As readers, how are we conditioned?

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Somnambulist

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« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2014, 09:07:52 pm »
I think I'm predisposed to expect fantasy to end with the disenchantment of the world.  Tolkien, Earthsea, you can't go back to Narnia when you get too old.

That's probably where it's going, degenerating from higher to lower orders.  But is that not a popular fantasy trope that Bakker will try to disabuse us of?  Maybe Kellhus brings about the ultimate ascension, not just of himself, but of all of humanity/nonmanity  (  :P  )  as well.  A marrying of the Outside to the Inside, so everyone's reality is as they perceive it.  Everyone's a god.  For reals.
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« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2014, 10:34:33 am »
Sorry for going OT, it's just that to me the title didn't say it all. I found the general idea pretty interesting but i couldn't find the scope. I mean, reader is not that specific, are we talking about readers of the SA, of fantasy, of literature, reader in general? The same goes for the conditioning part. Are we talking about conditioning our beliefs or our expectations? So i improvised :P.

No apologies for OT. That's the best part of these threads, the tangents. So all those questions apply but I like to bring it back to the books.

My opinion is that the differences between social groups are so noticeable because there are so few of them compared to how many preconceptions humanity shares as a whole. For example Christians and Muslims fight over who is right in his interpretation of God, but both share the belief that there actually is a God, an afterlife, judgement, angels, demons, good, evil, etc. Most writers that actively try to use conditioning for the purpose of gaining popularity, begin from the pillars of belief that most of us share or have learned to tolerate, and build from there.

The building from there is what interests me most about Bakker. He clearly intends to not reinforce our genre "beliefs," and not much more likely to mold them.

But to your examples. That single difference in interpretation is still the driving propaganda for the World at War. We can't stop because they won't. Because the force of their beliefs (I'm paraphrasing).

Pessimism and optimism, hmmm. In my view those traits don't have much to do with the ideas in the SA. It might appear so in the beginning but i think the meat of the book has to do with introspection and acceptance. The way we function isn't good or bad, it just is. The problems arise when we try to categorize it with current morality and we find it lacking, so we pretend it isn't there. That actually is bad. I personally think that we are beautiful. The world that we are part of is beautiful. Life is beautiful. It's just that we went looking for meaning and managed to find the opposite. When the distance between what you are and what you think you are is so vast, you can't be truly happy and most of all you can't become that something that you want to be, because you don't really know what you really have to change.

Neat. I was more talking about the pessimism and optimism of the readers about the world after reacting to Bakker's content. I do like the idea of the themes growing towards the bold though. I've always wondered how Bakker can offer catharsis at the end of this.

Anyway, i went ot again, sorry (but not really :P). I agree that there is always confirmation bias, and i am sure the same thing happened to me. I may have gotten angry but i eventually gave it another chance because subconsciously i was half there already. Maybe it was something i read, something i heard or something i ate ;D, i don't know, but i am sure that there was something.

Yeah, again, no apologies necessary :).
 
Now if we are talking about conditioning expectations Bakker does it all the time. There are fantasy stereotypes, sci fi stereotypes, even historical and religious stereotypes and Scott uses them all. The smart thing about the way he does it is that he doesn't try to be original. He just uses them as tools, he doesn't really seem to care what we think about what he does with those tools.

I think this is all necessary notation. My question becomes how does he know which references to rely on most that will be recognized by the majority of readers. I mean, we are a minority, and we still don't come closer to recognizing his antecedents but the ones that people seem to agree on provide much depth for reading.

Abercrombie for example uses every stereotype there is and then simply adds a minus in front of the whole equation. So everything feels familiar because you get the exact opposite of what you expected but also original because you get a different outcome from what you are used to. Bakker used Dune and especially the God Emperor as inspiration (among many, MANY other works), but despite the similarities between Leto and Kellhus i don't dare predict what the latter will do. Hell, when Meppa first appeared i was certain Scott was trolling the Dune readers. And while he deliberately does that and often (the bastard ;D), most of the time he uses something as a tribute and not to intentionally condition us. For example the Dunyain are obviously a reference to Tolkien, but besides that they have little to do with the Numenorians. You learn fast not to expect that kind of shit in his books the first time you realize your expectations were so far off the mark that you feel really stupid ;).

But... what about the expectations that are fulfilled?

Of course when we read the books we condition ourselves because slowly but surely we start to understand how he thinks a little better, so we formulate expectations, not based on stereotypes, but on the character of the author, kind of like with Kafka as well.

Well, I honestly believe that something like this hasn't really happened ever before in history.

I mean, we can probably count the number of authors who wrote series while the internet was available for fans to continuous speculate as the series is being written and who had fans that actually did. Are any of those series a comparison for TSA? Probably not.

There are a number of other thoughts that make this situation anomalous but you get the idea?

But this is one of the main reasons to have the SA forum. It takes a hivemind to anticipate Bakker and I still expect to be surprised on most counts.

Just to chime in, as I'm in a bit of a hurry - in linguistics and communications theory the kind of conditioning described in the first post is called "presupposition". And every reader comes to a book with a lot of presuppositions and you can get a lot of interesting reactions if you decide to go against those presuppositions.

+1

I would definitely like to hear more thoughts when you have time, Alia.

I felt the end of RotK was depressing too.  The end of an age, the passing of magic and entire races et al.

Definately felt conditioned to enjoy TDTCB because of my positive experiences reading ancient epics as a child.  The language Bakker uses stirs me.

I think I'm predisposed to expect fantasy to end with the disenchantment of the world.  Tolkien, Earthsea, you can't go back to Narnia when you get too old.

Neverland. Interesting. Yet TSA is read by mostly adults...

I think I'm predisposed to expect fantasy to end with the disenchantment of the world.  Tolkien, Earthsea, you can't go back to Narnia when you get too old.

That's probably where it's going, degenerating from higher to lower orders.  But is that not a popular fantasy trope that Bakker will try to disabuse us of?  Maybe Kellhus brings about the ultimate ascension, not just of himself, but of all of humanity/nonmanity  (  :P  )  as well.  A marrying of the Outside to the Inside, so everyone's reality is as they perceive it.  Everyone's a god.  For reals.

Haha... FB's been on this kick for awhile. I wonder where he is?
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locke

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« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2014, 03:51:32 pm »

Sorry for going OT, it's just that to me the title didn't say it all. I found the general idea pretty interesting but i couldn't find the scope. I mean, reader is not that specific, are we talking about readers of the SA, of fantasy, of literature, reader in general? The same goes for the conditioning part. Are we talking about conditioning our beliefs or our expectations? So i improvised :P.


iirc, I had a substantial opening post and at the last minute deleted it because I wanted it to be more open ended, capable of going in all different possible branchings of how people might varyingly interpret it. If I had left in my opening post, it would have limited and focused the potential discussions. I was striving for unconditioned!

SkiesOfAzel

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« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2014, 04:19:46 pm »
Neat. I was more talking about the pessimism and optimism of the readers about the world after reacting to Bakker's content. I do like the idea of the themes growing towards the bold though. I've always wondered how Bakker can offer catharsis at the end of this.

I find it interesting that you seem certain there will be catharsis at the end of the series. Besides, these things are so subjective. Your catharsis and mine might be in complete opposition.
 
I think this is all necessary notation. My question becomes how does he know which references to rely on most that will be recognized by the majority of readers. I mean, we are a minority, and we still don't come closer to recognizing his antecedents but the ones that people seem to agree on provide much depth for reading.

He doesn't really know, he just guesses. That's why he picked the crusades as the main reference in the first trilogy, even those that haven't studied it know about it. Then there are genres. Since his book appears to be fantasy, he goes for the most recognizable series there is (LOTR). Fantasy readers usually also read a little sci fi on the side and Dune is a very well known series, there has been a movie, a couple of series and it has an audience that is  very dedicated. Most religious references are form Christianity so again, they are easy to spot.

Then there is philosophy. Most of his recuring references are well known. There is Plato, Aristotle, Nietzsche (i always forget a consonant in that name...) among others. He also applies system theory which has replaced the mechanistic approach in the study of practically every complex system there is (including humans) and is already a century old. There is also some physics in there. Anyway, what i am trying to say is that he uses tools from a lot of different backgrounds, but most of them are well known to those that have even a passing interest in those subjects.

There are certainly more antecedents than those, but what's more interesting is how he combines everything together and what is the resulting product. Usually when writers use such references (especially from philosophy or science) they don't really alter the meaning, the same doesn't apply for Bakker. For example he uses  Nietzsche to death, from his view on morality to the analytic process of thinking etc. Does it seem to you that he agrees with Nietzsche's views?

But... what about the expectations that are fulfilled?

Scott is such a sadist, there is hardly any conclusion to anything after 5 books, so i can't answer that. I do have expectations but i really don't know if they will be fulfilled. What little tidbits have up to now could just be coincidence, as our discussion in the Nau-Cayuti thread clearly shows.

I mean even mostly direct references to other works, like the Kellhus Leto parallel are treated in such a way that you are left helpless, because there are always some fundamental differences. Leto may look and actually physically be a monster, but he values morals, and he bets the farm on empathy, choosing Duncan for his ubermench project, not pure logic. Kellhus is amoral and doesn't even feel empathy. There is also the small matter of the image they want to project. Leto wants to appear as a tyrant, he wants to be that stain that will always remind humanity the true face of tyranny. Kellhus lacking morals only cares about immediate results, and those are easier to accomplish with the benevolent God card.

The most frustrating thing when you try to guess is that negation is another thing that doesn't work with Bakker. So Kellhus is pretty antithetical to Leto, that does not mean his long term plan isn't well meaning. Even the lack of empathy is handled in an ambiguous way. Kellhus doesn't feel empathy but he certainly can emulate the process through logic, not just for appearances, but also for himself. We can see it in his thoughts sometimes. And if there is a character i hate in the books, it's Kellhus, so there is certainly bias, but i still can't summon enough conviction to predict the worst about him, he is that well written.


Well, I honestly believe that something like this hasn't really happened ever before in history.

I mean, we can probably count the number of authors who wrote series while the internet was available for fans to continuous speculate as the series is being written and who had fans that actually did. Are any of those series a comparison for TSA? Probably not.

There are a number of other thoughts that make this situation anomalous but you get the idea?

But this is one of the main reasons to have the SA forum. It takes a hivemind to anticipate Bakker and I still expect to be surprised on most counts.

I phrased the whole thing badly (damned language barriers), i was talking about the individual reader, not a community of any kind. Let's say that you read Kafka for the first time. Well, your brain is royally screwed, but the next book by him will be less alien. You have condition yourself to expect some things now, so it's a smoother experience.

The same goes for the SA, there are already five books from this series alone, so every Bakker fan has conditioned his brain to expect things like monsters with penises on their foreheads and such. And this goes beyond superficial stuff. You know that Scott truly believes in the ignorance of the unconscious mind, he has drilled that in to you so many times by now, so you expect to see it applied to his characters actions (with a few ubermench exceptions of course)

That's probably where it's going, degenerating from higher to lower orders.  But is that not a popular fantasy trope that Bakker will try to disabuse us of?  Maybe Kellhus brings about the ultimate ascension, not just of himself, but of all of humanity/nonmanity  (  :P  )  as well.  A marrying of the Outside to the Inside, so everyone's reality is as they perceive it.  Everyone's a god.  For reals.

I doubt that. The magic in Bakkers world isn't in the supernatural. It's those few times that you see the beautiful side of humanity. The battles in the NonMan mansion at the end of the JE were full of crazy stuff, but the truly magical moment came when Mimara helped a figuratively and literally fallen Aka stand back on his feet. I wont lie, there was a little salt in my eyes and there were no chorae in the room :P. Besides, if everything is as you perceive it you don't have to do anything, you don't have to try for anything. There can be no goals and thus no purpose. This is the paradox of perfection, it's sterile.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2014, 04:29:05 pm by SkiesOfAzel »

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« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2014, 09:24:18 pm »
Neat. I was more talking about the pessimism and optimism of the readers about the world after reacting to Bakker's content. I do like the idea of the themes growing towards the bold though. I've always wondered how Bakker can offer catharsis at the end of this.

I find it interesting that you seem certain there will be catharsis at the end of the series. Besides, these things are so subjective. Your catharsis and mine might be in complete opposition.

Lol - I don't think I "seem certain" about catharsis. I don't actually see how it is possible? I don't even know that I want catharsis from a series like this - I mean, something very human about me probably does...

Again though, we aren't the readers that really expect catharsis but I can almost guarantee that the average Bakker reader still does.

He doesn't really know, he just guesses. That's why he picked the crusades as the main reference in the first trilogy, even those that haven't studied it know about it. Then there are genres. Since his book appears to be fantasy, he goes for the most recognizable series there is (LOTR). Fantasy readers usually also read a little sci fi on the side and Dune is a very well known series, there has been a movie, a couple of series and it has an audience that is  very dedicated. Most religious references are form Christianity so again, they are easy to spot.

Then there is philosophy. Most of his recuring references are well known. There is Plato, Aristotle, Nietzsche (i always forget a consonant in that name...) among others. He also applies system theory which has replaced the mechanistic approach in the study of practically every complex system there is (including humans) and is already a century old. There is also some physics in there. Anyway, what i am trying to say is that he uses tools from a lot of different backgrounds, but most of them are well known to those that have even a passing interest in those subjects.

Lol... You are smarter than you give yourself credit for. I know people who read Bakker who wouldn't know any of those things you just mentioned but still think Bakker is epic and love what they seem to understand about his writing.

There are certainly more antecedents than those, but what's more interesting is how he combines everything together and what is the resulting product. Usually when writers use such references (especially from philosophy or science) they don't really alter the meaning, the same doesn't apply for Bakker. For example he uses  Nietzsche to death, from his view on morality to the analytic process of thinking etc. Does it seem to you that he agrees with Nietzsche's views?

No, but in the sense that I'm actively trying to discover how these antecedents inform the future narrative...? Plus, why should it matter what Bakker thinks of these things, unless you're talking about his views informing his usage of these concepts.

The story gains depth, the more one knows about these antecedents.

Hegel and Machiavelli are both huge influences on TSA and Bakker's use of their writings seems consistent with their writings but those aren't necessary to understand Bakker's usage of those same concepts.

I'm confused...

Especially, because none of these things influence anyone, except we who recognize them. We aren't the average readers.

I mean even mostly direct references to other works, like the Kellhus Leto parallel are treated in such a way that you are left helpless, because there are always some fundamental differences. Leto may look and actually physically be a monster, but he values morals, and he bets the farm on empathy, choosing Duncan for his ubermench project, not pure logic. Kellhus is amoral and doesn't even feel empathy. There is also the small matter of the image they want to project. Leto wants to appear as a tyrant, he wants to be that stain that will always remind humanity the true face of tyranny. Kellhus lacking morals only cares about immediate results, and those are easier to accomplish with the benevolent God card.

Sure, sure. But my issue is that knowing these parallels, and further ones, I am unable to discard their influence on my speculation. I am conditioned...

The most frustrating thing when you try to guess is that negation is another thing that doesn't work with Bakker. So Kellhus is pretty antithetical to Leto, that does not mean his long term plan isn't well meaning. Even the lack of empathy is handled in an ambiguous way. Kellhus doesn't feel empathy but he certainly can emulate the process through logic, not just for appearances, but also for himself. We can see it in his thoughts sometimes. And if there is a character i hate in the books, it's Kellhus, so there is certainly bias, but i still can't summon enough conviction to predict the worst about him, he is that well written.

Again... it's not about failing to anticipate him. It's appreciating how we're conditioned and how he might use those conditions to toy with our perception of his narrative. Or any narrative? Or socially? However, far you want to take it.

I phrased the whole thing badly (damned language barriers), i was talking about the individual reader, not a community of any kind. Let's say that you read Kafka for the first time. Well, your brain is royally screwed, but the next book by him will be less alien. You have condition yourself to expect some things now, so it's a smoother experience.

The same goes for the SA, there are already five books from this series alone, so every Bakker fan has conditioned his brain to expect things like monsters with penises on their foreheads and such. And this goes beyond superficial stuff. You know that Scott truly believes in the ignorance of the unconscious mind, he has drilled that in to you so many times by now, so you expect to see it applied to his characters actions (with a few ubermench exceptions of course)

Well, lockesnow disagrees with you about the ubermench exceptions...

But I don't think you're speculating as to what Bakker can do with the conditioning you highlight... or again, any narrative, culture, society, etc. I understand the aspects expectations and learning to read "Bakker" vs. "Kafka." It's like what you wrote in the writing thread and it's the same reason fan fiction is easier to write. Bakker's established all these little conditionings - Caraskand, Momemn, Mandate, Nonmen, Sranc... etc, etc, every pronoun he's got in there, plus the complex patterns, etc. Hell, "mimicry of" Dune, LOTR, Nietzsche, Plato; fulfilling any of those expectations of parallels, reinforce the idea that he will continue to pattern his narrative from those sources.

So... I'm just not sure what you are trying to say? Are we disagreeing? Is this a difference in how we think an author will apply these concepts (I would argue that few authors understand this thread more than Bakker)?
« Last Edit: March 20, 2014, 09:26:08 pm by Madness »
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SkiesOfAzel

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« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2014, 12:02:00 am »
iirc, I had a substantial opening post and at the last minute deleted it because I wanted it to be more open ended, capable of going in all different possible branchings of how people might varyingly interpret it. If I had left in my opening post, it would have limited and focused the potential discussions. I was striving for unconditioned!

Lol, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. When i attempt to follow connections without certain boundaries in place, i can go into infinite loops :P.

Lol... You are smarter than you give yourself credit for. I know people who read Bakker who wouldn't know any of those things you just mentioned but still think Bakker is epic and love what they seem to understand about his writing.

Not really. We have an instinct to compare and categorize everything unconsciously. Some times it's useful, most times not so much. The fact that those things interested me led me to appreciate Scott's books. Others appreciate it for the epic story, or for the depth of the characters, or for the prose. Interests and preferences aren't an indication of intellect. A person can be incredibly smart and not give a damn about philosophy, i've met such people in my life.

No, but in the sense that I'm actively trying to discover how these antecedents inform the future narrative...? Plus, why should it matter what Bakker thinks of these things, unless you're talking about his views informing his usage of these concepts.

Yes, motive changes the purpose of the reference, if you know both, you can anticipate more accurately. For example, Herbert doesn't agree with Nietzsche, but Bakker uses both. If you think he is closer to say Herbert, you can make some guesses about why he uses Nietzsche.

The story gains depth, the more one knows about these antecedents.

Some times it's the opposite. This knowledge limits your imagination. A good example is David Lynch. Have you seen Lost Highway? It's a very surreal representation of a mundane story. As long as you don't know that story, there are infinite possibilities in your head. I've read theories from people that didn't know what was actually happening that were amazing.

Hegel and Machiavelli are both huge influences on TSA and Bakker's use of their writings seems consistent with their writings but those aren't necessary to understand Bakker's usage of those same concepts.

I'm confused...

I've been constantly reading books since i was five. I am not trying to boast, i don't even think it was a healthy obsession, especially when i was very young. The reason i am stating this is to give you perspective for what i am about to say:
There never was a book that touched me in the way this series has. It really changed me. When i tried to figure out why, i came to this simple conclusion:

If you look at each part separately there is almost nothing new in it. I've seen most of it before, be it philosophy, physics, religion, fantasy, sci fi etc. But seen isn't experiencing. When it comes to ideas, you can read something and think you've understood it, but you've only grasped the outline of a theory. Bakker doesn't tell us theories, he tells us stories, with characters that are so honestly written it's almost painful. We empathize with them, so we experience those ideas. When you live through something you don't have to read about it to understand it.

Especially, because none of these things influence anyone, except we who recognize them. We aren't the average readers.

Yes those influences are in fact limiting us :P. I will instinctively use Hegel to attempt to explain the metaphysics, when in reality there are infinite ways to interpret them.

Sure, sure. But my issue is that knowing these parallels, and further ones, I am unable to discard their influence on my speculation. I am conditioned...

I agree.

Again... it's not about failing to anticipate him. It's appreciating how we're conditioned and how he might use those conditions to toy with our perception of his narrative. Or any narrative? Or socially? However, far you want to take it.

Depends on the reader i guess, and how much weight he assigns to every discernible influence. Personally, i assign more weight to philosophy and science, so what ever knowledge i have in these two categories that seems to be reflected in the text conditions me far more than the rest.

Well, lockesnow disagrees with you about the ubermench exceptions...

Lol, i knew this morsel was hard to pass. I am inclined to agree with Locke to a degree, but let's not go completely OT again. I've done it enough already :P.

But I don't think you're speculating as to what Bakker can do with the conditioning you highlight... or again, any narrative, culture, society, etc. I understand the aspects expectations and learning to read "Bakker" vs. "Kafka." It's like what you wrote in the writing thread and it's the same reason fan fiction is easier to write. Bakker's established all these little conditionings - Caraskand, Momemn, Mandate, Nonmen, Sranc... etc, etc, every pronoun he's got in there, plus the complex patterns, etc. Hell, "mimicry of" Dune, LOTR, Nietzsche, Plato; fulfilling any of those expectations of parallels, reinforce the idea that he will continue to pattern his narrative from those sources.

So... I'm just not sure what you are trying to say? Are we disagreeing? Is this a difference in how we think an author will apply these concepts (I would argue that few authors understand this thread more than Bakker)?

No i don't think we disagree, the type of conditioning that requires you to know the author is self inflicted, an expression of our natural aversion to the unexpected. The type of conditioning that requires you to know the narrative tools of the author is deliberate and stems from the author himself. It's just that Bakker uses those in a meta way, meaning that he knows that we know, so he proceeds to screw with our brains and our expectations.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 12:19:58 am by SkiesOfAzel »

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« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2014, 05:25:11 am »
Just to chime in, as I'm in a bit of a hurry - in linguistics and communications theory the kind of conditioning described in the first post is called "presupposition". And every reader comes to a book with a lot of presuppositions and you can get a lot of interesting reactions if you decide to go against those presuppositions.
Ah. Maybe that's why I was taken as giving the wrong reply to it. That strikes me as something else, really.

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« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2014, 11:42:00 am »
Lol... You are smarter than you give yourself credit for. I know people who read Bakker who wouldn't know any of those things you just mentioned but still think Bakker is epic and love what they seem to understand about his writing.

Not really. We have an instinct to compare and categorize everything unconsciously. Some times it's useful, most times not so much. The fact that those things interested me led me to appreciate Scott's books. Others appreciate it for the epic story, or for the depth of the characters, or for the prose. Interests and preferences aren't an indication of intellect. A person can be incredibly smart and not give a damn about philosophy, i've met such people in my life.

You are right and I should have clarified about the intelligence factor. I'm not sure how that works. Or how "booksmarts" interact with fluid intelligence (there are so many ways, too many ways, to have this conversation).

However, to the bold, if you could take a snap shot of Bakker's mindscape right now, you could see how his antecedents actually do inform the story. In this kind of thread, I'm after figuring those out.

It'll be really interesting if he'd do a Q&A or a course after everything was released.

Yes, motive changes the purpose of the reference, if you know both, you can anticipate more accurately. For example, Herbert doesn't agree with Nietzsche, but Bakker uses both. If you think he is closer to say Herbert, you can make some guesses about why he uses Nietzsche.

I think the individual pieces he uses are more telling than what he actually thinks about their works individually. But I've often thought about TSA as philosophy and, somehow, I don't think this stacks up as a piece of strictly philosophic work.

Some times it's the opposite. This knowledge limits your imagination. A good example is David Lynch. Have you seen Lost Highway? It's a very surreal representation of a mundane story. As long as you don't know that story, there are infinite possibilities in your head. I've read theories from people that didn't know what was actually happening that were amazing.

Haven't and I get it. Absolutely. So how does this affect your conditioning? How do you react to the limiting knowledge?

Hegel and Machiavelli are both huge influences on TSA and Bakker's use of their writings seems consistent with their writings but those aren't necessary to understand Bakker's usage of those same concepts.

I'm confused...

I've been constantly reading books since i was five. I am not trying to boast, i don't even think it was a healthy obsession, especially when i was very young. The reason i am stating this is to give you perspective for what i am about to say:
There never was a book that touched me in the way this series has. It really changed me. When i tried to figure out why, i came to this simple conclusion:

If you look at each part separately there is almost nothing new in it. I've seen most of it before, be it philosophy, physics, religion, fantasy, sci fi etc. But seen isn't experiencing. When it comes to ideas, you can read something and think you've understood it, but you've only grasped the outline of a theory. Bakker doesn't tell us theories, he tells us stories, with characters that are so honestly written it's almost painful. We empathize with them, so we experience those ideas. When you live through something you don't have to read about it to understand it.

Well, I think this would be a pretty good watermark of literature... I agree that Bakker is special but this still doesn't help us sketch how we're conditioned, necessarily.

Absolutely, Bakker's mash and embodiment of these ideas is amazing to behold. So should be any "good" writer's works?

Especially, because none of these things influence anyone, except we who recognize them. We aren't the average readers.

Yes those influences are in fact limiting us :P. I will instinctively use Hegel to attempt to explain the metaphysics, when in reality there are infinite ways to interpret them.

Lol... you're making an argument for being unconditioned. They may limit us. They may not. They may limit us because we know they come before us and so don't think he mirrors the real-world antecedents... they may not.

In this case, we are conditioned. How do we use that to our speculative advantage?

Again... it's not about failing to anticipate him. It's appreciating how we're conditioned and how he might use those conditions to toy with our perception of his narrative. Or any narrative? Or socially? However, far you want to take it.

Depends on the reader i guess, and how much weight he assigns to every discernible influence. Personally, i assign more weight to philosophy and science, so what ever knowledge i have in these two categories that seems to be reflected in the text conditions me far more than the rest.

A balanced breakfast? See together we have no blind spots, no antecedent agnosia. And I know there are a number of literature texts, psychology, language... Many times I'm exposed to another piece of the mosaic and I reread TSA again and find the world reflected in the narrative.

Bakker plays so many games, we need the SA noosphere. How much does Bakker see?!

Well, lockesnow disagrees with you about the ubermench exceptions...

Lol, i knew this morsel was hard to pass. I am inclined to agree with Locke to a degree, but let's not go completely OT again. I've done it enough already :P.

Nothing wrong with tangents. And if we're the only two communicating, then other non-participants can't have a say about the direction of conversation, until they participate.

No i don't think we disagree, the type of conditioning that requires you to know the author is self inflicted, an expression of our natural aversion to the unexpected. The type of conditioning that requires you to know the narrative tools of the author is deliberate and stems from the author himself. It's just that Bakker uses those in a meta way, meaning that he knows that we know, so he proceeds to screw with our brains and our expectations.

Agreed... But I absolutely think Bakker is going to surprise us, even if we do manage catalog all the conditioning antecedents? How can you not see this?
« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 11:44:04 am by Madness »
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SkiesOfAzel

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« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2014, 05:01:48 pm »
I think the individual pieces he uses are more telling than what he actually thinks about their works individually. But I've often thought about TSA as philosophy and, somehow, I don't think this stacks up as a piece of strictly philosophic work.

Of course they are telling, the fact that he has read them is telling. I view the SA as applied philosophy. Not exactly  a new theory, but a simulation of the application of existing theories.

Absolutely, Bakker's mash and embodiment of these ideas is amazing to behold. So should be any "good" writer's works?

Yea, i believe that a writers best weapon is always empathy, everything else is secondary if you can't convince your reader to immerse himself in your books. Dostoevsky is another example of this. The more detailed and honest characters you offer to the reader, the easier is for him to adjust his thought patterns to those of your characters, so there is that too.

Haven't and I get it. Absolutely. So how does this affect your conditioning? How do you react to the limiting knowledge?

Lol... you're making an argument for being unconditioned. They may limit us. They may not. They may limit us because we know they come before us and so don't think he mirrors the real-world antecedents... they may not.

In this case, we are conditioned. How do we use that to our speculative advantage?

A balanced breakfast? See together we have no blind spots, no antecedent agnosia. And I know there are a number of literature texts, psychology, language... Many times I'm exposed to another piece of the mosaic and I reread TSA again and find the world reflected in the narrative.

Bakker plays so many games, we need the SA noosphere. How much does Bakker see?!

You answer yourself :). Conditioning is a very useful tool, because it allows specialization which increases efficiency. Variety is also very important because it allows for more possible outcomes or alternate routes to the same outcome.So, the limits imposed by conditioning can be bypassed with variety and cooperation, but a conditioned person has an aversion to different viewpoints. What i think makes all the difference is awareness. A person that is aware of his conditioning can use reason to become more accepting of different points of view.

Of course, our society encourages the opposite more and more, while killing variety at the same time. At least that's what Scott is conditioning me to think :P. Anyway, what we do here is an attempt to bypass our conditioning, that's what communication comes down to. But as Scott would say we must be willing to let our soul be moved by another.

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« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2014, 01:45:01 am »
speaking of ubermensch, yes, I think it's important to not make excuses into exceptions.  Absolving Kellhus of the same cognitive mistakes he sees others making because his perspective implicitly suggests he does not make them is utterly wrong.  Achamian doesn't see his own cognitive mistakes.  Esmenet doesn't see her own cognitive mistakes.  Kellhus doesn't see his own cognitive mistakes. OUR, the reader, cognitive mistake, is to except Kellhus, but we really shouldn't. It's my opinion that this natural inclination of the reader to leap to this conclusion that Kellhus is excepted from a cognitive failing simply because Kellhus is aware of the failings of others, is a feature that Bakker leverages against us.  Additionally, Bakker is painfully aware of the fact that smart people are often have the biggest cognitive blindspots, so really, logically, scientifically, we should expect Kellhus to have even bigger cognitive failings simply because he is so biased in seeing cognitive failings in everyone around him.  Even when Kellhus is confronted with evidence that a worldborn was correct and Kellhus was wrong, Kellhus does not revise his opinion of that worldborn, nor his opinion of himself.  Leweth and sorcery would be the best example of this. Kellhus still believes the worldborn are failing all over the place and that he is not, that they are children and he is an adult.  We really, really should notice that from the very first viewpoint, the author is undermining Kellhus' authority, but we as readers do not.

Why do we as readers do not?  Because we are conditioned by our expectations and experiences of genre, and since Kellhus satisfies so many tropes, we are disinclined by experience to question someone obviously written as the hero.  and that's the sort of thing I think Bakker is undermining.

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« Reply #25 on: March 23, 2014, 12:58:31 am »
OUR, the reader, cognitive mistake, is to except Kellhus, but we really shouldn't. It's my opinion that this natural inclination of the reader to leap to this conclusion that Kellhus is excepted from a cognitive failing simply because Kellhus is aware of the failings of others, is a feature that Bakker leverages against us.

WONDERFUL

To this end, I think TUC will see a progression of contingencies Kellhus has planned for, but are surprising to the reader, until one huge moment he has never considered.

Like he's counting on the WLW's broken blade to pierce him, warps back to Momen to a prepared secret nook in the Andiamine Heights where medical gnostics wait for the moment...all dead.  Blood pours out of Kellhus' chest and as his vision fails, sweet Kelmomas crawls from the dark saying "Daddy, I'm hungry."



But if I'm counting on it, I hope the real surprise is even better!

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« Reply #26 on: March 23, 2014, 08:52:47 am »
getting back to the leweth kellhus thing.  Think again on these conversations.  Kellhus is utterly childlike in his lack of experience and knowledge of the world.  leweth is the experienced and knowledgeable adult.

Kellhus inverts this reality because it troubles him and contradicts his internal narrative and knowledge of the world, whenever Leweth mentions something Kellhus doesn't like to hear about, Kellhus dismisses it as a myth.  Kellhus persists in thinking of himself as superior to Leweth, even as Leweth demonstrates his superiority in knowledge to Kellhus.  The reader goes along with Kellhus because Kellhus has absurdly elaborate psychoanalytic theories about Leweth that makes Kellhus sound smart and modern--appeal to authority.  Leweth doesn't confirm what Kellhus says, but he gives broad reactions that are vague enough that Kellhus reads as confirmations of his psychoananalysis (and he self praises himself for being so smart and clever and more adult and super-de-duper, the arrogant little prick), missing Leweth's vagueness and lack of clear confirmation.  Kellhus makes all these bouncy declarative judgments of Leweth's situation despite no experience and minimal knowledge of worldborn men, their customs, mores, realities, and life experiences. 

Kellhus never considers his own ignorance, he just continually gloats that he is an adult and they are children.  And why is that binary so very important to Kellhus, adults and children.  Are children Dunyain so very contemptible? and why do the dunyain, like Kellhus, allow themselves to carry such contempt for children?

in terms of how Kellhus is conditioned, consider all the shocking cognitive adjustments Kellhus has to make, and the fact that he's already pre-adjusted to external-Ishual realities, so he is not challenged by the basics, when he should be, but he never thinks on this, never thinks that he's so well pre-conditioned to understand the non-Ishual world: How does Kellhus even grapple with the concept of wives or of jealousy?   with the elaborate concept of trade of goods and by implication the even more elaborate concept of money?  How does Kellhus conceptualize that worldborn men still exist?  How does he even know that there are other communities of people in the world and that these communities are not all isolated. 
« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 08:55:43 am by locke »

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« Reply #27 on: March 23, 2014, 12:05:29 pm »
I view the SA as applied philosophy. Not exactly  a new theory, but a simulation of the application of existing theories.

Hmm... I think his fiction is laced with "new theory" but Earwa may have more story to tell than ideas to push.

Yea, i believe that a writers best weapon is always empathy, everything else is secondary if you can't convince your reader to immerse himself in your books. Dostoevsky is another example of this. The more detailed and honest characters you offer to the reader, the easier is for him to adjust his thought patterns to those of your characters, so there is that too.

I wouldn't say everyone empathizes with more detailed and honest characters but empathy is a very good point. I'll have to think more on this, it seems crux-worthy.

Haven't and I get it. Absolutely. So how does this affect your conditioning? How do you react to the limiting knowledge?

Lol... you're making an argument for being unconditioned. They may limit us. They may not. They may limit us because we know they come before us and so don't think he mirrors the real-world antecedents... they may not.

In this case, we are conditioned. How do we use that to our speculative advantage?

A balanced breakfast? See together we have no blind spots, no antecedent agnosia. And I know there are a number of literature texts, psychology, language... Many times I'm exposed to another piece of the mosaic and I reread TSA again and find the world reflected in the narrative.

Bakker plays so many games, we need the SA noosphere. How much does Bakker see?!

You answer yourself :). Conditioning is a very useful tool, because it allows specialization which increases efficiency. Variety is also very important because it allows for more possible outcomes or alternate routes to the same outcome.So, the limits imposed by conditioning can be bypassed with variety and cooperation, but a conditioned person has an aversion to different viewpoints. What i think makes all the difference is awareness. A person that is aware of his conditioning can use reason to become more accepting of different points of view.

You have thoughts that I would enjoy; mostly because I analogize to inter-disciplinary disciplines. But another conversation.

Thankfully, we have a number of specially conditioned folk here. We also have a number of those who are more wide-ranging and accepting of different viewpoints. We still haven't yet been able to describe all possible antecedents.

To the bold, Sci has made a great point a number of times that has stuck with me. Literature, philosophy, science, etc... it's all analogous to rap and "name-dropping." How many subtle and not so subtle references can I ping the reader with. In a way, it becomes, how many "aha! moments" can I stick into a piece of art that, I think as a canny artist, the most of number of average readers will get? How many do I lace in there for the more astute, and the most astute, readers? Etc, etc...

You've almost returned to my argument upthread (and I guess that I've been making the whole time), simply that, we should be able to use our collective knowledge of Bakker's antecedents to predict plot and character developments.

And to be honest, I don't see how I answered my own questions:

Quote from: Madness
So how does this affect your conditioning? How do you react to the limiting knowledge?

...

How do we use that to our speculative advantage?

...

How much does Bakker see?!
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« Reply #28 on: March 26, 2014, 11:09:44 am »
I find myself falling into the assumption that Dagliash will unfold like the battle before Minas Tirith.  Things will get worse and worse and then Kellhus takes out the Nazgul lord analogue (I'm betting on Mekeritrig or Aurang) and then the good guys win and march to the gates of Mordor/Min-Uroikas.

Even though I know Bakker probably anticipates this interpretation, I don't know that he'll be tempted to deviate from it.  I can see him pandering to it until the end when he kills off everyone except Thelopia.

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« Reply #29 on: March 26, 2014, 12:39:10 pm »
Nah, MG. Too soon. TUC is going to be like the latter third of TWP. All Caraskand, Consult-style. I am pretty much convinced that Dagliash will be taken with nary a loss... and then.... the Consult will strike. Especially because:

Helm's Deep, Rohirrin, Gandalf/Daglish, Nonmen Chariots, Achamian is simply too juicy a trifecta for Bakker to pass on ;).
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