Alison’s ethical principles.

          • JP

            If I understand what you’re saying, I don’t blame you. Consent is consent; doesn’t matter if it’s sex, tattoos, circumcision, suicide, or brain surgery. A person’s self should operate by their rules. Sex is not some exception or special case, just one where people actually -get- it more often than not, the importance of consent.

          • Gotham

            Yeah, but rape analogies are an easy subject to mess up and say terrible things. Because we don’t have mind control in the real world, rape is the most violent act of intimacy and agency violation we have and a lot of rape analogies manage to both display a serious trivialization of the consequences of rape and poor critical argumentative skills to talk about ethics.

            /And/ that’s without even taking into account when it’s done to defend wrong, terrible and terribly wrong opinions. For instance.

          • masterofbones

            Eh, id call murder more violent personally.

          • Gotham

            Ah, the consideration ad nihilo, in the full grace of its contextlessness and purposelessness. Truly, a wonderful creature, on par with other such insightless questions such as “is this feminist”

          • JP

            The trivialization of rape is… weird. The crime should not be trivialized, but the impact is overly dramatized and needs a bit of trivialization because it’s been puffed up way beyond other forms of consent violation which are actually on equal terms as far as impact goes.

            As masterofbones mentions, murder is a worse act of violation.

            And I don’t say this ignorantly either. As a person who has been so victimized in the past, I was lucky that nobody in my immediate circle cared (I actually asked them not to, and they did a pretty good job of it). The consequences of the act, inherently, aren’t anything a pill, a few hours of meditation, and and a couple weeks to physically heal won’t fix. By comparison, murder is very permanent.

            The ‘real’ danger of rape, however, is society. When polled, people rate rape and murder almost on equal levels, despite the fact that logically, they’re not even in the same ballpark. Society plays up such a hoopla about the victims (not the perp) to constantly remind victims that it happened to them, and the ‘real’ damages are a self-fulfilling prophecy of nonsense by creating a socital-induced PTSD situation by making them constantly replay the event in their head instead of simply moving on.

            In fact, that societal hoopla is directly a result of old patriarchy systems claiming that virginity is some wonderful value and trait (because if I’m going to get a mechanic to work on my car, I totally want to get the one that has never opened the hood to a car before, apparantly *eyeroll*). As a result, rape gets played up as far as impact because “It destroys the victim’s worth”. Except, assuming you’re not some old religious patriarchal backwaters idiot who sells daughters like cattle, it does absolutely nothing to a person’s worth.

            I would have to say that as far as consent violations go, I would much rather be raped again than, say, my house be robbed where they take stuff that I saved up weeks of my time for or it’d be worse for someone to steal the rights to something I created.

            Sure, whoever does it should be punished, because someone who violates people on a personal level is a risk to all of society, so don’t trivialize the perpetrator’s actions, but the effect on the victims really does need some of the over-dramatization taken away, if for no other reason, than for the victim’s sake.

          • Nikkie White

            JP… I find your analysis deeply flawed. You are talking from your perspective as a sexual assault victim and how you recovered. But not all sexual assaults are the same. Dependent on the level of violence, violation and most important repetition; recovery for some sexual assault victims is not as easy as yours.

            A simple pill can not heal multiple contusions, broken bones or lacerations. A few hours of meditations may not clear the threats of further assaults or assaults on family members uttered during the rape to terrify you. You can not take a ‘few weeks’ to recover from a rape if you are being raped every night.

            Your quick recover is a blessing for which you should be thankful.

            Speaking as a survivor of multiple violent rapes.

          • JP

            You calling my analysis flaws is… sorry if it sounds redundant, flawed. I’m sorry for your experiences, and emotionally, I get how you feel. I’m talking more a terminology point.

            The reason I say this isn’t to trivialize your experience, but to point out your experience isn’t just rape. There’s a difference between rape and violent rape, and the two shouldn’t be confused, and what you describe is rape AND assault AND an abusive relationship AND repeating victimization. Assault and abusive relationships are very intense violations of a person’s right to consent. By trying to label the whole thing as simply ‘rape’, you trivialize assault and abuse while using their trivialization to dramatize the rape aspect.

            By combining them, and simply calling them ‘rape’, if gone to court, sadly courts won’t punish offenders nearly enough. However, going to court and bringing them up on not only charges of rape, but also assault, and abuse, all on multiple counts, is a much more accurate (and effective) way to present it.

          • Gotham

            *sigh*

          • JP

            If you have a problem with what I said, please say so plainly. My mind is open to be changed if you can demonstrate it. What I say is as I see it after serious reflection on the topic both of my own experiences, what I have seen happen with others, and with what I’ve read of psychology and philosophy. Simply sighing at what I say won’t convince me of a different viewpoint.

          • Gotham

            Your opinion the trite yet dishearteningly common reactionary one. I’m very glad you were able to move past your own trauma, but all anyone you included should glean from your experience is that you have thick skin, and more power to ya. But claiming you’d rather be raped again than robbed is so misguided, inconsiderate and divorced from reality there’s little I figure my own experience as a child counselor (who’s never been sexually assaulted herself) will do to make you realize. Although I’ll try.

            Here’s the thing: what you claim is an over-exaggeration of the consequences of rape and its self-victimization effects, is just absolutely untrue and without a shred of worth. It’s the typical claim of reactionary asswipes for whom the “normal” is the world we lived in (and still very much do to a large extent) a mere few years ago where rape happened just as much and traumatized just as much and the rapists could get away with it so as not to upset the order too much. It’s a normal settled so deeply in cultural consciousness movements like #MeToo could never have happened until last year. It’s a normal in which the US elects a President who has /raped/ /children/, and it’s not the worst thing everybody in the entire world thinks it has done. How happy were the assholes of our world to jump on the self-victimization narrative bandwagon, using the arguments of the opposition to spin lies that benefited their needs.

            See, I cannot even give credence to your valid argument that patriarchal attitudes see women as exchangeable commodity and rape is essentially seen as damaged goods if they are to consider it as horrifically as it actually is. Because it just isn’t true. It’s not the real world. In the real world, Brock Turner spent a mere six months in prison and at the time of his arrest, the media were focusing on how a drunken mistake by the poor sod would ruin his life. In the real world, marital rape was legal within /living memory/. The real world took its time to carefully construct a framework in which women are culturally educated to take it upon themselves to cater to men’s desires, it’s nigh impossible to ask authorities for help when you’ve been raped, you’re called a hysterical wench when you do, and when movements finally make a headway into changing things for the better, it’s chalked up to a conspirationist plot of the feminists to self-victimize, quote unquote pussify the world, make millions of “false accusations” (which don’t exist, period), and the smarter assholes of the bunch seed lies to make us who actually care doubt about our principles by stating despicable nonsense such as “Society plays up such a hoopla about the victims (not the perp) to constantly remind victims that it happened to them, and the ‘real’ damages are a self-fulfilling prophecy of nonsense by creating a socital-induced PTSD situation by making them constantly replay the event in their head instead of simply moving on.

            Even if you were right (and to be definitively clear, you are not, and there are few things you could be more wrong about), this concern wouldn’t matter. What you see as this wave of over-dramatization is a drop of rain in a infinite arid desert much to the discontent of people who’re here to get a tan while people they do not give a fuck about are dying of thirst. Even if caring as much as I would like us to do about the horrific consequences of rape had this fictional self-victimization effect and it hurt survivors much more than if they were told to get over it, it would still be worth pursuing only because the balance is so, so far leaning in the other direction than the one you’re assuming.

            But fuck those utilitarianist considerations.

            The fact is you had something many survivors don’t, even if you claim it’s not the case: people who cared about what you had to say. What worked for you was moving forward and not meander here, and people gave that to you. That’s literally the only thing I’m asking. Not all people need the same help, and while you needed little, I’ll let you take a guess at to the percentage of children I counseled who were raped by their parents and for whom the best approach was to tell them to stop thinking about it.

            I’m sorry, this is a frustrating topic, for hopefully obvious reasons.
            I agree that it’s the hardest thing to visualize. There have been so few and timid step into focusing on emotional, psychological pain very much so because it’s impossible to see, and I can’t make you feel like all these people I’ve seen who still had difficulties with any form of intimacy or trust years later because of having been sexually assaulted, the ones who seemed fine who ended up killing themselves, the ones who blame themselves, the ones who hate themselves because they can’t help blaming themselves and realize how stupid this is, the ones who compulsively clean their bodies until it bleeds, the ones who become perpetrators themselves, and all those fucking imbeciles relatives around them who I sadly never had the gal to murder when they told them to “just get over it”.

          • Gotham

            Well, for some “curious” reason, my post got flagged as spam. Here it is in picture form, so that I’m not accused of anything.

          • JP

            Thanks for responding in more detail.

            Reading through it though, it appears you are making two of the exact same mistakes that I warned earlier for people to not make.

            1. I’m pretty sure you’re misunderstanding what I’m saying. Since I feel we have miscommunication here, I threw together a quick graph to see if it makes things more clear (please tell me if how I thought you were interpreting is correct).

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/69f31b55e2aa7d8491ef2de391ec2d28ed96022fe64dd46e912b9d68ac77165e.png

            2. Just because a crime involved rape doesn’t make rape the only crime. What you describe happening to children, is horrific, and to limit what’s happening to them as simply rape is to trivialize what happened to them. Not only is it rape, it’s pedophilia, and also abuse by a parent and a betrayal of trust. Of course it’s going to be more traumatic because it’s more than one crime being perpetrated. That’s the problem with the hyper-focus on the rape aspect, because it blinds people to the -actual- problems that are affecting the victims even more. It’s obvious from your description that even though you listed out what happened that made it so bad, you’re still -just- categorizing it as rape instead of the multiple assaults on those poor children that it is. The social hype of one aspect of suffering is blinding people to the full spectrum of problems victims are facing.

          • Gotham

            1. Stop making graphs. This is nonsensical and I’m not in the mood to laugh confusingly at things that make me angry.
            2. What, I just said these children were raped by their parents. I’m not the one adding a slew of “other crimes”, you are, because you can’t reconcile the two thoughts “raping your children is bad” (thank God we agree on that) and “for some reason the hill I will die on is the one that states that rape, theoretically removed from all of its contextual aspects for the sake of a dumb semantics arguments in a manner that never happens in real life, is not that bad”.

            It’s almost like you realized on your own than rape comes to imply many other things (betrayal of trust, physical violence, threats, constant fear, feeling of powerlessness, lingering feelings of intrusion, loss of feeling of safety, I could go on for hours)

            I advise you to drop this wild hot take where you confuse “rape” with “the strict unconsented to activity of a sexual nature divorced from context” like it’s a thing that exists.

          • JP

            Response to 1. I’m sorry that you never being victimized and talking on a hard subject is somehow is more psychologically taxing for you than someone who actually has been victimized, and that somehow this makes you angry. Maybe you should check your privilege. And I’m sorry that somehow trying to explain things so you will stop forcing your flawed and twisted preconceptions on others of trying to pigeonhole someone who doesn’t agree with you into some unmatching preconceived mold NOT WORKING somehow doesn’t get through your head and comes across as nonsensical because you somehow can’t comprehend that maybe we should treat rape victims with respect. I have much more reason to be angry than you, and your juvenile responses that get angry about graphs of all things (which are somehow plural when I’ve just made one).

            Response to 2. I’m saying what you described IS multiple crimes, and you’re ignoring the fact it is. You’re also very much putting words in my mouth that isn’t there. The problem is YOU are trivializing rape VICTIMS and society trivializes rape PERPETRATORS, and both YOU and SOCIETY are overhyping how bad rape victims SHOULD feel about being raped instead of focusing on RECOVERY and are FAILING to treat MULTIPLE violations of consent and infractions against a person as anything more one infraction.

            To put it bluntly, your mindset hurts rape victims.

            It’s not semantics. You claim you’ve counseled child victims, but if you’d pull your head out of your sexist arse for two seconds, you’d realize something doctors of ER trauma vistis realized long ago: The same attack can cause multiple injuries, and those injuries all require treatment, and knowing there’s multiple injuries affects the treatment. A victim of a knife-weilding mugger who also breaks bones, the doctor doesn’t look at it and say, “Oh, you’re a knife victim, I’m going to stich up your deep cuts and that’s the end of it.” They treat cuts, then set bones, address swelling, and more.

            However, in your little fantasy world “Oh, they’re all rape victims, and it’s various styles of rape.” No. There’s mutlple forms of psychological attack all from the same crime, some is rape, some is physical pain, some is betrayal, the list goes one, but you’re living in your own little fantasy world where somehow all of person’s suffering can somehow be wrapped up in one tidy little word that you can get angry at, and then get angry at other people with they don’t pander to your twisted little worldview that marginalizes and trivializes victims while puffing up one of their symptoms.

            I find it disturbing that the hill YOU choose to die on is “Lets treat rape victims with less compassion and understanding.”

            I advise YOU to stop ignoring victims of crimes, and to stop labeling them as “rape victims” and start seeing them as people who are hurting from multiple things, and recognizing that one instance can cause multiple problems instead of treating every single instance like it’s the same thing, and stop making the problem worse.

          • Tylikcat

            I will defend anyone’s right to say that their own rape wasn’t that big a deal, and I’ll do so loudly, and likely with a lot of biting sarcasm. Indeed, when I was raped at knifepoint a few weeks after my eighteenth birthday, it… well, it wasn’t the worth thing that happened to me that month. And it was a lousy month, but still. I agree with most of the dynamics you’re talking about.

            But you’re overgeneralizing. Just that you’ve had those particular experiences doesn’t mean everyone would react similarly in a similar social setting. Trauma hits people differently for all sorts of reason, and being able to acknowledge that this can be a big deal is just as important as being able to acknowledge that it isn’t always and we aren’t necessarily scarred for life, emotionally damaged, etc. etc. ad nauseum.

            (As an aside – the time a lover, and a lover I never even took seriously, told me that he no longer minded when I set hard limits on our sexual activities, because after I took some medications for my spine injury, which happened to be fairly sedating, I generally didn’t say “no” any more… that one messed with my head. But I already knew that trauma hit different people in different ways at different times, it’s not like I *needed* the up close and personal demonstration.)

          • JP

            I agree that everything should be taken on a case-by-case basis, but generalizations are needed by society as a whole.

            My whole point is that society makes a huge deal out of it to where many equate it on a same level of murder, and that’s a problem, and a symptom of old patriarchal concepts of a person’s value coming from their sexual history.

            Although it’s important to get the perpetrators off the streets (someone willing to violate consent for any reason needs to be off the streets immediately and pushed towards rehabilitation, not just sexual consent violations, but all forms of personal self consent violations), it’s important to emphasis to victims that they are still good and decent people, and that their value as a person isn’t damaged in anyway. And although we (hopefully) do this verbally, actions speak louder than words, and the way people act about it says a different story.

            The best equivilence I can see in how we should treat it, in short, we should treat rape more akin to loved one getting bitten by a dog.

            Deal -very- harshly with the dog, but the loved one should be treated completely like they’re the same person, maybe take some steps so they don’t develop a phobia of dogs, and after they’re healed, cease to view it as an impactful event in any way. It’s a much healthier response.

          • Tylikcat

            Well, we don’t live in a world where it’s even that likely that the “dog” (kind of mean to dogs, but whatevs) will be dealt with period.

            But meanwhile, you seem big on telling people how they should react and how they should feel, which is pretty creepy… and I thought just what you didn’t like?

          • JP

            Yes, and I agree that the perpetrators not being delt with is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. The fact it’s not addressed as much as it should be is a problem, and police departments seem to not bother with rape investigations at all.

            And yes, I’m big on suggesting to people that they act smarter and more respectful of people’s consent, and in a way that helps people recover. However telling people they should do something is very different than -forcing- people to do something. My problem with Alison in this arc is she forced her ideals on how Patrick should be on Patrick without his consent. It was fine when she was telling him he shouldn’t be that way. When he was talking with Anima and telling her what she was going to do to Patrick, she should have waited for consent to be given. That is not what she did.

            Telling people they need to change is one thing and should be commended as sharing ideas and helping society grow. Forcing that change on them without consent is a very different thing, and is barbaric and oppressive. What Allison did is the equivilent of telling an ADD kid he should go on adderall, and when he refuses, spiking kid’s drink with it. Even if it helps, it’s still violating the person’s sovereignty of self.

          • Ophidiophile

            If a person is bleeding out and has fallen unconcious, do you need consent to save their life? Of course not. CONSENT is not needed in an emergency. Patrick trying to destroy himself is an emergency, and Allison, as the only person in the world whom he trusts, is the only one who can deal with that emergency. It was Feral who said the mission was to get the conspiracy info, but Allison is totally allowed to change the mission once she saw the situation (“Menace is up there right now, running the plane into the mountainside.”) What she destroyed was put in place by a four year old Patrick to protect himself from things a four year old couldn’t handle. Those structures (such as the City, Lord Boy, and Menace) had to go in order for Adult Patrick to deal with reality, but Adult Patrick couldn’t get rid them on his own. Allison only realised that destroying those structures was the right thing to do AFTER seeing what Feral’s mind looked like and comparing it to Patrick’s. There was also the possibility that she and Feral were trapped in Patrick’s mind. Saving/fixing Patrick was the only solution. And since that’s what Allison does, she is not violating her own principles.

            Patrick and Allison are alike in that neither can use their power to the fullest extent unless they think of people as things, and neither one wants to do that.

          • Gotham

            That’s a lot’a assumptions

          • Stephanie

            I don’t think this is necessarily comparable to giving medical treatment to an unconscious person, because medically treating an unconscious person doesn’t change how their mind works at a fundamental level. Alison’s intervention was much more invasive than anything a real-world paramedic would attempt.

            I understand that Patrick’s coping mechanisms were unhealthy. Dismantling an unhealthy coping mechanism is still a violation if done without consent. And I don’t think Alison was necessarily justified in assuming that the one other mindscape she’d seen–Feral’s–represented the optimal/correct kind of mindscape that Patrick’s was “supposed to” resemble. It seems she may have been right, but only because she was lucky.

            I also understand that Alison’s life was in danger. I think this violation was probably justifiable if she didn’t know of any other way to free herself from the mindscape.

        • A Tiny Little Baby

          Alison didn’t start knocking down walls until two things happened:

          1) she was shown that Patrick had repressed memories of his own humanity specifically to make himself capable of being a villain – “lord boy” had built barriers keeping Patrick’s own sense of ethics, or morals, or bias, or whatever you want to call it (“component”), from infecting his cityscape. He had formative memories locked away, hidden from his constructed self. He wasn’t letting himself feel things he *needed* to feel in order to work past them.

          and

          2) after spending time in Feral’s mind, which was almost entirely “component.” she realized that Feral’s mind is healthy *because* she doesn’t repress things, and if she could help Patrick feel those repressed memories again he might be able to heal. Since the city’s sewer system is dumping “component,” the city needs to go.

          From what I can tell, it’s kind of like a giant metaphor for ECT, which can be helpful in certain cases. There’s no way someone with Patrick’s abilities would benefit from traditional therapy, and he wouldn’t let himself trust anyone who could give him proper ECT. But he knows the city he’s built is unsustainable, and he trusts Alison. Completely. His sentinel resembles her because she makes him feel “safe and warm and secure.” That’s as much consent as he could probably give to anyone.

          She’s not changing who Patrick is at his core. She’s letting him get in touch with that person again instead of repressing him. Her method seems barbaric and violent, but again it’s all just a giant metaphor. She’s fighting the repression in his mind, not because she thinks it’s wrong, but because it’s literally the thing that’s killing him. It’s very different than what he did to his mom.

      • Weatherheight

        It can always be both.

        We can have things we don’t wish to happen or perform, and yet have them become necessary in which for us to participate.
        Patrick can desire to never interact with that degree of intimacy, but his powers keep forcing that onto him.

    • Giacomo Bandini

      No.

      What Alison has done to Patrick, and Patrick to his mother, ARE TOTALLY DIFFERENT ACTIONS, WITH NO POINT IN COMMON.
      Doing an electroshock to someone, in the hope that he or her will change a certain behaviour, is different from hypotizing someone into loving you. One is – Justified or not – VIOLENCE; the other one is DISMISSAL. THESE ARE NOT SYNONIMOUS.

      • Fluffy Dragon

        I thought the aforementioned crowning moment of awesome was what she did to boost-boy?

      • Gotham

        Hm, which is which in your bad analogy exactly? Hypnotizing someone into loving you is dismissal? How does that work? I’m not even sure to which actions in the webcomic hypnotizing and electroshocks are supposed to refer to. What

        • Zorae42

          I’m guessing that the hypnotizing is referring to the mind control and is a dismissal since you completely override the person you’re hypnotizing.

          And electroshock is referring to Alison breaking down his wall? Since it can be a helpful treatment that’s kinda violent? But that still requires a belief that the state of the person you’re applying the “therapy” to needs changing and is in its own way a dismissal.

          I personally don’t begrudge Alison’s actions. They were done out of a genuine desire to help and were more of a dismissal of Patrick’s obsolete coping mechanism rather than Patrick himself. But they do have some gross implications about mental illness/the rights of the mentally ill if you take it a certain way.

          • masterofbones

            Gay conversion therapy is done with good intentions, but people call supporters of that evil.

          • Zorae42

            Except gay conversion therapy is really not done with good intentions. Given that it greatly increases suicide rates, depression, ptsd, etc. and has been shown to not “work”, there is no reason to support it. It is literally child abuse.

            Besides, I was clearly speaking about this instance and not every instance of “good intentions”. And I even said that if taken a certain way it does have gross implications about making choices for people against their will “for their own good”. That is such a grey moral area that it’s difficult to touch on the subject without some sort of dubious implication.

          • Giacomo Bandini

            Gay conversion Therapy is Mind Control, reshaping someone into something you waht him to be; breaking the walls is akin to an electro shock therapy, she did not know how Patrick will react, what kind of person he ll become.
            Closing someone in prison is not the same thing than kicking him out from his house.

          • Giacomo Bandini

            If you take it the wrong way. If you take it about a general statement about mentally ill, which is not. It is about the CRIMINAL mentally ill, which is a very specific subset.

      • They’re both violations of consent. One happens to be morally justifiable given the threat to others, but both are violent.

        • Giacomo Bandini

          One is kicking someone out of his house, the other is locking him in prison. Both violation of consent, i concur, but the other one let him able to make choice for himself, the other does not.

    • Joshua Petersen

      And adding on earlier that one of his aspects distinctly said she shouldn’t be there.
      Further that Patrick thought she was a strength-super, not a telepath-super when he came to her (and her being a mind-based super is a recent discovery on her part.)

      Just because she’s the protagonist doesn’t mean she can’t make highly immoral decisions in the heat of the moment, or have aspects of her that are less moral than those she has been trying to help become more moral.

      Also, it should be pointed out that consent can be revoked at anytime, something she did ignore.

      In fact, if it had been merely physically intimate in nature instead of literally affecting the core of who he is, nobody would deny her choices here were downright morally disgusting.

      Various bad decisions in the heat of moments are a fact of life. From simple things like swerving the wrong way to dodge something on a highway to… well… this.

      The question is, will she recognize what she’s done, and how will she handle it?

      Will she do her best to sweep it under the rug, to trivialize it? Or… will she do something more responsible (and how will she handle it considering it could be argued that any consent after the point could be considered manufactured?)

      • shink

        This a bit more complicated than you’re letting on here. You’re ignoring the part where Patrick’s body had entered a coma and where Alison was bleeding with no ability to wake up, and where even Feral had gotten trapped in her own mind. The lives of all three characters may have very well been at stake in this situation, and Alison did the only thing she could think of to attempt to change in that, we still don’t know if this solution will let all parties involved wake up mind you.

        Lord Boy was unknowingly fighting for the right to die rather than open that green door, The ethical debates on suicide tend to range from “suicide is wrong”, to “suicide is okay if you’ve thought it through and discussed things with a professional”. He was also trying to murder Alison at the point where she went ballistic and seriously invaded and altered his mind, and the general societal stance on self defense against lethal force is “hurt them as much as you want to preserve your own life, you can even kill them”.Alison was being a much more passive force in Patricks mind right up until Lord Boy ordered her execution.

        • Richard, Probably

          Killing in self defense is widely considered permissible, certainly. But there are things worse than killing. Patrick/Menace killed lots of people, and he didn’t force himself to forget about it.

          • Giacomo Bandini

            Worse than killing, sure. Worse than killed? Questionable.

        • JP

          It should be pointed out that as much as what she did could be considered self defense, so could Lord Boy ordering her execution be considered self defense on Patrick’s part.

          • Zorae42

            It really couldn’t. He decided to kill her because she was making him feel things and was potentially breaking down his coping mechanisms more naturally/gradually. That’s really not life-threatening.

          • JP

            Your mind is literally who you are. Forcibly altering someone’s mind (and violently smashing the inside of a person’s mind isn’t ‘natural/gradually’) is effectively the same murder, you’re effectively removing the person from existance. I had a relative that was attacked by a mugger who smashed her with a crowbar upside the head, causing permanent brain damage. Permanent brain damage, if serious, enough, causes the person you love and cherish to cease to exist. Destroying someone’s mind is effectively destroying the person.

          • Morgan Allen

            Yeah, it’s totally fair to say that Alison wrecking the inside of Patrick’s mind was a pretty risky thing to do. I don’t think it’s fair to say that Alison was deliberately trying to destroy Patrick just by entering his mind and asking reasonable questions, though- all she wanted was information about the conspiracy. If Lord Boy decided to kill her over that, she was entitled to defend herself.

          • JP

            Fair. I’ll agree she wasn’t intentionally trying to destroy him, but more that’s the general effect. She got caught up in his own inner turmoils, and her tendency to try and help kicked in. But he didn’t start getting quite so defensive until she started going places in her mind that she was not supposed to go.

          • Morgan Allen

            I might have to reread the sequence, but my general impression was more that Alison was just sort of sucked in, rather than intruding for intrusion’s sake. (One could even theorise that Lord Boy was luring her in deep enough to his mind that escape would be difficult.)

            I think Alison made some tactical mistakes, but I don’t see malice aforethought here- (even relative to something like strong-arming max, which I thought was eminently justified to the point where I barely see what the fuss was about.)

          • Zorae42

            No, she didn’t do it naturally/gradually here. But that’s because he was trying to kill her for doing so in the past. Her breaking his walls happened after he decided to kill her. He wasn’t acting in self defense.

            Also, god damn, by that logic anyone who takes medication for their mental illness is committing suicide and all rehab centers are mass murderers. Hell, I bet this comic has “killed” a few people since it forces you to confront your moral values and possibly change them.

            She didn’t “murder” him. She broke down a defective coping mechanism. As other people have mentioned, that’s pretty dangerous but it’s not murdering him.

            And he could’ve, you know, just kicked her out of his head since he’s the one putting her there.

    • Gotham

      I assume her just being present and going around talking to aspect of his personality is somehow akin to his uncontrolled mind reading. He can’t stop it, she can’t really either because she doesn’t know how to leave?
      What I’m saying is, it’d be eye-rolling to have Patrick blame her for her presence here alone considering what he’s doing at every waking moment. Not because she’s not to blame, though: because what you’re putting aside /really shouldn’t be/ and is more than enough to have him be more than annoyed.

      • Richard, Probably

        I’m not sure either of them has recognized the parallels yet. But we still have a situation where Alison made a deliberate choice to enter his mind (she didn’t just incidentally pass out there like Feral) and this Patrick, even being the beneficiary of her actions there, has just expressed that he doesn’t really like people being there.

        • Gotham

          Maybe that’s why she sends him spinning with dumb whataboutism questions so that he doesn’t go “hey now wait a minute”

    • Eric Meyer

      I’d argue that what Al is doing is more of an Empathic thing, than a Telepathic thing. Her meddling is in emotions, rather than outright thoughts. Which… may or may not be different enough to require different triggers or stressors.

    • Veev

      As someone whose brain works a lot like Patrick’s (Patrick has textbook Dissociative Identity Disorder, for the record, which is a common reaction to childhood trauma even among those without telepathic powers), I’ve been thinking this for a while. Even setting aside issues of consent, destroying someone’s maladaptive coping mechanisms is DANGEROUS. Forcing someone to face all the traumatic memories they locked away all at once will probably just retraumatize them and force them to develop new (and possibly even more maladaptive) coping mechanisms to deal with it. This kind of stuff has to be done really carefully in a controlled environment by a professional, and Allison has done none of those things.

      • masterofbones

        Nah, breaking our self-defense mechanisms always makes us safer.That’s why having police is bad!

        Pfft

        • Veev

          Honestly? I have no idea what you’re trying to say.

      • Morgan Allen

        Yeah, I can agree that just demolishing Patrick’s mental barriers in one fell swoop would not necessarily work out so great, so far as reintegrating his personality goes. That seems like the sort of process you’d need to work through in a controlled and gradual fashion.

        However… most of Patrick’s internal representations were actively trying to kill Alison at the time. She may not have had the luxury of working the problem gradually.

  • Thomas S

    I get that narrative, that re-writing a mind and it’s behaviour requires removal of all empathy of that mind’s right to exist – but that’s the view of a emphatic being – other beings with ‘being’ness matter – a mother with no value to her is nothing but an object, and can be rubbed out.

    But it doesn’t ring right by me.

    I think it is how it worked for Patrick in regard to his mother, but it might work differently to others – where there is not such a longing for a loving connection. Sons and daughters want their childhood to have validation and unconditional love – and as adults, to move on from needing that. Patrick was deprived of that, and had to fabricate that foundation to his soul. Being Menace was a fairly severe way of acting out that need.

    But the mechanics of mind control, mind speraking and mind reading – well, this model is kinda layered in how invasive it is on both parties. I would guess it is a construct of Patrick, and other telepaths with that capacity do not have those limitations.

    Which makes me think he (or the Conspiracy) has placed those limitations in him.

    Cough – Enter stage left, GURWARA …

    ps – we all need to work on this a bit … http://strong-female-protagonist.wikia.com/wiki/Strong_Female_Protagonist_Wiki

    • Laurelinde

      I wonder how much it would depend on whether the person was aware of there being sort of an “outside thought” vs something they’d apparently just conceived themselves. Would it matter if they believed they’d had the idea spontaneously, rather than “mind-speaking” being more like regular speaking or input from another person, just not spoken aloud? And would it be different for commands compared to ideas or suggestions or images? Most importantly, how much choice does a person have to comply or ignore?

      Having done cognitive behavioral therapy for mental illness, I learned how to recognise intrusive and unhelpful or misleading thoughts, and how to try to counter them. As someone who has had thoughts of “just jump into traffic” while crossing roads, for example, I know I can just ignore it, because a thought like that doesn’t actually compel me to act on it. I would think even mentally healthy or neurotypical people are accustomed to heeding (or not) the inner voice that says, eg, “go on, have another piece of cake…or two”, or the desire to scream at an unreasonable boss.

      Patrick’s control over his mother looked far more invasive and involuntary than that, but he could be capable of slightly “softer” levels of telepathy as well (which is not to say that would be a good action, or even a neutral one.)

      • Thomas S

        You make good points. It is a scale of subtle to brutal influence.

    • masterofbones

      This makes the most sense for me. We know Gurwara manipulates memories, we know he was in patricks head, we know that mind control + mind reading is probably near the top of the list for “things the conspiracy is not okay with”

  • Sterling Ericsson

    I suppose an additional part to all of this is that, as far as we’re aware, he has no control over the mind reading. He’s stated that multiple times before. He can do his best to ignore the internal voices of those around them, but he’s still “hearing” them regardless.

    So, Alison’s question here is, in a way, irrelevant. The only important part to it is whether his mind reading has some sort of influence or change on the minds he’s reading. If not, then it’s irrelevant, as he can’t stop it from happening.

    Heck, even if it does change things in other’s minds, the two of them will have to come up with some countermeasure, as he can’t just turn it off.

    • tygertyger

      The mind reading is where the problems begin. Mind reading is intrusive by nature, and having the ability to read minds — and the inability to turn it off — means the minds around you are intruding on you. And having to deal with that from early childhood? [shudder] Frankly, I’m amazed that Patrick is as sane as he is.

      • masterofbones

        Probably has something to do with those nice strong walls he built up….

        Wait, where did they go?

  • magnetoo

    I’m not clear what Patrick means by “telepathy”. When he says “telepathy just works that way”, is he referring to mind control? That’s not what I would understand the term to mean: I would think it just means communicating purely by thoughts.

    • elysdir

      I too am confused by that. I think maybe he’s talking about telepathic *sending* as opposed to receiving? But that doesn’t entirely make sense in the context of what Patrick says either.

      • sagelynaive

        I think what he’s saying is in general his powers (telepathy)just work that way, and is extrapolating on what that means for this specific facet.

    • I think Patrick’s piece here distinguishes between three different acts:- mind-reading, mind-speech, and mind-control. Telepathy may be his umbrella term for all three.

  • Greg Sanders

    Not apropos the immediate plot line, but I just read an article regarding a blood donor that made a thankfully less painful but still highly disciplined choice reminiscent of Feral. Seems like this is by no means the first coverage, so apologies if I’m repeating something that’s made the rounds multiple times before.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2018/05/12/for-six-decades-the-man-with-the-golden-arm-donated-blood-and-saved-2-4-million-babies/?utm_term=.4839538a9936

  • Philip Bourque

    You know what I’ve learned about this comic as a whole? People can’t be trusted. Even if they are unaware of it, they lie, they deceive and you can’t trust anything anyone says. So even if the writer means for this to be an honest disclosure of how Patrick’s power works, I can’t believe it.
    I’m more inclined to believe that Patrick has been subconsciously using his power to push his expectations onto people.

    • JohnTomato

      “Everybody lies.” – Dr. Gregory House

    • Weatherheight

      “We disappoint, we leave a mess, we die, but we don’t.
      We disappoint in turn, I guess. Forget, though, we won’t.”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h15HP_W4yrg

      • Philip Bourque

        “You’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”
        I’ve been quoting Obi Wan a lot lately…

    • Skudplastr

      I kinda get the feeling that was something you actually learned when you were very, very young, and has shaped your life since.

      • Philip Bourque

        Yes, but that’s for real life, not for comics.

    • Todd

      Setting aside the falsifiability of that idea, do you mean you believe he’s been unconsciously doing it ie without his own conscious knowledge (hence no blame to him), or do you mean he’s been doing it but repressing it (psychologically if not psionically)?

      • Philip Bourque

        The first one. He reads a mind with the intent of manipulating a person, and thinks “ok, this person thinks this way, therefore if I say this, they’ll do that.” So certain is he that the person will act according to his manipulation, that this expectation is broadcast to the person who then carries it out.

        • Todd

          But if it’s totally unconscious, how can you talk about “intent”?

          • Philip Bourque

            It’s not about intent. It’s about expectation. He expects people to act a certain way, so they do, because his power is pushing that expectation onto them.

          • David B Huber

            That’s a very intriguing idea! Persuasion with a capital “P”! And so subtle even Patrick is unaware of it…

  • Olivier Faure

    Not pictured here: the intense reliefs Allison feels at realizing that Patrick is unlikely to ever be able to use his mind-control to force her to love him.

    • Tylikcat

      Oh, come on – mentioning that without all the unstated bits with that “I don’t speak into people’s mind because I don’t want anyone in my mind,” …as they sit there, together, in his mind?

      • Olivier Faure

        No, what he’s saying is that he’s *literally* incapable of mind-controlling someone unless he sees them purely as a tool for him to manipulate. Kind of a “you can only cast Avada Kedavra with hatred” thing.

        Of course, he could totally be lying. But he’s totally not lying.

        • JohnTomato

          He’s lying.

          • palmvos

            you can tell by his eyes…

          • JohnTomato

            Just like Dondi’s eyes.

        • Weatherheight

          That is what he’s saying.
          The only proof we have is his word.
          Which in this narrative continues to be good, but conditionally, and only based on what he has been willing to show.
          I for one wonder to what extent we’ve been shown “the whole truth”, the “truth but not the whole truth”, the “mostly true except for this tiny lie which casts everything into doubt”, or “They bought it! One of the worst performances of my career and they never doubted it for a second!”.

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

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBDA–f5vsg

          • We know this is an unreliable narrator piece, because the other aspects of Patrick weren’t telling the full story. So no guarantee that Patrick is. But so far there don’t seem to be any obvious flaws or inconsistencies.

          • Weatherheight

            Which is why Patrick is AWESOME!

        • Tylikcat

          That part of fairly obviously, yes. And yeah, I am not going to go into the whole “is he telling the truth?” game, because we know it’s a question, and whatever.

          But right along with being told that, Alison is told that she’s a huge exception to one of his basic rules for how he wants to interact with the world. Do you think that doesn’t matter at least as much to her? (Especially, since his feelings for her are why she’s safe, after all, though in this case everyone is safe.) One thread of this storyline has been something like a love letter to Alison.

          …which has all kinds of problems with it. But it’s a thing.

    • masterofbones

      What. She was in love with him, not the other way around.

      • Olivier Faure

        You did see that projection of “everything that he associates with strength but also makes him feel safe and warm”?

  • Gotham

    I came in late this morning and saw that everybody already had something interesting to say so I chose to stay put and bask in y’all’s great insights for once.

    No reaction from me. None. Nope, nuh uh.

    Okay two things (I have an addiction, gals)

    “Control is about dismissal. Speaking in someone else’s mind is about letting them into yours, another thing I never want to do.”
    Uh, what’s the logical connection between these two statements there? Doesn’t it kind of contradicts itself, rather? If control is dismissal hence bad, isn’t letting someone into yours kind of lending them some amount of control? (Even if not direct control, just information) I feel bad for nitpicking but an “Also,” in front of the second sentence would have been less confusing. Take for instance,

    ALSO, “You know that for certain?”
    Man, Alison is fishing for validation about that time she forced someone to do something they didn’t want to /hard/. I’d expect a full Patrick to drop the somber and pensive act and turn back toward her to respond: “…Yes. Obviously. What the hell are you implying? I wasn’t having a hot take, I was saying the most commonplaces of things all dramatic and stuff. Taking control of people is bad and you want to discuss it? Jeez Alison what the fuck did you /do/”

    • Zorae42

      I think it was more concern that he might be able to do it without trying. Now that he’s unlocked this memory/power she needs to be sure he can’t accidentally do this (or at least do it lightly).

      And hey, no cheering that he realized treating people as a means to an end was inherently wrong?

      • Gotham

        Oh, immensely, I don’t make a show of it because I never for one second doubted he could ever think differently.
        The written confirmation of which puts me in the weird situation where I don’t know how to feel if the webcomic turns out being essentially a Manic Pixie Dream Cishet White Boi narrative, having to teach our heroine is the ways of not-facism

    • Weatherheight

      Heh. That made me giggle a little.

      • Gotham

        I’m losing my mojo.

    • Stephanie

      I don’t think he’s saying “in order to bring yourself to mind control someone, you have to have zero belief in their humanity, because controlling people is bad.” I think he’s literally saying the power doesn’t work if he believes in the other person’s humanity. Like it’s a practical limitation, not necessarily a moral one.

      Not saying that controlling people isn’t bad (although everyone here knows where I stand on whether it’s acceptable if the alternative is a shitload of people dying slow deaths from organ failure), but I believe he’s describing an actual limitation on his power and Alison is questioning whether he’s sure that limitation exists.

      • Gotham

        That’s interesting, but given the Patrick we’ve known, don’t you think it’d be a little hard to have us accept that even when he did that to his mother, he didn’t believe in her humanity?
        And even if we were to accept that, how much of a threat would that leave us with anyone else who isn’t her.

        • Stephanie

          I think he’s telling us in that panel that he didn’t believe in her humanity when he used the power on her. Which isn’t surprising, considering it was right after he saw her barren mindscape.

          • Gotham

            I don’t know, it would feel like… an inelegant way of Watsonianly making absolutely sure mind-control isn’t to be considered a possibility ever again?
            Although I do admit rereading the page I know cannot avoid seeing that’s what is explicitly said.

          • Stephanie

            It does seem a little contrived. It gives us extra insight into where his head was when he used the power on his mom, at least.

  • Teka the Budgie

    “Speaking in someone else’s mind is about letting them into yours, another thing I never want to do.”

    Um, Partrick? Al has been running around in your mind for quite a while now so you kind of just did? I’m not sure I follow his last line, so maybe the next page will have some more detailed explanation about how mind control works.

    It’s interesting that Al was able to change Patrick by breaking down the walls even though she is not a telepath herself and can’t use mind control. Even a normal person seems to have some power to communicate mind-to-mind if facilitated by a telepath initially.

    • Eileen Young

      I think her running around is really interesting for future implications – are they going to be able to communicate telepathically now since she’s been all stomping around up in there?

  • David B Huber

    Alison has less angst about imposing her will on others than Patrick does. Or perhaps she’s already come to terms with it and can comfortingly reassure him it’s OK..

    • JohnTomato

      It’s not OK.

      • David B Huber

        It’s better than OK! Alison is limited by her strongarm approach – it leaves room for simmering resentment & eventual rebellion.

        But obeying The Will Of Patrick means Harmony and Joy for all…

        Now Patrick just needs to transfer his conciousness into Alison’s body then go grab Max for some Augmentation and he’ll be all set to clean up that nasty Conspiracy!

    • R Lex Eaton

      For cryin’ out in a bean… I wish I had a quarter for every time this “ALISON IS AN UNREPENTANT MONSTER WHO FEELS NO GUILT” chestnut rears its head.

      • Gotham

        Why the hell would you have it I was riding the “Alison is a hypocritical tyrant” bandwagon way before it was cool /I/ get the quarter you get /NOTHING/

        • R Lex Eaton

          Fine, fine. Dun get on me, Gotham. xP

          Just expressing a bit of frustration, is all. Darkness Induced Audience Apathy is a terrible thing to witness. I’ve seen people accuse Adam Warren’s Empowered of that, and not only do I disagree, but that’s my favorite comic coming out right now.

      • David B Huber

        I left out the “tongue in cheek” emoji. But I do find it interesting that Patrick seems unaware of how close to home he’s striking. Perhaps he tries to grant her the gift of privacy?

        • R Lex Eaton

          Maybe. I wonder if his telepathy doesn’t function that way in his mindscape…

          Also, no harm. Like I said, just exasperated that’s a thing.

  • Weatherheight

    Yay. We have Rules! Patrick is telling us the Rules! Yay!
    Wait… Patrick is telling us the rules…
    ::sighs::
    So close…

    • Darkfeather21

      I mean, they’re Patrick’s rules. Why wouldn’t he be the one listing them?

      • Weatherheight

        Let me tell you about my life.
        Here is the first thing I tell you – I am really a talking donkey.
        Do you trust anything else I say afterwards?

        Let me tel you about my life.
        Here is the first thing you know about me – I am a political terrorist who enlists other to do my dirty work, uses robotic technology I appropriated illicitly from another without their consent or knowledge, possibly using blackmail to do so, and I claim to have mental powers.
        Do you trust anything I say afterwards?

        • palmvos

          as ordered fearless leader…
          ::brings plate of apples::

          • Weatherheight

            ::crunches happily and wiggles his ears::

        • Darkfeather21

          But he has never once lied. So yes.

  • So, have they slipped over into Feral’s mindscape, or is ‘it’s a jungle in there” more literal than we thought?

    • Weatherheight

      It does seem a bit more shaggy after the reveal, doesn’t it?
      The original setting around the door was pretty ::coughs:: feral ::coughs:: before they wen in the door, though…

      • ‘Feral’ is a good choice, ‘fecund’ would be disturbing….

  • Patrick is terrified of letting someone into his mind. Never mind that that’s exactly where they’re holding the conversation, it’s also what happens when you talk to someone extensively, or enter into a relationship with them. So his break up with Al (the mug-throwing incident), may have had as much to do with his own fears as the other reasons we’ve discussed over the years.

  • So, mind-control would be a good choice for the maguffin that Gurwara stole. Except that he apparently had it already (or at least thre ability to impose an external reality that could keep someone convinced it was a bunch of days earlier than the actual date).

    • R Lex Eaton

      Interesting theory… Whatever works towards that old cynic getting cut down to size. >>

      • I’m a Gurwara fan. His methods are dubious, but Alison absolutely needed his lesson.

        • R Lex Eaton

          So I keep hearing. I won’t deny that Al got good stuff from the encounter.

          My problem is that his worldview, the antithesis of everything I believe in, a) signifies he doesn’t get the point of it all and b) PISSES ME RIGHT THE HELL OFF.

    • masterofbones

      Gurwara manipulates memories.

      • But if our wetware has a software layer, which you can argue it does, then manipulating memories is no different to manipulating our OS, which is mind control.

    • David B Huber

      I hope Alison brings up Gurwara’s incursion. Patrick may be unaware someone’s been rummaging in his attic!

  • Todd

    “You have to see them as nothing more than a means to an end.”

    Get that man some Trotsky. Stat.

    https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1938/morals/morals.htm

  • Danygalw

    “Speaking in someone else’s mind is about letting them into yours, another thing I never want to do.”
    🙂