What would you identify as humanity's worst faults / sins and what are your ideas for characters made from them?

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To be more specific, I was writing a fantasy story of mine and there was going to be a large group of characters who seem to mostly embody or at least take up the roles of the worst humanity has to offer. While some of them are on the side of the protagonist, the majority of them are all antagonistic forces who serve to not only be a big cause for the state of the world but also the main character's motivation as people who need to be overcome and stopped. There was going to be a multitude because I wanted to see what ideas people may have had for both the being itself and just like a character idea. Humanity is wiped out for the most part in a futuristic society which is why these antagonists that caused their destruction chose to take on titles representing their very worst while also being 'human' themselves in a sense. So far the main ideas I've got are supporting ones being wrath, greed, a different pride, different envy. I'm still thinking over what sort of things would fit overall but it's basically supposed to be a large group of these characters with more antagonistic ones I've decided on representing violence and the other forms of pride and envy.
 

Droflet

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I find it very difficult to keep my novels positive since the majority of people, both now, and in the future, aren't particularly bright. It's a struggle but so far so good.
 

Edoc'sil

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The seven deadly sins are a good base. Due to our shared culture they are instantly recognisable to anyone, they might also last until this proposed future too.

One thing about humanity is our desire to be better, to go quicker, to have and do more. While not a bad thing to begin with, hubris brings down all eventually. Not everyone can (or should) be buddhist monks, but I think that it is important to bear in mind this may be all there is. Perhaps (quite likely) we will never escape our solar system (or universe if it gets there), so this practice of continual consumption cannot go on forever. I am not a paragon of good, but I hope that one day we can find a system in balance.

Of course then you have to think about the fact that the universe will only support us for 0.0000000000000001% (or some ridiculous number) of it's actual life span so we will have to get out eventually or in trillions of years we will all sucumb to the heat death of the universe.
 

Droflet

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You're really looking ahead, aren't you? That still leaves millions of years to explore the universe and evolve out of our tribal mentality. Think positive. ;)
 

Edoc'sil

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That's if we can even leave our solar system which I am extremely doubtful of. I love science fiction stories that talk about this but I don't think we'll ever come close to being able to travel at light speed. When compared with the size of the universe it is pretty slow anyway.

Even with colony ships and such (if we don't kill ourselves off by that point anyway) it will be incredibly hard to find places that can support us. The kind of terraforming we would have to do to create habitable planets would have to take place on at least the century scale if not the millenia scale and I don't think we will be able to play nice until then.

If we can somehow get to the point of asteroid mining and leave our petty squabbles behind us, we may stand a chance, but the outlook is not good.
 

paranoid marvin

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That's if we can even leave our solar system which I am extremely doubtful of. I love science fiction stories that talk about this but I don't think we'll ever come close to being able to travel at light speed. When compared with the size of the universe it is pretty slow anyway.

Even with colony ships and such (if we don't kill ourselves off by that point anyway) it will be incredibly hard to find places that can support us. The kind of terraforming we would have to do to create habitable planets would have to take place on at least the century scale if not the millenia scale and I don't think we will be able to play nice until then.

If we can somehow get to the point of asteroid mining and leave our petty squabbles behind us, we may stand a chance, but the outlook is not good.


Sadly I agree. We have only had the technology to wipe ourselves out for 70 or 80 years, and on several occasions we have come close to doing so. How many years will it take to get to the stage where we are able to leave our solar system in manned flight? In sixty years of space travel we have yet to get beyond our own satellite.

Unless some amazing new technology is invented, I think the best we can ever hope for is colonies on Mars or the Moon And even then they will be hazardous, unpleasant places to live .
 

Parson

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As to humanities worst faults/sins ..... I think it all comes down to selfism. The more I can make the good of others my chief objective, the better the world becomes. But the more I concentrate on self, the worse the world in general becomes.
 

Toby Frost

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Indeed - the end of The Ascent of Man is basically the author saying that once you start thinking that you're completely right, you'll end up murdering people. Unfortunately, a small percentage of people are unable to think anything else.
 

Wayne Mack

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As sort of an offshoot of the original post, I caution against making characters solely driven by a single bad trait. Give them a positive reason for doing bad things; it will make the characters more interesting to the reader.
 

Capricorn42

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@WatermelonPink are your villains colluding with each other in some way? The dynamic between them would be interesting to work out. Why would they cooperate? Who would be in charge? On the other hand, if they're competing, then who's winning? What happens to the loser?
 

farntfar

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If I understand what you're doing, @WatermelonPink , you're actually going to have a large number of faults/sins who are personified by the characters in your story; much as there are in Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress (The giant Despair, Mr WorldlyWiseman etc). Though maybe a little less obviously.
Is that the idea?

So you might have an alliance, for a time, between the character personifying Greed and the one personifying Avarice (if this isn't too simplified again), whose aims are much the same, until, of course they realise that they are often in competition for the same thing. But they might both be in opposition to Carelessness and Wantonness.

If so you actually want a whole lot of greater and lesser faults for your hero to best, not just the greatest sin.
But I would agree with Wayne Mack that characters displaying a range of faults, as well as some virtues are certainly more interesting.

The selfism that @Parson speaks of, it seems to me, can also encompass absolute dogma and fundamentalism, and any other form of not listening to other people, as well as a lack of care for anyone other than the self.
 
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As sort of an offshoot of the original post, I caution against making characters solely driven by a single bad trait. Give them a positive reason for doing bad things; it will make the characters more interesting to the reader.

The idea was not to sort of have a character who completely relies on said trait. It's more about having these ten characters who seem to have the trait in some way but it's not exactly as you'd expect. The sin or the feeling itself is a negative one and something bad for a person to hold too much onto, but in some cases, it doesn't have to be that way or it doesn't have to bear the assumed meaning of it. Ultimately, the characters are what most characters are and still have personalities just as regular people do so that they aren't simply defined by one word. But said word also plays into part of who their character. I sort of twisted things around to sort of fit the idea of breaking off from the norm of something like that or just making these characters into bigger things with the idea of two separate Prides, one who represents a strong sense of the feeling in ones family and a sense of honor while the other is the more vanity-based side. A self-centered antagonist who sort of reflects the far more negative angle to the word. The themes are generally a bit different, especially when it comes to the take on a 'lust' themed character I had in mind. But overall a lot of them are meant to try and work off of the others in the group be it in a good way or a harmful way.
 

Bick

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To be more specific, I was writing a fantasy story of mine and there was going to be a large group of characters who seem to mostly embody or at least take up the roles of the worst humanity has to offer. ... So far the main ideas I've got are supporting ones being wrath, greed, a different pride, different envy.
Most destructive trait: the relentless striving for progress and advancement.
As Simak remarks in City:

"Throughout the tales it becomes clear than Man was running a race, if not with himself, then with some imagined follower who pressed close upon his heels, breathing on his back. Man has engaged in a mad scramble for power and knowledge, but nowhere is there any hint of what he meant to do with it once he had attained it."
 

Alextrax52

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Money is often said to be the root of all evil and I agree. Once you get a bit of money you start developing a sense of superiority and that leads to a power trip where you’ll sacrifice everything just to make more money. The desire to be in control is also a detrimental sin.
 

Chris 1978

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The less obvious parts of our nature could lead to some interesting questions and challenges. Ignorance, apathy, narcissism, insecurity.
 

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