Hey Jethro, why so serious?


I think the reason that I never took Knights' most belligerent beliefs/rants and even his most authoritarian actions as anything like a blueprint for transhumanist dictatorial world domination advocated by Zoltan, is because I've watched far too many martial arts movies in my life. Yes, seriously. 

As soon as I read the CLASSIC plot device, whereby the hero's loved ones are killed by the bad guys, (or sometimes it's the hero's beloved kung fu master who is killed) I was instantly prepared for a story in which Jethro is going to go to extremes and do MANY things that he wouldn't normally do without all that opposition from the bad guys, including the murder of his wife and unborn child.

From that point on, Jethro Knights was not giving ANYONE the "benefit of the doubt." He was going to go in a straight line to acquire as much power as possible to insure that he would prevail over the people who killed his family and tried to kill ALL transhumanists. Yes, if you overlook what happened to him and what the world was TRYING to make happen to the other transhumanists, it's easy to get quite nit-picky and academic in analyzing whether, at each step, he went a bit farther than was strictly justified by genteel and refined rules of gentlemanly decorum and democratic principles.

But at that point, Jethro had had ENOUGH of their crap and was going to put a stop to their aggression in the most direct way possible. 

Zoltan, from an interview:

"I admit that Jethro Knights, while inspiring and brilliant, can go too far. But in the context of his wife being murdered, his life being repeatedly threatened, and his passion to overcome death, we find a man who no longer values people over his own path towards immortality."

And really, when you think about the kind of martial arts movies that use this same death-of-loved-ones motivational plot device, in which the hero engages in an all-out blood-bath of revenge, Jethro's actions are really quite minimal and measured by comparison. He used his principle of "functionalism" to do only as much as was needed to get the job done as quickly and safely as possible for the transhumanists. 

I think people can get really upset and hate Jethro and the book in general if they see the Zoltan as advocating everything Jethro says and does as a good way to move forward to a new transhuman world. But, Zoltan, decidedly, DOES NOT.