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(Thought exercise) - The Vampire's Farm.

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Poll: Is this something you'd consider to be moral or wholesome?

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Is this something you'd consider to be moral or wholesome?

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#1 ShadowTiger


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Posted 23 March 2023 - 06:21 AM

I found this on the internet and I wanted to share it.

Allow me to propose a hypothetical - A slight experiment in thought and morality.

Suppose I was a vampire, but I consumed happiness instead of blood. But I also fear death, pain, and misery, and occasionally get lonely.

It would naturally follow that I would attempt to surround myself with people that are friendly, content with their lot, and happy.

With whatever vampiric abilities I had at my disposal, I would set up a village and give people everything they needed to be happy. I would attempt to maximize their happiness, and take only a fifth of the mirth experienced by the villagers.

Is any of this moral or suitable for a lifestyle? Is this something people would actively pursue?

Are there parallels to the concept of government - Where a higher power that people willingly give authority and control to will control several aspects of their lives in an attempt to increase the general well-being of the populace in exchange for something? Taxes, goods, the occasional voluntary service, etc.

If this is considered to be a good trade, where would the potential problems lie so they could be avoided?

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#2 Taco Chopper

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Posted 23 March 2023 - 07:42 AM

sounds kind of murky to me.

by attempting to maximise the village's happiness, what happens if you can't? how sustainable is it as a whole for not just the village and its inhabitants, but also yourself? do the villagers know you're deliberately trying to maximise their happiness? is this something you would be open about to them?

if it's no to either of those last two questions, it's probably not for the best in my opinion. it's a scenario where nobody - this being you, and the villagers - wins long-term.

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#3 Aslion


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Posted 23 March 2023 - 08:14 AM

complain about morals all you want but i love my vampire-provided healthcare and vampire-assigned gf

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#4 ShadowTiger


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Posted 23 March 2023 - 08:35 AM

sounds kind of murky to me.

The idea of having a vampire constantly in your midst at all times certainly would be, especially if it was common and consistent knowledge that they'd basically be your constant care-taker and guardian. It's difficult to dispel negative rumors.

Of course, it would only take a little bit of faith and observation to determine their true motives, as well as witnessing the (Hopefully highly) potential success of their goal.

by attempting to maximise the village's happiness, what happens if you can't? how sustainable is it as a whole for not just the village and its inhabitants, but also yourself?

Certainly an excellent question. It'd be little different than the classic term "death spiral" in many of those city-builder games where you suddenly lack the resources to keep the town's needs up, and then they give minimal resource returns, which disallows you from doing the things that would repair those problems. Most business models are like that, really. There's a risk to everything.

Heck, every start-up needs to pitch their ideas to some big board of executives to get a loan for a bigger project. I'm sure a hungry mood-vampire would have to seek out some peasants and beg them for a little bit of happiness at dusk, just as a pauper would beg for a coin. "Plow your fields for a touch of smile, m'lord? Won't hurt a bit."

do the villagers know you're deliberately trying to maximise their happiness? is this something you would be open about to them?

I'd say it'd be part of the deal. In not telling the truth up front, they'd be setting themselves up for a potential cascading failure of morale, and the ultimate downfall of the operation. Anyone who goes into it all-in, up-front, with no reservations or trust issues, could be that much more inclined to be there for the long-haul, as they go from faith to trust in the mission.
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#5 Aslion


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Posted 23 March 2023 - 08:56 AM

non-shitpost version: This definitely sounds kinda skeezy but like, this supposed vampire does actually thrive off of human happiness? There's no parallel to government there, at least not realistically. In theory that's how it should work but in practice it just isn't. People do not willingly give authority or power to government, we are born into a world controlled entirely by large states with no real viable alternatives. "Living off the land" isn't really an option, any viable land is most likely already controlled by a state or private owner within the state. Travelling to different land would also require a vast amount of resources you wouldn't be able to accumulate without participating in their society. Creating your own "vampire village" (commune) doesn't work effectively for the same reasons - even if you managed to build a successful community on good land you're still at the mercy of the state in which it exists and could be crushed at any moment.


In a capitalistic representative democracy the government does not thrive off human happiness. The members thrive off of the power (including money) that the state and people generate for them. Their only real obligation is to keep people content enough for them to not be Murdered or Eaten. It makes it more efficient for them to rule with empty promises and the threats of violence and poverty/starvation knowing there's no real alternatives for anyone. Sure, individual members of these governments can be "voted out" but they've already gained tremendous benefit by being in power, and someone else will take their place as a cog in the machine. Even someone with the best intentions of creating the most human happiness entering would be very unlikely to be able to actually make any meaningful difference.


At least this vampire has some actual materialistic obligation to keep people happy even if they are doing it for a kinda shitty selfish reason. Sounds better than how most of the world operates, at least!

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#6 ShadowTiger


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Posted 23 March 2023 - 09:03 AM

Mm, an excellent post.  Definitely.  Ten points to local intellectual sports team. :approve:


I should probably continue to present the side of the Vampire just so it's represented, according to their own abilities and intentions.


I do believe that their intent is wholesome. I don't know what their affinity as an economist is, but I do know that they have a need to eat, just as anyone else would. They want to have an active and interesting social life, rather than one of loneliness.  They probably have the ongoing arrogance of having powers that humans lack, but they also know that if they flaunt those powers, the trust and social networks they've assembled over time will degrade, so they'd do their best to keep themselves humble and willing where possible. 


I would also assume that there are different "qualities" of  happiness.  There would be the quality of happiness one attains from having a wholesome, productive life that isn't at a dead-end.  There's the quality of happiness one gets from fulfilling one's dreams.  There's the one where people smile at you wherever you go, rather than whenever you go.  There's also the sort where you have acquired material wealth that allows you to remain comfortable, as well as the happiness that comes from the knowledge that you're more in control of that particular aspect of your life than not.  I wouldn't assume that simply being showered in gold coins would allow for a sustained level of happiness in any particular human.  No, that would be far too temporary.


Of course, he'd also want to keep those happy humans under his proverbial wing so he could feed (Vicariously and painlessly through osmosis.) on them.  If they were TOO ambitious from what they've achieved, they might leave the village and try to attain wealth elsewhere.  Feeling as if they have the freedom and free will to do so would be one source of happiness, but would also be self-defeating for their vampire shepherd.  Interesting to think about.

#7 Architect Abdiel

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Posted 23 March 2023 - 12:02 PM

So, since you are like a vampire, feeding on people's happiness, does that mean they eventually run out of happiness and become sad?

#8 ShadowTiger


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Posted 23 March 2023 - 03:36 PM

1)  Happiness can be renewed, just as with any other emotion.  You can feel sadness, anger, surprised, content, in love, fearful, despair, and happiness.  I'm sure there's plenty of a sub-set of each, though for the sake of this hypothetical, it's a clearly-defined semi-measurable component.


2)  The lack of happiness is simply nothing rather than fear.  You can feel afraid of a deadly monster around the corner while feeling happy that you might have a chance to feed it a treat and win it over.  It's not so much that that will always be true, but that I don't want to back myself into a corner by saying that all emotions are mutually exclusive outright.


3)  Only a little bit of happiness is taken at a time.  It's no different than having a few dozen bowls of spaghetti in front of you, and you only take two fork-fuls from each rather than draining two bowls like I can.


4)  Happiness is easily renewed.  It's as easily renewed as it is in The Sims.

#9 Moosh


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Posted 23 March 2023 - 08:30 PM

I don't really see the moral dilemma in this situation. Vampire's gotta eat, people typically want to be happy. In theory it's a situation of mutual benefit. In practice I think this vampire would be very unsuccessful and end up a very unhappy (or dead) person. But that's a situational dilemma, not anything the people of the village have a say over. Like I said, vampire's gotta eat.

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#10 Haylee


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Posted 26 March 2023 - 07:39 AM

this is basically the same as asking "is it okay for the Pokemon Drowsee to thrive, since it's a Pokemon that exclusive feeds on dreams?"


gals gotta eat don't know what to tell ya

Edited by Einsiety, 26 March 2023 - 07:43 AM.

#11 Joelmacool


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Posted 26 March 2023 - 09:44 AM

This is a rather interesting thought experiment, but is flawed in the sense that there is no single understanding of what happiness is; if the Vampire were to feed off the happiness of people, and actively sets out to increase the happiness of individuals, then the Vampire must know what specific actions result in the happiness of all members within this village. This, of course, should be simple to accomplish for one person: in a relationship, it becomes easier to understand how to make your spouse happy in light of distressing events, and so as you spend more time with them you begin to understand the conditions for their happiness.

To carry this over to a village, the conditions for happiness become ever more complex; it is rather unlikely a single individual like this Vampire would be able to understand the conditions to make every individual in the village happy. This makes it even more tricky when bringing into consideration the fact that pain, death, and misery is something the Vampire wishes to avoid; if so, then happiness is something the Vampire wishes to achieve at all times. This is certainly not possible, even for a small group of Vampires to achieve.

Ignoring the impossibility of the scenario, however, the experiment does bring into question the issue of the definition of happiness itself. In simple terms, happiness is understood as a positive emotion, relative to feelings of negativity. If the Vampire is successful in maintaining a sense of happiness, there would be nothing to compare that feeling to; happiness is all the villagers would feel. As a result, one must ask whether or not the villagers are truly feeling "happy": does it matter to the Vampire if the happiness felt by the villagers is manufactured or not, or is the Vampire able to feed on "fake" happiness as well as the "real"?

In regards to the morals of the scenario, one can easily understand that the perpetual happiness felt by each individual allows them to feel comfort in their position. It would indeed be moral to allow these villagers the comfort to stay in this village, equipping them with the happiness others struggle to acquire during their lives. But bringing into question the manufactured aspect of this happiness, one needs to question whether happiness is what we truly desire. The Vampire is in control, of course, controlling the lives of each individual in order to force them into a constant stream of "happy" thoughts. That is the selfish goal of the Vampire, not to help others in providing them comfort, but to do so for their own benefit. The villagers have no choice in being happy or not, for the Vampire dictates that they will always be.

The question of the free will of these villagers is an integral aspect of this experiment; of course, the experiment is asking if we would join this village, but it is apparent if there are no willing volunteers, the Vampire will choose a suitable village to proceed with their goal anyway. If we do join this village, we become subject to the Vampire's desires; although we may feel happy in the most simplistic sense of the word, we would exist solely to serve the Vampire. Once we enter this village we would feel happy and contempt, but we would no longer hold the desire to leave; we would be caught in the Vampire's trap, manipulated by the Vampire to feel "happy" through the abandonment of all other emotions. It is this that brings into question the independence and worth of each individual within this village, which I believe overcomes any sense of happiness they may think they feel.

Still, perhaps being manipulated in such a way is what an individual desires. Perhaps all they seek is to be happy, and want nothing else of value in their lives. This makes it hard to quantify whether this village is moral or not; the nature of the village itself is also important to consider. If the village is comprised of only volunteers, there may be an argument to be made in the village being moral - and yet, each volunteer is forced to remain in this village, no matter if they later choose to participate in something greater than to allow a Vampire to feed on them.

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