PDA

View Full Version : The Morality of the Assassins Order



Radman500
11-26-2011, 09:29 AM
The Morality of the Assassin Order

Nothing is True, Everything is permitted. This is what we are told is the creed of the Assassinís. If we look at this from a logical standpoint however, the first rule would negate the second rule, if nothing is true, then it is not true that everything is permitted. To get an accurate picture of the Assassin Orderís morality, you have to look at their actions throughout the series, although it is most clearly illustrated in AC 2 and AC: Brotherhood. In the beginning of AC2, Desmond Miles says that he is glad to be working for the good guys this time, implying that the Assassins are the good guys and the Templars are the bad guys. Shaun, a fellow Assassin, derisively tells Desmond that Assassins assassinate people, implying that the Assassins are in fact little better, if in fact they are better than the Templars. Although, there are several moral beliefs that indicate that the Assassins are in fact morally superior to the Templars, it is difficult to prove. First we must address how the Assassins are similar to the Templars before we can make a legitimate claim for their moral superiority, lest comparisons be drawn later on in an attempt to discredit the Assassins.

The Templars and the Assassins are similar in many ways, some of which are subtle and could have been missed by casual players. First of all, both factions kill people, the Assassins are not a peaceful order, they achieve their goals through force of arms, through a centuries long war. The Just War theory was created by St. Thomas Aquinas and is still used today. The theory states several principles: one, war must be the last possible resort, two, there must be reasonable chance of success, three, the damage done must not exceed the damage that would be done if one did not go to war and lastly, non-combatants must not be harmed. However, the first principle creates a significant problem for the idea of a just war, if war is the last resort, someone has already disobeyed the just war theory through excessive threat or use of force, therefore, only one side of the war is justified, therefore only part of the war is justified, war in and of itself is therefore inherently evil, but occasionally certain sides may be forced into going to war. In other words, war itself can never be justified, only specific sides of the war. This topic will be revisited later but for now we will move on to another for now. Both factions use terrorism to achieve their goals. The Templars are widely known for murdering innocent people to instill such terror into the populace that they might maintain order, but the Assassins do the same thing. Think of the War Machines missions in A.C. Brotherhood, Ezio beats the engineers until they give up the information. In the missions that you send your recruits on, you can send them out to assault merchants that supply Templars or to assault scholars that are about to discover or publish Assassin secrets. Attacking non-combatants in order to achieve oneís goal is the definition of terrorism. Lastly, both sides have absolute faith in their cause and never stop to consider the possibility that the other side might be right. Now that I have discussed why these two factions are similar and left them sitting on equally shaky moral grounds, I will build up the case in favor of the Assassins.

The most obvious difference between the Templars and Assassins is the cast of characters that represents each side. The Templars have the Borgias in their ranks alongside Jaccopo de Pazzi, real life villains. On top of that, the Templars were allegedly very connected with Isabella and Ferdinand and may have inspired them to enact the Inquisition. The Assassins however can either count among their ranks or their friends, such legends as Leonardo Da Vinci, Lorenzo di Medici, Caterina Sforza and Machiavelli. If we are to assign moral efficacy on the grounds of who is friends with who, it is easy to say that the Assassins are the more ethical order, but this is not a logically sound argument. There is also the fact that the Templars are much larger and much more financially secure than the Assassin order, which relies heavily on beggars and thieves. Although one would like to support the Assassins because they are the perennial underdogs and because they do not profit from their gains while the Templars do, this does not really prove one side to be more moral than the other. There are certain things that the Templars do that the Assassins, donít and not just because they lack the man power and funding. The Templars instigate wars (they claimed responsibility for WWII and a ďpurgeĒ in Abstergo records), they control economic growth to make sure that they stay in power, refusing to let people rise based on their merits if they do not serve the Templar order. Basically, they use people, but not so benignly as one uses pawns in chess, it is more accurate to say that they farm and harvest people for their resources. This violates one of the most potent philosophical concepts of the last few hundred years, Kantís concept of respect for persons. It is a concept that while founded as a deontological principle, has been quoted by utilitarians, virtue ethicists, care ethicists and even the occasional ethical egoists. While the Templars claim they do this to maintain order, the Assassins would welcome chaos, so long as the people were truly free to live their own lives and make their own decisions, which complies with the concept of respect for persons. Think of it this way: would you rather be a pet that was well cared for, but ultimately property meant to amuse someone else, or would you rather struggle to survive but live your own life, subservient to none? I admit, this theoretical question presents a false dilemma, but this is the actual dilemma that we are presented with by the Templars and Assassins respectively.

But the question still remains, does this difference as important as it is, justify what war, murder, thievery and terrorism that the Assassins engage in? The answer is provided by the writings of one of the Assassins most famous members: Machiavelli. Machiavelli is often criticized for his harsh and brutal view of the world. This view is because of a key difference between Machiavelli and nearly every other philosopher, where most philosophers are idealists, Machiavelli is a realist. Kantís deontology is all well and good if youíre wealthy, but if youíve ever been so hungry that it hurts (and it does indeed hurt) then the idea that stealing is always wrong seems harder to accept when you see unguarded food. On top of that, Kantís deontology assumes that all people are rational human beings, which is not always the case, a similar problem is presented with Thomas Hobbeís social contract theory. Greek and Eastern virtue ethicists merely want people to try to promote virtuous behavior in themselves to make themselves better, but how can one be virtuous when they are faced with an enemy that will not allow them? Utilitarians believe that the end justifies the means, but they also believe that the inherent pain caused by war, torture and execution make them unacceptable measure in all but the most dire situations. Machiavelli was not hindered by such philosophical concepts, he believed in doing what needed to be done no matter what some people might think about it. Machiavelli understood that there is right and wrong, but he also understood that to protect the innocent and do what is right would sometimes mean taking harsh and brutal measures. ďArmed prophets have always succeeded whereas unarmed prophets have failedĒ (Machiavelli). One might point to Ghandi or Martin Luther King Jr. to discount this belief, but one must remember that both men became infinitely more powerful after they were assassinated and that is why they were successful, it was not enough to be peaceful, their pacifism had to serve as the juxtaposition to which their oppressors barbarism could be exposed. What it boils down to is that Machiavelli believed that to defeat evil, evil would be required, but if evil is required, is it not better for evil men fighting for an evil cause to be killed than for the innocent to be killed? Machiavelli did what needed to be done, as did the Assassins. Ideally, the Assassins could sit down and talk to the Templars and work out some sort of treaty, and ideally Hitler, Hirohito and Mussolini could have been reasoned with, but the world is not and never has been ideal. For good to prevail, evil must be vanquished, sometimes, if we are lucky, this can be done peacefully, but as is often the case, this cannot be done. The Assassins do what they must do, because someone must do it.

Where the Templars seek order through dominance and obedience, the Assassins want freedom and equality for all. The Templars started to fight in order to oppress and control, the Assassins fought because they had no other choice. The war between the Assassins and Templars may be immoral, but the Assassins have the most moral ground to stand upon, and as is the case in most forms of media, the moral ground is high ground. The Assassins are not Saints, they do not radiate an aura of benevolence, but they do what must be done because it must be done. For Machiavelli and the Assassins everything is permitted, but this at least is true.


http://www.gameinformer.com/bl...-assassin-order.aspx (http://www.gameinformer.com/blogs/members/b/knapptime_blog/archive/2011/10/20/the-morality-of-the-assassin-order.aspx)


THIS IS A GREAT ARTICLE

LightRey
11-26-2011, 09:45 AM
I'll wait for people to give me the gist of this article before deciding if I should it myself. I don't really like reading and this is one huge wall-o-text.

S-EVANS
11-26-2011, 09:51 AM
This might seem unrelated at the moment, but you know what winds me up...

FLOWERS !!!!

flowers are provided by nature, the templars would rather commericalize them and sell them to you in order to finace thier organization

the assassians would rather pick 4 white tulips than wait 2hours for a man who needs the money to commit the same crime

flowers are provided by nature, they are not man made objects and even today you have to buy them, you know that somewhere or somehow you can get what you want for free...

some say flowers have feelings and that you kill them, murder a plant because you want to impress a girl...

this principle can be extended to everything in life for example...

the law says i cannot pick my own bluebells because they are protected type of flower but i can buy them..

mans law is not gods law !!!

Assassin_M
11-26-2011, 09:53 AM
It wasnt you who wrote it ?

Darn and I was about to let my Intellectual side pop in http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/bigtears.gif

S-EVANS
11-26-2011, 10:16 AM
Originally posted by Assassin_M:
It wasnt you who wrote it ?

Darn and I was about to let my Intellectual side pop in http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/bigtears.gif

im more than willing to hear your views regardless of who wrote what...

please let the fingers do the walking ...

Il_Divo
11-26-2011, 10:24 AM
Originally posted by LightRey:
I'll wait for people to give me the gist of this article before deciding if I should it myself. I don't really like reading and this is one huge wall-o-text.


"Where the Templars seek order through dominance and obedience, the Assassins want freedom and equality for all. The Templars started to fight in order to oppress and control, the Assassins fought because they had no other choice. The war between the Assassins and Templars may be immoral, but the Assassins have the most moral ground to stand upon, and as is the case in most forms of media, the moral ground is high ground. The Assassins are not Saints, they do not radiate an aura of benevolence, but they do what must be done because it must be done. For Machiavelli and the Assassins everything is permitted, but this at least is true."

That's really the meat of the argument. The rest is interesting, but seems a bit long-winded imo.

loneways
11-26-2011, 10:33 AM
This article is amazing, I like the view of the writer of this article since you can definitely see he is a person who wants to help the poor(in this case he could be an assassin who pleads for them but not with fighting but with words http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif) http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif. Also this article should be made but from the templar side.

S-EVANS
11-26-2011, 10:44 AM
Thats easy our way or the highway !!! im right your wrong !!! but i bet you dont accept it !!!

Assassin_M
11-26-2011, 10:50 AM
Originally posted by S-EVANS:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Assassin_M:
It wasnt you who wrote it ?

Darn and I was about to let my Intellectual side pop in http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/bigtears.gif

im more than willing to hear your views regardless of who wrote what...

please let the fingers do the walking ... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Alright then..
Your Perception of the Flowers applying to how the Assassins conceive their views on Peace, as you said, applies to aspects of life.The Ideology of the Assassin Order has been touched upon through every game of the series provided that we can compile every moment of such, we will have the complete Picture.This was discussed by Almualim and Altair, when they reflect upon how an Assassin should view the World, provided of course that one finds the means to do so, be it in Books or simple observation, An Assassin must see the world: An Illusion which we can submit to, as most do, or we can transcend, then one must realize that to transcend, he must realize that nothing is true and that everything is permitted.Now if that were to be taken as doctrine then it would cancel itself automatically as the OP puts it, so as Ezio mentions, it is merely an observation of how the world works. The Templars and Assassins agree that Humans have a fragile basis of Civilization, yet The second part of the Phrase is what they both fight for "Everything is Permitted" The Assassins believe that humans are the Architects of their own Fate, though this may be at a price, it is for the greater good, If one may die so that many will benefit, then so be it, Altair demonstrates this when he kills Jubair for believing differently and Ezio demonstrates this when he kills Carlo Grimaldi.However, Altair acknowledges that their Order has a fragile base as well, mentioning in his Codex what he calls "The 3 Ironies of the Assassin Order".. Here we seek to promote peace, and yet Murder is our means, Here we seek to open the minds of men, but require obedience to a master and set of rules. Here we seek to reveal the danger of blind faith, yet we are practitioners ourselves. They have no satisfactory answer to these charges, only possibilities... Do they bend the rules in service to a greater good? And if they do, what does it say of them? That they are liars? That they are frauds? That they are weak? Altair spent Every moment wrestling with these contradictions and in spite of all the years he had to reflect, still he can find no suitable answer... And he feared that one may not exist.Altair thought that the Creed provided answers, and it somehow does.Nothing is true. Everything is permitted. Does the creed provide the answer, then? That one may be two things Ė opposite in every way Ė simultaneously? And why not? The Assassins, of noble intentions, possessed of barbaric means? they celebrate the sanctity of life and then promptly take it from those they deemed enemies? So like I said, if one brings together all the Philosophies of the Assassin Order mentioned in the series, then their Ideology would be clearer..

S-EVANS
11-26-2011, 11:09 AM
how do you precieve the templars view ?

Assassin_M
11-26-2011, 11:12 AM
Originally posted by S-EVANS:
how do you precieve the templars view ?
The Templars want a Perfect world, The same world where Those who came before walked the earth, thus it will have the same outcome, Rebellion; and if it were to happen that the Templars destroy the Assassin Order, then the end of humanity as we know it..

S-EVANS
11-26-2011, 11:15 AM
lets hope the fact they both want the same, assassins win..

Assassin_M
11-26-2011, 11:21 AM
Originally posted by S-EVANS:
lets hope the fact they both want the same, assassins win..
The Templars, like those who came before, will be blind to the fact that there is a solar flare impeding and so will have no reason to believe the Assassins if they were to tell them about it..

S-EVANS
11-26-2011, 11:27 AM
True, but i cant help myself in saying we live under templar rule today. no matter how irrelevant that is http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

Assassin_M
11-26-2011, 11:29 AM
Originally posted by S-EVANS:
True, but i cant help myself in saying we live under templar rule today. no matter how irrelevant that is http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif
I agree that we seem to be living under some sort of Templar rule, just not Templars http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Agentbarto
11-26-2011, 11:43 AM
The problem I see is that you define the war by our standards. By our standards we "must" have order in war (possibly to remain civilized (though this coincides with the old western European definition of civilization as I'd venture to say that any war is uncivilized))

That being said the Creed of the Aassassins is actually very liberating. As opposed to blind faith, prime example being Abbas and Altair throughout AC I, the Assassins check each other and grow from it by allowing questioning of those higher up on the chain of command. (Altair learns this at the end of AC I) Al Mualim said it best in AC I when he accussed the public of blind obediance/agreement because it is easier. (This is why he was a conflicted man; he knew the creed and agreed with it, but sided with the Templars in the best way to achieve peace.)

Any true assassin must be defined by their ability to comprehend the creed, not by their allegiance. Alligiance is only a result of agreement of principle, not synonomos with or indicative of an agreement.

Let's look at Ezio's decision to spare Borgia senior. By all accounts he should have killed him. But he questioned his own motives for wanting to kill him. Before this he had been on a vendetta, blindly killing anyone directly related to the murder of his family. He decided against killing because of his doubt in his own ideological drives. This, however did not please other assassins as they had all alog a lucid awareness of the Templar conspiracy. Slightly dettached from the murders of fellow Assassins they were able to realize Ezio's mistake, while Ezio wasn't because he wasn't operating on the goals of the Aassassins. In AC Ii, they simply gave him a means to avenge his family and his honor.

Look at Ezio's conversation with Ahmet in the arsenal. He clearly sees Ahmet's point about the Creed and the goals of the Assassins, but he disagrees. The only reason they fight is because the Templars often already hold positions of power and seek to maintain those positions. How do they do this in the midst of increasing public awareness? They oppress; something the Assassins would never agree with because they infring on the rights of others. Ezio himself said that Templars fear the change that comes from difference. And they do, the Templars fear change because it upsets their rigid analysis of the machinations of society. They fundamentally conflict with the Creed, but as I said before, because they hold power and use it to prevent change, the Assassins intervene. If they could debate civilly, the Assassins would, but the Templars don't want civilized debate because they know they'll end up agreeing and thus lose their power.

SolidSage
11-27-2011, 11:30 PM
The problem with the Templar method of Policing and Influence, is that the system itself easily allows for a corruption of the basic ideal. Telling society to do what is good for it evolves into telling society to do what is good for you, (Templar officials).

In spite of this flaw in the approach, the Templar method has still been more successful, as is in evidence by Al Mualim's failure, Desmond's current predicament and other things.

Surely, the most effective way of achieving change, isn't to continue the ill fated and fruitless opposition that the Assassin's have preferred, but rather for the Assassin's to give up and allow themselves to be assimilated in to the Templar system. And then, to alter the course of the machine from within.

Agentbarto
11-27-2011, 11:50 PM
The Templar method only appears successful, people may not actually believe it, but it doesn't matter what they believe because the Templars take the power away from the people. Therefore the society in which the people live, if ruled by Templar ideology, is not their society, but that of the Templars. A true society would be a group of different people agreeing to commit to a set of laws that puts everyone on equal ground, not just because they must tolerate difference, but because they believe they are equal in rights despite the differences. This is why Templar ideology is so compelling, it's easier not to think about your own faults in the context of those of others. What is easier isn't always what is right, and what is right for the Assassin's is the ability for the public to think socio-centrically while recognizing, and celebrating the egocentric influences of the individual.

I think the Assassins can't attempt such covert change without compromising the Creed because the disagreement is on such a fundamental level.