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  1. #1
    Incredible Member tbaron's Avatar
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    Default Is Professor X using his power to erase minds unethical?

    I just started reading Xmen. I am reading from the start. I am enjoying the stories. But one thing troubles me. Professor X has used his powers twice in as many issues to erase the memory of several people. First on The Vanisher, the again on The Blob and his gang. He is always going on in the comics and shows I have seen him in about the dangers of misusing mutant powers. Does having him erasing the minds of his foes Ethical or is it crossing the line?
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  2. #2
    "Berserker Claw!" Wild Fang X's Avatar
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    In theory, but the reasons for his mindwipings tend to vary from one instance to another, so the morality of it is open-ended. Taking into account that Charlie has been doing this since the Silver Age, there's a LOT to consider.
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  3. #3
    Amazing Member Macallan's Avatar
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    Charles has always been rather fluid with the morality of his powers. Some of his mind wipe choices are indefensible though.

  4. #4
    Astonishing Member Killerbee911's Avatar
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    Yes very unethical no consent mind wipes are mess up. Telepathy is a power best used for evil characters.It is a little bit hyperbole but there is nothing such as "good" telepath. And before someone argues with me telepath regularly do equivalent eavesdrop on people and put people at gunpoint and force them to do things.
    Last edited by Killerbee911; 10-30-2019 at 10:53 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Macallan View Post
    Charles has always been rather fluid with the morality of his powers. Some of his mind wipe choices are indefensible though.
    Yeah, telepathy is a pretty horrible power from a consent standpoint, even if you are just breaking and entering (reading someone's mind / trespassing), and not re-arranging the furniture (editing memories or implanting phobias or compulsions), or moving in (possession), or taking over the place (mind control), it's still a violation of the person's privacy, at the very minimum.

    OTOH, from a practical standpoint, it's amazing.

    Spider-Man "I punched him and put him in jail, and he'll be out and back to crime in about three, oh wait, it happened before I finished the sentence..."

    Xavier "I erased the memories of his crappy childhood that turned him to crime in the first place, made him forget he had a mutant power (and blocked him from ever using that power entirely by psychically burning every neural pathway to that section of his brain, so even if someone tells him that he used to have super-powers, he won't know what mental muscle to flex...), and he's now a CPA, married and living in Queens."

    Granted, Xavier has never gone to that level. He kind of half-asses it, and ends up morally / ethically compromising himself, and yet *not actually solving the problem.* Sigh. If you're going to go to hell anyway, take the express elevator Chuck, and do it right!

    None of this quick and temporary fixes that don't address core personality traits that are just going to lead the foe back into villainy, sooner or later.
    Last edited by Sutekh; 10-31-2019 at 05:40 AM.

  6. #6
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    Ethics? I don't know her.

  7. #7
    Incredible Member useridgoeshere's Avatar
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    No, because they deserve it. It doesn't seem any different than blasting them with your eyes, whacking them with a shield or bopping them with a magic hammer. It's all an assault, but it's all justifiable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Killerbee911 View Post
    Yes very unethical no consent mind wipes are mess up. Telepathy is a power best used for evil characters.It is a little bit hyperbole but there is nothing such as "good" telepath. And before someone argues with me telepath regularly do equivalent eavesdrop on people and put people at gunpoint and force them to do things.
    I disagree on the eavesdropping. When you meet a blind person, do you close your eyes? Do you sit down when you're with people in wheelchairs? Cover your ears around deaf people? Squat around short people? Telepaths use their natural abilities the same way everyone else uses theirs. The fact that they have an extra sense and others don't shouldn't mean they have to suppress their gifts. If I'm in a room and people are talking, it's not my responsibility to avoid listening. It's their job to be more discreet.

  8. #8
    Astonishing Member David Walton's Avatar
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    The Silver Age comics weren't really equipped to deal with the ethical implications of Xavier's powers.

    Without getting into too much spoiler territory, Xavier used his powers in a very dramatic way in "Fatal Attractions" and dealt with the fallout from his actions for years to come, most notably during the Onslaught saga.

    If memory serves, ULTIMATE X-MEN had a variation of the same plot point that played out in the first twenty-five issues or so.

    More recently, Xavier and Emma had a very interesting discussion about the effect that manipulating someone else's thoughts has on both the telepath and the person being influenced. I'm not sure if you've read House of X/ Powers of X yet so I don't want to spoil but it's a great moment.
    Last edited by David Walton; 10-31-2019 at 06:18 AM.

  9. #9
    Astonishing Member Vordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by useridgoeshere View Post
    No, because they deserve it. It doesn't seem any different than blasting them with your eyes, whacking them with a shield or bopping them with a magic hammer. It's all an assault, but it's all justifiable.


    I disagree on the eavesdropping. When you meet a blind person, do you close your eyes? Do you sit down when you're with people in wheelchairs? Cover your ears around deaf people? Squat around short people? Telepaths use their natural abilities the same way everyone else uses theirs. The fact that they have an extra sense and others don't shouldn't mean they have to suppress their gifts. If I'm in a room and people are talking, it's not my responsibility to avoid listening. It's their job to be more discreet.
    “Stop thinking too loudly, it’s your fault I’m reading your mind” yeah no that’s absolutely terrible reasoning. Policing people for thinking the wrong thoughts is oppressive as hell.

  10. #10
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    Ethical in the traditional sense? Definitely not. Ethical in a way that he is a person that can read someones deepest darkest thoughts almost instinctively i don't know. Like if he picked up a husband was going to kill his wife after dinner because he was convinced of something. Would it be more ethical to call the cops and possibly go unbelieved or to erase the thought of murder from the husband's mind and save the wife? Telepathy can be tricky.
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  11. #11
    Spectacular Member Criticalfan's Avatar
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    The type where Xavier goes "forget you saw the X-Men, we were never here today" seems so low-grade... like the fake outrage of a question like "When Quicksilver runs past someone super-quickly, is he denying them their right to use their senses to perceive him?" NOT UNETHICAL

    Going so far as to make Magneto a mental vegetable "clean slate" during the Fatal Attraction crossover: That was in a fight for survival and in defense of lives. Not Xavier's fault that his mutation isn't physical like Magneto's. Not his fault he didn't predict Onslaught. NOT UNETHICAL

    Making the Vanisher and Blob not be criminals anymore is in the middle... hmm... Why do they have the right to be criminals more than he has the right to stop them if he could?
    Last edited by Criticalfan; 10-31-2019 at 06:53 AM.

  12. #12
    The King Fears NO ONE! Triniking1234's Avatar
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    Most of the stories are written in a way where he's forced to use it.

    A good example is in X-Men Evolution where the Brotherhood started a fight on school grounds during a handball match.
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  13. #13
    Incredible Member tbaron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by useridgoeshere View Post
    No, because they deserve it. It doesn't seem any different than blasting them with your eyes, whacking them with a shield or bopping them with a magic hammer. It's all an assault, but it's all justifiable.


    I disagree on the eavesdropping. When you meet a blind person, do you close your eyes? Do you sit down when you're with people in wheelchairs? Cover your ears around deaf people? Squat around short people? Telepaths use their natural abilities the same way everyone else uses theirs. The fact that they have an extra sense and others don't shouldn't mean they have to suppress their gifts. If I'm in a room and people are talking, it's not my responsibility to avoid listening. It's their job to be more discreet.
    How can you tell someone to be discreet with their thoughts? Talking in a crowded room and thinking to yourself are tow totally different things.
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  14. #14
    Astonishing Member cranger's Avatar
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    Mindwiping is bad. Wolverine amputating people is bad, even if they are "bad guys." Superhero stories blur the lines because we all like conflict and cool feats.

    Some of this reminds me of how sloppy the rules for telepathy are. Sometimes the user can just turn it off at will, sometimes people think too loud and they can't help it.

    As for an ability they have that is unfair to suggest they not use just because others do not have it, put it in the category of X-Ray vision.

  15. #15
    Incredible Member useridgoeshere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vordan View Post
    “Stop thinking too loudly, it’s your fault I’m reading your mind” yeah no that’s absolutely terrible reasoning. Policing people for thinking the wrong thoughts is oppressive as hell.
    How is that different than policing people for saying or writing 'wrong' things? It's all oppressive but in a world with telepathy as a thing, 'hearing' a thought is no different than hearing with ears or reading a thought.

    Quote Originally Posted by tbaron View Post
    How can you tell someone to be discreet with their thoughts? Talking in a crowded room and thinking to yourself are tow totally different things.
    Not in the Marvel universe. Non-telepathic characters are given the ability to hide their thoughts from telepathy all the time. I'm sure there are YouTube videos on it there.

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