2251: Alignment Chart Alignment Chart
|Alignment Chart Alignment Chart|
Title text: I would describe my personal alignment as "lawful heterozygous silty liquid."
| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created using the BOT template. Needs explanations of each alignment chart, and probably some editing for clarity.|
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"Alignment" and "alignment charts" come from the the tabletop game Dungeons & Dragons. Every character has an alignment, which is a sort of a personality archetype or general description of morality. The most widely used alignment system was introduced in the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set in 1977 and has been reused in many (but not all) subsequent editions of the game. This system uses two perpendicular axes, each axis having three words; the alignment of a particular character is a combination of one word from each axis (for a total of nine categories). The two axes are:
- Lawful/neutral/chaotic: this axis says whether a character is strongly devoted to, indifferent about, or categorically opposed to following the rule of the law.
- Good/neutral/evil: this axis says whether a character is generally inclined to commit good deeds or evil deeds.
For example, a character's alignment can be "chaotic neutral". Being classified as "chaotic" means they're very prone to acting on emotions, they don't care what is allowed and what is prohibited, and their actions often go against things like tradition and chain of command. Being classified as "neutral" (on the second axis) means that their deeds and character are not strongly good nor evil; either they have a balance of both, or they rarely do anything that can be clearly labelled as one or the other. There are nine possible alignments - any combination of the two axes is allowed. A character with the "neutral neutral" alignment is called a true neutral.
The use of the term chaotic in a personality alignment context is different to the term in a physics concept. In physics, chaos refers to unpredictable outcomes following emergent behaviours that are sensitive to small changes in underlying conditions. Similarly, lawful can be considered to follow deterministic physical behaviours. Hitting pool balls with a pool cue is deterministic, it follows the deterministic Newtonian laws of motion. Hitting your opponent with a pool cue is chaotic, the end state of the ensuing brawl is unpredictable.
An alignment chart is a grid that divides the alignments, usually for the purpose of putting descriptions or particular characters on it. Alignment charts are frequently used as a meme template, where humorous or absurdist things are organized into different alignments. In addition to the "classic" Dungeons and Dragons alignment chart, there are a number of variant alignment charts in use as meme templates. Many keep the three-by-three grid structure but replace the lawful-neutral-chaotic and good-neutral-evil axes with others, such as distinguished-functional-disaster vs. gay-bi-lesbian and edgy-depressed-dumbass vs. bitch-thot-bastard. Some alignment charts use other systems of classification, like the McDonald's alignment chart, which is a ternary diagram, a way of plotting data points by the relative proportions of three components in them on a triangular plot.
This comic claims to be a meta-alignment chart, where nine "alignment charts" are themselves sorted into the nine Dungeons and Dragons alignments, following the use of alignment charts to humorously classify abstract concepts. However, these "alignment charts" are mostly diagrams used in academic classifications, which are being treated as if they were blank meme templates. There are two levels of absurdity here: first, the idea of using these technical scientific diagrams to classify things they were never intended to, like fictional characters or how people bag their bread, and second, the conflation of chaos as a physics concept and an assigned moral weights as it applies to each of these classification systems.
The title text describes Randall's alignment as "lawful heterozygous silty liquid" which references the true neutral, neutral good, lawful good, and lawful neutral charts in the Alignment Chart Alignment Chart. Lawful is the left side of an alignment chart, heterozygous is the top right or bottom left of a Punnet Square, silty is the bottom right of a soil chart, and liquid is the top right of a phase diagram. As such, the title test describes Randall's alignment as between Lawful Neutral and Neutral Good on this chart.
|Lawful Good||Soil chart||This chart shows the USDA classification of soil types by their relative proportions of sand, clay and silt. The chart is a ternary diagram (very common in geology), so soils with more clay plot towards the upper corner, soils with more sand to the bottom left, and soils with more silt to the bottom right. This chart has been used humorously as an alignment chart (for example) and may have been the inspiration for Randall to use scientific diagrams as alignment charts. In addition to being Lawful Good, this grid cell is also the upper left cell of the chart and will be read first, making it a good place to put this chart as a "jumping off point".|
|Neutral Good||Punnett square|| (quote from wikipedia article, but should have been obvious. Oh, yeah - we're all tech nerds, not biologists!) "The Punnett square is a square diagram that is used to predict the genotypes of a particular cross or breeding experiment. It is named after Reginald C. Punnett, who devised the approach. The diagram is used by biologists to determine the probability of an offspring having a particular genotype. The Punnett square is a tabular summary of possible combinations of maternal alleles with paternal alleles. These tables can be used to examine the genotypical outcome probabilities of the offspring of a single trait (allele), or when crossing multiple traits from the parents. The Punnett square is a visual representation of Mendelian inheritance. It is important to understand the terms "heterozygous", "homozygous" …” These refer to the pairs of alleles in an organism’s genotype, indicating mixed or same alleles, respectively. Randall later uses “heterozygous” in the title text. Note that it is possible for a phenotype to be expressed the same between some heterozygotes and homozygotes, e.g., persons with genotypes heterozygous ”Ao” and homozygous “AA” will both express blood type A.
So, the Punnett Square is a good chart because it is both a simple and true geometric predictor of inheritance, but it tends to neutral because of complicating factors such as polygenic inheritance; these and other factors will cause genotypic frequency to deviate from expected 1:2:1 patterns.
|Chaotic Good||IPA vowel chart||This chart shows the relationship between different vowels according to the International Phonetic Alphabet. As different vowel sounds are created by changes in different parts of the mouth, it can be considered chaotic.|
|Lawful Neutral||Phase diagram||A phase diagram shows the temperature and pressure points where a material changes phase. The diagram included is of an unknown material that has a solid, liquid, and gas phase. Phase diagrams are useful as the relationship is not always linear. For example, the air pressure of Mars is such that there is no temperature at which liquid water can exist. Water exists as ice until the temperature reaches a point where it sublimates directly into steam.
Phase diagrams follow the laws of physics, so are inherently lawful.
|True Neutral||Alignment chart||All alignment charts are neutral unless humans contaminate them.|
|Chaotic Neutral||CIE chromacity diagram||The chromacity diagram is typically used to help determine a color temperature given the typical RGB intensities of light. Low color temperatures tend to be associated with 'softer' lights that are easier on the eyes, whereas 'higher' color temperatures are associated with 'harder' light that are perceived as brighter. Given that color temperature as defined by the chromacity diagram has nothing to do with the actual color temperature of a blackbody as defined by Physics, it is chaotic. Also, the official specification for CIE is behind a paywall and defined by private organizations, making it more chaotic.|
|Lawful Evil||Political compass||Political Compass  separates out left-right thinking into economic and social political thought. For example, Gandhi and Stalin supposedly both had similar economic perspectives (collectivist) but radically different social perspectives (authoritarian vs libertarian).
As politicians make the laws, this is inherently lawful. Attempting to represent all politics in terms of two very general axes is a gross oversimplification, which is likely why it is listed as evil.
Like the USDA soil chart, the political compass has actually been used as an alignment chart, largely as a mockery of it.
|Neutral Evil||QAPF rock diagram||This diagram is used to classify coarse-grained felsic (low magnesium and iron) igneous rocks by the relative volumes of the minerals quartz, alkali feldspars, plagioclase feldspars, and feldspathoids in the rock. It consists of two ternary diagrams - quartz and feldspathoid minerals cannot coexist (they will react to form feldspars) so only three of these components will be in any given rock. Rocks in the upper triangle of the diagram contain quartz, with rocks with more quartz plotting closer to the top, while rocks in the lower triangle contain feldspathoids, with rocks with more feldspathoids plotting lower. Rocks closer to the left corner of the diagram contain more alkali feldspar and rocks closer to the right corner contain more plagioclase feldspar. The field on the diagram for granite is labeled in the comic, but each area outlined on the diagram has it's own rock name (monzonite, syenite, granodiorite, etc.). All the rocks that the QAPF diagram is used to classify look superficially like granite, but their chemistry, mineralogy, and origin differ.
The QAPF diagram and the names of the more obscure rock types on it can be somewhat arcane, which may be why it is considered evil here.
|Chaotic Evil||Omnispace classifier||The other eight diagrams shown in this comic, squished together into one, with the shapes of the diagrams corresponding to those of the originals. Probably self-referential humour, in that the diagram created for this comic is considered to be chaotically evil.|
|This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.|
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