Talk:Philosophical Observations

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Moving Philosophical essays and observations to this page --Mutopis 05:57, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

Keep in mind, this is only speculation and observation. --Mutopis 06:19, 25 September 2011 (UTC)


Madoka and Minding her Motive

-"Why is mom working so hard for a company that she never dreamed of working with?"
"Hmmm... Mom doesnt like working, she likes working hard. There are a lot of things that she doesn't like about it, but she likes the feeling of satisfaction she gets when she overcomes those obstacles, those achivements are precious to her. It doesn't mean that she dreamed to work for that company. But Mom is living her ideal life, and some dreams come true this way."
- "so you make how you live into your dream?"
~ Madoka and her father. Episode 3

During the series we notice that Madoka cant never make up her mind when it comes to making a decision, if she will make a wish or not. All she seems to be doing is stalling, crying, and blaming herself for being so weak. But is that really what is happening? It is true, Madoka feels weak and small, powerless to do anything for anyone. She knows that by becoming a Puella Magi that feeling of worthlessness within her would change. But she is also afraid of dying or worst, becoming a witch, a monster that could destroy her world and hurt even her family. Madoka feels trapped, she feels like she has no choice. But there is also something happening behind her mind as well. Before Madoka can take any action, she needs to understand herself.

The intellectual philosopher Kant states that "If all human beings are worthy of respect, regardless of who they are or where they live, then it's wrong to treat them as mere instruments of the collective happiness." To Kant, utilitarianism (and Kyubey) is not only immoral but incorrect. One example is the shopkeeper: "A child goes to the store and buys a loaf of bread. The grocer could overchage the kid, charge him more than the usual price for a loaf of bread and the child would never know. But the grocer realizes that if his customers discovered that he took advantage of a child, word might spread out and hurt his business. For this reason, he decides not to overcharge the kid. So he charges him the usual price. So the shopkeeper does the right thing, but for the wrong reason. The only reason he deals honestly with the child is to protect his reputation. The shopkeeper acts honestly only for the sake of self interest; the shopkeeper's action lacks moral worth." To Kant, what matters is the quaility of the will, the character of the motive."[1]

This example works the same way with Sayaka. Sayaka made a contract with Kyubey to heal Kyosuke. Superficially it seems like a selfless noble act to help a friend. But that is not Sayaka's true motive, regardless of whatever she says to defend her actions. Sayaka's true motive is that if Kyosuke is healed, he would not only get better but he would also fall in love with Sayaka for her sacrifice. But that wasn't Sayaka's wish nor that is what happened. And because Sayaka's wish went unfulfilled she felt into despair, not because she was selfish but because she failed to recognize her real motive behind her wish. Not only that but she used the act of healing Kyosuke as a way to earn Kyosuke's love as a form of reward to be expected from her sacrifice. Sayaka violated her own rights as an attempt to gain something in return, and she never consulted with Kyosuke if he would ever accept such deal (nor is he under any obligation to do so; and if Sayaka tried to force Kyosuke under such deal she would be violating his rights as well, since he never gave consent). In essence Sayaka is expecting a reward or a payment for her sacrifice.

We need to understand Madoka's true motives regarding in becoming a Puella Magi prior to Episode 11 and her refusal during the series. It is easy to see why Madoka would refuse to make a wish, it means death (or a fate worst than death) so any rational person would refuse (as we saw during her conversation with Homura in Episode 4). But if that is the case then why is Madoka kept tempted to make a wish? This is where motive is important. In Episode 8 Sayaka has a fight with Madoka, this leads to Madoka to blame herself for being weak and terrified of helping her friend. Madoka hates herself for this. Now at first it seems like Madoka is regretting her lack of action and she is tempted to make a wish to help and save Sayaka from her suffering, but this is not so. Madoka's motive is not to help Sayaka, instead she is afraid of being hated by Sayaka, a completely different understanding lacking the true nobility of friendship. There is another observation that is equally important, Madoka's scene with Kyubey in which he is trying to temp Madoka to make a wish. In this scene Kyubey is trying to convince Madoka that by making a wish she could become a god, he is trying to deceive Madoka into the belief that by becoming a powerful god she can fix everything. But what Kyubey doesnt tell her is that there are no guarantees nor he has any interest to fix anything. But let us look at Madoka's motive behind Kyubey's suggestion for her to become a powerful god. At first glance it seems like Madoka is willing to become a sacrifice to the universe so she can fix everything, save everyone. But is that Madoka's true motive? As before, Madoka's motive is not to fix everything for the good, but to fix the wrongs so she would stop suffering from the feelings of sorrow about herself and others (she wants to change Sayaka back to normal, perhaps as a way to atone her cowardly lack of action). It is during this scene that Madoka confesses to Kyubey that she always felt insignificant and useless. She felt that she would never be able to do anything for anyone to create happiness for others and for herself (a similar conversation took place with Homura in the drama CD "Memories of You"). As you can see Madoka's intention at first seem noble but that is not her true motive; what we learn is that Madoka wishes she could be useful so she would stop being worthless (what Madoka desires is to stop feeling sorry about herself, she wants to avoid any more pain and suffering). Nothing has changed, Madoka continues to believe she is weak, that she is powerless, that if she fixes everything she can feel good about herself. If we watch the scene at first it seems like Kyubey is suggesting a noble sacrifice but in truth all Madoka wants to do is to end the suffering so she would stop her own suffering as well.

As the series progresses, Madoka's thoughts are slowly changing, specially in Episode 11. Madoka learns an important lesson from Kyubey, a history of sacrifice and how it has affected humanity. Madoka realizes that it is not about her anymore, it is about the people around her and the puellae magi that came before her. The sacrifices of those girls, their suffering, and how all mankind benefited from it.

Madoka has gained a lot of information that allows her to reflect about herself, and about others. Madoka's motives changes from "I want to stop being weak and feeling bad about myself" to "I want to save everyone, not to feel good about myself, but to stop the suffering and save everyone" and that "everyone" includes her family, her friends, and Homura. That's Madoka's true motive. Madoka goes from wanting to be selfless for selfish reasons to wanting to be selfless for selflessness itself ("To act freely is not to choose the best means to a given end. It's to choose the end itself for its own sake"). By removing Madoka's selfish desire from her wish, she literally removes her self and her physical presence as a consequence. What Madoka is doing is trying to respect the humanity of others (and the puellae magi), she isnt using her own sacrifice to make herself good, she cast away that selfish idea ("being selfless for selfish reasons"). During her scene with her mother in Episode 11 Madoka has finally grown up, she knows that what she is doing will hurt her family but she also knows that she is the only one who can save her family and her town from disaster. Not as a noble sacrifice, but as a moral duty as an adult. Madoka wants to do the right thing for the right reasons, she wants to stop the Puellae Magi's suffering, not to make Madoka powerful, not to make Madoka feel good about herself, but because she truly believes it is the right thing to do to stop the cycle of suffering.

Madoka's journey was long and painful and critics would like to say that Madoka was too indecisive. But I think the reason it was such a long journey for Madoka it's because Madoka was just being a typical teenage girl trying to figure out herself.

As a final note, the concert scene with Sayaka is an indicator of how much Madoka has grown. Madoka admits that she could have changed Sayaka's fate, but to do so she would have to stop her from making her wish, so instead she allows Sayaka's right to follow her decision. Sayaka agrees with Madoka's choice to respect her own decisions and the consequences that come with it (as they seem to be aware of the Law of Cycles). This indicates that Madoka respects the puellae magi's wishes and their choices, giving them the dignity and respect that Kyubey never gave them. Then when their time was over, Madoka would come and help them pass so their sacrifice wouldn't be in vain and their suffering would end quietly with no regrets. According with an interview with Urobuchi, this is Madoka's own way to acknowledge the magical girls' own hopes and wishes without negating them. "Instead of living to chase after a dream as your goal, you should turn your way of living into your dream."

I never actually thought that reading someone else's philosophically-founded analysis could increase my understanding of an anime, but you've done it. This was very insightful for me. とっても素敵。Holycrap 21:16, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
I really think the characters in Madoka could be philosophically analyzed, Kyoko is one character I would like to try. I think there she has a mixture of extreme Libertarian philosophies within her character but my understanding of philosophy is limited. --Mutopis 01:36, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Kant, but not with you. Sayaka is a selfless person with her own desire as well, but she helped Kyosuke not just because of her selfish desire, but also her good will. The problem of Sayaka is her compulsive personality, she forces herself to be a good person, while taking great damage(mental and physical) for other people, she ignores her own heart(In episode 9, what is written on the posters on the wall at the entrance of Octavia's barrier is a twisted form of "look at me", as mentioned by Yuuki Aoi in the commentary video). In a sense, this is very selfless, but you may also say her selflessness is fake because it's the "compulsive selflessness" and it is not the will of her true heart. However, still, Sayaka is basically a selfless person, it's wrong to interpret her as a selfish person, a selfless person is not a person without any selfish desires.
It is very wrong to interpret Madoka as a person who had being selfless for selfish reasons, she's a true selfless person in nature, this has never changed.--SayakaMadoka 16:47, 25 Sep 2011 (UTC)
I dont doubt she was selfless, but the purpose of this philosophical opinion is if Madoka was selfless for the right reasons or selfless for the wrong reason. I am not bashing Madoka, instead I believe Madoka overcomes her difficulty by doing self reflection. Remember, in all timelines Madoka always becomes a Witch. No matter what wish she makes, the wish would be twisted because of the logical nature of it (according with Kyubey). Instead, Madoka overcomes it by understanding the nature of the wish and understanding her own self. Self-reflection. --Mutopis 19:56, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
What I said is that Madoka had never being a person who had being selfless for selfish reasons, when I say "...she's a true selfless person in nature, this has never changed", I mean she's a true selfless person who's selfless for selfless reasons, and this has never changed. The thing that made Madoka see hope, and resonate with it, which turns her into her ultimate form, is the love of Homura(the spiral of love spins around the arrow of hope, supporting it, protecting it, making it powerful - another important metaphor; it is so beautiful and powerful, isn't it?), not a realization of that she had being selfless for selfish reasons, because she had never being.SayakaMadoka 22:13, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
I dont doubt Madoka wants to be good and selfless, but I disagree with the idea she was wholly selfless. She was pure and innocent but not a saint. Madoka is the embodiment of innocence, childhood, and love. But Madoka is also a character who carries flaws like her lack of self-esteem or her inability to believe in herself from the very beginning (this is one reason many fans disliked her in the beginning. They dismissed her as lacking character and a coward, which I disagree). When Madoka cries or feels bad, that's a natural reaction from a child. Madoka stopped running away and crying in the end when she became a bit wiser and mature. We also saw that her idea of mahou shoujo in the begining was more in line with a typical magical girl shows and she wanted to emulate Mami's courage and strength without truly understanding how much Mami had to sacrifice. Once she learns and experiences her life difficulties, instead of running she faces it. Madoka is growing, evolving. If Madoka was selfless and pure since the beginning then there is no transformative element, there is no "change" and with that there is no true hope (for the rest of humanity or the Puella Magi). Madoka's transformation as a Witch is not a result of Madoka's corruption of her purity, it was Madoka's inability to see her own corruptive power. It is true that Homura's love for Madoka led to Madoka's transformative change. However, we have to remember that Madoka didn't develop deep feeling for Homura. Even Homura can see it in Episode 11 and states that their feeling are growing apart. Madoka only realizes Homura's feelings at the end of her evolved transformation. If you listen to Madoka's conversation, she states that she could not understand Homura until Madoka was able to see all of her previous versions and timelines. Only then Madoka could comprehend Homura in a deep manner. Even Urobuchi agrees with this, and that is why he calls it "cruel". That doesn't mean that Madoka didn't care for Homura's safety in Episode 12, it just means that Madoka cared for the safety of everyone in town (including her family ) at that time. --Mutopis 22:38, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
Madoka is selfless at the beginning, but she couldn't see hope and resonate with it while facing the greatest darkness, until Homura's love making her powerful - that's the transformation, love makes her see, that despair is unnecessary, no matter how strong the darkness is, it can always be shattered by hope(which means the non-increasing nature of hope and non-decreasing nature of despair is not true, not matter how it seems to be true, it is not. Or you can say the rule of Universe, which is hope being non-increasing and despair being non-decreasing, has being changed. The two statements are equivalent). Madoka doesn't understand Homura consciously at the beginning, but her subconsciousness is transformed by her love without her realizing it(She could even feel the love but she doesn't know where it comes from. If her subconsciousness hasn't changed, why would she become more and more powerful? Since only the heart of a Puella Magi determines her magical power). I don't know why you don't like the saying that Madoka became a witch because of her being corrupted, I think this is a good way to describe it. Madoka is not unable to see her own corruptive power, since in some timelines before she's being turned into a witch, she knew what is inside her is going to turn her into a witch.
I'm not saying Madoka is perfect at the beginning, but she's almost totally selfless, and she hasn't done anything selfless for selfish reasons until the moment she was turned into a witch--SayakaMadoka 23:16, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
You misunderstand, I am not saying that Sayaka's selflessness is fake, the problem with Sayaka is that she lacks self reflection. Sayaka only realized the meaning of being a magical girl in Episode 9, by then it was too late and she transformed into a witch. I believe what Sayaka did was noble, she was also stubborn and childish. In her heart she thought she was doing good, in reality all she did was hurt others, including Madoka. IF Sayaka had been more honest with her feelings and her motives, perhaps her wish would not have gone unfulfilled, but that's just assuming. --Mutopis 19:56, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
Oh, wow. WOW. I know that I'm pretty late to the whole congratulatory party, Mutopis(?), but I gotta say, I REALLY loved your analysis of Madoka's character, which I completed this early morn. I think it helps settle, at least somewhat, one of the little enduring qualms about I've had the ending-- a qualm that I was actually thinking on earlier tonight-- even though I personally regard Madoka's as one of the absolute best anime endings I've seen. And that was just how drastically fast and life-altering Madoka's development seemed to be, from (literally and mentally) a 14 year old girl to a goddess-like figure with a wisdom that surely can't be comprehended by our living humanity. There wasn't a lot of breathing room for this development! It's not like how it was with Jesus Christ, who knew of his universal significance and the fate that awaited him and lived every day of his life as we know it in preparation for it. Why, it's not even like most stories centered on a Hero's Journey, where the hero knows that he or she matters in some big way or another for a majority or reasonably large portion of the story. BUT-- seeing you map out her characterization, her subtle demonstrations of kindness and maturity, and your reminder of the revelations/conversations Madoka's had in episode 6 and 11-- the "transformation" has definitely become easier to come to grips with; it doesn't seem as extremely sudden as it did before. (still fairly accelerated, though.) (Really, thanks for giving greater context to the dialogue/revelation in episode 11's content-- I have actually semi-purposefully limited my own exposure to both episodes 11 & 12, having only let myself go through whole episode viewings twice each despite having the whole series on VLC. It's probably some combination of not wanting to make myself cry more, not wanting the ending to lose meaning to me, and not wanting to come to grips that the story, until the third movie's contents are revealed, is really over and done.) Animerican-Redeemed 09:32, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Kyubey and Utilitarianism

I am working on Kyubey's utilitarianism, this space is for a rough draft.

Urobuchi's view in energy conservation and connection to Kyubey's utilitarianism kyubey's belief and the overly romanticism of (good) reality (false perception) and good intentions with bad results of unhappiness and trade offs. By the way I am reading Michael Sandel's book "Justice" and it is a good source of understanding philology. Will finish when I can. --Mutopis 04:11, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

I take it that the words below are your voice (and not an attempt at translation), right, Mutopis? I ask for purpose of response. ;) -- preceding comment by NS 16:46, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
I can confirm these are not Urobuchi's thoughts. --randomanon 16:53, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
This is a philosophical essay with my words, I use some comments and information from interviews and some material from the book "Justice" to interpret the anime series in a philosophical way. I am using the same method that I did with Madoka and her motives to appreciate and get a better understanding. I want to see if Kyubey's utilitarianism is that simple or it is more complex than that, and why it seems justifiable (I am playing the devil's advocate), but more importantly to demonstrate that Kyubey is not evil, but just follows what he was created to do. --Mutopis 20:54, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Guys, if you like to contribute or express an opinion about the essay, you are more than welcome. This is just a rough draft. I think I will be working on this for a while and I would like some opinions to make sure it remains consistent. --Mutopis 22:29, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I hope no one has any problem with this essay being long. To tell you the truth I have no idea how long this will grow into. I am still working, rewriting, doing few changes here and there... --Mutopis 09:51, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
    • Thanks for your professional opinion. But there are too many changes a day, and that makes it troublesome to track changes. Isn't it better to write into a file in your computer first to reduce modification to the page? And I think it good to open a new topic talking about this. Yorkwoo 15:26, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Well, this looks interesting, but it seems a bit long for this talkpage. I think it might be better suited either as a subpage under your user namespace or as a proper article.--Knon 12:37, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
I wanted to leave it here for those who wanted to understand the character of Kyubey. I dont know, an article page about philosophy?... --Mutopis 23:16, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
A link to a new page would work just as well for those further interested in Kyubey. --Knon 04:51, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I did a lot of cleaning and polishing. If anyone wants to fix some spelling errors and such, you are more than welcome. --Mutopis 23:16, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

What is Utilitarianism?

The Human Philosophy known as utilitarianism can be easily breakdown as the philosophy that pursues the maximization of happiness and the reduction of pain, or at least the creation of happiness that surpasses the overall total of pain. If Kyubey's brand of utilitarianism was that simple there would be no need for this essay. But utilitarianism, like all brands of philosophy, have taken several different developments and each one has a distinctive flavor that requires recognition. This will be an attempt to understand Kyubey's own brand of Utilitarianism.

According with Kyubey's mission, he wants to save the universe by offsetting the depletion of the universe's energy (actually, Kyubey's statement is wrong, the correct assessment would be to stop the permanent loss of heat, but who am I to question an advance alien race?). To accomplish this mission Kyubey's alien race has found the answer to the problem, the harvesting of human emotion. The process is simply, give a human magical powers to maximize their sense of hope, then reverse their hope to be turned into despair, during the process the despair energy would be released during the witchfication process thus repairing the damage done to the universe. Repeat the process countless of times until an appropriate energy quota per planet is reached. Sounds simple yet horrifying at the same time. For many this is an example of utilitarianism as its worst, many critics believe that Kyubey is justifying the exploration of little girls to save the universe. However, before we can accuse Kyubey of anything, it is essential to understand the moral nature, as well as Kyubey's reasoning behind it, to determine if the reasoning is justifiable.

Kyubey and Bentham: Let us just enslave the human race!

Invaders from another galaxy have decided that to save the universe, they must harvest energy to repair the damage already done to it. Their race is incapable of producing such energy by themselves, but thanks to their advance technology they have detected a source of energy that is perfect to solve their crisis. They have detected a "bizarre" mental behavior known as "emotions" capable of producing the required energy but it goes unprocessed and it is localized in another galaxy. The inhabitants of this alien galaxy are equally strange as primitive, not only do they suffer from this mental anomaly known as emotions, but they are being wasteful by not fully developing its potential. Such a waste of energy would be a crime if left unharvested. The alien race decides to invade this galaxy, enslave the inhabitants, and fully exploit its potential by maximizing the production of energy to meet their quota... or so it should be if this was Bentham's brand of utilitarianism but it is not (at least not completely). This is the first indicator that there is something odd about Kyubey's utilitarianism.

According with Jeremy Bentham, the goal of Utilitarianism is to produce as much happiness as possible, regardless of the means. But most importantly, all forms of happiness and all form of pains have their own equal moral value (no pleasure is better or highest than the other). Which means one form of happiness cannot be measured against another form of happiness; the same can be said about pain. It takes people's preferences as they are without passing judgement on its moral worth. It would be presumptuous to judge some pleasures to be inherently better than others. At the heart of it, Bentham's utilitarianism is nonjudgmental, to him all pleasures are equal. The assumption is that by measuring and calculating the values of pleasure and pains into a formula, one can reach an agreeable moral choice that would promote the general welfare and happiness of the populace. Let us consider the issue at hand, the whole universe is going to be destroyed and all Kyubey is doing is extinguishing a few souls to preserve the general welfare and happiness of countless galaxies. Perhaps one whole planet would be annihilated in the process, but what is a few billion souls when you take into account billions and billions of worlds that would be saved. Some would object that exploiting and even killing human beings is immoral and wrong. Yet, Kyubey would point out that humans do it all the time to one another, and not only that but that they even do it against other lower life forms for their own selfish benefit. After all, aren't humans exploiting animals and other organism to feed their populace, to attain monetary gain, and maintain their civilization? (be it on the agricultural sector or for medical research or a source of cheap labor). Why should humans be given a preferential treatment? After all, maybe there are more advance and worthier alien species out there that deserves to be saved more than humans, and maybe that makes humans the lower life form. On this cold and calculating equation to save the universe one has to arrive to one simple conclusion. If saving the universe by exploiting the emotions of humans has the same moral value than domesticating cattle to feed society, then it should be reasonable to say that Bentham would not object to enslaving the human race to achieve Kyubey's objective. While one would object that it would be morally wrong to exploit humans, one would also have to argue that it would be equally morally wrong to allow the universe to be destroyed. In the utilitarian equation it would be better for one whole planet to suffer than the whole universe to collapse. After all, saving the universe at the expense of the human race would create the greatest form of happiness for the rest of the galaxy. It would suck for the human race, but stopping the end of the universe trumps anything and everything. And if you don't like what Kyubey is doing then too bad, the end justifies the means and the universe would be saved, like it or not.

Yet, as stated before, that is not the case here, at least partially. Apparently, Kyubey and the aliens have some sort of moral code of their own that disallow them to force humans to enter into a contract (slavery) but they are also not allowed to deceive (false advertisement) or lie to them either (this is, of course, up to debate). However, they do not seem to have any moral qualms regarding the harvesting of human emotions to save the galaxy, just the slavery part.

One objection to utilitarianism is the attempt to measure pleasure and pain in a single scale while ignoring the qualitative experience of pleasure and pain. For many, certain forms of pleasure are not only higher but also worthier than others. It is believed that the pursue of a nobler pleasure would allow utilitarianism to the arrival of the greatest good. One could make an argument that saving the universe would create happiness but that the quality of happiness would suffer at the expense of perverse methods used for to attain it. Instead, one could say that Kyubey is trying to create the greatest form of happiness by using much more nobler (albeit questionable) methods to attain it. Rather than force the human race into submission and slavery, why not entice them into a fair contract?

Kyubey and Mill: Humans are not Cattle.

One of the biggest flaws regarding Benthram's utilitarianism is that it doesn't give adequate recognition to human dignity and individual liberty. In its attempt to measure, aggregate, and calculate happiness in a nonjudgmental manner (democratizing all forms of pleasures equally) it eliminates the qualitative and unique moral value of pleasure and pain. What Bentham has done is reduce everything of moral importance to a single scale. John Stuart Mill tries to recalculate utilitarianism into a more humane and less calculating doctrine (a more human-friendly form of utilitarianism that is less prone to enslaving the human race) to achieve a munch nobler form of Utilitarianism that tries to promote the greatest good while recognizing the liberty of individuals. On Mill's ideal version of utilitarianism, as long as no one gets hurt and no one imposes their beliefs on others, then everyone is allowed to exercise their own free will and liberty to achieve the correct moral value that results in the greatest good.

Let us go back to our scenario regarding an alien race looking for a solution to save our universe. The aliens realized that the human race are the perfect source of emotional energy to be harvested to repair the damage already done to the universe. Kyubey's aliens know that humans are still primitive and prone to their own mental illness known as emotions. Why not put them to better use by enslaving them and harvesting all their energy? At least they would suffer for a noble cause. According with Mill this would be wrong for two reasons. One, it violates the liberty and rights of the human race and its individuals, no one should force them to be used as resources, no matter the cause. Second, the issue at stake here is that the noble idea to save the universe gets tainted because of the process that it is used to achieve the result. Why is this important? It could be damaging for the promotion of general welfare and happiness. Bentham would just suggest that "the end justifies the means" as long as the highest form of happiness is achieved. But Mill's issue is that such inhumane methods may create the greatest form of happiness today, but in the long run it could promote reckless behavior with devastating results. And who is to say that the human race wont try to overthrow their alien overlords to free themselves? Mill is trying to use utilitarian principles as an attempt to promote progressive behavior (the pursue of not the highest pleasure but the noble ones as well).

Let us take for example the danger of creating a Superwitch like Kriemhild Gretchen. We saw the devastating results that took place in Episode 10 in which the Earth was destroyed along with all life on the planet. According with Kyubey the creation of Kriemhild Gretchen allowed Kyubey to meet its energy quota in the short run. Of course, this slash-and-burn method was very profitable for Kyubey but what about the loss of future energy collection now that the Earth is dead? No problem, Kyubey states that there are other planets to exploit and using its cold logic the benefits outweighed the risks. Let us assume that what Kyubey is probably saying is that Gretchen produced more energy in a single day than a lifetime collection from the Earth. Perhaps this single offset prevented the future despair of millions of girls; isn't that a better outcome? To reduce the despair of future victims? Not to mention Incubators are now much closer on saving the universe. If this is correct, then losing the planet Earth was an acceptable loss to attain a large reserve of despair energy (perhaps the largest in history), according to Bentham. But Mill would disagree, what about the consequences? What about the fact that this act stains the noble cause to save the universe?

Kriemhild Gretchen is a Superwitch, but apparently at the moment she is no threat to the galaxy. She may be powerful enough to kill one planet but she still small and powerless enough to be no threat to the alien race or to the whole galaxy for that matter. But let us say overtime she could be, perhaps with time she would find a way to travel to other planets and start growing. Wont this become an issue in the future? And what about the reckless behavior that it promoted? Wont there be a danger that other Incubators from other planets would like try to recreate the same scenario to meet their quota? Soon, it would not just be one planet, but perhaps a few docents and even more that are suddenly destroyed by a Superwitch. And who is to say that these Superwitches wont find a way to merge their powers and create a Super Walpurgis Night powerful enough to destroy the whole universe? Should Incubators take such chance? That is what could happen in the worst case scenario. Of course, this a fabricated scenario of a possible future event. No one knows what the consequences would be like after the destruction of the Earth. It could promote the accelerated process to end the whole galaxy, instead of saving it, but it is just as likely that it doesn't. But that is one dangerous scenario regarding utilitarianism that Mill would like to avoid.

So, what is Mill's advice for Kyubey regarding utility? Well, not slaving the human race for one. Which in fact that is what they did. As stated by Kyubey, it is against the rules to force humans to become a mahou shoujo against their will. It is their individual choice to decide if they want to become one. This would seem to indicate that Kyubey respects the rights of individuals rather than violate them. After all, Kyubey can be found promoting the Mahou Shoujo lifestyle without forcing anyone to join in, as it is per rules. But what about the recognition for human dignity? Isn't it implied that by harvesting and using humans as resources are they no better than cattle to be consumed? But Kyubey has already an answer for it. Let us not forget that Kyubey recognizes humans to be unique creatures with a noble goal and purpose, according with Episode 11. Kyubey knows that humans are not lower life forms like cattle just to be harvested and consumed to save the universe, regardless of how humans treat each other or other lower lifeforms. Kyubey states that while it would be for the greater good to harvest human emotions, regardless how Madoka feels personally, at least Kyubey and the alien race took the effort to recognize their uniqueness. Of course, that seems like a nice speech but it still requires substance and evidence behind his words. One clear evidence is that if Kyubey thought humans were cattle then why bother with allowing humans to roam free? Why the rules regarding the respect of personal liberty and choice? We must also remember that as a sign of recognition regarding the uniqueness of humans, they are allowed one single wish in the transaction. Kyubey could easily steal their human soul but they are forbidden to do so. Kyubey states that is one reason why humans are allowed such honor for accepting a contract. While it is true that Kyubey is using humans as a resource, they are neither slave nor cattle, no one is forcing them to make a contract to join in. Instead, the mahou shoujo are like employees and they are given the opportunity and honor to sacrifice their own lives for a noble goal. Isn't that what a mahou shoujo is all about? Girls of justice and noble sacrifice to triumph over evil? It is not slavery if a mahou shoujo gives consent and it is not exploitation if they accept a wish as a form of payment.

However, there is a certain flaw regarding this argument that Kyubey is practicing a brand of Mill's utilitarianism, and that is that we are assuming that is what Kyubey is doing. First of all, as anyone who has watched the show, would have noticed that Kyubey's actions and behavior have been deceptive so far (Kyubey would disagree). Not to mention the fact that Kyubey concealed the true nature of witches and mahou shoujo from starry-eye naive girls. And who can forget the mess that resulted for the Earth in Episode 10, and Kyubey's disregard for the well being of the planet's inhabitants. Was that Kyubey being cold and cruel? Or was Kyubey just accepting the hard facts as it were, and was there really nothing that Kyubey could have done about it? To Mill, he would be appalled; after all the goal of utilitarianism is to achieve not just happiness but to make sure that the practice of utility would retain long term results. The destruction of the Earth may be good for the survival of the universe, but Mill would not consider that to be an acceptable loss for the greater good if the rights of billions of humans are violated in the process. What about the adverse effect that it would produce? Couldn't this establish a terrible precedent for future energy collection processes and encourage bad immoral behavior through out the galaxy.

Such practice and behavior brings into question Kyubey's moral value and its sensibility, if it was being measured against human values. There lies a fundamental problem, we know nothing regarding this alien culture and their definition of morality (for all we know their doctrine is based on emotionless cold logic), but for the sake of argument let us assume that they do share our same view regarding morality. Can it be said that Kyubey's utilitarianism tries to remain faithful to either Bentham or Mill? Is it a mixture of it? Or perhaps it is neither and both, perhaps it is an unique form of utilitarianism? Or maybe the problem lies with Mill's utilitarianism, in which we are expecting Kyubey to live up to its principle ideally. But before that, we have to ask ourselves. Are we judging Kyubey unfairly?

Let's Make a Deal: The Meaning of Consent.

Let us explore the process in which one accepts a contract. One day a furry magical creature approaches you with the promise of making you into a magical girl and in exchange you get one wish. It sounds like a great bargain but you wonder if there is a trick to it. Of course, before you can accept the deal, the magical creature is obligated to disclose to you the dangers of becoming a magical girl. It informs you that you will be fighting witches, but you will be granted magical powers to defeat them. Sounds fair, right? What Kyubey is doing is offering you a product that sounds too good to be true, the creature discloses the terms of conditions (fight witches to gain more magic and to keep yourself alive) in exchange for the opportunity to attain any wish that you want (within the limits of karmatic energy availability). The process sounds simple and you do not suspect anything. After all, it seems that you are being recruited to hunt down evil Witches who are eating innocent humans, it sounds like a noble cause. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that may never come up again (unless you are one of those girls who Kyubey decides to pester every opportunity to make a contract). You are swoon and tempted by the opportunity that you decide to accept the contract, perhaps you feel desperate enough to want your wish that you decide it is better than nothing. Then somehow you later learn that what you signed into was not what you expected, you are horrified to learn the truth behind the Puella Magi System that you want a way out to avoid your fate into becoming a Witch. But Kyubey refuses to do anything to reverse the process and tells you that you are under contractual obligation to fulfill your part of the bargain. It informs you that you are under no obligation to hunt down witches if you want, as it will accelerate the transformation process if you keep using your magic for anything else, but the process itself cannot be stopped. You accuse Kyubey of lying and the furry creature would refute your accusation by saying that it never lied and that you never ask for more details of what being a magical girl entails (in other words, you never read the fine print). But most importantly, Kyubey would maintain that since you consented to become a magical girl, you also consented with the terms and conditions of the contract that came with it: Fight witches until the moment of metamorphosis, in which the despair energy would be collected to repair the universe. Once a witch you would be freed from your contractual obligation and live the rest of your life as a witch until you are killed by another magical girl (of course, Kyubey wouldn't say it outright in the beginning. If Kyubey was a lawyer he would probably codified it in legalize to avoid annoying questions). But the point is clear, not only you gave consent to become a witch, but you failed to properly educate yourself with the consequences of becoming a Witch. In the end, the failure lies with you. Perhaps Kyubey should wear a "Caveat Emptor" sign around his neck to warn would-be magical girls, but that would undermine Kyubey's purpose and Kyubey would declare that that would be unfair for the universe, as it would guarantee the destruction of all life, along with planet Earth in the near or far future.

Let us analyze what went wrong and determine who truly is at fault. First of all, what is consent? And once we learn the meaning of it. Does it meet the requirements to be declared consensual? Or did any girl who consented did not truly consented because it did not meet the requirements for it?

Consent refers to the provision of approval, particularly and especially after thoughtful consideration. To be considered a consent, means that the individuals gives acceptance to an agreement after making an inform decision. However, those who believe that Kyubey is deceitful would point out that any girls' consent is tainted because their informed decision lacked the adequate information to make a rational decision. Some would even go so far as to say that Kyubey used coercion to attain their consent during questionable situations. Therefore, critics would say it fails to meet the requirements for consent. If we consider Kyubey's practice to be deceitful and with the added element of coercion into it, it does bring into question wherever Kyubey's actions are valid and legal (if you could somehow take an alien to court to enforce Earth/national laws. But let us say that you can for the sake of argument).

First, the issue of coercion. One great example that we can use is Tomoe Mami's case. Mami is a victim of a car crash accident (let us say for convenience that there is no foul play in part of Kyubey) and she is dying. The ambulance is on its way but it wont make it on time and Mami's body is already failing. Her body is mere minutes away from death and nothing can be done for her. Then suddenly, Kyubey appears and tells her that if she would like to make a contract. Kyubey informs Mami that it would grant her one wish and she would be fighting witches for the rest of her life. And she can make any wish she wants. This is a classic example of obtaining consent during duress. Mami has two choices to make, either accept Kyubey's contract and become a mahou shoujo or die. So she made her wish, she wished she could live (actually we dont know the actual wording of the wish, but it is assumed it had something to do with saving her life). Critics would say that Kyubey was being manipulative and unfair, that Mami's consent was tainted. The only way that Mami's consent would be valid, would be if Kyubey had approached Mami before the accident or if Kyubey had saved Mami's life first then ask her if she would like to make a contract with Kyubey.

I would like to point out certain issues on this case. In accordance with utilitarianism (in which Mami chose the pleasure of living over the pain of dying), Mami benefited from Kyubey's contract and any complains she may have against Kyubey is invalid. After all, Mami wanted to not die and Kyubey wanted to get a contract from Mami. Both of them had something that the other wanted and in the exchange they both got it. Under that rationality it would be hardly unfair. Second, even if one considers Mami's consent to be tainted or coerced, their complain is invalid. After all, the idea of coercion would mean that someone's rights was violated. Unless someone can find evidence that Kyubey staged the accident, then maybe they would have a point, but it is not. There is also the issue that Kyubey obtained Mami's consent while dying. Critics like to point out that Kyubey should have saved Mami first, instead it was taking advantage of the situation. We have to remember, in the case of Kyubey we do not know what kind of magical powers Kyubey itself can use or do, Kyubey is simply part of the process to create and grant wishes. It's like saying "Why Kyubey cant wish itself to repair the universe?" Because it cant. For all that we know, approaching Mami with a contract was Kyubey's way of helping her. Let us assume that this is correct (a big assumption, I know) and Kyubey is a powerful yet powerless creature unless a wish is made. If this is correct, then there is nothing Kyubey could have done by itself other than grant wishes. If Kyubey is guilty of anything, is perhaps of taking advantage of a situation. Of course, critics would continue to question the issue of validity within Mami's consent, and whatever she was on her right mind to make such decision. But the fact remains that, regardless of the situation, Mami still gave consent to save her life and she benefited from her choice. Kyubey would like to point out that it doesn't matter in which situation Kyubey got her consent, the fact remains that in Mami's case if it hadn't approached her she would be dead, instead she got to live longer (just to be killed by a cheese eating Witch). If anything, Mami benefited the most from the situation (to Kyubey's point of view). And since a deal is a deal, it is hardly unfair as long as both party benefited. I would agree that the issue regarding consent in Mami's case is a bit murky and difficult to determine, because of the lack of proper information. However, since we are trying to determine a conclusion with the given information, this would be my own impression. According with Bentham, the issue regarding consent doesn't matter since an individual's right don't matter on the utilitarian equation, and since both parties benefited at the time, the deal was hardly unfair. For Mill, since Mami got to live longer and she avoided the pain of death, she got the greatest good in return. While it is true that the issue of consent is at the heart of the question, we have to assume that in Mill's equation, the desire to live and the want for self-preservation would outweigh her individual's right. Mill would agree that Mami's liberty must be preserved on the utilitarian equation, but when you are weighting the two rights of the same individual, which side has the greater value? On one side it is Mami's right to life, on the other it is Mami's right to be allowed to consent free of pressure, deception, and duress. But let us be clear, Kyubey did not create the situation that Mami was in, and also there was the issue of time. Given what was occurring, there is not enough evidence to find culpability with Kyubey at the moment of the accident. And since Mami's life was at risk, her right to life takes precedent. And Mill would also like to remind us that no one got hurt during the deal (it did more than that, it prevented someone from dying). The issue of Mami's right being violated is moot since Mami's rights were preserved by saving her life so she could continue to exercise those same rights. According to Mill, actions and consequences aren't the only issue, an individual's character also matters. If Mami were to die she would be deprived to exercise her rights and to develop her character as an individual. And what would be the worst precedent from this quandary? Kyubey appearing to every girl close to death and giving them the chance to save their own lives? Wouldn't that create the greatest happiness? And what if every girl Kyubey saves from death are like Mami, or even better? Wouldn't that be not just good for society but even better? (let us assume that Kyubey saves more girls like Mami than Kyouko on this contingent assumption). Mill would agree that protecting Mami's right is important for utility to preserve the general welfare. However, he would also agree that since the rights violated were inconsequential to society (and for Mami) and instead it promoted the greatest good with harm to no one, then it has served its purpose to serve the greatest good.

Let us set aside Mami's case for now and let us examine the accusation of Kyubey's deception. Critics and detractors have objected to Kyubey's practices on attaining victims for his scam and they have accused Kyubey of lying to get its goal. As always, Kyubey would disagree with them. I don't have to tell you what Bentham's side would be regarding on lying, since he wouldn't see a problem with this as long as Kyubey's action maximizes happiness (eg: save the universe). But what about on Mill's side of utilitarianism? What would be Mill's view on lying be?

I cannot tell a lie, you will fail Kyoko.

Let us picture this scenario. Kyubey is chasing down Madoka and it is seeking her location, it arrives to Homura's residency but before Homura gets to fill that furry alien with bullets, Kyubey asks if Homura has seen Madoka. Prior to Kyubey's arrival, Madoka has sought refuge within Homura's home and she is hiding. On this situation, Mill would say that lying is ok because it serves to the greater good, to protect a girl from Kyubey. To Mill, lying is ok as long as it saves lives and serves its purpose to create happiness. While lying is deceitful, it has some good uses. And as long as the lie harms no one, then there shouldn't be any problem. But what about when Kyubey uses lying to save the universe? Wouldn't that also be for the greatest good? No, it wouldn't be. Kyubey would have violated the liberty of individual girls by forcing them into contracts under false pretense, and by using falsehood and deception, Kyubey has tainted the utility and quality of the greater good. The problem with this assumption, is that it believes that Kyubey would lie, cheat, and steal to attain his goal when in facts it is the opposite. Let us first try to understand Kyubey's "deception" and determine if there is some ground for such accusation.

Observers would notice three things about Kyubey. Whenever it seeks a contract it would only give a basic information and minimal detail regarding what the job entails; when someone ask a question that could unravel the true nature of the Puella Magi System, Kyubey would try to give a satisfactory answer that doesn't divulge too much information; and sometimes when someone wants an honest answer from Kyubey, it would divulge answers that could be interpreted differently that, strictly speaking, could be misleading (a misleading truth). The problem here is that none of this proves that Kyubey has ever lied. It is true that Kyubey has omitted information whenever it suited its purpose, it is also true that Kyubey divulged information with the prospect of influencing events to his favor, and that it tried to hide facts by being vague or evasive without being false. But, was Kyubey a liar? Was Kyubey maliciously deceiving girls for his advantage? In other words, there is a difference between being purposely deceitful and another is using misleading truths (without being false or lying) in the hope that it would be incorrectly interpreted on Kyubey's favor.

Let us start with Sayaka as an example. In Episode 2, Sayaka asks Kyubey what are Witches and how are they any different from mahou shoujo. Kyubey's response was simple yet clever, if a mahou shoujo is born from wishes then witches are born from curses. So a mahou shoujo spreads hope while a Witch spreads despair. Nowhere in this sentence is Kyubey lying, technically Kyubey is not only telling the truth but it briefly gives a glimpse to the Puella Magi System. Of course, you have to read between the lines and be a bit clever to realize it but to anyone unfamiliar with the system, they wouldn't even give much of a second thought. At that moment if Sayaka had pressed further the issue, who knows how far could Kyubey could have avoided telling the whole truth. But sadly, Sayaka didn't. So in effect, as long as they fail to ask the right questions, it is not Kyubey's fault.

Let us look to another example regarding Kyubey's clever way to influence a situation by telling a misleading (but carefully prepared) truth. In Episode 9, Kyoko asks Kyubey if there is a way to get Sayaka's Soul Gem back. Kyubey responds that it doesn't know of any known method. We all know that Kyubey is using a careful evasion not to divulge its opinion, but at the same time tries to divulge the truth. Kyoko not wanting to give up asks Kyubey if are there things that even Kyubey doesnt know. Kyubey replies that it doesn't know everything that there is to know. It acknowledges that the nature of magic defies logic and that it wouldn't be surprising if something absurd did came out of it (let us not forget, Kyubey makes the impossible possible). Kyoko takes Kyubey's response as acknowledging that there is a possibility for her hopes. However, that is a misleading truth. Kyubey does acknowledge that magic defies logic, that what Kyoko would try to attempt has never been tried before. But Kyubey also knows that what Kyoko is suggesting is impossible and would never succeed as it "defies logic"; and even if for some absurd miracle something did happen, the odds of it are astronomical. Of course, Kyubey doesn't tell her that directly, instead it uses misleading truths and facts to confuse Kyoko so she would reach to the wrong conclusion. If you read between the lines, Kyubey is saying that what Kyoko is attempting is foolish and impossible, but Kyubey also adds that magic belongs to the realm of the impossible and that its nature is not well understood (but I am certain that Kyubey is betting that logic would prevail). Whatever conclusion Kyoko ever arrives to, it is not Kyubey's fault. Since Kyubey would respond that it has only given her the information that she needed to reach to the right conclusion. If Kyoko misinterpreted Kyubey's information and instead got the wrong impression, then the fault lies with Kyoko. After all, Kyubey told her the truth and tries to neither encourage nor discourage Kyoko on her wrong conclusion. Kyubey does admit that it usually stops a pointless sacrifice (don't get the wrong idea, Kyubey just doesn't like to lose girls too early before their emotions can be harvested) but in this case it didn't stop her. According to Kyubey, losing Kyoko has a great advantage to further utility. Now, critics would point out that Kyubey killed Kyoko by not discouraging her to stop her foolish plan. It is true, Kyubey did not tried to stop her, instead it just allowed the situation to unfold itself. But here is what it gets tricky, according to Mill people have the freedom to do whatever they want as long as they are not hurting others "Government may not interfere with individual liberty in order to protect a person from himself, or to impose the majority's beliefs about how best to live"("Justice", pg. 49). In essence, Kyubey was allowing Kyoko to exercise her right to recklessly endanger herself. Kyubey knows well the dangers ahead for Kyoko, but since it is Kyoko's right to get herself killed, why interfere? After all, Kyoko knows very well how dangerous it is to meddle with a Witch, she is a veteran mahou shoujo, so she already knows the risks already. If Kyoko wanted to risk her life for an impossible task, then that was her right and her freedom to do so. But let us say hypothetically, what if Kyoko knew what Kyuey was thinking and she still decided to take a gamble? What if Kyoko knew Kyubey was using misleading truths to get rid of her? Critics would say that Kyubey should had at least warn her and told her the truth of the matter. After all, Kyoko is stubborn and would do whatever she wants, no matter the objections. Here is what Mill's utility tell us. First of all, Kyubey has the right and liberty to discard and tell any information in any way it wants it to be, Kyubey can be directly honest and get to the point or deliver the truth in such a way that it could be misinterpreted (as long as Kyubey's words are truthful). Kyubey would also add that it did warn Kyoko on its own way, Kyubey told her that what Kyoko was attempting has never been done in the past and in Kyubey's mind that was an enough warning. What Kyoko does after that is still Kyoko's responsibility. In the end, the fact remains that Kyubey is not attempting to tell a lie but it is attempting to tell the truth in a way that makes it the listeners responsibility to discern the correct conclusion. To force Kyubey to tell Kyoko the whole truth would be a violation of Kyubey's liberty. Also, Kyubey is not harming Kyoko by not telling her the directly the truth. Instead, it is Kyoko who does the harming by not correctly deciphering Kyubey's information. Kyubey would suggest that nowhere at any time it harmed Kyoko, it was in fact Oktavia who did most of the harming, because Kyoko was too dumb to realize that what she was attempting to do was impossible, and even more dumber for not reading between the lines what Kyubey was telling her. In Kyubey's words, it would say that it never lied; it would acknowledge that it withhold information, but that was because they never asked further; and if anyone ever felt deceived, it is their own fault for misunderstanding Kyubey's words (words that were always truthful). For those who say that Kyubey is deceptive, they are correct but for a different reason that critics would like to believe. Kyubey was hoping its words would be misinterpreted (I don't doubt that was its goal) while still honoring the values of honesty and veracity. That's what frustrates Kyubey's critics. It is true that Kyube is hoping to mislead its victims. But at the same time, Kyubey is honoring the moral laws within the boundaries by hoping that the victims would believe the truth that it's saying and the fact that it's communicating. If the victims misunderstood it's words and the message that Kyubey is communicating, it is not Kyubey's fault. And for that reason one can say that Kyubey is hoping to mislead while at the same time honoring the moral laws without telling a lie. Yes, Kyubey is deceptive but he/she is not a liar.[1]

And before anyone objects by saying that Kyubey never warned the girls that becoming a mahou shoujo means getting your soul ripped from your body, we have to take a look back at Episode 2. When Mami was giving her introductions to Madoka and Sayaka, Kyubey informed the girls that it can grant any wish they want, but that the price of that wish is the production of the Soul Gem and fighting Witches. Let us disregard the obvious fact that the word "Soul" is in the name of the magical jewelry; if you read between the lines, Kyubey is telling the girls (in its subtle way) that by granting them one wish it would create a Soul Gem as its price for it. Kyubey may not spell it directly, but even with this subtle information, anyone smart enough would be able to conclude that someone's soul would be ripped to create that magical gem (at least on Kyubey's mind). In other words, Kyubey did warn and informed the girls about how Soul Gems are created, they were just not clever enough to decipher that information.

Before we end this section I would like to address a criticism regarding an issue that none of the girls who contracted by Kyubey wished to become Witches. It is true that no mahou shoujo wants to become a witch. But let us examine Kyubey's language when it asks many of those girls if they would like to make a contract. When Kyubey asks Madoka if she would like to become a mahou shoujo, what Kyubey is actually asking is if Madoka would like to stop being human. Remember, what is a mahou shoujo? They are girls who can use magic, their healing abilities and strengths are faster and superior to humans, and it is suspected if their bodies were damaged they could be replaced (this is the closest to immortality they would ever get). Now, what is to be human? It is certain it is none of what I stated previously. Humans can't do magic, they dont heal fast, and they dont have replacing body parts when they are mangled horribly. When Kyoko was angry and told Kyubey that it changed them into zombies. Kyubey's answered that it was the only way that they could become a mahou shoujo, that there would be no other way to achieve the same such results or be able to use magic effectively. For safety and efficiency reasons their souls are turn into soul gems so a mahou shoujo can do their job more effectively, making them invincible and giving them better odds to survive a battle against a Witch. Isn't that nice from Kyubey? After all, it is looking after the best interest of the girls. It would be just as crueler to send weak human girls to fight against witches, in a way the Soul Gem process is much more "humane". Kyubey would also explain that the process of becoming a Witch is just an unfortunate effect of the mahou shoujo process. If they dont want to become Witches all they have to do is not taint their souls too much. Yet, never the least, the girls accepted the risk by making a contract and becoming a mahou shoujo. And with that comes the risks of the job.

Bentham, the true monster. Mill, impractical idealism.

After studying and reviewing the information, we can conclude without a doubt that Kyubey faithfully follows a Utilitarian philosophy. But it is also clear to mention that Kyubey's utilitarianism seems to be a mixture blend of Bentham's and Mill's thinking. Sometimes Kyubey would swing to one formula of utility and then swing back when it is convenient to do so. But it remains mostly on Mill's side most of the time, with the exception of when the whole planet is devastated. One could presume to suggest that Kyubey's thinking is not "The End Justifies the Means" as much as "Using Mill's Means to attain Bentham's End". Let me be the first say that Kyubey's Utilitarianism shares some similar values to Bentham and Mill. However, because Kyubey doesn't follow one principle of utility but a different version, we have to then assume that it is neither and both for two reasons. First, Kyubey is restrained by the rules that the alien race has laid on him. If Kyubey believed Bentham's utility wholly, it would disregard their rules and force Madoka into a contract regardless of her will or the rules itself. Instead, Kyubey tries to remain within the parameters and at the same time achieve the goals given to it. Second, if Kyubey had any respect for Mill's notion of Utilitarianism, then Kyubey has failed. Mill ideal version of utility is that with time the values of Utilitarianism would create progressive thinking and moral decisions based on utility that would allow the delivery of the greatest good. If Kyubey tried to follow Mill's ideal version of Utility, then he would be the less productive Incubator in the whole Universe; at that rate the end of the universe would be guaranteed. But it isn't so much as Kyubey failed Mill as Mill failed Kyubey. The problem with Mill's thinking is that it tries to maintain the principles of utility and the moral values of individual liberty at the same time. Critics have blasted Mill's utility as being naive and contradictory to Utilitarianism, some would suggest that Mill's formula violates the principle of Utility all together. Mill has proven that it can humanize utilitarianism when it adds a moral ideal of human dignity into the formula, but those ideals are independent of utility itself. Mill's formula would never achieve the greatest good that reflects the highest virtue of human value as long as it tries to maintain it within the realm of utility.

Since Kyubey is from a very advance alien race, I have to assume Kyubey's utility shares similarities to our own understanding of Utility, but at the same time it is also unique because it transcends Bentham's and Mill's thinking, thus making it into a third form of Utilitarian thinking that shares some of their values but for a different end than Bentham or Mill would conclude. This is, of course, speculation.

It is very clear that many critics and detractors have accused Kyubey of being evil, a liar, and a manipulator for good measure. But I would like to point out that they have failed to understand Kyubey and his own way of thinking to demonstrate why Kyubey is wrong. Their views have been mostly on the human side of the issue. Failing to see it from Kyubey's perspective to understand Kyubey. We have to remember that it is not easy to judge an alien race that we know little about, not even their moral values, but for the sake of argument we have to at least try. According to Homura, she doesn't think Kyubey thinks itself to be evil or cruel, she believes Kyubey just have a different perspective regarding morality so it fails to understand human values. However, that doesn't mean Homura trust Kyubey or believes she can reason with it. But let us be clear, by understanding Kyubey's utilitarianism I am not trying to justify its action. Instead, I am trying to comprehend Kyubey's point of view and perspective. What I have learned from Kyubey's point of view is that the issues regarding if Kyubey is evil or not is moot. What we should be concerned is the way Kyubey sees the world, which is much more disturbing and terrifying, and the worst part is that people who think the same way as Kyubey don't think that they are evil either or that they are doing anything wrong.

Kyubey: CEO of Entropy, INC.

If I had to describe Kyubey from any organism from our world, I would say that no organism exist that is similar to Kyubey. The closest we have is a human being. But even at that it would fail to describe Kyubey accurately, because Kyubey shares many differences than similarities with humans. Just like humans, Kyubey demonstrates high intelligence and faculties similar to humans, but unlike humans it lacks emotions; it cannot die but instead spawn new bodies; and is able to grant abilities that itself cannot exercise or posses, humans could only dream of having such abilities.

So instead, rather than imagine Kyubey from any known living organism I would like to think Kyubey is similar to a non-living entity that is not just similar to Kyubey, but it paints a perfect picture of what Kyubey is. This non-living entity seems to follow Kyubey's philosophy regarding utilitarianism that is neither Bentham's or Mill's version. It uses Mill's means to attain Bentham's ends. Like Kyubey, it also has a goal to maximize utility for its own advantage.

Let us remember, an alien race created an artificial entity that is highly intelligent with no emotions, these aliens bestowed upon Kyubey certain abilities and limitations but also parameters known as "rules". Kyubey is assigned with a very simple mission and duty: follow the rules stated by the alien race (it cannot force humans into a contract. It also means it cannot also lie but it is allowed the flexibility to limit his information as long as it is truthful), maximize the collection of energy to repair the universe without violating the given parameters, and protect the girls until they reach to their maximum potential. Now, let us imagine that Kyubey is not an artificial organism created by an alien race, let us think of Kyubey as a Corporation created by a group of business people. "Kyubey", as the company is known, has a business mandate: follow the national and international laws regarding trade and finances set up by an entity known as "the government". "Kyubey" as a company is not allowed to exercise illegal activities, but the laws are flexible and deregulated enough to allow for a company to pursue interests that would benefit a free market society in a very competitive enviroment, if it wishes to survive it would take advantage of the loosened rules (in other words, as long as it is withing the boundaries of the law and it is not illegal, the company is protected from liability); and "Kyubey" must maximize company profits in order to not only benefit shareholders but to also avoid a bankruptcy or being taken over by the competition. "Kyubey" believes its existence is essential for the survival of the market/financial economy (so think of the universe as a large financial consortium). Without Corporations there is no free market or capitalism, and without Incubators you can say goodbye to the universe.

I am certain some of you would think that I am overreaching with my thinking but let us just assume that my assertion is possible for the moment. One day "Kyubey" is taken to court and it stands accused of several crimes. The proceedings state that the company has violated several laws and disregarded the rights of their employees. The first criminal accusation would be false advertisement and failure to disclose information. Sayaka, the accuser, would declare that she would have never made a contract if she had known that her soul would be ripped from her body and that she would become a witch. As stated before, what Sayaka calls false advertisement, Kyubey would defend himself by stating that Sayaka failed to "read between the lines" and if she didn't understand the conditions of the contract she should have contacted a lawyer of her own. The other issue regarding becoming a Witch, "Kyubey" would explain that Sayaka had more than enough information to make an educated decision regarding the risks of the job. According with the company, Sayaka knew the risks of becoming a mahou shoujo, what happens after the facts (or in this case, death) bears no consequence, nor does it make any difference regarding occupational hazard and safety (in other words, knowing that Sayaka would become a Witch during her period of employment would not have prevented her from becoming one). Not to mention it would be reckless endangerment to send weak little girls against witches; so the company has a policy regarding safety and health to protect their employees against hazards, ergo they rip their souls to make soul gems to minimize pain and increase their magical powers. What kind of employee sues a company for trying to reduce occupational hazards? Isn't Sayaka being ungrateful?

And regarding Sayaka's objection to her "uninformed" consent. As an example, let us say that "Kyubey" is a weapons manufacturing company and they employed Sayaka to create missiles. Sayaka knows what missiles are and that they are used during military campaigns. However, Sayaka believes that the missiles would only be used to kill evil people. One day she learns that one of the missiles she helped to construct was used to blow up a building that was suspected to house enemy combatants but instead it killed innocent civilians. While it is true that "Kyubey" sold the missile to the military for the purpose of warfare. There is no way that the company could have predicted that it would be used to cause innocent casualties; the company is aware of the possibility of such scenario. But we have to remember that this future event or circumstance is possible but cannot be predicted with certainty. According to "Kyubey", becoming a witch is not a certaintity but just a possible outcome. And in any case, "Witchification" is no different than death. So knowing or not knowing, for the sake of safety and health on Sayaka's part, makes no difference. The job still comes with the same risks, anyway. Nothing has changed.

But "Kyubey" would state that divulging sensitive information regarding "company secrets" would be detrimental for company morale. In fact, by not divulging sensitive information that would be a hindrance for employees to maximize their potentials, the company and employees like Sayaka would be able to achieve their potential without any unnecessary distractions. By knowing sensitive information, employees like Sayaka would lose focus and increase the potential of creating a hostile environment.

As one final act, "Kyubey" would state that as a company it has a responsibility to their shareholders by maximizing its profits. People may question a company's policy and its methods of obtaining profits, but as long as no legal laws have been broken then no crime has been committed. But much more importantly, "Kyubey" would state that as a company they are obligated to make no exceptions nor reverse their company policy just because a mahou shoujo feels like what they are doing is wrong. After all, "Kyubey" is a company not a charity. It is true that Kyubey does provide an exchange for products and services, so it is not "free", there is a price for it. If Kyubey were to grant wishes for free (without collecting souls or despair energy), not only there would be a quick depletion of energy, but their company would go bankrupt. The reason Kyubey collects souls is that they need them to create more despair energy, the more despair energy Kyubey creates, the safer the universe becomes. And the more energy Kyubey has on reserve, the more energy they can use to be reinvested to hire new and more mahou shoujo. So, Kyubey as an industry does not only provide products and services, but as a company they are also protecting the universe and reinvesting their energy to provide wishes and employment to more girls. It is true that "Kyubey" is polluting their cities with curses, familiars, and witches that are detrimental to humans. But can anyone point out to any company that has never produced toxic waste (or even just normal waste) during its lifetime? And what about the benefits that many girls have obtainted? Girls like Mami were given a second life, otherwise she would be dead. Kyouko was able to avoid destitution and hunger thanks to her wish. And even Sayaka was able to get the opportunity to heal a friend. Can anyone complain that Kyubey's services are not essential to the community and society? Kyubey as a company has saved lives, provided food and housing opportunity for the destitute, and healed incurable diseases and physical disabilities; making society and the human race more productive, safer from death heat, and better in the long run.

And as a business, the company has an obligation to be financially sound. But much more importantly, "Kyubey" is an important member of the community. After all, society and the whole human race have profited from Kyubey's products, and services. Kyubey's presence on Earth is essential for human progress. Without Kyubey's interference, humanity would never have achieved and advanced in the areas of art, culture, history, medicine, philosophy, science, technology, and other progresses. In fact, without Kyubey, humans would still be naked and living in caves. Before anyone can accuse the company of being selfish and greedy, perhaps humanity should asks themselves if they are in any better position to be self-righteous against the company after benefiting from so much? Specially, since all of human progress is thanks to the sacrifice and despair of innocent little girls.

Why is Kyubey wrong.

"If you ever feel like dying for this universe, just call us." ~ Kyubey, Episode 9.

I would like to add one last comparison regarding Kyubey as a corporation and the philosophy of utility. As I have stated before, Kyubey used Mill's means to attain Bentham's end. What I mean is that a Corporation would try to stay within the boundaries of the law to maximize its profit and size, but it would also use Kyubey's method to eliminate its competition and achieve Bentham's end, which would be either be the elimination of all competition or achieving a total monopoly on the market. After all, the purpose of a company is to prolong its existence and to promote the idea that without them there is no free market. Just like Kyubey wants to prolong the existence of the universe and without Incubators there is no one to stop the end of the universe. But as we have observed, Kyubey's approach and solution is quite unnerving. Specially when we are asked to accept the suffering of little girls as a form of payment to enjoy the fruits of past labors and sufferings. But I would like to add one last thought. One of the reasons that utilitarianism has it critics is its attempt to use market values to achieve a noble and moral choice. This is not just reserved only to corporations; government entities and individuals attempt to do the same everyday[2]. Not only does utilitarianism fails in its noble and moral goal, but during the process we have probably noticed that humanity and the human soul has been reduced as a form of currency. Think about it, Kyubey would not accept no other form of payment but a human soul, something that it is considered to be sacred and holy (depending on your beliefs). Now suddenly, this alien creature decides that humans souls are no different than commodities to be traded. This utilitarian attempt to reduce all and everything as a commodity, including a human soul and the right of sale of it, is a degradation of our humanity that is being packaged as goods. It loses its moral value and dignity in the marketing process.[2] This causes us to rethink what makes us human and the values we hold as a civilized society. The reason that we hate and fear Kyubey is not that it is evil; the reason that we hate and fear Kyubey is what it represents. If a human soul can be reduced as a mere currency, or resource, or commodity (or a battery), and we are willing to emulate Kyubey's methods and values, then we as humans have failed to realized and recognized our own dignity and value within ourselves. Because Kyubey may be an alien from a different world, but its values are no different from ours once we close examine it.

A Historical Note: Utilitarianism and British Imperialism

A very important side note that needs to be pointed out is that when Utilitarianism emerged as an idea, it was during the height of British Imperialism. British Imperial policy had as its heart a desire to maintain open markets on her colonies to extract as many resources as possible so they could feed a growing British middle class and her industries. One way to justify their extractive polices was to promote the idea that while their policies could be considered harsh they were not unfair. In exchange of enriching Britain, the British Empire was providing British education, British security, British culture, British manufactured goods (raw resources provided by her colonies, by the way) and British civilization to her colonies for their toil and suffering. In Utilitarian terms, the British Empire (the many) received the greatest happiness while her colonies (the few) suffered but not without a form of repayment: British culture, education, security, and material goods. If one were to interpret this historical footnote through the eyes of Kyubey, one can argue that the Universe and Kyubey's race are rightly extracting energy from the suffering of magical girls, yet the human race has benefited from their sacrifice in the form of repayment. Humanity has grown richer and better thanks to new technologies, new advancements, new ideas, and the gift of civilization, all thanks to Kyubey's race. Here lies the problem, if one argues that Utilitarianism as a philosophy is good for the betterment of mankind. Then perhaps British Imperialism was also good for the betterment of her colonies. If so, then perhaps Utilitarianism is also good for the universe and for the human race, even at the expense of the suffering of magical girls...


I would like to reiterate that this is my personal interpretation and opinion regarding Kyubey's utilitarianism and its moral values. This is not an attempt to put words on the creators of the anime series but an attempt to grasp a better understanding of it. I have used resources like the anime series, interviews, and Michael Sandel's book "Justice" to attain a better comprehension and analysis of the Kyubey character. The views of this essay are my own --Mutopis 11:08, 24 September 2011 (UTC)


  1. I would like to make it clear that this is a categorical imperative from a Kantian philosophy regarding "telling a lie", it is defined as a way of evaluating motivations for action (See, "Madoka and Minding her Motive"). Utilitarianism is considered a consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined by its resulting outcome. These two bands of philosophies are completely different from each other. But I thought Kant's explanation was much more beautiful and elegant regarding the difference between telling a lie and using a "misleading truth". If Kyubey was as smart as a logical Vulcan, I believe it would use the Kantian method of telling the truth.
  2. "Certain modes of valuation are appropriate to certain goods and practices. In the case of commodities, such as cars and toasters, the proper way of valuing them is to use them, or to make them and sell them for profit. But it's a mistake to treat all things as if they were commodities. It would be wrong, for example, to treat human beings as commodities, mere things to be bought and sold. That's because human beings are persons worthy of respect, not objects to be used. Respect and use are two different modes of valuation." Michael Sandel, "Justice" (pg 96).

In Opposition

The above is well written, but suffers a single, but overwhelming, flaw. As I'm not a philosopher, please bear with me, but I believe my words hold merit. The main flaw of the above article is simple: Kyubey, himself, claims to not feel emotions, and is purely logical. However, Utilitarianism is the maximisation of happiness, and the minimisation of grief, which is the opposite of Kyubey's nature - he lacks the ability to feel either happiness or grief, and as such, does not care about it whatsoever. However, he does desire to live, the most basic of all instincts. As a being that possesses only logic and the desire to survive, all of it's efforts are devoted to a logical way of living as long as physically possible. Logically, this survival would be given the priority of the survival of it's own species, survival of itself, survival of those of it's own species, the survival of prey species, and, finally, the survival of strategically advantageous (i.e., allied) species.

If it's environment is reaching a physical limit to support it's existence, it acts to counter this, whether by increasing it's environment's parameters or limiting those factors acting against it. In the case of a population crisis, this would be finding more suitable ground in which to survive, or culling off competitor species, or, in an extreme case, members of it's own species. Taken to the most extreme level, that the universe is going to end eventually, even if that event is several hundred times further in the future than it's own species has lived thus far, then action must be taken to prevent or limit this collapse, so long as no more pressing matters exist. Regardless of the actual need to lengthen the life span of the universe, this is what an otherwise unoccupied, emotionless, logical species would do, and it is where the plot of the series is derived. On a similar extrapolation, Kyubey's race have conquered personal death - they can move themselves into a spare body, should they die. That, too, is an example of their attempt to control death on any level possible for them.

As a logical species, Kyubey chooses actions based on mathematics. The Probability of something happening, and the Effort needed to achieve it - that is, the result of Work and Time - and the ultimate result are the core components of it's decisions. As Kyubey lacks emotions, specifically, shame and guilt, it sees no need to gain consent if it does not need it. That Kyubey does attempt to gain consent suggests that either it does need it, or that gaining consent is easier than utilising brute force upon the issue - as it is their soul, they may respond in a negative manner by pure subconscious instinct, though this is entirely speculation. However, Kyubey does not put excessive effort into making certain that it's contractors are aware of the situation that they are being put into. Kyubey is perfectly aware that it is supplying minimalist information. Logically, Sayaka or Madoka or Mami should think things through and ask for more information, as Kyubey would do. However, the terminology is intentionally misleading. The term "Soul Gem" is given in English, despite his audience being 13 year old Japanese girls. When a young Japanese person, with English being a secondary language, at best, hears the word "soul", they do not connect it to the Japanese word "Tamashii", but to pop culture, and the use of the English word as flavour text to imply a certain spirituality, especially with spirituality being a low priority subject for a classroom lesson. This goes double with magical girls, which commonly use word choices which have very little to do with the purpose of an item. For example, in Sailor Moon, there are the Witches 5, who are part of the Death Busters, and one of them has a "Fire Buster". However, there's actually 6 Witches, the Death Busters do very little busting of death, and the Fire Buster is a flame thrower, not a fire-fighting tool. Similarly, it's suggested by Kyubey that "Witch" is derived from the characters for "Magical Girl", but even to the Japanese, this is elusive, as it's considered that "Evil" (Ma) and "Magical" (Mahou) are two entirely different words, despite the character for the former being used as part of the latter. Such cases are not unusual in the Japanese language. Thus, Kyubey intentionally uses a language choice which suggests the circumstances as they are, but phrased in a way that requires fairly extensive fact checking to be certain of what's going on, in the typical manner of someone who believes themselves very intelligent. In addition, keeping the truth of the matter quite can be very helpful, as Kyubey's purpose is to instil grief upon his contractors. Usually, this takes care of itself, but if necessary, it could make a useful catalyst - for example, in the case of Mami, who seems quite stable, and seems unlikely to transform without this being pointed out to her.

As for Kyoko, the probability of Kyoko ever bearing fruit may be slim, and Kyubey is not greedy. Perhaps the evolved Familiars provide as much grief as a magical girl, but at the least, it's providing that at a 5:1 ratio of kills to magical girls, in a situation where Kyoko herself is unnecessary, as a more fragile, incompetent and/or single-minded girl could be contracted to take her place. If the transformation process of Magical Girl to Witch is necessary to gather energy, then Kyoko - who is ruthless enough to avoid spending too much magical power and cold enough to survive her father's mass-murder-suicide with no transformation - will provide dividends at an extremely low probability. By supplying the most minimal level of information - or, rather, a succinct but accurate level of information, which is perfectly logical when dealing with a species with such a small communications bandwidth such as humanity - a situation in which four possibilities arises. 1) The death of Kyoko, creating a higher probability of the high-dividend, average-probability Madoka contracting. 2) Kyoko's success, resulting in Sayaka returning to normal, paving the way for an infinitely regenerating energy source. 3) Kyoko's failure, which does not positively or negatively affect Kyubey in any significant way. And 4) Kyoko's failure, followed by her transformation into a Witch, finally returning dividends on a long term investment. None of these significantly impact Kyubey in any negative manner at all, given the information on hand. Thus, Kyoko's attempt to confront Oktavia is desirable to him, and should not be prevented.

I'd like to leave it here for now. As I said at the beginning, it's my opinion that all of Kyubey's actions can be explained by the desire to live, without any messy morality being involved in the process, and I've provided several examples for this, which I believe are more logically explained, and more fully intertwined with canon statements, than my predecessor's. MrSP 14:16, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

The problem that I see is the desire to live or self preservation, an instinct, is an emotion by itself. Self-preservation is a desire to live, which sounds very "emotional". Let us say that logic indicates that what Kyubey is doing is only buying them time, that it wont stop the ultimate fate of the universe, their actions and their probability of success depends on the possibility that they will overcome entropy by harvesting enough energy. If the odds were on their favor then their acts are logical, if it is against their favor then it is illogical. Considering how Kyubey was trying so hard in getting Madoka it seems to indicate that Kyubey was getting "greedy" (for lack of a better term) and willing to sacrifice a whole planet for a short term gain (of course, I am guessing...). If this is correct then their quotas must be lacking and they may require some adjustments to maximize their energy yield. Yet as we saw Kyubey seems to have rules to follow, albeit he does bend them to his favor. If Kyubey is desperate to overcome entropy it would be much more easier just to follow a "slash and burn" policy and be damned about it. Of course, as you pointed out perhaps this method wont yield enough results, yet if we consider the size of the human population or even of the entire galaxy, even if one forced soul doesnt yield alot of energy, it may add up by the accumulative effect. Of course this is speculation. But the other issue is that we have to consider the possibility that even a civilization like Kyubey must be bounded by rules to live by, no matter how logical they are. The foundation of every civilization or society is to establish laws and rules, why? to minimize chaos and disorder so it doesn't collapse. Such a civilization would require a body politic to establish an extensive network, energy quotas, suggestions how to gather efficient energy, planetary exploration, etc, it needs an institution to run things properly. It also minimizes conflict with other groups or more advance civilizations. I wouldnt be surprised if there are other more advance alien races out there, and some of these organizations have imposed rules on Kyubey's civilization to make the whole process "more fair" and turn a blind eye at the same time and pretend everything is alright... Of course, speculation. We have no choice but to work as much as we can within the framework... And as for equating happiness with emotions. Now remember, Utilitarianism fails to grasp or define what "happiness" means or is to individuals or to society. When I say "happiness", I do not mean on the emotional joyful level, but what I mean in what it can maximize what would be beneficial to society as a whole (or at least to the most fortunate of the group), on in Kyubey's case the universe. While Kyubey doesnt have emotions, they do seek to maximize the lifespan of the universe itself, that would be their "happiness" for a lack of a better term, at the expense of the "suffering" of lesser groups or few planets. We can change "happiness" to "profit" or even to "energy" etc... it doesnt change much of the concept, just the definition but the aim is the same: maximize something at the cost of minimizing something else. IF Kyubey is driven by self preservation as you just suggested, then we have consider the possibility that not only can they feel emotion, but they are being selfish by imposing their rules and beliefs on others and disguise it as "logic". But what if they are not being selfish, just logical and what if their logic just happens to arrive and align to their own self interest and the interest of "others"? Help the universe survive and at the same time allow other worlds, not just their own, to benefit from it? This justification would be enough to convince even the most logical that what they are doing has long term benefits for the majority, at the expense of the minority. --Mutopis 15:50, 22 April 2012 (UTC)
I would like to also point out that Bentham's utilitarianism tries to divorce morality to justify an action that is beneficial to a group or society, a reason why it has its critics because it tries to discard the messy morality. However, there are unusual discrepancies in Kyubey's action, remember it has always been pointed out as being utilitarian, yet its version seems to differ as it tries to combine both Bentam's and Mill's and it is difficult to explain it without any further details, which is why we speculate. All I can do is trying to find a reason for this transition or discrepancy. However, to me it is not good enough to say that Kyubey's actions are driven by self-preservation that lacks any emotion behind it, if there is any logic behind their actions then we have to see it beyond just "self-preservation" and make a logical argument about it that justifies it... a drive for self-preservation is not just an attempt for the continuation of an species, but it also implies a fear of death. Do kyubey's race fears death? I dont know, but they clearly dont want the universe to end and they see a logic to prolong their existence... --Mutopis 16:34, 22 April 2012 (UTC)

Kyoko, Puella Magi, and Libertarianism

At first I disliked the character of Kyoko because she was so unlike Mami and Sayaka, but then she wormed her way into my heart and looking at the character as a whole one can appreciate her character on its own. I will try to work withing the principle philosophy of libertarianism to try to understand her character to better appreciate her, but also demonstrate why the character of Kyoko could be destructive to society as a whole. --Mutopis 22:38, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

As always, this will take a while... --Mutopis 22:38, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

It would be a shame to have this page die... T^T I was wondering if someone is still up to the task of finishing it. This page is super old, and the chances of this still being in the works is very slim, but I would love to see this talk page grow and the real page be completed. It would be amazing. --Lord Fawful 18:07, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

Libertarianism: an assertion to freedom

John Locke: Life, liberty and the pursuit of wishes

My Soul Gem, My Choice

A Free Market Solution for a Puella Magi Problem

The Puella Magi Cartel

Puella Magi: Girls of Justice or Magical Mercenaries?

Happiness does not equate freedom. Freedom does not equate happiness.

Puellae Magi: a PR Illusion and the Issue of False Interpretation.

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