DUN DUN DUN! XD
also, first, and not to waste the opportunity, what did Phix know, Shelly being a sphinx?
And I know there is a higher order of sphinxes and all that, but Phix doesn’t even have a little privilege? that’s a scary thought, considering her position…
‘Bottom of the totem pole’ was the phrase Phix used to describe herself getting ‘stuck’ with the Library job.
But since she has grown to appreciate the job, and I suspect she will keep it now.
I guess its a matter of perspective…
I would think that being in charge of ~90% (100% written) of the knowledge of Earth would be a very high position, and would have a great deal of bargaining power. Whereas to the “all-knowing” sphinxes, it’s just a copy room.
It’s turtles all the way up.
I find it disheartening that in so much fiction, the rule is always that for some amazingly good reason you will end up making better decisions *without* knowing anything about your problems than you would *with*. You know, unlike how it ever works in real life. And so whether it’s a wise old wizard or a sphinx or a government spook of some kind, For Your Own Good they gotta treat you like a mushroom, betray your trust and so forth.
Makes the plot less predictable, I guess. But it becomes predictable in itself. Wouldn’t it be bizarre if, just once, a character who knew stuff instead said “OK, the person I’m counting on to solve this is smart and gutsy, why don’t I lay it out for them and see if they can figure out a good approach, instead of trying to pull them where I want them to go by a nose ring?”
It’s the mythological story telling element of learning for yourself. It is the way people learn in real life. If we all learned cumulatively(i.e “don’t do that stupid thing that I did when I was younger” or “because I said so”) we would already be colonizing Mars. We don’t have all the answers in front of us in real life. I sure as f**k don’t. If I did, I’d be rich and sitting on a beach somewhere drinking a martini. If my story is so predictable, why are you reading it, go read Tom Robbins or someone much more creative than me. Having secret agendas in stories symbolizes this. We seem to learn best when we step in horse shit by ourselves, not because someone warned us that it was there and to avoid it. Sure we may listen at that moment but later we’d step in it ourselves and then realize, “aw crap, I shouldn’t have done that!” And for anyone that doesn’t understand that the horseshit is a metaphor, go bang your head on a wall for being too dense.
I’m here to read some brillaint webcomics and deconstruct Tom Robbins, and I’m all out of Tom Robbins.
Odd to see you so defensive, not that it was not warranted, just odd to see it.
that said, I think this comic is one of the better when it comes to foreshadowing that actually MEANS something. I’m glad when I can predict things he’s doing (cause I’m wrong more often than I am right)
Paul… seriously, go drink your martini at the beach off of Lake Street… may not be the ocean, but it’s Mn Nice 😉
Taz, it’s been a rough month and looks like it’ll be dragging another month longer. My patience is pretty thin and people that walk into a room only to fart in it don’t get much warning. I’ll be more pleasant when are house is put back together. Sorry you had to see that.
Whoo. Someone’s a tad defensive. Didn’t realize I was giving quite that much offense.
Yes, it’s obviously a metaphor. But people who use metaphors often forget that what they’re doing is also going to operate on a literal level whether they like it or not, and sometimes forget that what they *intend* to project as metaphorical meaning is not the only meaning being projected. Metaphor is not allegory, and allegory is boring.
This one does certainly have the meanings you’re working with. But it also says very loudly “Trust the CIA (or other secretive authorities). They know what’s best for you. Wanting to know the truth is childish. Wanting to be dealt with honestly is childish.” I think that’s a dangerous message, particularly in our times. And just because you don’t intend it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
I don’t actually mind the secrecy, and I find the characters and plot interesting. What I mind is the ready concession that Big Daddy/Mommy’s secrecy and manipulation are OK. They’re not OK, ethically. They’re not even usually the best approach pragmatically. And it bugs me when these strong, decisive characters are so readily reduced to “Oh, OK, I should never have questioned just because you messed me and my friends over. Bad childish girl me, I’ll trust authority unquestioningly next time.”
PLG, you totally missed what the comic is about. It’s about having the experience and wisdom to know what to do with the knowledge. There are no CIA or secret societies manipulating anyone in the comic. The sphinxes above Phix don’t care about what the humans do or what they know.
After the 56 calendar resets, Phix learned what would and wouldn’t work to save her friends. And some of that involved not telling them somethings, not because they weren’t worthy, but because the knowledge would mess things up, they wouldn’t be able to “unknow” what they would know if Phix told them. Monica would’ve never been able to trick the self appointed queen demon to expose herself as she did and allow Monica to be stabbed with the key. All the main characters in the previous timelines worked together to have Phix guide them in the next timeline.
It bugs me after all this time and exposition that some folks don’t get that and still react like there’s a secret society hording all the information. With Monday’s comic, no one, including Phix, has to keep ANY information from ANYONE anymore. They’re all on a level playing field now.
To come in here and state that the idea of a secret selfish organization that is manipulating everyone is pulling the chains in this story, glaringly shows that you don’t understand what has happened yet feel the need to lash out anyway.
Did you ever see the episode of STtNG wear Data had to keep the crew of the Enterprise in the dark about a planet of xenophobes that had the power to destroy the ship when he was the only one who couldn’t have his memory wiped. The Captain ordered Data not to tell anyone, including himself. Facts aren’t as important as knowing how and when to use the facts.
It’s Scoobies all the way down, and it doesn’t go very far down:
Think of this: Little Jay was at Gramma’s house. Gramma was cooking electric. Little Jay couldn’t keep his little hands away from the beautiful round things the pots and pans stood on. Despite Gramma’s repeated warnings ,Little Jay still decided he knew better, so, placed his hand flat on the nice, warm round metal thing….
Little Jay shrieked :”aaaaahhh it bit meeeeee!!” and started wailing. Little Jay HAD to try for himself. Gramma’s warnings were ignored, and she could have just as well not mentioned anything.
Lesson very effectively learned to never ever forget that electric cooking plates are damn hot, even if You cannot see it…
In Phix’ case it gets even more complex, because she knew what dysmal ending those tries had where she did divulge too much info on beforehand, me thinks.
Monica is just not very able to handle stuff she cannot control. It’s a basic character trait in her. She’s a somewhat neurotic control-freak especially because she was left without any control when declared “loony” and put away in an institution.
That traumatic experience possibly made her need to control more of a neurotic tendency, instead of a character trait easily overcome.
Time&time again it’s illustrated that Monica HATES uncertainty and loss of control. On the other hand, her neurotic control-freakyness gave her the capability to control her demons to an amazing extent.
Well.. jus’ my 2 Eurocents… 😛
Hmmmm, Monica has been putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with 3.14159…
Ah, but two plus two can equal five, for either very large values of two or very small values of five.
Mmmmmm PI !
I don’t have to get up in the middle of the night this week to get the new comic! Happy 4th from the 50th state
3+4 can also = 5
I thought 2+2 was fish?
no, it was 1+1=swordfish
Thank you for the timely update 🙂
No Tina Pin up?!? Noooo!!! I was sooo looking forward to one too… Pizza and tattoo girl get ones but not Tina… Sad I am.
I too was conflicted
Yay! Storyline 🙂
Boo! No pinups 🙁
Yay! Continuation 🙂
Boo! No Darren 🙁
Think I ended up on Yay!
My brain works like a daisy sometimes *nods*
Next time around, when Paul has to do some more remodeling, you guys will probably get your Durwood pin-up.
Whoop… Pissed Monica.
What a shock. XD
Is that Monica? I thought from what Phix said, it was Shelly.
That is -definitely- a Monica silhouette.
Well, looking at the facts, She calls Monica Pumpkin. Also the silloute has short hair (unless Shelly cut hers again). She doesn’t seem to have buldging muscles. On the other hand the perfume-predator remark would tend to indicate it’s Shelly. I don’t think the hair matches any of the golem girls either.
Yeah, it was the perfume – predator comment I was going by, but yeah, that’s not really Shelly’s silhouette. It’s also really hard to tell from ankles….
Nope, the predator is the one doing the talking… observing that a sphinx has a keen sense of smell…
‘S Monica. “The Predator” is Phix. might Phix feel peckish, and like a snack, than M is easy to ‘sniff out’ 😛
Monica seems partially annoyed, partially unsure if she’s correct in her righteous anger, or is missing certain details.
Phix’ answer should be enough. M isn’t stupid, and knows, by now, stuff is never what it seems.
I thought it was shelly too, but yeah the arms don’t match. But that silouette is missing certain bodily trademarks you’d expect for Monica as well.
nah, that’s Shelly, look at the shoulders and her hand-on-hip stance, that’s pure pissed off Shelly there… the whole perfume/predator remark is definitely a Shelly-is-a-sphinx remark trying to remind her that perfume is NOT an asset when hunting prey, as they might smell it and flee and or conversely is she was the prey, it’d give the hunters your location… remember how Shelly was in a place she couldn’t die? well now that she ISN’T there anymore, shes vulnerable to attack and Phix is trying to remind her of the other Sphinxes reactions to her… they probable have a few other sphinxes with attitudes that include the kill-it-and-its-not-a-problem-anymore mentality.
Ooh. Phix, deary, as someone once remarked : “now there’s a subject for a 10-page essay on( Kanthian-) ethics.
Is witholding info lying, even when it’s done with the person’s well-being in mind.. I do not think so, but much greater minds have sunk their teeth in that dilemma.
It would have been hard on Phix, I imagine, since it’s pretty obvious that she’s quite fond of the Wapsi-crew.
Phix can see the bigger picture. Still, withholding information, even if it’s for the good of the person involved, is just another form of manipulation. Unfortunately it happens to all of us on a daily basis. Every single one of us is manipulated in some way by someone or some group all the time.
True, true. But the philosophical/ethical conundrum here is ‘Is it wrong’ to withold info, if that witholding saves the person that doesn’t get that info. It gets even worse when , indeed, The Bigger Picture is involved.
When “Not Knowing” saves a whole civilization, is it then preferable to “not Know”? i.e. “being manipulated”however negative manipulatin seems. As Tina/Nudge said “It is possible to do good with evil”
As I already stated: Much bigger minds have sunk their teeth in it, and failed to give a satisfactory solution: fool one, save many -or- be honest, save one, kill many….
Neat to see though, that Paul again lays out a nice, philosophical problem to sink our teeth in. I always liked that sort of storytelling.
And just to get all meta against my rants below, if we as readers get too much information too soon, we’d complain or stop reading. So sometimes we downright delight in being deceived. It’s what the fiction do.
Comics (larger definition, artwork) like this are the constant reminders I receive that ARTISTS are the ones who “get it” at the deepest level.
Seek, search, inquire. Question. Debate.
Get to the heart of the matter, of existence.
Artists/musicians are philosophers also. The questions they ask are just phrased in a way the commonman can understand more easily. <3
So no one is running the universe.
Not even a random guy with the memory of a goldfish who lives on a planet miles away?
We be (insert favourite cuss word).
Interesting way to look at things.
If normally everything is out of your control and once – just once you could help..would you?
I would hope my answer would be yes 😀 But I might be too much a coward to do so 😛
Oh and the first panel.
Monica smells tasty?
Hmm. I suppose it IS good advice if she will be hanging round with a Sphinx in the future on a daily basis.
Indeed! Two Questions though:
1. Does the universe require being run by someone/thing?
2. Does authority/expertise oblige you to interfere with somebody’s activities?
Office does not sanctify the office holder. Electing a crook as sheriff neither makes their activities legal or them a better person.
The universe is run by atomic forces and gravity. Intelligence/god(s) not required to keep it going. However, without intelligent beings to ponder it all, and use it, the universe would seem pretty pointless. Not that it has to have a point I suppose. Hmm, I seem to be going in a circle here.
In and of itself, the universe is neither pointful nor pointless. It is only the need for “intelligent beings” to find meaning that begs the question.
1: I’d like to think it is. God, the Force, Karma, whatever, seems to be controlling stuff.
Wether it would work better without those forces .. have’nt a clue 😀
2: Free will. Seems like an copout for those in charge to be honest. With the world as up as it is, we could use some intervention sometimes.
As to wether they are obligated – Murderers are arrested and sent to prison, sometimes 🙂
But flip side…how many people would have stopped the sinking of the (using a famous event) ‘Titanic’. The amount of (rich) people who died on that ended caused the creation of laws where the amount of people on board MUST tally with the amount of life boats. In that case, prevention would have stopped people surviving past that event.
“Free will”is the nucleus. If Free Will results in the destruction of a species, then it’s just that. If Free Will results in creatures taking action to prevent annihilation, in howfar is that “Free Will”or an action dictated by “survival-instinct” Thus :NO Free Will too…
“Free Will” pondering will always end in the “foundation-conundrum”–> Where does Free will begin, and pure instinct ends. Is “Free Will”a mirage, a case of “survivalist instincts masquerading as Free Will” ? Or is it actually there, leaving choice to us, even if it means our utter destruction.
To me it seems to be the latter.
The most important laws of time travel are social rules.
The rest is just mute physics.
Okay… that’s the weirdest thing. I just got a serious case of dèja vu with this comic, like I had read those first three panels somewhere before.
I blame the Calendar Machine.
Can’t be… they fixed tha… unless… Nooooooooo
It is similar to when Monica called her on it before when it was due to the calender machine.
Though I suspect all future/past knowlege would be linked via that machine.
Yay, back to the storyline. But it was a nice interlude…
I want to see flashbacks of Phix coming to visit Shelley in the eternities out there, that’s what I wanna see.
Phix is right, though – sometimes it’s more useful not to share information that people are not ready to hear.
Indeed. I also would like to see how Phix got on with Shelly. If she became sort of a “surrogate Mom” to Shelly. How they interacted. Stuff like that.
Aaand of course, how things went when Nudge visited… That could be fun. 😀
I think Phix handled that well.
My sympathies are with Phix on this one. For all we know, Phix may have told Monica in one (or even more) of the 56 attempts and it went very wrong.
Furthermore, Phix’s role is one of mentor. If you’ve ever trained/taught anyone you’ll know that:
1) It’s often better if they work out the answer themselves instead of you just telling them.
2) The person you’re teaching/tutoring/mentoring need to have the basics covered before you can move on to the advanced stuff.
Thanks, man. Anyone who has ever taught anyone has experienced this and it gets frustrating explaining this to those who just don’t get it.
I’m reminded of a story about souls in Purgatory who have to work out the errors of their lives and find the better way. The angels there constantly prod and challenge them to enlarge their vision and understanding in order to see and improve themselves. Of course, their prides, vanities, presumptions and prejudices keep getting in the way.
When one soul challenges an angel to just come out and say what they want, the reply is “No Zombies.”
“What?” she asks.
The angel explains that simply revealing the ultimate truth would corrupt them — they could no longer be themselves and could not longer grow. It would destroy their free will. The challenge was to learn AND understand. Simply being handed an answer without understanding it is profoundly destructive.
Which puts me in mind of a story I saw on TV concerning the meaning of life and keeping it from people at large. It seems there is a meaning/purpose to life and it is so profound that one must undergo many years of rigorous training to be able to hear it without going instantly insane.
It made me wonder if there actually could be a combination of words that would be so incredible, yet believable that it really does blow your mind, permanently.
According to the Christian Gospel, there is a meaning to life, and it’s nothing to make you go insane. It’s that the human being was made for love, true love, and without love we cannot be truly alive.
The problem comes when we try to live that love–that’s where the long training is needed.
My favorite way of looking at life is a quote from City Slickers:Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is?
[holds up one finger]
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean shit.
Mitch: But, what is the “one thing?”
Curly: [smiles] That’s what *you* have to find out.
^^Yup. That’s the basics. (former primary school-teacher here..) add to that the fact that with most kids it’s enough to pique their interest and give them some tools to see them find-out stuff on their own, sometimes in rather unforeseen ways. 😀
I’m with Phix, too.
I told my daughter Santa is as real as me. I told her the tooth fairy still has all her teeth. I told her to wear sunscreen. I told her not to go near the fire when Uncle Isaac was blowing up marshmallows with cherry bombs tucked inside.
I haven’t told her that “Santa” and “Tooth Fairy” are hats I wear when I must. She learned yesterday that no sunscreen=days of sunburn pain. Thankfully, she listened to me about the marshmallows–but the boom still scared her.
The most important thing I will ever teach my kid is to think for herself. You can’t teach someone to think by doing their thinking for them. Sometimes, they need your protection. But the lessons that come when she figures out all by herself that “Santa” is a hat and sunburns hurt and therefore she will wear the “Santa” hat someday and she will put on sunscreen before going swimming… those are priceless lessons. Those are the ones that a parent looks at and says, “Now I know my baby will be ok when she’s out on her own; when I’m too old; after I’m gone. She knows what to do–she can think for herself.”
Nothing can take the place of those lessons… And to teach those lessons, sometimes the parents MUST hold back. See, we already know how to think.
… I just realized that my above comment is part of a longer essay I’ve had stewing in the back of my head for a long time. I’m going to repost with the rest on my blog (www.danzierlea.wordpress.com) if it’s ok with you, Paul.
If Phix can’t tell Monica’s emotions from her tone of voice, her tone must be very cold indeed.
“None of us are in a position of privilege! Certainly not me!” is self-contradictory: if she is certainly not in a position of privilege (“lowest on the totem pole”) then somebody else certainly is.
Keeping secrets, however necessary, is a privilege. Meting out justice, however obvious, is a privilege.
I like Phix. If my reading of her last encounter with Tina is correct, she has staked everything on her sense of cosmic ethics. But this time methinks the potted daisy doth protest too much. I cannot see Monica being placated by a Socratic defense that would sound more authentic if it came out of Nudge.
She could have meant the people who Monica knows when she said “none of us”.
Maybe. Phix may be just another executioner, and they usually don’t ask questions.
But Monica is. Phix’s return question seems an attempt to deflect the conversation away next natural question, “Who decides who ‘should’ know what when?”
If Phix is deciding when to reveal information to her friends, that’s an enormous exercise of privilege. If she’s suggesting she’s another pawn, and that these decisions are being made by others, she’ll have to explain her loyalty to those others.
I’m not sure Phix’s question is so innocent. Monica is beginning to resent the feeling of herself and her friends being held hostage, and then being told it’s for their own good.
Ignorance is slavery, as Monica knew damn well when she liberated the golem girls. You’d think someone in “a position of privilege” would take special note of that.
Ignorance may be slavery and knowledge shall set you free, but wisdom is important as well. The accumulation of knowledge can make you wiser, but the most important wisdom can only come from time and experience. That is the wisdom Phix (and now Shelly) has. It’s a depth of wisdom Monica will never have. Also, some knowledge should only be obtained after you have the wisdom to use it properly and deal with it. Of course, as humans, that rarely happens, especially these days, and that is part of why the human condition is so destructive. For us (as the saying goes), it always seems the test comes first, then the lesson.
This has been said before by other people here, but it is worth repeating: The damn calender reset 56 times. Being nice didn’t fix it. Maybe being ruthless did. Because if they weren’t, bing reset. Caution spoiler alert ahead……………………. Remember, they didn’t want to stab M. in the head.
Phix did not say, no one is in a position of privilege. She said, none of us.
And, why didn’t the italics turn off? I put in the correct code, and tested it.
Maybe you’re not ready to know yet…
For next time, try putting the close tag before the final period. I think it’s a WordPress thing.
See? Another secret of the universe revealed and no one the worse for it.
Phix did not really answer her question, either. Of course, Monica didn’t directly answer Phix’s first question.
I think Mon is outgrowing putting up with riddles. No reason to act like a naive pushover when you’re just dealing with bigger idiots.
Oh, Phix… to be wrapped up in those arms and wings…
I think at this point, the emotion Monica is using is frustration.
Hey Fatuncle! Mine turned off…
1. Awesome poster, I like it better than Shelly’s.
2.That’s not very nice.
I love him in that little suit 😀
First thoughts (simultaneous):
(1) Darn! No more pinups!
(2) Yay! Story resumes!
Of course, now I have to think. . . . 🙁
Second thought (on reading the page): The hardest thing to do is nothing, when it’s needed most.
Btw, Paul, Barbara saw panel 2 from across the room, and spontaneously praised its gracefulness.
You distracted her from watching Bewitched. Well done. And beautiful work as always.
Ah yes! Phix obviusly uphold the The Star Trek Federation interaction rules that basicly says that you cant interfer with a younger civilization (“gods trampling little ants”).
Then there is the whole “butterfly’s wings change the future” problem.
Or to understand it in simpler terms: Imagine the girls playing poker and Phix comes in and says – “Whoa! Monika you got 4 of a kinda .. is that good?”.
It isnt that the other players dont want to know Monikas cards but if they get told it obviously change everything (and not in a good way even tho the “game” might end with the same winner).
So best is to keep your wise jab shut to avoid imbalance in the “force” (or talk randomly mystic jibberish to keep the noobs happy).
There’s also the problem of knowing the future perfectly–life then becomes perfectly boring.
I prefer to know what the future holds–but only by living it.
Oh, don’t let’s bring the Quantum Weather Butterfly into it. They always give me headache.
:: goes off to look for a Goody’s Powder ::
I’ve always considered that “butterfly principle” to be hogwash anyway.
It is, since the future is not yet set. It really only applies when you try to predict what will happen–and reflects the discovery that even very small changes in your approximation produces large (and growing larger over time) variations in what you predict will happen.
Worse is that, by quantum uncertainty, you can never get more than an approximation of the initial conditions anyway. So the ability to predict the future in any sort of complex (chaotic) system is inherently limited.
wow. the difference between being honest and being kind. that’s meaty stuff.
A gilded cage is still a cage Phix…
I guess that depends on the need for a cage. We have cages for each other so as to maintain order and keep the bad guys locked up. Even as a species we require cages to keep ourselves in check, as in nuclear weapons usage.
There is a recently discovered very primitive tribe in the Amazon who have never had contact with anyone. The authorities have decided they should stay that way and keep people out of the area. But is that right? Is it right to keep those people in a cage like that? To never even give them the opportunity to experience the wonder of the universe as we know it? To treat them as some sort of pets?
Not the same thing. What that tribe will do (or not do) due to lack of knowledge effects no one but themselves.
Phix has been keeping information from people who are part of something very big, and very dangerous. Phix may have made the smart choise, but not the honest choise, and Monica is calling her on that.
Sometimes the cage is to keep things out! 😉
Hence monastic enclosures. . . .
“I got a surprise for you. None of us are in a position of privilege.”
I’m with Monica on this one. Bull$%@#. Regardless of whether Phix feels or actually has served the greater good with her actions, it was still her choice.
Now I understand why Bud despises her so (Bud takes full responsibility for what she does, even when she was possessed in the chimera. Phix makes excuses and blames other-worldly politics).
Gotta remember Phix is part of a very constrained order. They are very by the book, literally. She is somewhat of a renegade, but she is not about to really rock the boat. It’s just not in her being. She has to take orders and do what she is told, like it or not. She has also been around long enough to gain an understaning of why she must do things as she has done, so I think she is on board in that way as well.
I mean what else can she do? Find other renegades and start a sphinx war? That would be really messy and give the demons a chance to cut loose. So she has to obey orders for the greater good of everyone concerned. Within those constraints, she helps as she can. I think Monica is wrong to lay such guilt on her.
Exactly. 🙂 She’s not pulling this stuff out of her butt because she gets a rise out of it, and no one is being excluded by any higher authority. Phix has learned over the 56 tries what info was helpful and what made things worse. Just because this timeline’s Monica feels cheated from knowledge, doesn’t mean another timeline Monica wasn’t think, “Damn! I wish I didn’t know that.”.
Didn’t Jin have this same issue, too? Back when her and Alan finally got together, she asked a similar question?
Heh.. I suddenly realized that the last question of Phix prolly harks back to Shelly saying I learned as much from her words ,as I did from her silence
I think what everyone is forgetting is since Phix had already had conversations with Shelly 57 she knew that anything before attempt 57 was doomed to fail, because it already had failed. Se, whatever Phix did before the start of Cycle 57 would have made no difference, because it already hadn’t made a difference. IOW the person that fixed it in Cycle 57 had already told Phix what happened to stop the time loops, but it wouldn’t get fixed until then and this was what Scooby and the Gang had to know (and no know) to get it right.
And Somebody got it right, right from the start… http://wapsisquare.com/comic/yes-and-no/#comment-48895
This, and the fact that Phix could use cycles up to #56 to find out what worked, what didn’t, and why. By the time #57 came around, everything up until 2012 should be well plotted out – from the outside, even when it looks confused to the people playing it out without foreknowledge.
This also means there’s more room for real mistakes now…
Whenever we get a situation between M & Phix like this, I always imagine M sitting on Phix’s knee as she tells her a story which will help her understand the situation, much like you would a child when they ask “why is that the way it is?”
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