Tense[edit source]

Pardon if I created this page wrong, I have no idea what I'm doing. But I just wanted to say that in my opinion the past tense tone of this page is inapproriate because the author died having never ended the culture. Indeed there was an interview about it shortly before his death.

Now I'm only on book 6, but judging from what I've read and from that interview, it seems the culture is alive and well and so the tone should be present tense.

P.S. Feel free to alter or clean this up as needed since it's the first entry.

Two cents given :) Innomen (talk) 11:06, March 1, 2016 (UTC)

Hi! My idea is that the wiki is written, for the most part, from an in-universe perspective at some indefinite point in the universe's far future. So articles for science, technology, concepts, etc. are written in present tense; articles for people, places, polities (tangible things, things that don't have any claim to physical permanence) are in past tense.
Given my on-and-off editing, and other human foibles, there are a bunch of existing articles which don't adhere to the above; I need to get around to fixing them eventually.
On a slight tangent, at the end of Look to Windward, the behemothaurs speak of "the civilization which was once known as the Culture." That bit takes place a galactic "Grand Cycle" after the main events of the book, which is at least 50-100 million years (the length of airsphere world-cycles, depending on where they are.) - Meco (talk, contribs) 14:57, March 1, 2016 (UTC)
Fair enough :) Thanks for clearing that up :) Innomen (talk) 15:23, March 1, 2016 (UTC)

Direct democracy[edit source]

I'm not sure it's quite correct to call it a direct democracy.  The vote on the Idiran war was carried out this way, but ultimately granting this election, like everything, is up to the Minds, who form a benevolent dictatorship.  " given that the decisions reached as a result of those votes are usually implemented and monitored through a Hub or other supervisory machine, with humans acting (usually on a rota basis) more as liaison officers than in any sort of decision-making executive capacity"  " The intellectual-structural cohesion of a starship of course limits the sort of viable votes possible on such vessels, though as a rule even the most arrogant craft at least pretend to listen when their guests suggest - say - making a detour to watch a supernova, or increasing the area of parkland on-board. "  Ultimately, the Minds make decisions, and human votes are advisory, and can be manipulated easily by the Minds anyway.  Omegatron (talk) 10:32, September 1, 2020 (UTC)

It's true that the Minds hold the ultimate power, but I don't think that means it's not a democracy.  Any ruling power can ignore the democratic will or interfere in voting.  Does that mean the concept of democracy doesn't really exist?  My reading of the Minds is that they don't just see humans as token subjects or pets.  They genuinely view them as equals, not in intellect or power, obviously, but in their rights.  I think every Culture citizen, human or otherwise, would reasonably expect the Minds to carry out the will of the majority.  I may be wrong though! Lmhrpr (talk) 10:47, September 1, 2020 (UTC)
"I argued it out with the ship in a crew assembly, but couldn't even carry the human vote with me. The Arbitrary copied to the Bad For Business and the rest, but I think it was just being kind; nothing I said made any difference."
"On the authority of me being part of the Culture and my judgement on such matters being accepted by other parts, specifically other Minds, of the Culture. Immediately, because I can. ... as this would be a dispute ultimately about a human’s rights I’d have to give more than usual weight to the human vote."
“This is the decision of your human crew?”
“No. It is mine. I intend to get my human crew to safety before matters become critical.”
“They concur with this?”
“They have come to accept it. Two wanted to be heroes, and stay aboard. I argued them out of this course.”
Those imply to me that "the human vote" is advisory, and not binding, and that superintelligent Minds have little trouble convincing their crews to do whatever they want, regardless.
And whether a Mind views humans as equals, or pets, or an annoying obligation, varies from Mind to Mind, I think.Omegatron (talk) 11:51, September 1, 2020 (UTC)
Those are good examples, though not necessarily representative of the whole of the Culture.  What's a better term for this then?  Just "benevolent dictatorship"?  Perhaps "with advisory democratic referenda"? Lmhrpr (talk) 12:11, September 1, 2020 (UTC)
I'm not sure.  Those sound pretty good.  This article describes it as  "The Culture has no laws, and nothing that we would call a government. All power remains in the hands of the omnipotent and omnibenevolent Minds."  This one says "The Culture is an anarchistic utopian society, and as such, it has no formal central government. ... In practice, for matters of governance, citizens grant consent to artificial intelligences which they call Minds." Omegatron (talk) 12:44, September 1, 2020 (UTC)
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