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  1. #1
    Senior Member distortiondave's Avatar
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    How human are Space Marines?

    Okay, so marines literally ARE humans, but how human do they remain once they become fully fledged marines?

    There are examples of individual marines displaying negative human traits, but not really on a bigger scale.
    Examples: Horus craving more and more power - greed. Luther becoming jealous of Lion - envy etc etc.

    But what does a marine feel? Does he love? Not love as in he loves his chapter or his Emperor, but proper love, as an emotion rather than an obligation.
    What about lust or greed? Would one marine be jealous that another has become a sergeant, for example?
    Would such an emotion be seen as heresy, a sign of chaos and quickly eradicated?
    What about even more basic emotions. Do they laugh, or cry? Do they suffer rage and frustration?
    Do they feel self preservation? The overwhelming human need to live?
    They fall back from fights, which implies they do (or they simply aren't stupid), but then the idea of a Space Marine GW wants us to have is one of a super human who will willingly sacrifice himself for his Emperor or Chapter.

    So, just how human are space marines?

    I can't say I've seen it all but I live for the things that keep me hollow.

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  3. #2
    Teh Nekkid Chatter Killswitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by distortiondave View Post
    Okay, so marines literally ARE humans, but how human do they remain once they become fully fledged marines?

    There are examples of individual marines displaying negative human traits, but not really on a bigger scale.
    Examples: Horus craving more and more power - greed. Luther becoming jealous of Lion - envy etc etc.

    But what does a marine feel? Does he love? Not love as in he loves his chapter or his Emperor, but proper love, as an emotion rather than an obligation.
    What about lust or greed? Would one marine be jealous that another has become a sergeant, for example?
    Would such an emotion be seen as heresy, a sign of chaos and quickly eradicated?
    What about even more basic emotions. Do they laugh, or cry? Do they suffer rage and frustration?
    Do they feel self preservation? The overwhelming human need to live?
    They fall back from fights, which implies they do (or they simply aren't stupid), but then the idea of a Space Marine GW wants us to have is one of a super human who will willingly sacrifice himself for his Emperor or Chapter.

    So, just how human are space marines?

    Still quite human. Most of the same emotions as we do, they can hide it as it is seen as heresy. No he does not love, that was taken out in the process of initiation. No. They do not feel lust or greed. Yes they laugh, but not cry. They do suffer rage and frustration. Yes, they always feel the need to live, but they also feel the need to leave no man behind, such as a U.S. Marine would, except a stronger urge to do so. Marines are human, they are just altered to the point they are basically puppets of the imperium. Sure, they can make their own decisions, then they are still controlled by the imperium, making them a puppet on a very long string thingy that puppeteers use.

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  4. #3
    Illustrator Extraordinair Adrian MalSeraph's Avatar
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    By all means, a Space Marine can feel greed and lust. Look at the Horus Heresy, there's a story rife with lust and greed. Luther and the Dark Angels too.

    They do have a sense of self preservation, but so long as it helps the Chapter/ Imperium's cause at the same time... If he must die, then by the Emperor, he will.

    Anyway, in essence, they're still human, as far as the psyche may go. But there are still things that a normal human doesn't have. It's just that simple.

  5. #4
    Ender of Threads Wraith's Avatar
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    Hmmm... An interesting question, and perhaps one better suited for the Marine Fluff section, but here goes, regardless.

    First off, in terms of the Biological similarities - Marines are really just human enough to not be an Ork. 8 feet tall, superdense bones and augmented musculature, auxiliary Heart, Lungs, and god only knows what else, Assorted glands and whatnot to enhance nearly everything else, and a brain that they can switch from one half to another at will... Aside from the absolute basic building blocks, there's not a whole lot there that really qualifies as standard Homo Sapiens anymore.

    Now, as for the philosophical and psychological side of the debate - the 'softer' side, if you will... I've always preferred to take my cues on this stuff from the more descriptive of the "official" GW fluff, and to a much larger extent, the assorted Marine Novels.

    Things like Love, lust and the like, I don't really see them being major factors in a Marine's life. Not perhaps due to an inability to feel them so much as due to the whole Iron discipline, harsh training regimes and the sheer distance from the rest of the world that simply being a Marine entails. The Space Wolf novels have Ragnar getting the occasional pang of regret for the life he could have had with his girlfriend before he was chosen as a Marine, but swallowing it down and getting on with business instead of dwelling on the past that's long since lost. As a young Blood Claw, he (understandably) tends to get a little flustered by all the various (hot) female Inquisitors and Navigators he seems to run into all the time, but yet again, there's a job to be done, and duties that have to take priority over all else. That seems to sum it up pretty nicely in my mind, and it does provide some wonderful moments when the Navigator Gabriella lets a flirty moment slip just to torment poor Ragnar a bit!

    Jealousy, not exactly as the term implies. I'd say that ambition fits the bill better. I just can't picture a centuries old, battle-hardened Marine getting all huffy and jealous over a promotion. Ambition to climb the ranks, sure, and being somewhat indignant if you're passed over in favour of an inferior choice, probably, but I wouldn't say they'd really have to deal with jealousy. Again, it goes back to the whole duty, honour and discipline bit.

    Laughter, sorrow, rage, frustration? Without a doubt! If you want mindless, emotionless automatons, go look at repentia and arco-flagellants from the WH army, or combat servitors. Marines aren't just killing machines, they're the finest warriors around - it's much like the difference between a finely forged blade and a vicious yet fragile disposable razor. Much more goes into the making of a warrior than just combat prowess - to truly be the gods of battle they're supposed to be, there absolutely must be a viable personality in each Marine to form a core to build upon. The outward expressions may vary according to the overall temperament of the Chapter (from the stoic Dark Angels to the vibrant Nordic stylings of the Space Wolves), but the underlying emotions must be there. Again, the novels are full of examples - the Space Wolves series most of all (IMHO).

    As for self preservation, Definitely. Without this, you've got a wall of servitors waiting to get mowed down. Think the static gun lines of the 1700's and 1800's - somewhat effective, but not even close to a more modern style of warfare where you don't stupidly stand still waiting to be shot! Marines know how to do their job right, and they know when things are going wrong. They know better than to risk their (unusually valuable) heads by poking them into the line of fire instead of taking full advantage of cover. In short, Marines are not stupid. However, they also know that this is war, and people die. There are jobs to be done, both minor tasks and earth-shattering feats, and some of them may require that they lay down their lives to accomplish them. Obviously not the preferred outcome, but a Marine is smart enough, strong enough, and dedicated enough to recognize when it's worth it and to make that sacrifice if it must be made.

    Space Marines are superhuman warriors who are good enough, strong enough and smart enough to get the job done and come back alive. But if they must lay down their lives to ensure the mission is accomplished, they're dedicated enough to do what must be done.

    ...
    ...
    ...

    Whew... **looks up** O.o... Wow. you know, at some point back there, I had a short, quick response in mind... Ah, well - more descriptive is good, eh?
    We've got plenty of youth... How about a fountain of smart?


  6. #5
    Senior Member distortiondave's Avatar
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    Ok, youve seen Full Metal Jacket right?
    There's a scene where the US marines have naff all to do and meet some vietnamese girls who will 'love them long time, only 5 dollar'.

    What chance that human decadence occuring in a Space Marine?

    Drones, automatons. Not really human anymore, are they?
    They have freedom of movement and thought but only insofar as being free to move and think if it is of benefit to the chapter or emperor.
    What cammeraderie (sp) is generated in Marine units? I'd wager very little.
    I can't say I've seen it all but I live for the things that keep me hollow.

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    Professional Lurker sithjack's Avatar
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    Marines display human emotion they're just better at ignoring them than most people. Wraith's pretty much got it. I will add that they do cry, usually tears of joy or rage. Marines tend to deal with their comrades death with dignity, respect, and a slight touch of exaggeration and boasting.

    "Alas poor Yorrick, he died after bludgeoning 12 Orks to death when his bolter jammed."
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  8. #7
    Son of LO
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    I'm going to move this to the Fluff section since I think you'll get more and better answers.

    Thread moved.

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    Ender of Threads Wraith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by distortiondave View Post
    What cammeraderie (sp) is generated in Marine units? I'd wager very little.
    I disagree - you're describing what sounds like some sort of violent, Hive gang scum Conscripts, or maybe the ragtag bands of near mercenaries of Schaeffer's Last Chancers. Any warrior can be a powerhouse, mowing down foes left and right - but he's still one man. Eventually, random Guardsman #483,927,456 gets behind him and blows off his head with a Plasma gun while his loner cohorts are off doing basically the same thing. No man is an Island, and that includes Marines.

    Any military unit is vastly more effective as a cohesive group than as a pack of individuals. Infantry work in co-operative squads, often based around an APC. Tanks are massively powerful, but without the grunts close at hand watching their flanks, any enemy can just run up and stuff a wad of C4 into the engine bay - BOOM! Heck, even Snipers, the ultimate "lone wolves" actually work in pairs - one spotter, one shooter. The term "Two heads are better than one" exists for a reason, and there is definitely a reason why Marines are called "Battle-Brothers".
    We've got plenty of youth... How about a fountain of smart?


  10. #9
    Senior Member distortiondave's Avatar
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    One day I promise to post a new thread in the right section. I don't deliberately do it, really I don't.

    Anyway, cheers for the replies.
    It is an interesting topic and puts a different slant on the fluff you read if you can look at it from a more human perspective.
    I haven't read many novels, only Deathwing. In that you can clearly see the bond between the Deathwing and the emotion they felt both when they realised their homeworld was under Genestealer infestation, but also when they accepted their fate, their death, to cleanse their world.

    Maybe it's remorse, or lack of. If you could have an army in real life whose soldiers felt no remorse you'd have a pretty unrelenting force.
    A marine wouldn't think twice about killing a woman or child who was involved in any form of insurgency.
    Heresy is heresy right? Regardless of the form.

    In one of the old codices, or maybe an old rule book, there was a page dedicated to describing in detail the day to day activities of a Space Marine. I'll try and dig it out, but I'm sure there was barely an hour in the day devoted to 'personal time' if you will.

    After I've done my daily routine of work, wash, clean and eat I spend time doing things I enjoy - playing my guitar or football, watching Kevin Smith films or playing computer games.
    It's what gives us character, a personality and what makes each of us different.

    What does a Marine have to set him apart from his brothers?
    Anything?

    My point is, if you were to take away the things I like doing in my spare time, took away my family and girlfriend and replaced it with more and more 'work', I'd start to feel less human.

    They are full time soldiers, for as long as they live. I appreciate that.
    But they must have something human about them else you may as well field robots/androids/servitors.
    I can't say I've seen it all but I live for the things that keep me hollow.

  11. #10
    Professional Lurker sithjack's Avatar
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    Marines have about 30 minutes to an hour of free time because of Guilliman's quote: "Comtemplate your duty at your leisure, but when the time comes to do your duty do it without question." or something to that effect. This time is also frequently replaced with training or prayer sessions however.

    If you've read Deathwing than you already have your answer to whether Marines love. Cloud Runner and that lock of air he kept on him for centuries, Hawk Talon's response at seeing Cloud Runner, etc. Marines feel love they just acknowledge that duty is more important, the primarch emperor and chapter are first in their hearts, and love for another has no future. They might dwell on it in their off time or they might not, depends on the marine.

    There are plenty of obvious examples of marines and emotion: Chaplains are prechers, and good preaching requires emotion. The Salamanders live with the people of Nocturne, that's hardly the act of an automaton. Marines have to further train their recruits before implantation, which is hard to do if you're an unfeeling killing machine. The list goes on.

    For a pretty good comparison of Marines' and Humans' feelings I recommend this, I believe it does a rather nice job.
    Veni Vidi Variant
    I came, I saw, I got a different type of Leman Russ.

    The spikey ones go faster.

    98% of the teen population has smoked weed, the other 2% went straight to crack.

    Saga of the Ages. Click it.

    Rules for grenades are on page 72 of the rulebook.

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